Episode three - Bedford Borough Council

This podcast discusses Bedford Borough Council’s approach to child protection work with Harmesh Bhogal, who is the Chief Officer and Assistant Director for Children’s Services at the council.

Dr. Jess Wild from Research in Practice discusses Bedford Borough Council’s approach to child protection work with Harmesh Bhogal, who is the Chief Officer and Assistant Director for Children’s Services at the council. Harmesh talks about his experiences of the Domestic Abuse Change Project and how he and his teams approach child protection work where domestic abuse is a concern.

Talking points

  • Systemic framework for practice.
  • Setting up a local partnership board in line with the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
  • Tendency to seek safe certainty when it comes to working with families where there is a person causing harm. 
  • Dealing with the issue of continued coupling where this is desired by families want, rather than insisting that families just need to separate. 
  • Re-victimising mothers and placing responsibility on them to protect children.
  • Looking at recurrent care experienced mothers and fathers.
  • Issue of hidden fathers but recognising that is only part of the picture.
  • Barriers to working with families where there is a perpetrator of DVA and listening to people with lived experience.
  • Using typologies to better understand what the DVA is like and how it impacts on the children.
  • Applying an intersectional lens and considering the impact of poverty and limited life chances.

Challenges and opportunities

  • Addressing the impact of COVID-19. 
  • Responding to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
  • Expanding the response to fathers and of the approaches used to do this work.