Sefton Council and partners were announced as runners-up for a top prize at this year’s prestigious Guardian Public Service Awards.
The Sefton Multi Agency Child Sexual Exploitation (MACSE) Panel came second overall in the Care Category beating off more than 400 other entries.
The Panel is co-chaired by Sefton’s service manager for Safeguarding Children and a Detective Chief Inspector from Merseyside Police.
It consists of representatives from a number of Sefton Council teams, Catch 22, Merseyside Police, Sefton Rape and Sexual Assault Service, Missing Children Independent Return Officers, Sefton Sexual Health Service, Liverpool Community Healthcare, Probation and the Community Rehabilitation Company.
Individual services working with a child or young people are also invited to attend the Panel, to ensure a partnership plan is agreed to protect the child or young person and disrupt and prosecute anyone considered to be sexually exploiting the child.
As part of the criteria to enter, judges were looking for the best initiatives that put care of patients, residents and clients front and centre and for the projects that highlight best practice in social work.
On coming second, the Guardian judges revealed Sefton MASCE ‘shone’ and said: “Children at risk of sexual exploitation in Sefton are being quickly identified thanks to a community-wide campaign to raise awareness of the tell-tale signs. Pharmacists and taxi drivers are among those providing vital information to the campaign.
“A number of perpetrators have been brought to justice as a result of the innovative initiative from Sefton Council and its partners.”
Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “Congratulations to the Sefton MACSE Panel in being recognised like this on a national scale at such a prestigious awards ceremony.
“The award is a true testament for all the hard work put in by the whole team and is a perfect example of partnership working benefiting our local communities.”