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Safeguarding Children Legislation in the UK

There are many pieces of legislation and guidance that need to be known and understood if you are safeguarding children. Here we list and summarise the ones that are relevant to all UK countries.

  • Modern Slavery Act 2015

    The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is designed to combat modern slavery in the UK and consolidates previous offences relating to trafficking and slavery. The act extends to England and Wales. The Act makes provision about slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and about human trafficking, including provision for the protection of victims; to make provision for an Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner; and for connected purposes.

    Link:Modern Slavery Act 2015

  • Children Act 1989

    The Children Act 1989 reflects the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 and highlights that the welfare of children must be of paramount consideration, placing a duty on local councils to carry out Section 47 enquiries where there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm’.

    Link:Children Act 1989

  • Children Act 2004

    The Children Act 2004 introduced the Common Assessment Framework, which came into operation in 2006, and is an example of a standardised approach to improve the way in which services work together to provide early help to families. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places responsibility on safeguarding partners to make arrangements together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their local area.

    Link:Children Act 2004

  • Children and Families Act 2014

    The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced a 26-week time limit for courts to decide whether or not a child should be taken into care. It also provides children in care the choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 2;, introduced the Education, Health and Care Plan to support children and their families from birth to 25 years; made it a requirement of all state-funded schools to provide free school lunches for all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, and made amendments made to the law to protect children cars from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

    Link:Children and Families Act 2014

  • Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015

    The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 aims to reduce the spread of extremist ideology by identifying children and young people at high risk of exposure to said ideology, and engaging them in a mentoring programme.

    Link:Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015

  • Education Act 2002

    The Education Act 2002 sets out the safeguarding duties of schools and colleges.

    Link:Education Act 2002

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989 is an international treaty and agreement between different governments to protect the rights of children under 18 to education, play, to not be separated from parents (unless in the child’s best interests), to be well cared for, to be listened to, to be able to take part in decisions about their lives, and to protection and help from the government.

    Link:The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989

  • NSPCC

    The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are an independent organisation working to place pressure on government to improve child protection systems and legislation across the UK. They provide a wealth of guidance, information and support around child protection and safeguarding issues for anyone working with children.

    Link:NSPCC

Safeguarding Children Legislation in England

In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding children legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to England.

Safeguarding Children Legislation in Scotland

In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding children legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Scotland.

Safeguarding Adults Legislation in Northern Ireland

In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding adults legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Northern Ireland.

Safeguarding Children Legislation in Wales

In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding children legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to Wales.

  • Keeping Learners Safe 2015

    Keeping Leaners Safe 2015 consists of statutory guidance concerning how education providers can ensure they have effective systems in place to safeguard and protect children. This guidance includes the responsibility of education providers to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and young people; to promote safe practice and challenge poor and unsafe practice, and to identify instances in which there are grounds for concern about a child’s welfare.

  • Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014

    The Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014 constitutes a legal framework for improving the wellbeing of people by outlining safeguarding provision for both adults and children who need care and support. In relation to children, ‘wellbeing’ includes the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development as well as their ‘welfare’.

    Link:Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014

  • Working Together to Safeguard People 2018

    Working Together to Safeguard People 2018 comprises of seven volumes of statutory guidance, the goal of which is to implement and follow the Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014. For the purposes of adult safeguarding practice, Volumes 1, 3, 4 and 6 are especially relevant.

  • The Wales Safeguarding Procedures 2019

    The Wales Safeguarding Procedures detail the essential roles and responsibilities for practitioners to ensure that they safeguard children and adults who are at risk of abuse and neglect.

    Link: The Wales Safeguarding Procedures

  • Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for: England and Wales 2019

    The Revised Prevent Duty Guidance 2019 offers statutory guidance outlining how the Prevent Duty can be applied effectively. This includes guidance around training requirements.

    Link:Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for: England and Wales 2019

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