Changes to training and safeguarding in 2018
Safeguarding children and young people will always be an extremely high profile activity, and rightly so. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are in place around the UK, tasked with ensuring the safety, protection and promotion of the welfare of all children and young people. Statutory guidance to support this has primarily come via ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (WTSC), which has been updated a number of times since its introduction in 2006.
The latest changes to WTSC are in the process of being implemented as a result of a major review of LSCBs by Alan Wood a couple of years ago.
Wood’s recommendations were comprehensively embraced by government, with legislative support via the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and it’s worth revisiting this subject over two years on from Alex Bateman’s article exploring the mooted changes to safeguarding.
What is changing?
Wood’s recommendations are far-reaching. Some of the main changes include:
- Replacement of LSCBs with Local Safeguarding Partnerships (LSPs): A tripartite approach to local safeguarding arrangements will involve the key agencies identified by Wood determining appropriate measures for their area. Local authorities (child services), health (clinical commissioning groups) and chief police officers must organise themselves and identify other, ‘relevant agencies’ who have a crucial role to play in safeguarding. Inclusion of relevant agencies will mean there is still strong agency coverage within the Partnerships as compared with LSCBs.
- Replacement of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs): a new, national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will commission reviews of child safeguarding cases of national importance. LSPs will identify and commission reviews of cases where appropriate.
- Change of responsibility for child death reviews (CDRs): LSCBs will cede responsibility to Child Death Review Partners (CDRPs), which will investigate the death of any child normally resident in their area.
Current state of play
All of this makes for an extremely busy period for LSCBs, as they interpret what is required in order to transition to LSPs as well as continuing to fulfil their statutory safeguarding responsibilities in the interim. The current schedule outlines that, following a vote in both Houses of Parliament, the updated WTSC will be published and new safeguarding arrangements will come into effect. At that point a dedicated period of transition to new multi-agency regulations will begin, with councils being required to have all arrangements in place by September 2019.
LSCBs therefore face significant challenges in relation to policy development, data protection and safeguarding audits, as well as training. Some early adopters have already changed their names from LSCBs to SCPs.
Slightly different challenges may also be faced by other agencies, none more so than schools, which were previously classed as part of an LSCB but now find themselves outside the new Partnership structure and starting life as ‘relevant bodies’.
Can we help?
No matter what agency you are part of you may have concerns about how this year or so will progress. Until the transition period gets going in earnest things may not necessarily become much clearer. If you will fall within a new Local Safeguarding Partnership how will you support schools to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities? If you work within a school or academy how will you meet new requirements to be aware of how other agencies deal with safeguarding?
What is clear is that all agencies will still have training requirements. Virtual College can support you with a comprehensive range of safeguarding-related courses, which will be reviewed in order to respond to any developing needs. Our LMS will also help you to manage your training in a user-friendly, responsive and secure environment. Please get in touch with Felicity Bagshaw.