Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018: The Updates
Anyone who has been working with children in the last decade or so is likely to be well aware of Working Together to Safeguard Children – the government’s key document for everyone who works with, or carries out work related to, children. It provides parameters for inter-agency working and promoting the welfare of children from all backgrounds and in all settings.
Understandably, it is regularly reviewed and updated in line with the everchanging picture that is safeguarding. It has a number of iterations so far, and the latest – Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 – has recently been released and the changes are now in effect. We recognise that it is hard to keep up to date with the updates, so we have summarised the key changes to help provide a clearer picture. If you require more detail, we have also included some relevant links at the end that should help.
The guidance has been updated following a consultation in 2017 to establish the changes needed in light of the new Children and Social Work Act 2017.
The Key Changes
· Replacement of Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards with Safeguarding Partners
One of the most significant changes is the replacement of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards with Safeguarding Partners.
Following a review in 2016 of the function of the LSCBs, it was agreed that the system needed to change. There will now be three safeguarding partners per local authority area: the local authority, a chief officer of police and a clinical commissioning group. It will be their responsibility to make arrangements to work with relevant agencies (organisations and agencies whose involvement is considered essential to safeguarding) to safeguard and protect the welfare of children in their area.
The safeguarding partners have joint and equal responsibilities of the local safeguarding arrangements, and they must decide how they will best work together and with relevant agencies. It is also down to them to choose which local safeguarding agencies they would like to work with in their locality.
Given the size of this change, the Department for Education has put together some transitional guidance outlining how the transition will work. You can read it here.
· Serious Case Reviews to be replaced by a new system of national and local child safeguarding practice reviews
A new system has also been put in place regarding national and local safeguarding case reviews.
As of 29th June 2018, a new panel, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, is responsible at a national level for how we learn from the serious safeguarding reviews, whereas the safeguarding partners will have that responsibility at a local level.
They will work together; the safeguarding partners will send copies of the reviews that they carried out to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, which will decide if any of the reviews need to be made on a national level.
· Transfer of responsibility for child death reviews to new Child Death Review Partners
As LSCBs are being replaced, the responsibility for the child death reviews is being transferred to the new Child Death Review Partners. They will consist of local authorities and any clinical commissioning groups for the local area.
The guidance specifies that the Child Death Review Partners may base their child death review structures and processes on the current Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) framework, if they think it is appropriate. It also specifies that there should be reviews of all deaths of children who are normally residents in the local area, as well as non-resident children who have died in their area (if deemed appropriate).
· New addition: People in positions of trust
A new section has been added regarding people in positions of trust. It stresses the importance of organisations’ responsibility, stating they should have ‘clear policies regarding allegations against people who work with children’.
This addition is especially relevant to all educational organisations, Early Years settings, healthcare professionals, child carers, children’s homes, charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises, faith-based organisations, and private sectors.
· New addition: Safeguarding needs in sports clubs
An area that is often in the spotlight at the moment – the legislation states that staff (paid or volunteer) at sports clubs and organisations need to be aware of their safeguarding responsibilities, and will be required to work effectively with safeguarding partners, if safeguarding arrangements have been made.
· Other changes
- The entire guidance now applies to all schools, and it is expected that schools, colleges and other educational providers will be named as relevant agencies by the safeguarding partners.
- There is a myth-busting guide to information sharing, and the government has also released a new document detailing advice about information sharing. Read it here.
- There are new sections covering: referrals; contextual safeguarding; assessments of disabled children and their carers, young carers and children in secure youth establishments; designated healthcare professionals; Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), and children’s homes.
If you are new to a role where you are working with children and are just learning about safeguarding, then it is important to understand that you need to be aware of your responsibilities to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. You have an active role to play in this sense. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on and read all relevant government guidance, such as Working Together 2018. The organisation you work for should also supply safeguarding training – if you are unsure whether they do, contact your manager to see what their protocol is.
Useful links and further reading