A summary of Working together to safeguard children (2013) including important changes to guidance.
On 15 April 2013 the government released the updated statutory guidance for adults working with children and families in England.
Working together to safeguard children 2013 streamlines previous guidance and clarifies the children's workforce responsibilities regarding safeguarding children. It also aims to ensure that the needs of the child and not processes are the key focus of safeguarding practice.
Working together 2013 maintains much of the responsibilities and procedures laid out in the 2010 guidance it replaces but in a more concise and less exhaustive way.
Working together 2013 reaffirms that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part, but adds that for services to be effective they must adopt a child centred approach and be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children. Every area should use these principles to underpin their safeguarding plans.
In addition, the guidance asserts that for safeguarding procedures to be effective they must reflect the following:
This section contains guidance on:
All LSCBs need to produce and publish a threshold document that outlines how they will deal with: the process for the early help assessment and the type and level of early help services to be provided; and the criteria, including the level of need, for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under section 17 (child in need),section 47 (risk of significant harm), section 31 (care orders),section 20 (duty to accommodate) of the Children Act 1989.
Within one working day of a referral being received, a local authority social worker should decide about the type of response that is required and acknowledge receipt to the referrer.
There will no longer be a requirement to conduct separate initial and core assessments but the maximum timeframe for the assessment to conclude, such that it is possible to reach a decision on next steps, should be no longer than 45 working days from the point of referral.
Depending on the needs of the individual child, and the nature and level of any risk of harm faced by the child, the assessment may need to be done more quickly.
Local authorities, with their partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment.
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a specific duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children on schools and colleges, early years and childcare, health services, police, adult social care services, housing authorities, British Transport Police, Prison Service, Probation Service, secure estate for children, Youth Offending Teams, United Kingdom Border Agency, CAFCASS, armed services, voluntary and private sectors and faith organisations.
Contains guidance on:
Every LSCB should now appoint an independent chair to improve accountability and ease .
Contains guidance on:
Local Safeguarding Children boards need to maintain local learning and improvement frameworks for organisations that work with children and their families.
Reviews should be held on cases that can provide important lessons about how local organisations can improve working together to safeguard promote the welfare of children, not just those that meet statutory requirements.
The different types of review include:
The guidance on when a Serious Case Review should be carried out emphasises that if a child dies by suspected suicide an SCR must be initiated.
LSCBs may use any learning model which is consistent with the principles in the guidance, including the systems methodology recommended by Professor Munro.
The requirement for organisations to undertake Individual Management Reviews has been removed. However any review process must still include appropriate representation from other organisations, they may also be required to submit written information about their involvement with the child who is subject to the review.
Final reports of SCRs findings must be published on the LSCB’s website for a minimum of 12 months. The reports should provide a sound analysis of what happened in the case, and why, and what needs to happen in order to reduce the risk of recurrence; be written in plain English and in a way that can be easily understood by professionals and the public alike; and be suitable for publication without needing to be amended or redacted.
A national panel of experts will be created to advise LSCBs on the initiation and publication of serious case reviews. The panel will also report to the government on the efficacy of the serious case review system in general.
Contains guidance on:
Includes definitions of: children; safeguarding; types of abuse; young carers.
Appendix B: Statutory framework
Includes legislation relevant to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
Includes a list of supplementary guidance on particular safeguarding issues published by: the Department of Education; other government departments and agencies; and non-governmental organisations.
HM Government (2013) Working together to safeguard children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). London: Department for Education (DfE).
Children Act 1989
Children Act 2004