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SAFE Special Newsletter - Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

Newsletter Special , A guide to the new Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

What does the newly published statutory guidance Working Together 2018 mean for all those who work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children?

This statutory guidance has been revised and published July 2018 following a government consultation. The revised document reflects the changes required to support the new system of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements established by the Children and Social Work Act 2017. 

All organisations must follow the statutory guidance 'Working Together to Safeguard Children'.

It is issued by law; you must follow it unless there's a good reason not to.

 The legislative background still includes:

 Children Act 1989:

·        Section 17,  which puts a duty on the local authority to provide services to children in need

and

·       Section 47 which  requires local authorities to undertake enquiries if they believe a child has suffered or likely to suffer significant harm

 Children Act 2004

·       Section 11 requires full cooperation of other partners with the a local authority when carrying out specific safeguarding duties

 NEW:

 The Children and Social Work Act 2017

·       This amends the Children act 2004 placing new duties on key agencies in a local area to promote the welfare of children in their area

 A major revision  is  the change from Local Safeguarding Children Boards to the new Safeguarding Partnerships of the three  main agencies: Local Authority, the Police and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Health).

 Working Together 2018  expects that these new  three safeguarding partners should agree on ways to: 

·       co-ordinate their safeguarding services

·       act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others;

·       and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents.

To fulfill this role, the three safeguarding partners, who have equal and joint responsibility for local safeguarding arrangements, must set out how they will work together and with any relevant agencies. This is covered in chapter 3.

So what changes does it bring to those working with children and their carers and families?

This guidance emphasises,  throughout, that safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility.

·       Chapter 1

The provision of early help with  a child centred approach are  both fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This requires all practitioners, including those in universal services and those providing services to adults with children, to understand their role in identifying emerging problems and to share information with other practitioners to support early identification and assessment.

Practitioners should, in particular, be alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:

·       is disabled and has specific additional needs

·       has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education,

Health and Care Plan)

·       is a young carer

·       is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups

·       is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home

·       is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation

·       is at risk of being radicalised or exploited

·       is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse

·       is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves

·       has returned home to their family from care8

·       is a privately fostered child

The chapter follows through the processes, already in place, following a referral and the need for all practitioners to cooperate.

Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare, and protect the safety, of children, this must always be the paramount concern. To ensure effective safeguarding arrangements all:

·       Organisations and agencies should have arrangements in place that set out clearly the processes and the principles for sharing information. The arrangement should cover how information will be shared within their own organisation/agency; and with others who may be involved in a child’s life

·       Practitioners should not assume that someone else will pass on information that they think may be critical to keeping a child safe. If a practitioner has concerns about a child’s welfare and considers that they may be a child in need or that the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm, then they should share the information with local authority children’s social care and/or the police. All practitioners should be particularly alert to the importance of sharing information when a child moves from one local authority into another, due to the risk that knowledge pertinent to keeping a child safe could be lost

·       Practitioners should aim to gain consent to share information, but should be mindful of situations where to do so would place a child at increased risk of harm. Information may be shared without consent if a practitioner has reason to believe that there is good reason to do so, and that the sharing of information will enhance the safeguarding of a child in a timely manner. When decisions are made to share or withhold information, practitioners should record who has been given the information and why

There is also an information sharing myth busting guide on page 20

More detail about information sharing is part of the new Data Protection Act 2018

and advice is covered by:

Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers July 2018

·       Chapter 2

This chapter sets out a list of all who have functions and responsibilities within this statutory guidance looking at organizational and individual responsibilities to ensure effective safeguarding.

It includes a new section on “people in positions of trust” highlighting that “organisations and agencies working with children and families should have clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children”.

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004

Places duties on a range of organisations, agencies and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This has now been extended in the Working Together 2018   to include all who work with children, young people and or their families and includes:

·       All schools: specifies that “this guidance applies in its entirety to all schools”.

·       Early years and childcare: there is a new requirement that they must “have and implement a policy and procedures to safeguard children”.

·       Health: a new section on “designated health professionals”.

·       A new section on “children’s homes”. This is to emphasise the need to follow the regulations within Quality Standards and in particular, “where there are safeguarding concerns for a child, their placement plan, agreed between the home and their placing authority, must include details of the steps the home will take to manage any assessed risks on a day to day basis.”

·       “In addition to the requirements of this standard, the registered person has specific responsibilities under regulation 34 to prepare and implement policies setting out: arrangements for the safeguarding of children from abuse or neglect; clear procedures for referring child protection concerns to the placing authority or local authority where the home is situated if appropriate; and specific procedures to prevent children going missing and take action if they do.”

·       New section on “Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements” (MAPPA). “MAPPA should work together with duty to co-operate (to manage the risks posed by violent and sexual offenders living in the community in order to protect the public and should work closely with the safeguarding partners over services to commission locally.”

·       Voluntary, charity, social enterprise, faith-based organisations and private sectors: Highlights that “all practitioners working in these organisations and agencies who are working with children and their families are subject to the same safeguarding responsibilities, whether paid or a volunteer”.

·       The guidance also highlights that: ”charity trustees are responsible for ensuring that those benefiting from, or working with, their charity, are not harmed in any way through contact with it”.

These organisations and agencies should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:

·       a clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

·       a senior board level lead with the required knowledge, skills and expertise or sufficiently qualified and experienced to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s /agency’s safeguarding arrangements

·       a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services

·       clear whistleblowing procedures, which reflect the principles in Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Review and are suitably referenced in staff training and codes of conduct, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed.

·       clear escalation policies for staff to follow when their child safeguarding concerns are not being addressed within their organisation or by other agencies

·       arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other practitioners and with safeguarding partners

·       a designated practitioner (or, for health commissioning and health provider organisations/agencies, designated and named practitioners) for child safeguarding. Their role is to support other practitioners in their organisations and agencies to recognise the needs of children, including protection from possible abuse or neglect. Designated practitioner roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Practitioners should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively

·       safe recruitment practices and ongoing safe working practices for individuals whom the organisation or agency permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check

·       appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training

·       creating a culture of safety, equality and protection within the services they provide

 In addition:

employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role

·       Chapter 3

This chapter set out multi-agency working advocating that there is a shared responsibility between organisations and agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in a local area.

The three safeguarding partners should agree on ways to co-ordinate their safeguarding services; act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents

All 3 partners have equal responsibility and the safeguarding partners must set out in their published arrangements on which organisations and agencies they will be working with to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and this will be expected to change over time if the local arrangements are to work effectively for children and families. A list of relevant agencies is set out in regulations. All relevant agencies are under a statutory duty to co-operate with the published arrangements. (This includes all schools, colleges and educational providers)

More information on the expectations of partners and agencies and how multi-agency working will work across boundaries is included

·       Chapter 4

This chapter covers the changes that are to be made in undertaking reviews of serious child safeguarding cases.

A new National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) has been established and will both oversee reviews and the lessons to be learnt which has a national significance.

Locally, safeguarding partners must make arrangements to identify and review serious child safeguarding cases, which, in their view, raise issues of importance in relation to their area. They must commission and oversee the review of those cases, where they consider it appropriate for a review to be undertaken.

·       The guidance also has two appendices:

                             Appendix A: Glossary

                             Appendix B: Further sources of information including: Department for Education guidance; guidance issued by other government departments and agencies, and guidance issued by external organisations. 

About SAFE

SAFE is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company focused exclusively on safeguarding. Every penny profit we make is ploughed back into the charitable and community sector so voluntary organisations and charities can benefit from SAFE’s expert services for subsidised prices. We provide a one-stop solution for everything from DBS checks, policy creation and guidance, safeguarding management briefings and incident support, to training (both face to face and online). We have already trained thousands of staff and volunteers, providing thousands of hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). All SAFE courses meet the training requirements of the latest legislation, government guidance, local Adult and Child Safeguarding Boards (Adult Protection Committees and Local Area Child Protection Committees in Scotland), CQC and Ofsted.

© SAFE CIC 2018