Have your say: Local Safeguarding Arrangements

Changes to local safeguarding provisions have begun, but what does this mean for schools?


SGE Safeguarding MeetingThe Children and Social Work Act 2017 delivered an overhaul to national safeguarding procedures and serious case reviews (SCR) in England. Case reviews had highlighted that there were still lots of gaps in safeguarding and child protection, often attributed to variable practice, underfunding, stretched services and a range of other issues. A number of reviews, including the Wood Review 2016, had identified that things needs to change and improve, which is what the Act attempts to address. Many of us have been waiting to see when the changes would come into effect and, as we sit here in November 2018, we now have a clearer idea of the timeframe for transition.

What will it mean for us?
Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) will disappear and local safeguarding arrangements will be the responsibility of the 3 local partners: the Local Authority; the Chief of Police and Health.

These partners are responsible for:

  • Geographical boundaries.
  • Organisation of safeguarding arrangements and their publication.
  • Which relevant agencies they should work with and how safeguarding arrangements should work in the area.
  • Schools and other educational partners.
  • Making arrangements for independent scrutiny of what they do.
  • Securing funding.
  • Resolving disputes.
  • Information requests.
  • Publishing an annual report about what they have done and how effective it has been.

    A new version of “Working Together to Safeguard Children” (2018) is available. The guidance should be read by all relevant practitioners working with children and their families.

    “Local Safeguarding — Transitional Arrangements” has also been published to support the process. This describes the procedures to be followed during the transition from LSCBs to local safeguarding partners and to child death review partners. It also covers the transitional arrangements which should be followed during the change from the system of SCRs to the new national and local review arrangements.

    The timeframe
    Councils and their safeguarding partners will have up to 12 months to agree the new arrangements, and three months to implement the changes. The final deadline date is 29 September 2019. We will need to pay close attention in our local areas to ensure we understand the new arrangements as they come on board.

    Once the arrangements have been published and implemented, the LSCB for the local area will be given a "grace" period of up to 12 months to complete and publish outstanding SCRs and of up to four months to complete outstanding child death reviews.

    The guidance states that LSCBs must complete all child death reviews by 29 January 2020 and all SCRs by 29 September 2020 at the latest. Once outstanding SCRs and child death reviews have been completed, the LSCB will cease to exist.

    What will it mean in our local areas?
    Currently, we still don’t know what new arrangements will look like in our local areas. Many areas are currently going through a process of consultation with key stakeholders. In Brighton and Hove, for example, recent discussions have concluded that they are happy with the Local Safeguarding Board model and want that to continue in some form. What that will mean in practice is unclear. What is clear is that each local area final plans must be approved by the Department for Education before being implemented.

    The government has also announced that 17 areas of the country, covering 39 local authorities, will act as "early adopters", working with the National Children's Bureau to implement the new arrangements before they are established across the rest of the country.

    The early adopters will be tasked with "developing new and innovative approaches to set up multi-agency safeguarding processes and produce clear learning which can be shared across other areas".

    Schools: a relevant agency
    In the Children and Social Work Act, schools became a “relevant agency” rather than a safeguarding partner. The safeguarding partners are required to involve schools and other education providers in formulating the new arrangements and ensuring they are fit for purpose.

    “Working Together” 2018 states: “The safeguarding partners should make arrangements to allow all schools and other educational partners in the local area to be fully engaged and involved, making sure communication is effective.” (p 81)

    It acknowledges that schools have an important role to play in multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and that schools will continue to be held to account for this by Ofsted.

    For many in education safeguarding, this was disappointing as the majority of replies to the “Working Together” consultation document earlier in the year had asked that education become a 4th partner. The response was that, as this idea of education as a partner was not part of the original Act, this was not possible without amendments to the Act itself.

    An updated version of “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (KCSIE) went live on 3rd September 2018 to set out the role of education providers in safeguarding. One thing is clear. Those that see and work with children and young people every day will always have a pivotal role to play in local safeguarding.

    Updates on the local consultation should be available through your Local Safeguarding Board website.


    Have your say: Are the local safeguarding changes an improvement?

    Do you think the new arrangements will improve the safeguarding provision for your school or area? Do you think that the transition will be easy? Do you believe schools should be a safeguarding partner rather than a relevant agency? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and experiences.

  • Written by Michael Hawkins on November 15, 2018 10:32

    Changes to ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’

    What schools need to know about the impending changes to the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance


    Safeguarding Working TogetherOn 26 February 2018, the government released their response to the ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ consultation, which sought views on the proposed changes to Working Together to Safeguard Children and the draft regulations required to commence the Children and Social Work Act 2017. While not all of the changes impact schools directly, it is important that schools have an understanding of how local safeguarding arrangements will be changing.

    The key points for schools
    The main change impacting schools is that ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ will include an expectation that all local safeguarding arrangements contain explicit reference to how safeguarding partners plan to involve, and give voice to, all local schools and academies.

    Currently, schools have a legal duty to safeguard their pupils; however, they do not need to be consulted on how other agencies deal with safeguarding – the updated statutory guidance will change this.

    Despite calls from “a significant number of respondents” for schools to become a fourth safeguarding partner, the government will not go forward with this proposal because the statutory guidance is not able to amend structures set out in law.

    Safeguarding partners
    The Children and Social Work Act 2017 replaces Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with new local safeguarding arrangements, which are led by three safeguarding partners. The safeguarding partners will be:

  • the Local Authority
  • the Clinical Commissioning Group
  • the Chief of Police
  • Some of the functions of the safeguarding partners are no different to those of the LSCBs currently. However, we don’t know if this will look different in your area. Some of these functions are:

  • to provide multi-agency training.
  • develop and publish a threshold document which outlines how multi-agency safeguarding arrangements work in their area.
  • publish a report at least once every 12 months, setting out what they and their relevant agencies have done as a result of the safeguarding arrangements, and how effective the arrangements have been.
  • In relation to relevant agencies:

  • The Local Safeguarding Partner Regulations will be revised to include entries for sport and religious organisations.
  • The statutory guidance will be reviewed to ensure the responsibilities of agencies are clearly explained.
  • In relation to the involvement of schools:

  • All relevant statutory guidance, including ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ will clearly explain the roles and responsibilities of schools.
  • As mentioned, the statutory guidance will set the expectation that all local safeguarding arrangements contain explicit reference to how safeguarding partners plan to involve, and give voice to, all local schools and academies.
  • Reviews and the national panel
    A new system of national and local safeguarding practice reviews will replace serious case reviews.

    In relation to reviews:

  • Safeguarding partners must undertake a concise investigative exercise where they receive information about a safeguarding incident within five working days of notification.
  • Child death reviews
    The Children and Social Work Act 2017 outlines the role of child death review partners.

    In relation to child death reviews, the following was confirmed:

  • The child death review process will consider and identify contributory factors to a death that could be modified to reduce the risk of future child deaths.
  • The government intends to provide bereaved families with a key worker to act as a single point of contact during the child death review process.
  • Every child’s death will be reviewed at a child death review meeting involving practitioners directly involved with the child’s care, prior to being discussed by the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP).

    What’s next?
    An updated version of Working Together to Safeguard Children will be published and the new safeguarding arrangements will come into effect. Local areas will have 12 months from this May to develop and publish their arrangements and an additional three months to fully implement them. You should be notified about these new arrangements at some point during this period.



    Your thoughts?

    How do you feel about the proposed changes? How will they impact you and your school? Do you see these as changes for good? Please share your thoughts using the comments section below.

  • Written by Michael Hawkins on May 21, 2018 11:19


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