Our main role is to co-ordinate what is done locally to protect and promote the welfare of children and young people in Hillingdon and to monitor the effectiveness of those arrangements to ensure better outcomes for children and young people.
The efficacy of The Hillingdon Safeguarding Children Partnership relies upon its ability to champion a safeguarding agenda through exercising an independent voice.
Our purpose is to make sure that all children and young people in our authority are protected from abuse and neglect. Children can only be safeguarded from harm if agencies work well together, follow procedures and guidance based on best practice and are well-informed and trained.
The Government’s Statutory Guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best life chances
This is to enable those children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.
The Children and Social Work Act (2017) received Royal Assent in April 2017. Chapter 2 of the Act, entitled ‘Safeguarding of Children’ will affect the Partnership in three ways:
- The establishment of a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. This panel will replace the existing national panel that looks at serious case reviews and in an essence abolishes serious case reviews as they currently work;
- Abolition of Local Safeguarding Children Boards;
- Changes to Child Death Overview Panels;
The Act abolishes the statutory requirement for an LSCB and deals with safeguarding arrangements under section 16: “Local arrangements for safeguarding and promoting welfare of children”. This section states that:
“The safeguarding partners for a local authority area in England must make arrangements for—
(a) the safeguarding partners, and
(b) any relevant agencies that they consider appropriate,
to work together in exercising their functions, so far as the functions are exercised for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area.”
The safeguarding partners are clearly identified as:
“a) the local authority;
b) clinical commissioning group for an area any part of which falls within the local authority area;
c) the chief officer of police for a police area any part of which falls within the local authority area.”
In terms of what this means in practice, the Act firstly provides details on how the “local arrangements” are required to deal with local child safeguarding reviews.
In a separate section, it provides some detail on how the safeguarding partners put in place “local arrangements”. It states that local safeguarding partners must publish these arrangements. In terms of what these arrangements might look like, the only statutory requirements are:
- there must be arrangements for scrutiny by an independent person of the effectiveness of the arrangements;
- a requirement that all safeguarding partners and relevant agencies for the local authority area act in accordance with the arrangements;
- and at least once in every 12 month period, the safeguarding partners must prepare and publish a report on what the safeguarding partners and relevant agencies for the local authority area have done as a result of the arrangements, and how effective the arrangements have been in practice.
There are further statutory requirements regarding the provision of information by agencies, and the requirement to follow directives of the Secretary of State; but these are largely standard clauses.
The final two areas that the Act covers are relevant. In terms of funding, the Act states:
“The safeguarding partners for a local authority area in England may make payments towards expenditure incurred in connection with arrangements: by making payments directly, or by contributing to a fund out of which the payments may be made.”
The next step will be for the key safeguarding partners to meet and agree how safeguarding arrangements in Hillingdon will move forward in line with these new legislative requirements.