The Sir Alan Wood Review, 2015
In 2015, the government commissioned Sir Alan Wood to undertake a review of Local Safeguarding Children Boards following a number of disappointing inspection outcomes with regards to these.
The conclusion of the review was that the leadership of many Local Safeguarding Children Boards was not sufficiently and consistently effective enough to deliver robust multi agency arrangements for protecting and safeguarding children. Further, the decision making of many Local Safeguarding Children Boards was lacking in having an impact on the ground with regards to embedding learning and improving practice and outcomes for children.
The review recommended that Local Safeguarding Children Boards, with set memberships, be replaced by a stronger statutory partnership of key agencies with a joint and equal duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area. The key agencies, who would lead the partnership arrangements, would be the police, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities and they would work together to determine local safeguarding arrangements and identify priorities to respond to local need.
The Children and Social Work Act 2017, associated Regulations and Guidance
In its May 2016 response, the Government agreed with Sir Alan Wood’s analysis and proposed a stronger and more flexible statutory framework be introduced to support local partners work together more effectively in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and embed improved multi-agency working and practice.
The Children and Social Work Act 2017, The Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Relevant Agency (England) Regulations 2018 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 guidance legislated for:
- The identification of the three safeguarding partners, in order to enhance leadership and accountability, as:
- the local authority;
- the clinical commissioning group for an area any part of which falls within the local authority area;
- the chief officer of police for a police area any part of which falls within the local authority area;
- The statutory requirement for Local Safeguarding Children Boards was abolished and there was a new specified requirement that the safeguarding partners for a local authority area in England must make arrangements, (in conjunction with any other relevant agencies and organisations whose involvement they consider may be required), to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area. These arrangements must identify and respond to the needs of children in the area and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents;
- The safeguarding partners publish details of the arrangements regarding how they will work together, (and with any relevant agencies), to protect children;
- The safeguarding partners must make arrangements to identify serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to the area and, where they consider it is appropriate, commission and oversee Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews which must be published within six months of the date of the decision to initiate the review;
- Once every 12 month period publish a report on what the safeguarding partners and relevant agencies have done as a result of the arrangements and how effective these arrangements have been in practice. Published annual reports will be subject to scrutiny by an independent person;
- The Safeguarding Partners make arrangements for annual scrutiny by an independent person regarding the effectiveness of the multi-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the local area and to identify and review serious child safeguarding cases;
- Replacement of the National Serious Case Review Panel, which supported and advised on the serious case review process, with a National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to oversee a national learning framework for inquiries into child deaths and children who have experienced serious harm;
- Responsibility for Child Death Overview Panels to be transferred from the Department for Education to the Department of Health which will determine how they will be organised in order to create a more effective model for national learning and its dissemination;
- Funding provision to enable the safeguarding partners and relevant agencies to work together and support the local arrangements;
- More effective information and data sharing arrangements to enable the safeguarding partners to perform their functions.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
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 and 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
The Local Context
In Hillingdon, the Safeguarding Children Partnership was launched in September 2019 in line with the new statutory requirements.
The vision of the Safeguarding Children Partnership is for every child and young person to be and feel safe, enjoy good physical, emotional and mental health, have pride in their unique identities, feel they belong and have opportunities to thrive. This will involve listening to the experiences, views and aspirations of children, young people and families and ensuring that these are embedded into the Safeguarding Children Partnership’s priorities and influence service provision.
In Hillingdon, The Safeguarding Children Partnership is, in addition to the three safeguarding partners, comprised of representatives from Health, Education, Children’s Services, Probation, Youth Justice and the Community and Voluntary Sectors.
At the centre of the safeguarding arrangements for children and young people in Hillingdon is the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board which has oversight of safeguarding practice and performance. In addition, the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board steers learning and development for the safeguarding environment across Hillingdon and is informed by subgroups and task and finish groups, as required.
The Safeguarding Children Partnership Board has membership from across the safeguarding partnership, meets on a three monthly basis, and resolves issues as they arise and if this is not possible the matter is escalated to the relevant organisation and ultimately to the Executive Leadership Group for resolution.
To reflect joint and equal responsibility amongst the three safeguarding partners the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board is chaired on a yearly rotational basis by a senior representative from the three statutory partners and in order to fulfil its functions multi-agency data is used to assess the effectiveness of the services offered to children and their families.
The Executive Leadership Group
The Executive Leadership Group (ELG) provides strategic governance, leadership, oversight and challenge to both the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the Safeguarding Adults Board as there is joint and equal responsibility for the safeguarding of children and adults in Hillingdon.
The ELG meets on a three monthly basis, drives the safeguarding agenda and comprises of the Council Chief Executive, the Chief Nurse of Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group and the Metropolitan Police Service Borough Commander. Each partner is subject to internal scrutiny in accordance with their internal governance structures.
In addition, the ELG will commission independent reviews of the Hillingdon Safeguarding Partnership Arrangements to provide critical challenge, appraisal and support future developments.
The Safeguarding Partnership Implementation Unit
The Safeguarding Partnership Implementation Unit provides support and drive to both the Adult and Children’s Safeguarding Partnerships and reinforces links between The Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Safeguarding Adult Board. The Implementation Unit co-ordinates activity and delivery with other strategic boards across the council, develops the various subgroups that progress the safeguarding strategic priorities and embeds learning across the partnerships.
This document will be revised and amended as legislation and organisational structures change and new policies emerge.