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LSCB Review and Government Response

Volume 611: debated on Thursday 26 May 2016

Today I am publishing Alan Wood’s review of the role and functions of local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs), along with the Government’s response.

Local agencies—police, health, local authorities, schools—are the frontline when it comes to safeguarding our children and it is vitally important that they work together to ensure children are protected from harm. There is widespread evidence that the current arrangements, delivered through LSCBs, are not always as effective as they need to be. That is why we asked Alan Wood to carry out this important review, which looked at local multi-agency arrangements, the child death review process and how the intended centralisation of serious case reviews could work.

Alan’s wide experience in the sector has been invaluable and I thank him for his hard work in undertaking this review and the radical, inquiring approach he has brought to it. I am also grateful for the valuable contributions made by all those who put forward their views as part of Alan’s far-reaching consultation.

The review sets out a wide range of proposals. The Government response sets out in detail our plans to introduce a stronger but more flexible statutory framework. This framework will support local agencies to work together more effectively to protect and safeguard children and young people, embedding improved multi-agency behaviours and practices. And it will set out clear requirements for the key local partners—the local authority, the police and the NHS—while allowing them freedom to determine how they organise themselves to meet those requirements to improve outcomes for children locally.

We intend to bring forward legislation on revised multi-agency working arrangements as soon as possible to implement these changes.

We have already proposed some changes, through the Children and Social Work Bill, in relation to new arrangements replacing the existing system of serious case reviews. We intend to establish a child safeguarding practice review panel, to review cases which are complex or of national importance. We will also bring forward further changes to address the need for good quality, rapid local reviews, linked to the reform of multi-agency working arrangements.

Finally we plan to amend arrangements for child death overview panels (CDOPs) as part of these reforms. We will put in place arrangements to transfer national oversight of CDOPs from the Department for Education to the Department of Health, while ensuring that the keen focus on distilling and embedding learning is maintained. That reflects the very high proportion of child deaths which have a clinical or public health cause.

These important reforms will take time to implement and I recognise that change can be difficult to manage at local level. It is very important that the local agencies currently engaged in LSCBs continue working together to keep children safe while preparing for the future.