Today I am publishing two pieces of statutory safeguarding guidance which set the framework within which all practitioners should operate in order to protect children from abuse and neglect and promote their best interests.
revised “Working Together to Safeguard Children” statutory guidance;
new “Local Safeguarding—Transitional Arrangements” statutory guidance.
“Working Together to Safeguard Children” (2018) has been revised to implement the safeguarding reforms introduced through the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and related regulations.
In broad terms these are:
the replacement of local safeguarding children boards with new local safeguarding arrangements, led by three safeguarding partners (local authorities, chief officers of police, and clinical commissioning groups);
a new system of local and national child safeguarding practice reviews, which will replace serious case reviews; and
new arrangements for child death reviews, to be led by clinical commissioning groups and local authorities.
The opportunity has also been taken to make other minor changes to clarify processes or to reflect recent changes to policy, for example through the insertion of guidance on contextual safeguarding which includes protecting children from threats such as criminal and sexual exploitation.
In parallel, we are also publishing updated practice guidance, “Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners”, which reflects these safeguarding reforms and changes made through the Data Protection Act 2018.
This is an important piece of guidance which sets out the drive on the left rules for agencies, organisations and practitioners to know what they must do individually and collectively to safeguard children. It sets out how they should work together in fulfilling this responsibility, including taking a child-centred and co-ordinated approach to safeguarding. At the same time, these documents support practitioners to exercise their expertise and judgment on how best to protect children and young people, and promote their welfare.
Protection from abuse and neglect is a fundamental right for all children. Nothing is more important than keeping children safe. These documents will help all those working with children to do just that.