It’s now a week and a half since all areas across England published their new arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This was a key moment in turning statutory reforms into reality: the changes were brought about by the 2017 Children and Social Work Act, with further guidance provided by Working Together 2018.
It means that local safeguarding children boards, introduced by the 2004 Children Act, no longer exist and instead the local authority, clinical commissioning group, and police determine safeguarding arrangements for their area.
NCB has played an important role in the journey towards implementing these changes, as the facilitator of the Safeguarding Early Adopter programme.
On 27th June, we held the final event in this programme, to explore the key messages that have emerged and for early adopter areas to share their experiences and lessons from the project. In particular, there was a focus on how the areas that were early adopters of the reforms have been able to overcome common challenges and innovate to improve outcomes for children and young people.
Indeed, the fundamental principle of the new safeguarding arrangements is that they should enable agencies to more effectively safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in any area. NCB’s role, in creating a community of practice, was to support the development of new approaches to multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, research and evaluation into the transition amongst early adopter areas, and to disseminate tools, resources and case studies.
The final national event in the programme, chaired by Stephanie Brivio, Deputy Director for Safeguarding and Child Protection in the Department for Education, brought together almost 100 representatives from the full diversity of agencies involved in safeguarding children. This included health professionals, senior police officers, practitioners from children’s services, school leaders and those in the children’s voluntary sector. It was an opportunity to hear about the approaches early adopter areas have taken and what they have achieved over the last nine months.
There is still much more to come: the new arrangements have to be implemented by 29th September and this is just the beginning of the process. Areas expect to review their new arrangements, to make sure they are working and to allow for continuous improvement and innovation. NCB will shortly publish some final resources from the programme.
What is clear, however, from the work of the early adopter areas, is that the reforms allow for creativity in terms of approaches to protecting and supporting children. It will be crucial over the coming months that all areas are able to learn from each other, sharing best practice, so that outcomes for children continue to be prioritised.
If you would like further information, or to discuss how NCB can support with implementation of the new safeguarding arrangements, please contact Dan Martin on [email protected].
Principal Officer – Social Care