Strengthened child safeguarding guidance published

The DfE has published strengthened guidance on safeguarding children, placing greater accountability on the key professionals that come into contact with children.

The new advice includes guidance on current threats to child protection, such as sexual and criminal exploitation, gangs and radicalisation.

Senior police, council and health leaders will jointly be responsible for setting out local plans to keep children safe and will be accountable for how well agencies work together to protect children from abuse and neglect. They will be expected to work more collaboratively and make effective decisions that put the needs of local families at the heart of their work.

There will be strengthened expectations on schools and other educational settings to co-operate with the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.

The Government has also announced 17 areas of the country as ‘early adopters’, which will work with the National Children’s Bureau to implement the new local safeguarding arrangements before they are established across the rest of the country.
The 17 areas include 39 local authorities and will develop new and innovative approaches to set up multi-agency safeguarding processes and produce clear learning which can be shared across other areas, which will have up to a year to publish local arrangements.

The statutory guidance, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, follows a public consultation on the changes, which received over 700 responses.

In response to the consultation, the requirements on all those working in sports and faith-based organisations have been strengthened, requiring them to co-operate with the local police, council and health partners where requested. This is in line with the important role these groups play in promoting children’s welfare.

The new safeguarding arrangements will replace existing Local Safeguarding Children Boards, taking into account recommendations made in a 2016 review by Sir Alan Wood.

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