Chapter 1 – Introduction: working together to safeguard and promote the
welfare of children and families
Chapter 1 – Introduction: working together to safeguard and promote the
welfare of children and families
Chapter 1 sets the context for the revised guidance by discussing the reasons for the
changes in safeguarding policy and practice since 2006. It also outlines the key definitions
and concepts used in the guidance.
The publication of the Every Child Matters Green Paper in 2003 alongside the formal
response to the Inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié, and followed by the Children Act
2004, set out ‘being safe’ as one of five important outcomes for children and young people.
In this context, three key provisions were:
the creation of Children’s Trusts under the duty to co-operate (This has now been strengthened by placing Children’s Trust Boards on a statutory footing from
1 April 2010.);
the setting up of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs); and
the duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Lord Laming’s progress report, The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report, made 58 recommendations relating to: leadership and accountability, support for children,
inter-agency working, children’s workforce, improvement and challenge, organisation and
finance and the legal framework. The Government’s detailed response to Lord Laming’s
recommendations was published in May 2009. Twenty-three of these recommendations
have been addressed by this revised guidance.
Protecting children from harm and promoting their welfare depends on a shared
responsibility and effective joint working between different agencies. This in turn relies on
constructive relationships between individual practitioners, promoted and supported by:
the commitment of senior managers to safeguard and promote the welfare of
clear lines of accountability.
Chapter 2 – Roles and responsibilities
Chapter 2 explains the roles, responsibilities and duties of the different people and
organisations that work directly with, and whose work affects, children and young people.
It states that all organisations that provide services or work with children and young
have senior managers who are committed to children’s and young people’s
welfare and safety;
be clear about people’s responsibilities to safeguard and promote children’s and
young people’s welfare;
check that there are no known reasons or information available that would
prevent staff and volunteers from working with children and young people;
have procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff
make sure staff get training that helps them do their job well;
have procedures about how to safeguard and promote the welfare of young
have agreements about working with other organisations.
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, section 175 of the Education Act 2002 and section
55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 place duties on organisations
and individuals to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need
to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. An overview of these duties and the
structure of children’s services under the Children Act 2004 are set out in the preface to
this guidance and in Appendix 1.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is the responsibility of the local
authority, working in partnership with other public organisations, the voluntary sector,
children and young people, parents and carers, and the wider community. A key objective
for local authorities is to ensure that children are protected from harm. Other functions of
local authorities that make an important contribution to safeguarding are housing, sport,
culture and leisure services, and youth services.
Health professionals and organisations have a key role to play in safeguarding and
promoting the welfare of children. The general principles they should apply are:
to aim to ensure that all affected children receive appropriate and timely
preventative and therapeutic interventions;
those professionals who work directly with children should ensure that
safeguarding and promoting their welfare forms an integral part of all stages of
the care they offer;
those professionals who come into contact with children, parents and carers in
the course of their work also need to be aware of their safeguarding
ensuring that all health professionals can recognise risk factors and contribute to
reviews, enquiries and child protection plans, as well as planning support for
children and providing ongoing promotional and preventative support through
All health professionals working directly with children and young people should ensure
that safeguarding and promoting their welfare forms an integral part of all elements of the
care they offer.
The police also have a key role in safeguarding children. They recognise the fundamental
importance of inter-agency working in combating child abuse, as illustrated by wellestablished
arrangements for joint training involving police and social work colleagues. All
forces have child abuse investigation units and while they normally take responsibility for
investigating such cases, safeguarding children is a fundamental part of the duties of all
The police are committed to sharing information and intelligence with other organisations
and should be notified as soon as possible where a criminal offence has been, or is
suspected of, being committed. LSCBs should have in place a protocol agreed between
the local authority and the police, to guide both organisations in deciding how section
47 enquiries should be conducted, and in which circumstances joint enquiries are
Probation services supervise offenders with the aim of reducing re-offending and
protecting the public. By working with offenders who are parents/carers, Offender
Managers can safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Probation areas/Trusts
provide a statutory victim contact scheme to the victims of violent and sexual
deliver unpaid work requirements to 16- and 17-year olds;
fulfil their role as statutory partner of YOTs; and
ensure support for victims, and indirectly children in the family, of convicted
perpetrators of domestic abuse participating in accredited domestic abuse
Offender Managers should also ensure there is clarity and communication between risk
management processes; these are described in greater detail in Chapter 12.
Governors/Directors of all prison establishments should have in place arrangements that
protect the public from prisoners in their care. All prisoners who have been identified
as presenting a risk of harm to children will not be allowed contact with them unless a
favourable risk assessment has been undertaken by the police, probation, prison and
children’s social care services. Governors/Directors of women’s establishments with
Mother and Baby Units need to ensure that staff working on duty are prioritised for child
Governors/Directors of Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are required to adhere to the
policies, agreed by the Prison Service and the Youth Justice Board, for safeguarding and
promoting the welfare of children held in custody.
Secure Training Centres (STCs) house vulnerable, sentenced and remanded young people
aged between 12 and 17 years. Each STC has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare
of the children in its custody.
Youth Offending Teams are responsible for the supervision of children and young people
subject to pre-court interventions and statutory court disposals. YOTs have a duty to make
arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to
safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Schools (including independent and non-maintained schools) and further education
institutions have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils under the
Education Act 2002. They should create and maintain a safe learning environment for
children and young people, and identify where there are child welfare concerns and take
action to address them, in partnership with other organisations where appropriate.
Early years services – children’s centres, nurseries, childminders, pre-schools, playgroups,
and holiday and out-of-school schemes – all play an important part in the lives of large
numbers of children. Everyone working in early years services should know how to
recognise and respond to the possible abuse and neglect of a child. The Early Years
Foundation Stage makes it clear that all registered providers, except childminders, must
have a practitioner who is designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children
within each early years setting and who should liaise with local statutory children’s services
agencies as appropriate.
In care and related proceedings under the Children Act 1989, the responsibility of the
Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is to safeguard and
promote the welfare of individual children who are the subject of family proceedings by
providing independent social work advice to the court.
Under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 the UKBA has a
duty to ensure that its functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and
promote the welfare of children.
Looking after under 18 year olds in the armed forces comes under the Ministry of Defence’s
comprehensive welfare arrangements, which apply to all members of the armed forces.
There is already a responsibility on children’s social care services to monitor the welfare of
care leavers, and those joining the armed forces have unrestricted access to local authority
social care services staff.
The voluntary sector is active in working to safeguard the children and young people with
whom they work, and plays a key role in providing information and resources to the wider
public about the needs of children.
Faith communities provide a wide range of activities for children and, as such, should have
appropriate arrangements in place to safeguard and promote their welfare.
Chapter 3 – Local Safeguarding Children Boards
Chapter 3 explains the role, functions, governance and operation of Local Safeguarding
The LSCB is the key statutory mechanism for agreeing how the relevant organisations in
each local area will co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and for
ensuring the effectiveness of what they do.
The scope of the LSCB role falls into three categories: firstly, they engage in activities
that safeguard all children and aim to identify and prevent maltreatment, or impairment
of health or development, and to ensure that children are growing up in circumstances
consistent with safe and effective care; secondly, they lead and co-ordinate proactive work
that aims to target particular groups; and thirdly, they lead and co-ordinate arrangements
for responsive work to protect children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.
The core functions of an LSCB are set out in regulations and are:
developing policies and procedures including those on:
action taken where there are concerns about the safety and welfare of a child, including thresholds for intervention;
training of people who work with children or in services affecting the safety
and welfare of children;
recruitment and supervision of people who work with children;
investigation of allegations concerning people who work with children;
safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered; and
co-operation with neighbouring children’s services authorities (i.e. local
authorities) and their LSCB partners.
communicating and raising awareness;
monitoring and evaluation;
participating in planning and commissioning;
reviewing the deaths of all children in their areas; and
County-level and unitary local authorities are responsible for establishing an LSCB in their area and ensuring that it is run effectively. LSCBs should have a clear and distinct identity
within local Children’s Trust governance arrangements. It is the responsibility of the local
authority, after consultation with Board partners, to appoint the Chair of the LSCB.
Membership of the LSCB is made up of senior managers from different services and
agencies in a local area, including the independent and voluntary sector. In addition, the
Board receives input from experts – for example, the designated nurse or doctor.
To function effectively, LSCBs need to be supported by their member organisations with
adequate and reliable resources. The budget for each LSCB and the contribution made by
each member organisation should be agreed locally.
LSCBs should ensure the effectiveness of work undertaken by member organisations
through a variety of mechanisms including peer review, self-evaluation, performance
indicators and joint audit.
Key changes to Chapter 3 since 2006 include the requirement for LSCBs to produce
and publish an annual report on the effectiveness of safeguarding in the local area, the
appointment of two representatives of the local community to each LSCB, statutory
representation on the LSCB of schools and, subject to the passage of the Children Schools
and Families Bill, a provision to ensure appropriate information is disclosed to the LSCB in
order to assist it in the exercise of its functions.
The revised chapter also provides further clarity over the complementary roles of the
LSCB and the Children’s Trust Board and makes clear that the Chair of the LSCB should
be someone independent of the local agencies. Taken together, these changes aim to
strengthen transparency and accountability of LSCBs.
Chapter 4 – Training, development and supervision for inter-agency
Chapter 4 covers training, development and supervision to enable those working with
children to develop the necessary skills, judgement and confidence. Training for multi- and
inter-agency working means training that will equip people to work effectively with those
from other professions and agencies.
Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are confident and competent
in carrying out their responsibilities, and for ensuring employees are aware of how to
recognise and respond to safeguarding concerns. Employers should also identify adequate
resources and support for inter-agency training.
Through their work on the local Children and Young People’s Plan, Children’s Trust Boards
are responsible for ensuring that workforce strategies are developed in their local areas. An
LSCB should contribute to, and work within, the framework of the local workforce strategy. The LSCB is responsible for developing local policies for the training of people who work
with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children. This includes
training in relation to child death review processes and Serious Case Reviews. LSCBs should
review and evaluate the provision and availability of single and inter-agency training to
ensure training reaches all relevant staff.
All training in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children should create an ethos
promotes the participation of children and families in the processes;
values working collaboratively;
respects diversity; and
The Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce (2010) sets out the six
areas of expertise that everyone working with children, young people and families should
be able to demonstrate. These include safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
Training and development for inter-agency work at the appropriate level should be
targeted at practitioners in voluntary, statutory and independent agencies who:
are in regular contact with children and young people;
work regularly with children and young people, and with adults who are parents
or carers, and who may be asked to contribute to assessments of children in
have particular responsibility for safeguarding children.
Training and development is also relevant to operational managers and those with
strategic responsibility for services, in particular LSCB members.
Effective supervision is important in promoting good standards of practice, and
supervisors should be available to practitioners as an important source of advice and
Chapter 5 – Managing individual cases where there are concerns about a
child’s safety and welfare
Chapter 5 provides guidance on what should happen if somebody has concerns about the
welfare of a child (including those living away from home) and, in particular, concerns that
a child may be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. It also sets out the principles
underpinning work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The chapter is structured according to the four key processes that underpin work with
children and families: assessment, planning, intervention and reviewing. The Framework
for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000) should be followed when
undertaking assessments of children in need and their families.
The chapter sets out in detail the processes to be followed when safeguarding and
promoting the welfare of children. These include:
responding to concerns about the welfare of a child and making a referral to a statutory organisation (children’s social care, the police or the NSPCC) that can
take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
taking urgent action to protect the child from harm, if necessary;
holding a strategy discussion where there are suspicions that a child may be suffering significant harm and, where appropriate, convening a child protection
undertaking a core assessment as part of the section 47 enquiries to decide
whether a child is continuing to be likely to suffer significant harm and therefore
should be the subject of a child protection plan, implementing the plan and
reviewing it at regular intervals.
The key changes to Chapter 5 include emphasising the importance of keeping the focus
on the child and his or her safety and welfare, understanding the daily life experience
of the child, seeing the child alone where appropriate and using information about the
family’s history and functioning to inform decision making. It also stresses the importance
of analysing the inter-relationships between strengths and protective factors and
vulnerabilities and risk factors when deciding whether a child is suffering or likely to suffer
significant harm, and of the accurate recording of actions.
The chapter clarifies the relationship between the common assessment, referral to
children’s social care and an initial assessment. It also sets out that a referrer should be able
to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker.
The guidance extends the timescale for the completion of an initial assessment from seven
to ten working days with effect from 1 April 2010. It makes it clear that the planning and
reviewing processes for looked after children who are also the subject of a child protection
plan should be integrated into one process during the coming year. This change is also
reflected in the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 and
accompanying statutory guidance Putting Care into Practice.
Chapter 6 – Supplementary guidance on safeguarding and promoting the
welfare of children
Chapter 6 summarises the supplementary guidance to Working Together. This guidance
Home Office, Department of Health (2002). Complex Child Abuse Investigations:Inter-agency issues;
Home Office (2004). Home Office Circular 10/2004 on The Female Genital
Mutilation Act 2003;
DCSF (2007). Safeguarding Children for Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit
DCSF and Home Office (2007). Safeguarding Children who may have been
HM Government (2008). Safeguarding Children in whom Illness is Fabricated or
DCSF (2009). Safeguarding Disabled Children – Practice Guidance;
HM Government (2009). The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance
for dealing with Forced Marriage, and HM Government (2009) Multi-agency
practice guidelines: handling cases of forced marriage;
HM Government (2009). Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual
HM Government (2010). Safeguarding Children and Young People who may be
affected by Gang Activity; and
Guidance on allegations of abuse made against a person who works with
children, which can be found in Appendix 5 of this document.
This chapter has been updated to reflect new or revised guidance which relates to Working
Together and has been issued since 2006.
Chapter 7 – Child death review processes
Chapter 7 sets out the processes to be followed when a child dies in the LSCB area(s)
covered by a Child Death Overview Panel.
There are two inter-related processes for reviewing child deaths:
a rapid response by a group of key professionals who come together for the
purpose of enquiring into and evaluating each unexpected death of a child; and
an overview of all child deaths in the area, undertaken by a panel.
The key changes to Chapter 7 include revised definitions of preventable child deaths
and unexpected deaths, and clarity on the roles of coroners and registrars and on how to
respond appropriately to the deaths of children with life limiting illnesses. An additional
section has been included on parents and family members which clarifies the level of
involvement parents and family members should have and the type of support they will
Chapter 8 – Serious Case Reviews
Chapter 8 sets out the processes LSCBs should follow when undertaking a Serious Case
Review (SCR). The purposes of SCRs are to:
establish what lessons are to be learned from the case about the way in which
local professionals and organisations work individually and together to
safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how
and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to
change as a result; and
improve intra- and inter-agency working and better safeguard and promote the
welfare of children.
When a child dies (including death by suspected suicide), and abuse or neglect are known
or suspected to be a factor in the death, the LSCB should always conduct a SCR. A SCR
should also always be carried out when a child dies in custody, either in police custody,
on remand or following sentencing, in a YOI, a STC, or a secure children’s home or where
the child was detained under the Mental Health Act 2005. LSCBs should always consider
whether a SCR should be conducted in other circumstances where a child has been
harmed. These circumstances are set out in the guidance.
The SCR should look into the involvement of organisations and professionals in the lives
of the child and family, irrespective of whether local authority children’s social care is, or
has been, involved with the child or family As the prime purpose of SCRs is to learn lessons
for improving both individual agency and inter-agency working, it is important that their
recommendations are acted on promptly and effectively.
A revised version of Chapter 8 was published in December 2009. It made clear that the
prime purpose of a SCR is to learn lessons both at an individual and inter-agency/LSCB
level; extended the time scale for completing a SCR from four to six months; strengthened
the requirements in relation to executive summaries, and made clear that the Chair of the
SCR Panel should be independent.
Further changes have now been incorporated, in particular the inclusion of a template
for SCR executive summaries and a flow chart providing an overview of the SCR process.
In parallel, Chapter 3 makes clear that LSCBs will need to include in their annual reports
progress updates on the actions that have been taken in response to current and recent