What schools need to know about the impending changes to the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance
On 26 February 2018, the government released their response to the ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ consultation, which sought views on the proposed changes to Working Together to Safeguard Children and the draft regulations required to commence the Children and Social Work Act 2017. While not all of the changes impact schools directly, it is important that schools have an understanding of how local safeguarding arrangements will be changing.
The key points for schools
The main change impacting schools is that ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ will include an expectation that all local safeguarding arrangements contain explicit reference to how safeguarding partners plan to involve, and give voice to, all local schools and academies.
Currently, schools have a legal duty to safeguard their pupils; however, they do not need to be consulted on how other agencies deal with safeguarding – the updated statutory guidance will change this.
Despite calls from “a significant number of respondents” for schools to become a fourth safeguarding partner, the government will not go forward with this proposal because the statutory guidance is not able to amend structures set out in law.
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 replaces Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with new local safeguarding arrangements, which are led by three safeguarding partners. The safeguarding partners will be:
Some of the functions of the safeguarding partners are no different to those of the LSCBs currently. However, we don’t know if this will look different in your area. Some of these functions are:
In relation to relevant agencies:
In relation to the involvement of schools:
Reviews and the national panel
A new system of national and local safeguarding practice reviews will replace serious case reviews.
In relation to reviews:
Child death reviews
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 outlines the role of child death review partners.
In relation to child death reviews, the following was confirmed:
An updated version of Working Together to Safeguard Children will be published and the new safeguarding arrangements will come into effect. Local areas will have 12 months from this May to develop and publish their arrangements and an additional three months to fully implement them. You should be notified about these new arrangements at some point during this period.