Local Safeguarding Childrens Boards will be scrapped and replaced with multi-agency arrangements by September 2019, the government has announced.
The three safeguarding partners - local authorities, chief officers of police, and clinical commissioning groups - must make arrangements to work together with relevant agencies, as they consider appropriate, to safeguard and protect the welfare of children in the area. Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups, considered the child death review partners, must establish child death review arrangements.
Launching guidance for the transition, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We all have a responsibility to promote the welfare of children and protect those at risk of harm. It is important that young people can grow up in an environment that is as safe and stable as we would want for our own children. That’s why we have changed the law to create a stronger safeguarding system, placing greater accountability on the key professionals involved so vulnerable children can get the support and protection they deserve.
“This guidance will bring health agencies, police forces and councils together to work more collaboratively, making effective decisions that put the needs of local families at the heart of their work,” he added.
The Children and Social Work Act created the legislation for LSCB’s to be scrapped taking on a recommendation from Alan Wood.
In his review, Wood said LSCBs were not effective and that despite guidance to the contrary, the model of serious case reviews has not been able “to overcome the suspicion that its main purpose is to find someone to blame”.
Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups must establish child death review arrangements. From 29 June 2018, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel may commission and publish national reviews of serious child safeguarding cases which they consider are complex or of national importance. From 29 June 2018, local authorities are required to notify the Panel of incidents where they know or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected and the child has died or been seriously harmed.
From 29 June 2018, child death review partners have up to 12 months to agree arrangements for the review of each death of a child normally resident in their area, including arrangements for the analysis of information about deaths reviewed. Child death review partners should publish their arrangements, and should notify NHS England when they have done so. At the end of the 12-month period, or at any time before, child death review partners have up to three months to implement the arrangements.
Safeguarding partners have a year to agree their local arrangements and which relevant agencies they consider appropriate should work with them to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area. They should also publish their arrangements and notify the Secretary of State for Education by June 2019. Following publication of their arrangements, safeguarding partners have up to three months from the date of publication to implement the arrangements. All new local arrangements must have been implemented by 29 September 2019.
LSCBs must continue to make decisions on initiating and publishing SCRs until the point at which safeguarding partner arrangements have been published and are in place in a local area.
After new safeguarding partner and child death review partner arrangements are set up, LSCBs in the area have a statutory ‘grace’ period of up to 12 months to complete and publish outstanding SCRs and of up to four months to complete outstanding child death reviews.
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.
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