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Working Together to Safeguard Children: Changes to Statutory Guidance

January 10, 2018

The NNPCF have responded to a consultation on the changes to statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’. To view a copy of our full response please click here.

The NNPCF welcome the provisions that establish new arrangements for child safeguarding partnerships between different agencies. We acknowledge previously published research which highlighted issues with the current operation of local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) and support the call for local authorities and their partners to have the freedom to develop a more flexible approach that fits local circumstances. However, the NNPCF would ask for caution around the role of agencies other than local authorities, health and the police and would ask that this is clarified in guidance, particularly in relation to schools.

We know that disabled children are at an increased risk of being abused compared with their non-disabled peers. They are also less likely to receive the protection and support they need when they have been abused. The NNPCF are very concerned that the proposal not to set out in statutory guidance who the safeguarding partners’ representatives should be may led to in unsuitable individuals being appointed and a possible lack of accountability at local and national level. There is much research which has identified the factors that increase risk and lessen protection for disabled children. These include:

  • attitudes and assumptions – e.g. a reluctance to believe disabled children are abused,
  • a lack of professional skills, expertise and confidence in identifying child protection concerns and the lack of an effective child protection response.

Finally, the NNPCF believe that the proposal that all partners will have equal and joint responsibility will require a formal agreement/MOU to be in place to prevent any one partner from not fulfilling their responsibilities. To read the full response to the consultation please click here.