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New Multi-agency Safeguarding Arrangements

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Background

Every Local Authority area has an Independent Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). LSCB’s are responsible for ensuring agencies work together to safeguard children and for testing how effectively this happens.

The Wirral Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) has fulfilled this role for our local area and has supported local safeguarding arrangements by delivering training, auditing, publishing learning, publishing procedures, undertaking reviews etc. Most of this activity can be seen on this website. However, LSCB’s will soon be replaced.

Introduction

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 replaces LSCBs with new local safeguarding arrangements, led by the three named statutory safeguarding partners (local authorities, chief officers of police, and clinical commissioning groups (health)). The three partners will assume the responsibilities that currently sit with the WSCB.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 also reinforces the duty, which currently exists, under section 11 of the Children Act 2004, on local organisations and agencies who deliver services to children (called relevant agencies) to ensure that they consider the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when carrying out their functions. Responsibility for ensuring effective arrangements in place lies with the three safeguarding partners who have a shared and equal duty to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in a local area.

The three safeguarding partners are required to agree on ways to co-ordinate their safeguarding services; act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents.

The New Safeguarding Model

The safeguarding partners, in consultation with the agencies who attend the WSCB have been developing the new safeguarding arrangements over the past 6 months. The final model document will be published on the website at the end of March 2019.

Key Features of the Safeguarding Model

Safeguarding Partnership Board

The Partnership Board sits at the top of the model and includes representation from relevant agencies and stakeholders from across the partnership. There will be a series of annual events/meetings for the partnership which will provide opportunities for multi-agency learning, scrutiny and challenge.

Partners Executive Group

The statutory ‘holding to account’ part of the model is performed by the Partners Executive Group. This will be the ‘engine room’ of the partnership where the statutory partners (the LA, Police and Clinical Commissioning Group) will meet to set the safeguarding agenda and ensure multi-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote positive outcomes for children and young people are robust and effective.

Business Intelligence and QA Unit

The safeguarding partners will be supported by a dedicated business support team who will organise multi-agency activity to audit, review, analyse, evaluate, scrutinize and challenge safeguarding arrangements and activity across the partnership. The Business function will also be responsible for publishing policies and procedures, providing multi-agency training  and ensuring the partnership undertakes statutory reviews.

This activity will include participation from children and young people, families, frontline professionals and the wider community.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Children Groups

Multi-agency groups will meet to agree and challenge multi-agency activity to protect vulnerable groups including children who are vulnerable to exploitation and those affected by domestic abuse.

All of the groups established by the safeguarding partners will include relevant membership drawn from across the partnership.

Ensuring Outcomes Group

The safeguarding partners are keen to evidence that activity to keep children safe across the partnership results in visible and measurable outcomes for them and their families. Responsibility for evidencing this and measuring the effectiveness of safeguarding across the continuum of need and through the Supporting Families Enhancing Futures model sits with this group.

Pan-Merseyside Groups

The safeguarding partners will collaborate with neighbouring arrangements on a pan-Merseyside and regional basis when it is advantageous to do so. This will include building on successful activity including the Merseyside Child Death Overview Panel, work to develop policies and procedures and agreeing a regional approach to learning and development.

Independent Scrutiny

The arrangements will have an independent scrutiny function to ensure independent assessment of the effectiveness of the multi-agency arrangements to keep children safe.

Timeline

The new safeguarding arrangements will replace the current WSCB on the 1st September 2019. The final arrangements will be published on the website at the beginning of April and we will start remodelling current arrangements into the new arrangements between April and September.

Until the 1st September 2019 the WSCB remains the statutory body for ensuring the effectiveness of arrangements to safeguard children.