Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

The government published the revised statutory guidance – Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) on the 4th July 2018. The guidance replaces Working Together (2015) and applies to all organisations and professionals who work with children.

The guidance sets out what organisations must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people under the age of 18 in England and was published following implementation of the Children and Social Work Act (2017) and a subsequent government consultation.



Key Changes from Working Together 2015

There are a number of significant changes in the new guidance from the previous version which are summarised below. Most significantly Working Together:

  •  establishes that Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB’s) will be replaced by new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements in local areas established by three statutory safeguarding partners (the Local authority, the Police and the local Clinical Commissioning Group)
  • sets out changes to the current process for Serious Case Reviews which will be replaced by local and national child safeguarding practice reviews
  • sets out changes to the child death review process which will be the responsibility of the child death review partners (the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group)


At-a-Glance Summary of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

A single page poster highlighting main changes is below:

Summary Powerpoint presentation:


Summary of Each Chapter:

Chapter 1 – Assessing Need and Providing Help

Chapter 1 sets out the importance of early help, detail about making referrals, guidance on information sharing, purpose and principles of assessments, the assessment framework, and flowcharts illustrating processes for managing individual cases. The chapter is largely unchanged from the information in Working Together 2015 but does include:

  • additions to early help focus to include: gang involvement and association with organised crime groups, is frequently missing/absent from home, is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves and radicalisation, trafficking, and exploitation
  • more detailed guidance about information sharing including adherence to GDPR requirements and the Data Protection Act (2018). The guidance also includes a useful myth busting guide to information sharing
  • assessment of disabled children, young carers and young people in secure youth establishments added
  • a description of contextual safeguarding  and why it is important practitioners are aware of it and consider it in assessments
  • a new added section in the guidance for strategy discussions (page 41) which includes prescription about what health practitioners should do
  • responsibility changed from LSCB’s to safeguarding partners to monitor effectiveness of arrangements

Chapter 2 – Organisational Responsibilities

This chapter defines agencies responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and the duties defined under Section 11 of the Children Act (2004). These duties are unchanged. Additions/changes to this chapter include:

  • schools – the guidance applies in its entirety to all schools
  • section titled People in Positions of trust which sets out the managing allegations (LADO) criteria
  • section added about responsibility of the CCG to ensure the provision of designated health professionals
  • Children’s Homes, MAPPA and sports clubs and organisations added to Section 11 duty
  • Voluntary, charity, social enterprise, faith based organisations and private sectors: guidance highlights that ‘all practitioners working in these organisations and agencies who are working with children and their families are subject to the same safeguarding responsibilities, whether paid or volunteer’. Guidance also places safeguarding duties on charity trustees

Chapter 3 – Multi-agency Safeguarding Arrangements

Chapter 3 sets out responsibilities for the three statutory safeguarding partners partners (Local Authority, Police and Clinical Commissioning Group) to develop local safeguarding arrangements to replace LSCB’s. Key points from chapter 3:

Safeguarding Partners

  • have equal and joint responsibility for establishing local safeguarding arrangements
  • must identify relevant agencies
  • must publish their safeguarding arrangements
  • must have local arrangements in place by September 2019
  • must have a mechanism for independent scrutiny of safeguarding arrangements
  • must publish an annual report about the effectiveness of arrangements

Relevant Agencies

  • these are agencies – including all schools – identified by the safeguarding partners whose involvement in local arrangements is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children
  • relevant agencies have a duty to co-operate with the safeguarding partners
  • a list of the relevant agencies must be published in the safeguarding partners arrangements

New Multi-agency Safeguarding Arrangements in Wirral

The three safeguarding partners in Wirral are currently developing an outline model for new arrangements. As the model develops updates will be provided on the WSCB website.


Chapter 4 – Improving Child Protection and Safeguarding Practice

This chapter covers the purpose of child safeguarding practice reviews (replacing Serious case Reviews) which will be undertaken at either a national or local level, the threshold for notifications, the ‘rapid review’ process and how reviews will aid learning. The chapter also details the establishment and role of the new national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel which went ‘live’ on the 29th June 2018. Key points are:

  • the new National Child Safeguarding Review Panel will consider all notifications of serious incidents – A serious incident is one where the local authority knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected and:

(a) the child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area: or

(b) while normally resident in the local authority’s area, the child dies or is    seriously harmed outside England.

  • will decide whether cases will be reviewed  as a national child safeguarding practice review. Safeguarding partners are required to identify cases to be reviewed locally and keep a dialogue with the Panel
  • Cases of national significance will be commissioned by the Panel including appointment of an independent reviewer, local reviews will be commissioned by the safeguarding partners
  • Following notification of a serious incident safeguarding partners (and LSCB’s) are required to undertake a rapid review (15 days) of the case. The rapid review is designed to gather the facts of the case and consider whether a detailed review is likely to elicit learning or identify potential improvements to the safeguarding system. The completed review must be shared with the Panel.

Chapter 5 – Child Death Reviews

This chapter establishes the duty on the child death review partners (the Local Authority and the local Clinical Commissioning Group) to establish arrangements to review:

  • all deaths of children normally resident in their area, and if agreed by partners
  • the deaths of children not normally resident there but who dies there

Key points from Chapter 5:

  • the new child death review structure can be based on the existing Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) arrangements if these are effective and if at least 60 child deaths are reviewed a year
  • arrangements can be across one or more Local Authority area (locally our CDOP is operated on a pan Merseyside basis and this footprint will continue)
  • current local arrangements continue until replaced by new arrangements. new arrangements must be operating by September 2019.


Transitional Arrangements

To support LSCB’s and safeguarding partners with the move from LSCB’s to new local safeguarding arrangements the government has published transitional guidance. The guidance states:

  • following transition to new arrangements (by September 2019) LSCB’s will have a ‘grace period’ of up to 12 months to complete outstanding Serious Case Reviews and 4 months to complete outstanding child death reviews
  • local authorities must continue to inform LSCB’s when they are notifying the panel about child safeguarding incidents
  • LSCB’s must undertake a rapid review prior to commissioning a Serious Case Review
  • LSCB’s remain the statutory body for co-ordinating safeguarding arrangements until replace by new local arrangements.

A briefing document published by the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs (AILC) is available here:

WT18 AILC Summary


Working Together and related documents Published in July 2018

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

New statutory guidance for safeguarding children published on the 4th July 2018

Working Together to Safeguard Children Statutory framework

This document sets out all the legislation relevant to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and should be read alongside the statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

Working Together transitional guidance

This is statutory guidance for Local Safeguarding Children Boards, local authorities, safeguarding partners, child death review partners, and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. The guidance establishes that new arrangements for safeguarding and child death reviews must be in place by September 2019

Information sharing advice practitioners safeguarding services

This is non-statutory guidance published by the DfE to support practitioners in the decisions they take to share information to reduce the risk of harm to children and young people. The guidance has been updated to reflect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 and it superseded the Information sharing: guidance for practitioners and managers published in March 2015.

Practice Review and Relevant Agencies Regulations 2018

These regulations establish the process for the new local and national practice reviews, and set out the list of required relevant agencies