The Children & Social Work Act Update
The timetable for implementation of the Children and Social Work Act is currently as follows:
- Regulations laid before Parliament from 19 March – likely debate and approval after the Easter recess (May 2018)
- June 2018 for publication of final version of Working Together and any transition guidance
- 12 months following publication - LSCBs/MASAs to have developed and published their arrangements after agreement between the three statutory partners and independent scrutiny of the Plan – June 2018 to June 2019
- Implementation of new arrangements within 3 months – by September 2019
“As the regulations are subject to the affirmative Parliamentary procedure, the statutory instruments will be debated and voted on by both Houses of Parliament in the Spring. Following commencement of the relevant provisions of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, 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 twelve months from the date of commencement to develop and publish their arrangements, and a further three months to implement them in full.” DfE Feb 2018.
The Regulations set out two formal requirements of the new arrangements: the list of relevant agencies who may be included in safeguarding arrangement; and the arrangements for local and national reviews.
In most cases the relevant agency is identified as the governing body or chief officer – this is an interesting assertion of the individual accountability of key people for safeguarding, not just the inclusion of a list of organisations.
An important addition is that sports and religious organisations are now included. The details of which organisations this will cover is still not precise nor are the mechanics set out for how they will be meaningfully included in local arrangements. The Association welcomes the inclusion of these important sectors with whom LSCBs already do a lot of work – but we suggest that it is important that local arrangements go beyond a merely token inclusion of these partners. There are important issues of training; workforce development and support; accreditation and accountability; quality assurance and validation of policies and procedures; that will all need to be tackled in local plans.
Despite calls from several parties to the WT consultation for the Regional Schools Commissioners to be included they are not listed. Nor are all parts of the NHS – such as NHS Improvement, or primary care and GPs (except as far as they fall within the commissioning remit of CCGs). Adults’ social care and other branches of local government are also not specified other than under the general heading of local authorities.
The other significant part of the Regulations is the framework for local and national reviews. These regulations are the ‘barebones’ that need to be set out with formal powers – there will no doubt be a lot of other practical details about how both local and national reviews will work. The Regulations include the criteria for reviews, and appointment of reviewers and the powers and duties of the national Panel, together with the local responsibilities of the safeguarding partners for local reviews.
The Chair of the Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has been announced – it is Edward Timpson, previously Children’s Minister before the last election. The rest of the Panel will now be recruited and there is likely to be further detailed guidance about how future arrangements will work in practice.
You may feel that there are still significant points to be made about the regulations and the discretionary framework that they will set for further local arrangements – please consider whether you wish to lobby your MPs to inform them of your views when the debates take place after the Easter recess. Parliament returns on 16th April 2018.
In last month’s Newsletter we let you know that we had written to the new Secretary of State, asking him to give full consideration to the over 700 responses to ‘Working Together’.
The Department has now published its detailed response to the consultation – indicating where they will take account of the representations made by AILC and many others, click here to access.There are some significant changes which we strongly welcome. These include
- Safeguarding partners will be required to publish a threshold document
- The required seniority of those representing agencies is likely to be strengthened
- There will be further strengthening of the reciprocal responsibilities for all types of education settings (including early years settings) to be involved in local arrangements
- There will be greater detail on what is to be covered by independent scrutiny
- The CDOP guidance will probably look to areas that can review 60 deaths a years rather than 80-120, and the guidance is likely to be edited and made more multi-agency rather than medical in tone.
There have also been repeated assertions of the need for all three safeguarding partners to be on an equal footing – how this translates into difficult areas such as funding remains to be seen.
The Association has met with the Department to discuss these indicated changes – we now await the final wording for Working Together, but we have been assured that the Association will have an important and contributing role in the implementation of the new arrangements – supporting local initiatives, working through the complexities and variations of local circumstances, and providing the expert knowledge and evidence of what works well. We will continue to maintain our core propositions as the basis for judging the best interests of children and young people.
Please review the consultation response. I am particularly pleased that the work we have done to present a strong, evidenced set of comments has been recognised by the Department and by the other organisations who have agreed with our views and comments. Many thanks to the large number of LSCBs (95) who responded. Of the 497 identified respondents out of a total of 703 representations, 141 were from education establishments; 139 from health; 95 from LSCBs; 67 from social care; 21 from children’s charities and 15 from the police, with 19 miscellaneous organisations identified.
Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi addressed the social work profession at the National Learning Conference on 27th February, including reference to new arrangements – you can see his speech here.
Here is our regular reminder of the requirement to continue to comply with existing legislation and guidance:
“LSCBs must continue to undertake their statutory functions, as they are legally required to do, until the new safeguarding arrangements are in place.” DfE 2017
AILC Charting LSCB Changes Across the Country
A summary of information on those LSCBs making changes across the country has now been uploaded – click on ‘Early Adopters’ in ‘Resources’.
There are still limited changes to structures across the country with most LSCBs either not wishing to change significantly or awaiting publication of the ‘Working Together’ guidance. The most common type of changes amongst the 17 LSCBs for which AILC has uploaded information are footprint/partial merging with other LSCB/s, streamlining of groups and partial merging of some functions with adults.
Business Managers and Chairs. Thank you to those who have shared their changes – others, please do not hesitate to share your local ideas and developments with Sarah Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or call to discuss on 07880 209788.
News from LSCB Areas
Faith Matters – Bristol and Birmingham LSCBs - AILC has just uploaded information useful to LSCBs on Faith – “A guide to Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding for Faith Based Establishments. Jointly produced by the BSCB and BSAB, adopted from Faith Associates, Birmingham City Council.” Click on Resources in Effective Safeguarding partnerships.
Children Visiting Families In Prisons - Has the issue of children being enabled to have access to imprisoned relatives come to the attention of your LSCB at all? If so, Bath & NE Somerset LSCB would be glad to know/share info -please drop a line to email@example.com, or call 07880 209788.
LSCBs in Lancashire - Police Safeguarding Report - HMICFRS have just published their latest report here, which covers the Lancashire LSCBs and says about the interface of LSCBs with police:
“Lancashire Constabulary needs to provide better protection to children at risk of harm – but shows encouraging commitment to improvement…. Professional relationships and engagement with partners involved in safeguarding across all levels of the constabulary were described to HMICFRS as very positive, with the ability to challenge where appropriate. The directors of children's services (DCS) and the LSCB chairs were all positive about Lancashire Constabulary's commitment to protecting children, particularly in relation to the significant amount of collaborative work in developing MASH processes."
Do you know where to find Inspection reports regarding safeguarding in the police, for your LSCB area? You can find your local report in a list here.
AILC’s New Analysis of Ofsted Reports of LSCBs – now available
AILC’s most recent publication, our seventh ‘Review of LSCB Inspections Report AILC Review of Ofsted’s LSCB Inspection Reports’ has already proved very popular with Chairs and LSCBs alike. It covers the latest analysis of Ofsted's inspection judgements, and themes identified, together with comments made regarding LSCB Chairs, and what ‘Good’ looks like across 3 years of reports. You can access the report by clicking on ‘Ofsted Analysis’ in Resources.
A Date for your Diaries – Your national AILC Conference 28-29 November 2018
We have secured the fantastic Crewe Hall for a second year running as you gave such positive feedback - booked for 28-29November 2018. We hope you will all put this date in your diary now. If you have ideas for this year’s conference, or would like to be involved in the planning, please contact Sarah Webb firstname.lastname@example.org