In 2015, the government commissioned Sir Alan Wood to review the role and functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). The Wood Report was published in March 2016, with the government formally responding in May 2016.
The Wood Report recommendations were subsequently embedded in statute in April 2017 with the granting of Royal Assent to the Children and Social Work Act 2017. As a consequence, four important areas of change have followed.
Firstly, LSCBs, set up by local authorities, are being replaced. Three safeguarding partners (local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and chief officers of police in a local area) must now make new safeguarding arrangements to work together with relevant agencies (as they consider appropriate) to safeguard and protect the welfare of children in the area. Secondly, the current system of Serious Case Reviews is also being replaced. Safeguarding partners must now make arrangements to identify and review serious child safeguarding cases which, in their view, raise issues of importance in relation to their area. They must commission and oversee the review of those cases, where they consider it appropriate for a review to be undertaken. Thirdly, a National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has been created and operational since June 2018. The panel is responsible for identifying and overseeing the review of serious child safeguarding cases which, in its view, raise issues that are complex or of national importance. Fourthly, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups have been specified as ‘child death review partners’ and must set up new child death review arrangements. These new arrangements facilitate a wider geographic footprint and respond to the statutory guidance defining how deaths will be reviewed and how the bereaved will be supported.
The geographic footprint covered by the CHSCP is defined by the boundaries of the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Hackney. On occasions, it may be necessary for partners to work with another area’s arrangements, for example during a child safeguarding practice review commissioned by another area. Operationally, the pan-London children procedures include guidance for circumstances where a child and / or their family is living in another area or moving between areas.
The Strategic Leadership Team
Whilst remaining accountable for any actions or decisions taken on behalf of their agency, the lead representatives of the safeguarding partners have either retained or nominated a senior officer to ensure full participation with these arrangements. Forming the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), these senior officers can speak with authority for the safeguarding partner they represent and take decisions and commit them on policy, resourcing and practice matters. SLT members can hold their own organisation or agency to account on how effectively they participate and implement the local arrangements.
The SLT meets a minimum of three times per year. It is independently chaired by the ICSCom with a nominated safeguarding partner representative being Vice-Chair (Vice-Chairs rotate annually). The SLT is accountable for the delivery against statutory and local requirements and provides the overarching leadership, strategy and governance framework for the CHSCP’s safeguarding arrangements. It leads on the business plan development for the partnership, agreeing priorities and monitoring progress via formal updates and the ongoing maintenance of a risk register.
The CHSCP Executive
The CHSCP Executive comprises representatives from safeguarding partners and a number of relevant agencies and named / designated professionals. Other relevant agencies will be invited to participate / engage in the CHSCP Executive as and when required. The CHSCP Executive meets bi-monthly and is independently chaired by the ICSCom with a nominated safeguarding partner representative being Vice-Chair (Vice-Chairs rotate annually). The CHSCP Executive is responsible for delivering the CHSCP business plan and mitigating any identified risks.
The City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership
All professionals and volunteers within safeguarding partner and relevant agencies are members of the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership.
The CHSCP will meet three times per year. One session will incorporate the CHSCP annual conference with other multi-agency events aimed at strengthening working relationships and improving awareness about how the CHSCP is making a difference to people’s lives and how the voices of children and young people, their families and their communities are influencing the work of the CHSCP. Events will also share learning from case reviews and other findings from the CHSCP’s Learning & Improvement Framework. Critically, the partnership will consult on the key issues impacting upon practice, helping to identify emerging issues and participating in the development of solutions.
Responsible for monitoring the effectiveness and quality of safeguarding arrangements through the CHSCP Learning & Improvement Framework.
Training, Learning and Development
Responsible for the development, delivery and evaluation of the CHSCP multi-agency training programme.
Chaired by the CHSCP’s Independent Child Safeguarding Commissioner, this group is responsible for overseeing the statutory process for Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews and other learning reviews. The group monitors the implementation of related action plans and the embedding of learning in order to support a culture of continuous improvement.
Thematic / Task & Finish
Safeguarding partners will create (and dissolve) thematic or ‘task and finish’ groups to manage key pieces of development work.