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, have been 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 has been 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 have 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.