“Working Together to Safeguard Children” is the multi-agency statutory guidance that sets out expectations for the system that provides help, support and protection for children, young people and their families. It applies at every level from senior leaders to those undertaking direct work with families, and across all agencies and organisations that come into contact with children and young people. It gives practitioners clarity about what is required of them individually and how they need to work in partnership with each other to deliver effective services. There is an online consultation to take views from interested parties on what changes are needed in light of the “Stable Homes, Built on Love” paper published in 2023. The consultation is open until 6th September 2023.
Proposed changes strengthen the guidance in five key areas:
- A shared endeavour introduces expectations for effective multi-agency working and practice principles for working with parents and carers.
- Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements clarifies roles and responsibilities, introduces a partnership chair and deepens accountability and transparency.
- Help and support for children, young people and their families includes stronger expectations on Early Help and family networks, clarifies permissions on working with children under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and emphasises support for disabled children.
- Decisive multi-agency child protection introduces new national multi-agency child protection standards for practitioners and approaches to harm outside the home.
- Learning from serious child safeguarding incidents.
Views are sought from:
- Children and young people, particularly those with special educational needs or a disability, and those who have or have previously had a social worker, family support worker or personal adviser.
- Parents and carers, including kinship carers, adoptive parents and foster carers.
- Family and friends of children or young people who have or have had a social worker, family support worker or personal adviser.
- Others who are essential to children’s safety and welfare:
- those who work in education and childcare including Virtual School Heads, Multi-Academy Trust leaders, school and college leaders, teachers, Designated Teachers for Looked-After and Previously Looked-After Children, Designated Safeguarding Leads, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators and school governors
- those who work in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
- those who work in the probation service; the judiciary; youth offending teams
- youth workers and voluntary, community and charity worker