Strengthened guidance to help protect at-risk children
Children at risk of abuse or neglect in UK cities should now be better protected through improved partnerships between local police, councils and health services.
The Government has published fresh guidance setting new legal requirements for the three safeguarding partners, who will be required to make joint decisions to meet the needs of local children and families. Senior police, council and health leaders will jointly be responsible for setting out local plans to keep children safe and will be accountable for how well agencies work together to protect children from abuse and neglect.
The new advice is aimed at all professionals who come in to contact with children and families and includes guidance on current threats to child protection, such as sexual and criminal exploitation, gangs and radicalisation.
Nadhim Zahawi, Children and Families Minister, said: “We all have a responsibility to promote the welfare of children and protect those at risk of harm. It is important that young people can grow up in an environment that is as safe and stable as we would want for our own children. That’s why we have changed the law to create a stronger safeguarding system, placing greater accountability on the key professionals involved so vulnerable children can get the support and protect they deserve.
“This guidance will bring health agencies, police forces and councils together to work more collaboratively, making effective decisions that put the needs of local families at the heart of their work.”
The Government has also named 17 areas of the country as ‘early adopters’, which will work with the National Children’s Bureau to implement the new local safeguarding arrangements before they are established across the rest of the country. They include 39 local authorities and will develop new and innovative approaches to set up multi-agency safeguarding processes and produce clear learning which can be shared across other areas, which will have up to a year to publish local arrangements. The cities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, London, Plymouth, Birmingham and Stoke are among the early adopter areas.
The statutory guidance, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, follows a public consultation on the changes, which received more than 700 responses.