In 2017 there were more than 50,000 children that were identified as needing protection from abuse. This is more than likely a snapshot of the true amount of children that suffer through abuse. Lots of them will be too young to understand, be hidden from view, be too scared or too ashamed to tell anyone. Regardless of the number, it is too many if even one child suffers from abuse.
Revised guidelines were recently published in relation to working together to Safeguard children. This guidance is statutory and sets out what organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children must and should do to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people under the age of 18 in England.
Key changes to Safeguarding children in 2018
The NSPCC published a review of the key changes earlier this month and they fall into five separate areas:
Assessing need and providing help
Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
Local and national child safeguarding practice reviews
Child death reviews
Each of these areas offers updated guidance for Safeguarding teams, with a continued focus on sharing information. The sharing of information as we know is paramount to ensuring that children are effectively protected and any methods that help to streamline this process should be encouraged at all costs.
One of the biggest changes to emerge from the report was that Local Safeguarding Children Boards will now be replaced by ‘Safeguarding Partners’. What does this mean in practice? Is it simply another name for the same process?
In a sense it is an evolution of the Safeguarding process rather than a radical redevelopment. Rather than the Local Safeguarding Board being responsible for agreeing how the relevant agencies in each local area will co-operate, the new process specifies who will be on the board. The new Safeguarding Partners (representatives from local authorities, chief officers of police and clinical commissiong groups) must make arrangements to work together with relevant agencies. They have a responsibility to work together with agencies that are deemed essential to Safeguarding the wellbeing of children in the area.
Of these relevant agencies, the new guidance makes it clear that it will be expected that schools, colleges and other educational providers will be listed. Any ‘relevant agencies’ that the Safeguarding board will be working with need to be listed also and the means in which they will work together, listed. These additional agencies will need to be fully engaged on a regular basis but how do you ensure this on a day-to-day basis? You can arrange regular catch-up meetings but how do you ensure that each agency is providing the information that they need, when they need, in a timely and secure manner?
Technology supporting collaborative working
Social care can no longer be an island if Safeguarding is to be effective. The new Working Together proposals supports a collaborative environment for practitioners to work together and share information.
These new regulations help to further break down the silos, but for too many Children Service departments, technology is not keeping pace with this move to collaborative working. The future of Children’s Social Care is collaboration and it is essential that any case management is built with multi-agency working in mind.
Eclipse has been built with a sophisticated multi-agency security model. This next generation cloud technology enables different agencies to log into the system and access personalised views and tasks. All the information flows through the system to provide the complete picture. Key individuals with appropriate permissions are able to see a holistic picture of the child and their family situation.
The changes and key findings presented in this article have been taken from the full government guidance, which is available here. If you would like any help or advice on how to effectively implement a safeguarding partnership, then please contact us today for more information.