The most important primary legislation governing the discipline of safeguarding is the Care Act 2014. At the time, the Act was described as “the most significant change in social care law for 60 years”.
The Act applies to England, and replaced a whole web of out-of-date and sometimes contradictory – certainly confusing – care laws.
While the Act applies to England only, its requirements are reflected elsewhere in the UK by other safeguarding legislation vehicles. These are, in Wales, the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014. And in Scotland it was predated a year earlier by the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013.
In July 2018, National Director, Social Care for the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Yvette Stanley, published important guidance relating to safeguarding children that will be important to bear in mind when considering safeguarding training for your organisation.
Specifically, Ms Stanley pinpoints “the important ingredients for multi-agency safeguarding arrangements to improve the response to children in need of help and protection”.
In the next few posts about safeguarding training we will take a closer look at her advice.
Writing for the government website in July 2018, Ms Stanley said that Ofsted had recently published ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, based on Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) reviews and Joint Targeted Area Inspections (JTAIs).
These underpin the move to a multi-agency safeguarding environment. Ms Stanley points out, the best safeguarding arrangements have a shared vision and shared values. She urges that, as these agencies embrace the new arrangements, individuals and organisations should remember what worked in previous structures, and to be bold and innovative in learning from other agencies in the new structure.
Ms Stanley calls for what she calls “a clear line of sight” when it comes to the operational and strategic response locally; she emphasises the primary role of quality frontline practice. Agencies, she argues, “must understand the direct experiences of children and their families in their local area”.
And the best safeguarding arrangements will only succeed with strong leadership. This means that the three lead safeguarding partners – police, health and local authority – need to work together “to ensure a joined-up local response to reduce the risk of harm to children”.
This means that all partners need leaders who understand the importance of local context rather than simply being slaves to policy. “Children and their families do not live in silos,” argues Ms Stanley. That means the compelling challenge for leaders is to create an environment in which this multi-agency approach can flourish.
Next time, we will look more closely at the specifics of Ofsted’s research and findings, identifying what they call “components of successful partnerships”.