If you work with or around children in the United Kingdom, you might already be aware of Working Together 2018 changes and how they impact your role.
What is Working Together 2018?
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ is the government’s statutory guidance for all organisations and agencies who work with, or carry out work related to, children in the United Kingdom. The guidance aims to set the goalposts for inter-agency working and for promoting the welfare of children from all backgrounds, in all settings.
If you work with or around children, you have a responsibility to be aware of Working Together to Safeguard Children and to follow the expectations outlined in the guidance. As such, you need to be aware that the guidance is being updated in 2018, with some adjustments to the current document that could have an impact on your role.
Why is Working Together being updated?
The 2018 update to Working Together follows a consultation that began in October 2017 to establish what would need to change in support of the new Children and Social Work Act 2017 multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
Like all government guidance, Working Together comes under review regularly, and the guidance is refreshed periodically. This is what makes it so important to keep up to date with the changes, and to know exactly when the new guidance comes into effect.
It is also important to consider how these changes impact your current safeguarding training certificate. At the Child Protection Company, we update our online safeguarding courses to reflect the most recent government guidance—but not all training providers do. Be sure to check that Working Together 2018 is included in the course before deciding on a training provider for your safeguarding certificate.
What are the Working Together 2018 changes?
We’ve pulled together some of the changes to this year’s Working Together to Safeguard Children update for your information, but for a full overview of the changes, please refer back to the original government guidance. You can find this on the GOV.UK website by clicking here.
Safeguarding Partners and Local Safeguarding Children Boards
One of the most prominent Working Together 2018 changes is the replacement of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with Safeguarding Partners.
According to the new guidance, Safeguarding Partners will consist of three agencies: local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, and chief officers of police. These Safeguarding Partners will work with relevant appropriate agencies within their locality to safeguard and protect children. All three Safeguarding Partners have equal responsibility for fulfilling the role.
Safeguarding Partners are responsible for selecting the relevant agencies they will work with to safeguard and protect children in each locality. These relevant agencies should be listed in each local area’s published arrangements. Schools, colleges, and educational providers are expected to be listed as relevant agencies by the Safeguarding Partners, and these institutions will take a fully-engaged statutory duty towards promoting the safety and welfare of children in the area.
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel
From 29 June 2018, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has been responsible for identifying and overseeing reviews of serious child safeguarding incidents that raise complex issues or become important on a national scale.
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will be responsible for deciding how the system learns lessons on a national level, while local responsibility will land with the Safeguarding Partners.
A copy of reviews that have been undertaken by local Safeguarding Partners will be sent to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel for a decision to be made about whether or not a review needs to be made on a national level.
A list of all reviewers who sit on the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel must be made public.
Child Death Reviews
With the removal of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, the responsibility for ensuring that child death reviews are undertaken with a Child Death Overview Panel now lies with Child Death Review Partners, which will be made up of local clinical commissioning groups and local authorities.
The new guidance states, “Child death review partners may, if they consider it appropriate, model their child death review structures and processes on the current Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) framework.”
The new guidance also makes it clear that a review should be carried out for the deaths of all children who are normally resident in the local area, and if appropriate, for non-resident children who die in the local area.
‘Working Together 2018’ specifies that there will be further guidance published about the process relating to child death reviews.
People in Positions of Trust
A new section is included in Working Together 2018 placing emphasis on organisational responsibility towards people who work in positions of trust. The guidance states, “Organisations and agencies working with children and families should have clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children.”
The changes in this section in particular relate to all schools, Early Years settings, childcarers, healthcare professionals, children’s homes, voluntary, charity, social enterprise, faith-based organisations, and private sectors.
When do the Working Together 2018 changes come into effect?
The new ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ was published on 1 August 2018. This edition replaces the previous 2016 publication and the changes are in effect now.
Why is this relevant to me?
If you work or volunteer in any role that brings you into contact with children and young people, it is your responsibility to play an active role in keeping them safe and protecting them from harm. Therefore, you should pay keen attention to all published government guidance that has an impact within your workplace.
Working Together 2018 is statutory guidance for multi-agency working. It exists to highlight the expectations of working with agencies in your local area, and on a national level, to keep children safe.
As with all areas of safeguarding, it is better to be prepared with more information than you might ever have to use, than it is to find yourself in a position where a child’s safety and wellbeing has been compromised and you do not understand how to help them.
We recommend reading the full Working Together 2018 guidance. You can find the document and all related information on the GOV.UK website by clicking here.