Working Together to Safeguard Children

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As the well-being of children remains a top priority, the Department for Education (DfE) has recently released a consultation document proposing changes to the statutory guidance known as Working Together to Safeguard Children. This comprehensive framework plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and protection of children in England.

This article aims to provide a detailed summary of the key aspects related to the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance, the consultation process and the proposed changes.

What is the Working Together to Safeguard Children Statutory Guidance?

Working Together to Safeguard Children is statutory guidance issued by the government. It serves as a guide for professionals involved in safeguarding children in England, providing a framework for multi-agency collaboration. The guidance outlines the responsibilities of organisations and individuals in protecting children from harm, promoting their well-being, and ensuring they reach their full potential. It offers clarity to practitioners about their individual obligations and the importance of partnership working to deliver effective services.

When was the Working Together to Safeguard Children Guidance Last Updated?

The Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance was last revised in 2018, with a limited factual update in 2020. However, as this article has mentioned, the government has recently initiated a consultation process for proposed changes to the statutory guidance. This process invites public comments on the suggested amendments.

What is the Consultation Process for Working Together to Safeguard Children?

The consultation process began on 21 June 2023, and will conclude on 6 September  2023. During this time, the government seeks valuable input from various stakeholders, including professionals, families, and individuals directly impacted by safeguarding measures. The consultation process particularly invites feedback on areas such as enhancing collaboration and information sharing among organizations, the role of education in safeguarding children, and proposed amendments to the support systems provided to families.

By actively involving a diverse range of participants, including those with professional expertise and personal experiences, the government aims to ensure that the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance reflects the most effective and up-to-date practices in safeguarding.

The online survey can be taken here.

Why has the Consultation for Working Together to Safeguard Children Statutory Guidance Come About?

The revisions to the statutory guidance are based on the first phase of the government’s policy paper, Stable Homes, Built on Love, published in February 2023. In this paper, the government sets out its vision for reforming children’s social care.  

The Department for Education (DfE) stated, “Updating Working Together is central to delivering on the first phase of this transformation journey, implementing strengthened multi-agency working across the whole system of help, support, and protection for children and their families, re-balancing the system towards early intervention, and ensuring strong, effective, and consistent child protection practice.”

What are the Planned Changes?

The planned changes for the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance are categorised into five key themes:

  • A shared endeavour introduces expectations for effective multi-agency working and practice principles when working with parents and carers.

  • Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements clarify roles and responsibilities, introduce a partnership chair, and enhance accountability and transparency.

  • Help and support for children and their families include stronger expectations for Early Help and family networks, clarification 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 addressing harm outside the home.

  • Learning from serious child safeguarding incidents.

Next Steps

The DfE has announced that it will publish a document in the winter of 2023, summarising the responses received during the Working Together to Safeguard Children consultation.

Additionally, the DfE has launched a consultation on revising non-statutory advice to support practitioners in the process of sharing information in England. The aim of this consultation is to gather perspectives on how to make the advice clear and easily understandable, enabling practitioners to feel confident in sharing safeguarding information effectively and appropriately. This consultation will also close on 6 September 2023.


We hope this article has addressed all your questions regarding the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance, the proposed changes to the guidance, the consultation process itself and the reasons behind the changes.

We encourage as many people as possible to engage in the consultation process. The collective effort of working together to safeguard children is vital in creating a safe and nurturing environment where every child can thrive.

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