The following briefing sets out the changes that have been introduced in Working Together 2023, and what these changes mean for your roles and how we work.
A video recording of one of our briefing sessions is available for you to watch, and you can download a copy of the PowerPoint that is used in the video. Please note that the information on the rest of this page is taken from this PowerPoint. We recommend watching the video in full as it elaborates on the written information in the presentation.
During the briefing sessions, we received a number of questions from staff. These questions and the answers to them are set out here.
Working in partnership
“Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe. No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs or circumstances. Everyone who comes into contact has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing concerns and taking prompt action.”
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023
What does this guidance cover?
- Legislative requirements
- A framework for the three local safeguarding partners to work together
- The framework for the child death review partners to make arrangements to review all deaths of children normally resident in the local area
What is the status of this guidance?
- all organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children
- in its entirety, to all education providers, and childcare settings
- to all children up to the age of 18 years
This document must be complied with unless exceptional circumstances arise.
Who is this guidance for?
- Individuals, organisations and agencies
- Elected local area leaders (including Lead Members of Children’s Services, Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners
- Local authority Chief Executives, Chief Constables of police and Chief Executives of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)
- Senior Leaders
- Education settings
- Members of Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panels
- *Other key partners named in our Safeguarding Arrangements
What does this guidance set out?
It sets out what organisations and agencies should do to help, protect and promote the welfare of all children and young people under the age of 18 in England
- Stable Homes, Built on Love (2023)
- Working together to safeguard children: statutory framework
- Children’s social care: national framework
- Improving practice with children, young people and families
Children’s Social Care National Framework
The Children’s social care national framework is written for those who work in and with local authority children’s social care.
Three chapters describe:
- Multi-agency working is prioritised and effective
- Leaders drive conditions for effective practice
- The workforce is equipped and effective
Four chapters describe the outcomes children’s social care should achieve:
- Children, young people and families stay together and get the help they need
- Children and young people are supported by their family network
- Children and young people are safe in and outside their homes
- Children in care and care leavers have stable, loving homes
Key additions/changes to Working Together 2018
- A Shared Responsibility
- Multi-Agency Expectations for All Practitioners
- Working with Parents and Carers
- Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements
- Schools, Colleges and Education Providers
- Providing Help, Support and Protection
- Operational Responsibilities
- Learning from Serious Child Safeguarding Incidents
- Child Death Reviews
A shared responsibility
- The necessity for robust multi-agency collaboration
- Recognising positive outcomes for children are linked to the strength of collaborative efforts
- Emphasis on the importance of co-ordination and co-operation among individuals, agencies and organisations
- Child-centred approach within a whole family focus
Multi-agency expectations for all practitioners
- Shared goals
- Learn with and from each other
- Have what they need to help families
- Acknowledge and appreciate differences
- Challenge each other
Working with parents and carers
- Building strong, positive, trusting and co-operative relationships
- Use of respectful, non-blaming, clear and inclusive communication and language
- Enabling parents and carers to participate and make decisions
- Involving parents and carers in design
Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
- Lead Safeguarding Partners (LSPs)
- Delegated Safeguarding Partners (DSPs)
- DSP Chair
Schools, colleges and education providers
- There should be representation from the Education Sector at strategic discussions
- Local education and childcare providers working with children up to the age of 18 should be included in local arrangements
- Local safeguarding arrangements should consider voluntary, charity, social enterprise organisations, childcare settings and sports clubs
Providing help, support and protection
- Section 1 – Early Help
- Section 2 – Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children
- Section 3 – Child Protection
- Changes to the way in which prison and probation services exchange information with children’s social care and other agencies has been introduced.
Learning from Serious Child Safeguarding Incidents
- Guidance states that Local Authorities should “notify the Secretary of State for Education and OFSTED of the death of a care leaver up to and including the age of 24”. Although this is not a statutory requirement, if local partners think that there is learning to be gained from the death of a looked after children or care leaver, even if the criteria for a serious incident are not met, they may wish to conduct a local safeguarding practice review.
Child Death Reviews
- Factual updates have been made to reflect the latest legislation and guidance.
- Children’s social care & children’s services
- Youth Justice Service
- Schools/Education providers/Early Years
- Adult social care
- Probation & Prison Service
- Children’s homes
- Youth Offending Teams
- British Transport Police
- Armed Services
- Voluntary, charity, social enterprise, faith-based and private sector
Overview of the main changes in Working Together 2023
A new chapter “Shared Responsibility” bringing together new and existing guidance to emphasize that successful outcomes for children depend on keeping a clear child-centred focus in strong multi-agency partnership working across the whole system of help, support and protection and effective work from all agencies with parents, carers and families.
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements is now chapter 2 (previously chapter 3), and substantive changes have been made with the aim of strengthening how safeguarding partners (local authorities, integrated care boards and the police) work together, and with relevant agencies, to safeguard and protect children locally.
This was previously chapter 1 and has a renewed focus on how organisations and agencies can provide help, support, safeguarding and protection. There is also clarity about the importance of children and their families receiving the right help at the right time from the right people. This includes information on the role of education, prison and probation services, support for disabled children and their families and supporting children at risk of experiencing harm outside of the home. There is also clarity about the broader range of people who can work with children and families who are receiving support and services under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (child in need). There is a renewed focus on family-led solutions where other family members and family friends can play an invaluable role in supporting parents, enabling children to live safely at home. Chapter 3 also includes new multi-agency child protection standards which apply to all practitioners who come into contact with children where there is concern that the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. These standards set out the skills, experience, and expertise practitioners working in a multi-agency child protection context needed.
Organisation Responsibilities is now chapter 4 (previously chapter 2), with factual changes to align with legislation and guidance. We have also made changes to the Prison and Probation sections to strengthen and clarify processes and responsibilities for child safeguarding.
Learning from serious child safeguarding incidents is now chapter 5 (previously chapter 4), small changes have been made to clarify the expectation for keeping in touch with care leavers over the age of 21, and the non-mandatory reporting of care leaver deaths up to age 25.
Factual changes have been made to child death reviews which is now chapter 6 (previously chapter 5). These include updating structures and processes in line with legislation, statutory and operational guidance published since 2018.
Working in partnership
- CSPR briefing note – Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson – Devon Safeguarding Children Partnership (devonscp.org.uk)
- The Victoria Climbie Inquiry (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Working Together 2023
“No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances so effective sharing of information between practitioners, local organisations and agencies is essential for early identification of need, assessment, and service provision to keep children safe.”
Information sharing and consent
The Data Protection Act 2018 specifies “safeguarding of children and individuals at risk” as a processing condition that allows practitioners to share information, including without consent.
“Practitioners should always aim to be as transparent as possible by telling families what information they are sharing and with whom, provided it is safe to do so”
Some important things to note:
- GDPR is not a barrier
- Be open and honest
- Seek advice
- Share with consent where possible
- Always consider the safety and well-being
- Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure
- Keep a record
Please see our guide to information sharing for more information.
Common myths about challenges of sharing information with partners
- Data Protection/GDPR legislation is a barrier to sharing information
- Consent is needed to share personal information
- Personal information collected by one organisation/agency cannot be disclosed to another
- The common law duty of confidence and the Human Rights Act 1998 prevent the sharing of personal information
- IT systems are often a barrier to effective information sharing
So, what now?
- Devon SCP have until December 2024 to review and update their safeguarding arrangements
- Health check to be completed by DofE Consultant in February to help us implement the changes
- Changes need to be implemented by December 2024
- Continue to facilitate briefings throughout the year, focussing on different aspects of the implementation
- Working Together 2023 will be reviewed annually by DofE
Update on the Front Door
- Request for support
- Professional Consultation line
- Need an urgent response from MASH?
- Emergency duty service
- Targeted Level 3 support – Early Help Assessment and Plan must be already in place
- Any other support – complete the Early Help Triage Request Form
- Continue to offer – training, Triage case discussions, advice, guidance and signposting
Update on Levels of Need Tool
- First introduced in August 2022 (previously known as Threshold Tool)
- Still in use
- Due for review
Devon Safeguarding Children Partnership
Children in Devon are best safeguarded when key agencies work together effectively.
The Devon SCP is all of us and only together can we make this happen.
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