The Children Act 2004 required each local authority to establish a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
Chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 sets out in detail the arrangements for the work of each Local Safeguarding Children Board. This chapter provides a summary.
In December 2015, this chapter was reviewed following publication of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015). Additional information on issues which should be covered in the DSCB Annual Report was added into Section 2, DSCB Governance and Chairing Arrangements.
- Statutory Objectives and Functions
- DSCB Governance and Chairing Arrangements
- Integration with Other Forums
- Statutory Board Partners, Relevant Persons and Bodies
- Annual Business Plan
1. Statutory Objectives and Functions
Section 14 of the Children Act 2004 sets out the objectives of LSCBs, which are:
- To coordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area; and
- To ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for those purposes.
Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006 sets out that the functions of the LSCB, in relation to the above objectives under section 14 of the Children Act 2004, are as follows:
- Developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area of the authority, including policies and procedures in relation to:
- The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child's safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
- Training of persons who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
- Recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
- Investigation of allegations concerning persons who work with children;
- Safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered;
- Cooperation with neighbouring children's services authorities and their Board partners.
- Communicating to persons and bodies in the area of the authority the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, raising their awareness of how this can best be done and encouraging them to do so;
- Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of what is done by the authority and their Board partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advising them on ways to improve. See also the Children's Safeguarding Performance Information Framework (Department for Education, 2015) which describes the key nationally collected data that can help those involved in child protection at both the local and national levels understand the health of the child protection system;
- Participating in the planning of services for children in the area of the authority; and
- Undertaking reviews of serious cases and advising the authority and their Board partners on lessons to be learned.
Regulation 5 (2) which relates to the LSCB Serious Case Reviews function and regulation 6 which relates to the LSCB Child Death functions are covered in Chapters 4 and 5 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015.
Regulation 5 (3) provides that an LSCB may also engage in any other activity that facilitates, or is conducive to, the achievement of its objectives.
In order to fulfil its statutory function under Regulation 5 an LSCB should use data and, as a minimum, should:
- Assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families, including early help;
- Assess whether LSCB partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations set out in chapter 2 of this guidance;
- Quality assure practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned; and
- Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency training, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
LSCBs do not commission or deliver direct frontline services though they may provide training. While LSCBs do not have the power to direct other organisations they do have a role in making clear where improvement is needed. Each Board partner retains their own existing line of accountability for safeguarding.
2. DSCB Governance and Chairing Arrangements
The governance and operational arrangements included in Working Together to Safeguard Children have been implemented in Derby and Derbyshire by the two LSCBs. The governance structures/ documents are available on the separate Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' websites.
Both DSCBs' are independent to provide effective scrutiny, and are not subordinate to, nor subsumed within, other local structures.
Both Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' have an independent chair who can hold all agencies to account.
It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) to appoint or remove the chair with the agreement of a panel including LSCB partners and lay members (where applicable). The Chief Executive, drawing on other LSCB partners and, where appropriate, the Lead Member will hold the Chair to account for the effective working of the LSCB.
The LSCB Chair should work closely with all LSCB partners and particularly with the Director of Children's Services. The Director of Children's Services has the responsibility within the local authority, under Section 18 of the Children Act 2004, for improving outcomes for children, local authority children's social care functions and local cooperation arrangements for children's services.
(The Department for Education statutory guidance on The roles and responsibilities of the Director of Children's Services and Lead Member for Children's Services expands on this role).
The Chair of both DSCBs' publishes an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Derby and Derbyshire (this is a statutory requirement under Section 14A of the Children Act 2004). The annual reports are published in relation to the preceding financial year and should fit with local agencies' planning, commissioning and budget cycles. The report should be submitted to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, the local police and crime commissioner and the Chair of the health and well-being board.
The report should provide a rigorous and transparent assessment of the performance and effectiveness of local services. It should identify areas of weakness, the causes of those weaknesses and the action being taken to address them as well as other proposals for action. The report should include lessons from reviews undertaken within the reporting period.
LSCBs should conduct regular assessments on the effectiveness of Board partners' responses to child sexual exploitation and include in the report information on the outcome of these assessments. This should include an analysis of how the LSCB partners have used their data to promote service improvement for vulnerable children and families, including in respect of sexual abuse. The report should also include appropriate data on children missing from care, and how the LSCB is addressing the issue. Where the LSCB has a secure establishment within its area, the report should include a review of the use of restraint within that establishment and the findings of the review should be reported to the Youth Justice Board.
The report lists the contributions made to the LSCB by partner agencies and details of what the LSCB has spent, including on Child Death Reviews, Serious Case Reviews and other specific expenditure such as learning events or training. All DSCB member organisations have an obligation to provide reliable resources (including finance) that enable the LSCB to be strong and effective. Members should share the financial responsibility for the LSCB in such a way that a disproportionate burden does not fall on a small number of partner agencies.
The annual reports for Derby and Derbyshire LSCBs are published on the two DSCB websites:
3. Integration with Other Forums
It is important that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is seen as part of the wider context of the children's strategic partnership and that the LSCB's policies, guidance and procedures such as these, reflect and contribute to the wider goals of improving the wellbeing of all children. The DSCBs' are represented on the Children's Trust Board, to hold the Children's Trust Board to account. DSCBs' also work with the Local Family Justice Board and the Health and Wellbeing Board, informing and drawing on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
4. Statutory Board Partners, Relevant Persons and Bodies
Section 13 of the Children Act 2004, as amended, sets out that an LSCB must include at least one representative of the local authority and each of the other Board partners set out below (although two or more Board partners may be represented by the same person). Board partners who must be included in the LSCB are:
- District councils in local government areas which have them;
- Chief officer of police;
- National Probation Service / Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC);
- Local Probation Trust;
- Youth Offending Service;
- NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups;
- NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts all or most of whose hospitals, establishments and facilities are situated in the local authority area;
- Governor or director of any secure training centre in the area of the authority; and
- Governor or director of any prison in the area of the authority which ordinarily detains children.
The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 amended sections 13 and 14 of the Children Act 2004 and provided that the local authority must take reasonable steps to ensure that the LSCB includes two lay members representing the local community. Both DSCBs are committed to the involvement of lay members in Board activity.
Section 13(4) of the Children Act 2004, as amended, provides that the local authority must take reasonable steps to ensure the LSCB includes representatives of relevant persons and bodies of such descriptions as may be prescribed. Regulation 3A of the LSCB Regulations prescribes the following persons and bodies:
- Governing body of a maintained school;
- Proprietor of a non-maintained special school;
- Proprietor of a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or an Academy; and
- Governing body of a further education institution the main site of which is situated in the authority's area.
All schools (including independent schools, Academies and free schools) have duties in relation to safeguarding children and promoting their welfare and these are covered in chapter 3.3. Local authorities should take reasonable steps to ensure that the LSCB includes representatives from of all types of school in their area. A system of representation should be identified to enable all schools to receive information and feedback comments to their representatives on the LSCB.
Where boundaries between LSCBs and their partner organisations are not coterminous, such as with health organisations and police authorities, LSCBs should collaborate as necessary on establishing common policies and procedures and joint ways of working. Derby and Derbyshire SCBs operate a number of joint sub-groups and undertake joint working, reciprocal chairing and reviewing arrangements where necessary.
Members of an LSCB should be people with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation. They should be able to:
- Speak for their organisation with authority;
- Commit their organisation on policy and practice matters; and
- Hold their own organisation to account and hold others to account.
The LSCB should either include on its Board, or be able to draw on appropriate expertise and advice from, frontline professionals from all the relevant sectors. This includes a designated doctor and nurse, the Director of Public Health, Principal Child and Family Social Worker and the voluntary and community sector.
Lay members will operate as full members of the LSCB, participating as appropriate on the Board itself and on relevant committees. Lay members should help to make links between the LSCB and community groups, support stronger public engagement in local child safety issues and an improved public understanding of the LSCB's child protection work.
The Lead Member for Children should be a participating observer of the LSCB. In practice this means routinely attending meetings as an observer and receiving all its written reports.
To assist the LSCB with its objectives, each LSCB has a supporting structure. Terms of Reference for each of the Boards sub-groups are available in the Governance Document for each LSCB.
6. Annual Business Planning
Both DSCB's have business plans setting out a work programme with priorities and measurable objectives. Business plans are reviewed and updated regularly at meetings of both DSCBs.