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New law to strengthen Children's Trust Boards

Date:25 NOV 2008

Children's Secretary, Ed Balls has announced the Government will introduce new legislation to ensure that multi-agency Children's Trust Boards are operating in every local authority area.

Under the new law, for the first time, every local authority will be required by law to have a Children's Trust Board with responsibility for improving the safety and well-being of all children and young people in the area.

The Children's Trust Boards will consist of the local authority, health, police, schools and other services who will be legally required to work together to agree and deliver a Children & Young People's Plan.

The Plan will set out a clear local strategy for child safety arrangements, and sets the framework for the operation of the Local Safeguarding Children Board which leads work on safeguarding children.

Ed Balls will ask each Board to publish an annual review of progress against their Children and Young People's Plan so that safeguarding remains a priority.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Ed Balls confirmed that he had agreed and published the terms of reference for Lord Laming's assessment of how effectively child safety reforms are being implemented following the Victoria Climbié public inquiry.

His review will look at what good practice has been successfully achieved in safeguarding children since the publication of the Victoria Climbié Inquiry, and whether it is being universally applied across the country, particularly in relation to the effective implementation of safeguarding systems and procedures, inter-agency working and development of the workforce. The report will also look at what the key barriers are, including the legal process.

His work will also include both the stock take of Local Safeguarding Children Boards and a study of Serious Case Reviews which were announced in October 2008. The study will identify what more can be done to improve the quality, consistency and impact of Serious Case Reviews as part of the overall system for safeguarding children and young people, following the joint inspectorate report in July.

Ofsted has found more than a third of Serious Case Reviews were inadequate. Reasons for inadequacy could include that the reviews take too long, that the analysis is inadequate or that there is insufficient focus on the child.