The Department for Education has published an independent report by Sir Alan Wood CBE on the implementation of new multi-agency arrangements to safeguard children. The report makes various recommendations for making new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements for local areas more effective. Also published is the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s annual report for 2020. The report emphasises that agencies need to address ‘stubborn challenges’, including weak information sharing and risk assessment. To combat these issues, the panel is prioritising risk assessment and decision making in its 2021 work programme.
The recommendations in the Wood Report include:
- to strengthen cross-government reform implementation governance
- the government should arrange for new and additional guidance to be provided through a convenient route for safeguarding partners
- consideration should be given to the role played in multi-agency safeguarding by elected Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners
- the government should develop a platform for the sharing of good practice in delivering multi-agency safeguarding for children
- local safeguarding partners should satisfy themselves that the level of support, analysis and intelligence they require to conduct their business effectively and efficiently is provided
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s report explains six themes for safeguarding partners to make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths in the context of abuse or neglect. These are:
- Understanding what the child’s daily life is like
- Working with families where their engagement is reluctant and sporadic
- Critical thinking and challenge
- Responding to changing risk and need
- Sharing information in a timely and appropriate way
- Organisational leadership and culture for good outcomes
The Wood Report can be viewed here.
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s report can be viewed here.