Signs of safety update

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lscb 5 min briefing

Signs Of Safety Update


Signs of Safety is an innovative strengths-based, safety-organised approach to child protection casework.  The approach focuses on the question "How can the worker build partnerships with parents and children in situations of suspected or substantiated child abuse and still deal rigorously with the maltreatment issues?"  This strengths-based and safety-focused approach to child protection work is grounded in partnership and collaboration.  It expands the investigation of risk to encompass strengths and Signs of Safety that can be built upon to stabilise and strengthen a child's and family's situation.

Although it was primarily developed as an approach to working with child protection, it is equally applicable to use in settings such as early help and the tools and techniques can be adapted to do this.

Implementation - Our Journey

CCC internal training

Phase 1 ends December 2017 – the following teams will have received the 2 day training, plus practice leads for these teams have received 5 day training;  Support and Protect teams, CWD social workers, Targeted Youth Support, Safeguarding Hub, Early Help Officers, IROs, Edge of Care Service, Strengthening Families (not all staff). 

Phase 1 staff are gradually introducing the approach into daily work and we are seeing more examples in case work which is really encouraging and are planning to run some end to end ‘learning’ exemplar cases using the approach from end to end.

Phase 2 January 2018 onwards will see the following teams receiving the 2 day training – Children Looked After, Fostering and Adoption, Residential, SEND/Inclusion.  We are looking into the viability of running another 5 day training course during 2018

Our IRO Service received bespoke training during October, and they are now thinking about how we can implement a SOS approach to running child protection conferences and reviews

Partner briefings

Over 300 professionals attended half day partner briefings in September & October and were very well received.

SOS Practice Development Officers

2 x SOS Practice Development Officers have been appointed for a 2 year fixed period who will be working within Children and Families Services to support the implementation (David Carter and Claire Mutch)


We will be undertaking an evaluation of the implementation including surveys with staff, feedback from families, collating case studies, tracking a cohort of staff with more in depth interviews.


The SOS partnership Project Board has been re-established with the first meeting being held in September; this Board will meet quarterly, with representatives from both CCC and partner agencies.

What you told us is going well in Cumbria

At the SoS briefing sessions you told us what was going well in Cumbria. You told us that you had seen that paperwork had been updated including templates, and you reported some changes in the  use of language. You also told us that the LSCB was more evident and the website was more accessible with lots of relevant information and that it was a positive step forward that Cumbria had adopted the SoS model.

We have now updated our website so that professionals can access some of the documents that were referenced at the briefings.