CSCP 5 Minute Briefing - Revisions to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 : December 2020

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CSCP 5 minute briefing

Revisions to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 - December 2020

hm government

On the 9th December 2020, The Government carried out an update to  'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018' . Changes include – factual changes in relation to information sharing, homelessness duty and references to domestic abuse.

A summary of the changes are listed below, however it is every practitioner’s responsibility to make themselves familiar with the changes in full. Click here to view revised guidance.

In the definition of safeguarding, impairment of children’s health has been changed to children’s mental and physical health.

In the section on Early Help, has a parent/carer in custody has been added to the list of children in need of potential help. 

A new paragraph has also been added to this section – ‘In schools, it is important that staff are aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem, however school staff are well placed to observe children day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one. Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that school staff are aware of how these children’s experiences can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education.’

There are further details on lawful processing under GDPR and the steps practitioners should be aware of as well as expanding the description of agencies response within Early Help arrangements especially effective assessment of the need for early help.

There is a new section on the Homelessness Duty and the duty to refer.

Terminology has been changed for Contextual Safeguarding to Assessment of risk outside the home and adds teenage relationship abuse as a factor.

Other changes include:

Local Protocol for assessment should also consider the needs of children in mental health inpatient settings.

Under the referral process it has been added that, Where a child or young person is admitted to a mental health facility, practitioners should consider whether a referral to local authority children’s social care is necessary.

In the section People in Positions of Trust, they have added behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.  This was added earlier this year to Keeping Children Safe in Education to capture concerns around transferable risk; for example where a person who works with children is involved in a domestic abuse incident at home and this may have implications for their suitability to work with children.

In a number of places where the term domestic abuse is used they have changed the document to include controlling and coercive behavior, with an emphasis on practitioners being able to recognise it especially in the context of children who are being exploited.

In the section on Relevant Agencies, it now says the safeguarding partners should set out in their published arrangements which organisations and agencies they will be working with to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, previously it said must set.