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2.1 Local Safeguarding Children Board - Role and Function

RELATED NATIONAL GUIDANCE

Chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 sets out in detail the arrangements for the work of each Local Safeguarding Children Board. This chapter provides a summary only.

AMENDMENT

In November 2013, this chapter was extensively updated in line with Working Together 2013, and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

  Introduction
  Role and Functions
  Scope of the Role
  Accountability
  LSCB Chair
  Membership
  Role of Elected Members
  Role of LSCB Members
  Monitoring and Inspection
  Annual Report and LSCB Annual Business Plan


Introduction

  1. The Children Act 2004 required each local authority to establish a Safeguarding Children Board.
  2. The Pan Lancashire Consortium Manual covers the:


Role and Functions

  1. The overall role of the LSCB is to coordinate local work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to ensure the effectiveness of what the member organisations do individually and together.
  2. Specific objectives of the LSCB are to:
    • Develop and agree inter-agency policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, consistent with Working Together to Safeguard Children, including:
      • The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child's safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
      • Training of those working 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 working with children;
      • The safety and welfare of privately fostered children;
      • Cooperation with neighbouring children's social care services authorities and their Board partners.
    • Participate in the planning of services for children in the local authority area;
    • Communicate the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
    • Develop procedures to ensure a coordinated response to unexpected child deaths;
    • Monitor the effectiveness of what is done to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
    • Undertake reviews of serious cases and ensure lessons are understood and acted upon;
    • Collect and analyse information about child deaths.


Scope of the Role

  1. In order to fulfil its statutory functions, 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;
    • 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. The Children's Safeguarding Performance Information Framework provides a mechanism to help do this by setting out some of the questions a LSCB should consider.


Accountability

  1. Whilst the LSCB has a role in coordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of local individuals' and organisations' work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, it is not accountable for their operational work.
  2. Each Board partner retains its own existing lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by their services.
  3. Whilst the LSCB does not have the power to direct other organisations, it does have a role in making clear where improvement is needed.
  4. Each member of LSCB has a corporate responsibility to keep their own agency and organisation informed of the work of LSCB and particularly to highlight through their organisational governance arrangements any risks associated with that organisation not meetings its statutory responsibility in relation to safeguarding children.
  5. A key role of the LSCB will be to monitor the effectiveness of each agency/organisation both individually and whilst working in partnership to deliver the desired outcomes for children within its LSCB.
  6. Each LSCB will hold agencies and organisations individually and in partnership to account for their performance in delivering the identified strategic outcomes.
  7. Each LSCB will formulate performance measures for the Board as a whole and, where appropriate, for individual agencies/organisations. Where LSCB considers that a Board Partner is failing to meet its commitments and performance measures or is failing to work in partnership with other agencies/organisations, it can require the agency or organisation in question to prepare an action plan to be submitted to LSCB in order to remedy such failings.
  8. In addition the LSCB may:
    • Place a specific item as to performance on the next available LSCB agenda and require the defaulting agency or organisation to submit a formal report or presentation to LSCB; and/or
    • Require the agency or organisation in question to report through its own governance arrangements any associated risks in the agency/organisation not meeting its statutory obligations in safeguarding children. The agency/organisation will then be expected to formally report back to LSCB with mechanisms to address those risks; and/or
    • In exceptional circumstances the chair of LSCB, with full agreement from the Board, may request the attendance of the Chair or Chief Executive of the partner agency/organisation to the next available meeting of LSCB in order to explain the performance failings of that member agency/organisation, and the chair of the Board may then if appropriate, explain the concerns of the Board to the relevant Inspectorate and if necessary, Government Department.


LSCB Chair

  1. In order to provide effective scrutiny, the LSCB should be independent. It should not be subordinate to, nor subsumed within, other local structures.
  2. Every LSCB should have an independent chair who can hold all agencies to account.
  3. It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) to appoint or remove the LSCB chair with the agreement of a panel including LSCB partners and lay members. 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.


Membership

  1. The LSCB is made of organisations which will designate particular, named people as their LSCB member so that there is a consistency and continuity in membership.
  2. Members will be those 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;
    • Hold their organisation to account.
  3. Members of the LSCB must include:
    • Children's Social Care Services;
    • Adults' Social Care Services;
    • NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups;
    • NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation trusts;
    • Police;
    • Probation;
    • Youth Offending Team;
    • CAFCASS;
    • Any Secure Training Centre;
    • Any prison which ordinarily detains children;
    • Two representatives of the local community; (Their role is described in 3.10 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013.)
    • Representation from schools, which means taking steps to ensure that the following are represented: the governing body of a maintained school; the proprietor of a non-maintained special school; the proprietor of a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or an Academy; and the governing body of a further education institution the main site of which is situated in the authority's area. Independent schools should also be included as appropriate.
  4. Other members may include:
    • NSPCC;
    • Faith groups;
    • State and Independent Schools;
    • Further Education Colleges;
    • Children's Centres;
    • GP's;
    • Independent Health care organisations;
    • Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations;
    • Armed Forces;
    • Immigration Service.
  5. 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.
  6. In addition, the LSCB will make strategic links with other organisations and individuals, for example Substance Misuse Services, the local MAPPA, dental health services, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Coroner, either through inviting them to join the Board or through some other mechanism.
  7. The LSCB also need to draw on the work key national organisations and liaise with them where necessary, for example the Child Exploitation and On-Line Protection Centre (CEOP Command).


Role of Elected Members

  1. Local authority Elected Members and non-executive directors of other board partners are not members of the LSCB. Their role, through their membership of governance bodies such as the cabinet of the local authority or a scrutiny committee or a governance board, is to hold their organisation and its officers to account for their contribution to the effective functioning of the LSCB.
  2. The Lead Member for Children's Services should be a participating observer of the LSCB. In practice this means routinely attending meetings as an observer and receiving all its written reports.


Role of LSCB Members

  1. The individual members of the LSCB have a duty as members to contribute to the effective work of the LSCB, for example, in making the LSCBs' assessment of performance as objective as possible, and in recommending or deciding upon the necessary steps to put right any problems. This should take precedence, if necessary, over their role as a representative of their organisation. Members of each LSCB should have a clear written statement of their roles and responsibilities.
  2. 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 through the LSCB websites.
  3. All groups working under the LSCB should be established by the LSCB, and should work to agreed terms of reference, with explicit lines of reporting, communication and accountability to the LSCB. This may take the form of a written constitution detailing a job description for all members and service level agreements between the LSCB, agencies and other partnerships. Chairs of sub groups should be LSCB members.
  4. Since the boundaries between Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen LSCBs and their partner organisations such as the health service and the police are not co-terminus, the LSCBs of these areas will collaborate as far as possible on establishing common policies and procedures, and joint ways of working, under the function around "Co-operation with neighbouring children's services authorities and their Board partners".
  5. The LSCB will put in place arrangements to ascertain views of parents and carers and the wishes and feelings of children (including children who might not ordinarily be heard) about the priorities and the effectiveness of local safeguarding work, including issues of access to services and contact points for children to safeguard and promote welfare. LSCBs should also consider how children, parents and carers can be given a measure of choice and control in the development of services.


Monitoring and Inspection

  1. The LSCB's work to ensure the effectiveness of work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children by member organisations will be a peer review process based on self evaluation, performance indicators, and joint audit. Its aim is to promote high standards of safeguarding work and to foster a culture of continuous improvement. It will also identify and act on identified weaknesses in services. To avoid unnecessary duplication of work the LSCB will ensure that its monitoring role complements and contributes to the work of both the children's trust and the inspectorates.
  2. Where it is found that a Board partner is not performing effectively in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and the LSCB is not convinced that any planned action to improve performance will be adequate, the LSCB chair or a member or employee designated by the chair will explain these concerns to those individuals and organisations that need to be aware of the failing and may be able to take action.


Annual Report and LSCB Annual Business Plan

  1. The Chair must publish an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the local area (this is a statutory requirement under section 14A of the Children Act 2004). The annual report should be 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 Wellbeing Board.
  2. 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.
  3. The report should also list 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.
  4. The LSCB will produce an annual business plan setting out:
    • A work programme for the following year to include measurable objectives;
    • Relevant management information of child protection activity in the previous year;
    • Progress against objectives established for the year ending.

End