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2.2 Agency Roles and Responsibilities


Chapter 2: Organisational responsibilities, Working Together to Safeguard Children

In addition, boarding schools, residential special schools and FE Institutions that provide accommodation for pupils under 18 must have regard to the relevant National Minimum Standards for their establishment.

Guidance about these education duties is contained in "Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education", DfES (January 2007).


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


  Statutory Duties
  Infrastructure and Governance to Deliver Safeguarding Responsibilities
  Specific Roles and Responsibilities of Agencies


  1. An awareness and appreciation of the role of others is essential for effective collaboration between organisations and their practitioners;
  2. This chapter outlines the main responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children of all statutory organisations, voluntary agencies and professionals who work with children.

Statutory Duties

  1. All organisations that work with children share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare. For many organisations, this is underpinned by statutory duties;
  2. Children's Services Authorities have a number of specific duties to organise and plan services for children; these are set out in more detail in the Legal Framework for Child Protection;
  3. As well as the local authority, NHS organisations, Police, British Transport Police, Probation and Prison Services, Youth Offending Teams and Secure Training Centres all have duties under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  4. Local authorities also have duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in relation to its functions under section 175 of the Education Act 2002. As well as the education service provided by the local authority, schools (both maintained and independent) and Further Education institutions, including 6th form colleges, have duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils who are under 18;
  5. CAFCASS also has a duty under section 12(1) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved in family proceedings in which their welfare is, or may be, in question.

Infrastructure and Governance to Deliver Safeguarding Responsibilities

  1. Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, Local Authorities, NHS organisations, Police,  British Transport Police, Probation Service, Prisons and Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres and Youth Offending Teams/Services should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:
    • A clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
    • A senior board level lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation's safeguarding arrangements;
    • A culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services;
    • Arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB);
    • A designated professional lead (or, for health provider organisations, named professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support other professionals in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including rescue from possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Professionals should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively;
    • Safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check;
    • Appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training:
      • Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role;
      • Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child's safety or welfare; and
      • All professionals should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they improve over time.
    • Clear policies in line with those from the LSCB for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:
      • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
      • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
      • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.

    In addition:

    • County level and unitary local authorities should have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)/Designated Officer to be involved in the management and oversight of individual cases. The LADO/Designated Officer should provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the Police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process;
    • Any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation. The LADO/Designated Officer should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer's attention or that are made directly to the Police; and
    • If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason.

Specific Roles and Responsibilities of Agencies

  1. Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children also sets out the specific roles and responsibilities of the following:
    • Adult Social Care Services (2.17-2.18);
    • Housing Authorities (2.19);
    • Health Services (2.9 - 2.12);
    • Police (2.13 - 2.16);
    • British Transport Police (2.20-2.21);
    • Probation (2.25-2.27);
    • Prison Service (2.22-2.24);
    • Secure Estate for Children (2.28-2.29);
    • Youth Offending Teams (2.30-2.31);