The Department of Education has recently provided an update to the national framework for Children’s Social Care. The key point to be aware of is the increased focus on sharing responsibility and strengthening multi-agency working to safeguard children. This change is likely to impact a wide variety of stakeholders involved in children’s care, including NHS Trusts, ICBs, education partners, local authorities, voluntary, charitable and community sectors and the police.
The focus continues to be on a child-centred approach with the intention of keeping children within the care of their families wherever possible; this collaborative working may include working with parents, carers or other family but the wishes and feelings of the child alongside what is in the child’s best interests remain paramount. Joined up working is to be viewed as the norm. For health clients, you will be expected to have lead roles for children with health needs, such as children who are identified as having special educational needs or disabilities.
Specific expectations are listed for individuals at different levels within the multi-agency team and additional information is provided in the guidance about the importance of information sharing at an early and timely stage. It is envisaged that different agencies will take on different roles as partners with different responsibilities to ensure full accountability and oversight.
Given the changes introduced and the importance placed on collaboration, early information sharing and multi-agency working, we would recommend that readers review their internal policies and processes to ensure that they are compliant with this and able to engage with other agencies as the framework anticipates. If you would like further information, training, or would be interested in a strategic review to ensure effective compliance, our experienced Children’s team are happy to assist.