FOI release

Local Safeguarding Children Boards

An FOI disclosure about Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

Detail

  • Date requested: 14 February 2011
  • Publish date: 11 March 2011
  • Updated: 20 May 2011

Request

Can the department provide the following information:

  1. What purpose is served by the High Signatories of Local Safeguarding Children Boards? (by ‘High Signatories’ I refer to Chief Executives of Local Authorities and Health Trusts, Chief Superintendents of Police and those others who are at that level)

  2. What duty/accountability do those people have, for the safe and effective operation of their LSCB?

  3. Who has the overseeing brief, of their actions or lack of actions?

  4. What sanctions apply where the LSCB under their care functions against the interests of vulnerable children?

  5. Who applies those sanctions?

  6. Since the inception of LSCBs in 2006, how many LSCBs - or their High Signatories - have faced any sanction at all?

  7. What was the reason for any sanction as mentioned in point 6, and what was the result?

  8. Specifically, what role does the Chief Superintendent of Police play, within the LSCB?

  9. What duty/accountability applies to the Chief Superintendent of Police, if Child Protection (or other) police officers refuse to undertake their job, or are prevented from doing their job because of misinformation from other ‘professionals’?

  10. What action can concerned adults take, where they can see that the LSCB is acting against the interests of vulnerable children?

Release

  1. What purpose is served by the High Signatories of Local Safeguarding Children Boards? (by ‘High Signatories’ I refer to Chief Executives of Local Authorities and Health Trusts, Chief Superintendents of Police and those others who are at that level) And:
  2. What duty/accountability do those people have, for the safe and effective operation of their LSCB?
    • Local authority Elected Members and non-executive directors of other LSCB partners should, through their membership of governance bodies such as the cabinet of the local authority or a scrutiny committee or a governance board, hold their organisation and its officers to account for their contribution to the effective functioning of the LSCB.
    • The statutory guidance, ‘The Roles and Responsibilities of the Lead Member for Children’s Services and the Director of Children’s Services (2009)’, states that: Lead Members are politically accountable for ensuring that the local authority fulfils its legal responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
    • They should focus in particular on satisfying themselves that there are systems in place for effective co-ordination of work with other agencies with relevant responsibilities (such as the police and the NHS). Lead Members should also take steps to assure themselves that effective quality assurance systems are in place and functioning effectively in the local authority, and for challenging partner agencies on how they fulfil their responsibilities.
    • Local authority Council Leaders and Chief Executives have critical roles to play. Chief Executives are responsible for satisfying themselves that the Directors of Children’s Services are fulfilling their managerial responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, including in particular by ensuring that the LSCB is working effectively.
  3. Who has the overseeing brief, of their actions or lack of actions?
    • The statutory guidance, ‘The Roles and Responsibilities of the Lead Member for Children’s Services and the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) (2009)’, states that: DCSs should ensure that all appropriate local authority services engage effectively with the LSCB, and the DCS should always be a member of the LSCB. The DCS will be held to account for the effective working of the LSCB by their Chief Executive and challenged where appropriate by their Lead Member.
    • Chief Executives, as heads of paid service, are responsible for ensuring that DCSs are performing their duties effectively. In particular, Chief Executives should satisfy themselves that DCSs are fulfilling their managerial responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
    • This includes ensuring that the relationship between the Children’s Trust Board and the LSCB is working effectively; that clear responsibility has been assigned within the local authority and among Children’s Trust partners for improving services and outcomes; that targets for improving safeguarding and progress against them are reported to the Local Strategic Partnership; and to form a view on whether things are working effectively in practice.
    • This may entail reaching a judgement on culture, attitude and confidence as well as on structures and processes around assignment of responsibility, governance and other matters.
    • The Leader of the Council should make an assessment of the effectiveness of local governance and partnership arrangements for improving outcomes for children and supporting the best possible standards for safeguarding children.
  4. What sanctions apply where the LSCB under their care functions against the interests of vulnerable children? And:
  5. Who applies those sanctions?
    • LSCBs do not have care functions in the sense that local authorities do. LSCBs’ main functions are to agree how the relevant organisations in each local area co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in that locality and to ensure the effectiveness of what they do.
    • Their work includes agreeing local policies and procedures, ensuring safeguarding training is provided, and undertaking serious and child death reviews. The LSCB is there to hold the LA and its Board partners to account.
    • The Children Act 2004 does not provide for any specific sanctions to be applied to an LSCB that does not discharge its functions appropriately, but there is public and independent scrutiny of LSCB functions through Joint Annual Review inspections, LSCB annual reports, and publication of Serious Case Reviews and other material produced by the LSCB.
    • LSCBs are required to appoint two lay members whose role is to support stronger public engagement in local child safety issues and to challenge the LSCB on the accessibility by the public and children and young people of its plans and procedures.
    • There is a requirement for LSCBs to produce and publish an annual report on the effectiveness of safeguarding in the local area. This report should provide an assessment of the effectiveness of local arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, set against a comprehensive analysis of the local area safeguarding context.
    • It should recognise achievements and the progress that has been made in the local authority area as well as providing a realistic assessment of the challenges that still remain. The report should demonstrate the extent to which the functions of the LSCB as set out in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ are being effectively discharged.
    • Where it is found that a LSCB individual 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 should explain these concerns to those individuals and organisations that need to be aware of the failing and may be able to take action.
    • For example, to the most senior individual(s) in the partner organisation, to relevant monitoring bodies such as Strategic Health Authorities, to the relevant inspectorate, and, if necessary, to the relevant government department.
  6. Since the inception of LSCBs in 2006, how many LSCBs - or their High Signatories - have faced any sanction at all? And:
  7. What was the reason for any sanction as mentioned in point 6, and what was the result.
    • The department does not collect or hold this information.
  8. Specifically, what role does the Chief Superintendent of Police play, within the LSCB?
    • The Chief Officer of Police for a police area part of which falls within the area of the local authority is a statutory member of the board. They should be able to: speak for their organisation with authority; commit their organisation on policy and practice matters; and hold their organisation to account.
  9. What duty/accountability applies to the Chief Superintendent of Police, if Child Protection (or other) police officers refuse to undertake their job, or are prevented from doing their job because of misinformation from other ‘professionals’?
    • Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 the police have a duty to make arrangements to ensure that they exercise their functions having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
    • Each board partner, such as the police, retains their own existing lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by their services. This particular issue is a matter for the individual police force.
    • Whilst the LSCB has a role in co-ordinating 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. The LSCB does not have a power to direct other organisations.
  10. What action can concerned adults take, where they can see that the LSCB is acting against the interests of vulnerable children?

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.