Statutory guidance

Working together to safeguard children

Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Applies to England


Working together to safeguard children 2018

Working together to safeguard children: statutory framework


This guidance is for:

  • local authority chief executives
  • directors of children’s services
  • safeguarding partners
  • teachers and education staff
  • social workers
  • health service professionals
  • adult services
  • police officers
  • voluntary and community sector workers in contact with children and families

It applies to:

  • local authorities
  • all schools

A version of the guidance for young people and a separate version suitable for younger children are also available for practitioners to share.

Statutory guidance is issued by law - you must follow it unless there’s a good reason not to.

Working together to safeguard children 2018

This is a factual update to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 to reflect recent changes to legislation, including:

  • Integrated Care Boards: from 1 July 2022, integrated care boards have replaced clinical commissioning groups as a result of the Health and Care Act 2022
  • Public Health England: has now been replaced by the UK Health Security Agency and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), which is part of the Department of Health and Social Care, and by the UK Health Security Agency. The Chief Public Health Nurse role has transferred to OHID
  • Domestic Abuse Act 2021: references to the Domestic Abuse Bill should be read as the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • UK GDPR: references to the GDPR should be read as the UK GDPR. The UK GDPR is the retained EU law version of the GDPR. The UK GDPR sits alongside the Data Protection Act 2018

Statutory framework

The updated statutory framework sets out the legislation relevant to safeguarding and it should be read alongside the statutory guidance.

Published 26 March 2015
Last updated 1 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Page updated to reflect recent changes in legislation in relation to 'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018'.

  2. Updated 'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018' with factual changes in relation to information sharing, homelessness duty and references to domestic abuse. Removed 'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015' and 'Working Together: transitional guidance'.

  3. Updated 'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018' to reflect how local authorities should notify the Child Safeguarding Panel.

  4. Corrected a small error in chapter 5, footnote 99.

  5. Added the Working Together 2018 version, transitional arrangements, statutory framework, and introductory letters from DfE and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.

  6. Minor amendment to the guidance to add the definition of child sexual exploitation.

  7. First published.