10th June 2016
On the 20th May 2016 the government published The Children and Social Work Bill, following its announcement in the Queen’s speech on 18th May and its introduction, by Lord Nash, in the House of Lords on 19th May.
On the 26th June 2016 the Wood Review of the Role and Functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, together with the government’s response was published.
The Prime Minister announced on 14 December 2015 that ministers had asked Alan Wood CBE to undertake a fundamental review of the Role and Functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) within the context of local strategic multi-agency working. This included consideration of the child death review process, and how the intended centralisation of serious case reviews would work effectively at local level. Alan submitted his report at the end of March.
The arrangements set out in the Bill do not at present cover local reviews or any provisions relating to LSCBs, but the aim is for further provisions to be introduced during the Bill’s passage, taking into account the findings from the Wood Review.
The Children and Social Work Bill:
Alan Wood’s review:
For ease find a summary of the key points below, the Government plans to:
- Place a new requirement on three key partners (LA, police, health) to make arrangements for working together in a local area, in order to ensure engagement of key partners in a better coordinated, more consistent framework for protecting children.
- Place an expectation on schools and other relevant agencies to cooperate with the new multi-agency area.
- Remove the requirement for local areas to have LSCBs with set memberships. Key partners will take decisions around membership, and be afforded greater flexibility in developing arrangements that respond to local need and in which agencies are better invested.
- Bring forward legislation to underpin new arrangements, supported by statutory guidance and working with inspectorates to establish suitable review arrangements.
- Require the three key sectors to establish governance arrangements, including area covered, agencies involved, a published plan for the arrangements, resourcing, and independent scrutiny;
- Replace the current system of Serious Case Reviews with a system of national and local reviews, and legislate for an independent National Panel responsible for commissioning and publishing reviews and investigating the most serious/complex cases relating to children in circumstances which the Panel considers will lead to national learning;
- Use the planned What Works Centre for children’s social care to analyse and disseminate lessons from both local and national reviews – £20m has been announced to fund both the What Works Centre and the centralisation of serious case reviews;
- Put in place arrangements to transfer national oversight of Child Death Overview Panels from Dept of Education to the Dept of Health, whilst ensuring the focus remains on distilling and embedding learning within the necessary child protection agencies.