Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 – make sure your processes and policies are up to date

21st December 2023

The Department of Education (DfE) has published revised statutory guidance which applies to all organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children and young peoples under the age of 18 in England. Specifically, this guidance applies to all local authorities, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), police, NHS organisations and agencies including the independent sector and all other organisations and agencies as set out at chapter 4. It replaces Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, which underwent a limited factual update in 2020.

The revisions are focused on strengthening multi-agency working across the whole system of help, support and protection for children and their families, keeping a child-centred approach while bringing a whole-family focus, and embedding strong, effective, and consistent multi-agency child protection practice.

The changes within Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 include:

  • Principles for working with parents and carers that centre the importance of building positive, trusting, and co-operative relationships to deliver tailored support to families.
  • Expectations for multi-agency working that apply to all individuals, agencies and organisations working with children and their families, across a range of roles and activities.
  • New national multi-agency child protection standards that set out actions, considerations and behaviours for improved child protection practice and better outcomes for children.

The DfE summary of all the key changes can be found here. There is also an updated Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 statutory framework, which sets out the legislation relevant to safeguarding, which should be read alongside the statutory guidance. Furthermore, Improving practice with children, young people, and families provides advice for local areas on embedding Working Together to Safeguard Children and the children’s social care national framework.

All organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children in England will need to ensure that they reference and comply with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 and the relevant legislation highlighted in the statutory framework for safeguarding. The changes made will need to be reflected in Safeguarding Children and Young People Policies and Procedures.

For help and support with such policy reviews, contact Eve Piffaretti, Partner, or Trish D’ Souza, Legal Director at Blake Morgan.

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