Calderdale leading the way in shake-up of safeguarding children services in the UK

Professor Nick Frost, who was Chair of theCalderdale Safeguarding Children Board
Professor Nick Frost, who was Chair of theCalderdale Safeguarding Children Board

The way children are being protected and kept safe is changing with Calderdale being at the forefront of the new initiative.

The Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board (CSCB) became the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) on April 1.

This change follows the Department for Education’s Working Together to Safeguard Children report from July 2018 which introduced Safeguarding Children Partnerships to replace local Safeguarding Children Boards across the country.

These new legal requirements make local police, councils and health services jointly responsible for keeping children safe, and accountable for how well agencies work together.

It will also increase opportunities to work more closely with the other Safeguarding Partnerships across West Yorkshire in order to improve learning, share resources, increase understanding of the effectiveness of safeguarding activity and ultimately to improve services for children and families.

Progress towards these changes has been taking place since 2018 in Calderdale, as the area was one of 17 in the country to become an ‘early adopter’.

This means that the Council and partners have been working with the National Children’s Bureau to launch the new safeguarding arrangements before being adopted across the rest of the UK.

Professor Nick Frost, who was Chair of the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board, will continue as the Independent Scrutineer of the Safeguarding Children Partnership. Professor Frost said: “I’m pleased to be able to support the good work of the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board and continue my role as independent scrutineer of the Safeguarding Children Partnership.

“I’m confident that going forward, the new partnership will maintain and build on the quality of the work of the Board and continue to effectively support young people.”

Being an ‘early adopter’ has allowed Calderdale to hold consultation events with young people to raise awareness of the new arrangements, talk to local children and families about what support they need, and involve them in shaping the help provided.

The changes have been guided by young people using the feedback gathered in questionnaires at the FaxFest event for young people, which was held at Orange Box in November.

Calderdale Council’s Director for Children and Young People’s Services, Julie Jenkins, said: “The move to a Safeguarding Children Partnership is something we’ve been building up to for almost a year. As an ‘early adopter’ we’ve been able to share our experience of this new approach to partnership working and allow young people to play a big role in shaping our new arrangements.

“Protecting the most vulnerable people in Calderdale is always a priority for the Council and our partners, and by working more closely together we’re able to better identify issues and meet the needs of local children and families.”

The new Partnership will continue to provide safeguarding procedures, local policies and guidance, multi-agency training, performance management and quality assurance functions and investigations into child deaths and serious incidents.