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safeguarding reform

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Reform

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides for the replacement of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with a more flexible system of multi-agency arrangements, led by the three safeguarding partners as outlined below:

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 provides the statutory guidance for the three safeguarding partners, who will be required to make joint safeguarding decisions to meet the needs of local children and families. They will jointly be responsible for setting out local plans to keep children safe and improve their wellbeing, and will be accountable for how well agencies work together to protect children from abuse and neglect. They will also be responsible for identifying serious child safeguarding cases which raise issues of importance in relation to the area and review cases where they consider it appropriate.

The law underpinning the new safeguarding arrangements came into effect on 29 June 2018. Local areas in England had up to 12 months from this date to develop and publish their arrangements.

All local areas have now published their plans and all local arrangements should now be implemented.

More information on this phase is available in the Working Together: transitional guidance.



Published Arrangements 

Published safeguarding partnership arrangements can be found on the website for each local arrangement.

Bexley Safeguarding Partnership for Children and Young People were the first safeguarding partnership to publish and implement their arrangements in October 2018. See their blog on ‘Two days in the life of Bexley Safeguarding Partnership for Children and Young People’ here.


Early Adopters Programme

The Early Adopters are a group of local areas that are developing new and innovative approaches to establishing their new arrangements and developing solutions to implementation challenges. The purpose of the programme is to understand and analyse the key challenges and opportunities emerging from the reform, and share this learning nationally.

Learn more about the Early Adopters Programme


Regional Events

We ran a series of regional events on the new multi-agency arrangements in November 2018 and March 2019. Presentations are below.

November 2018 Event Presentations:

Bexley – Early Adopters

Calderdale – Early Adopters

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

National Children’s Bureau

March 2019 Event Presentations:

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel presentation slides for regional events

MK DfE Event Derby 050319

NCB SEAF Update DfE Regional Events 2019

North Lincolnshire Early Adopters for DfE

Nottinghamshire Slides DfE

Salford presentation

Tameside MASA Presentation


Learning Summaries and Case Studies

If you are developing your safeguarding partnership, or just interested in the work of the Programme, we will be posting learning summaries and case studies on this page which may be helpful in thinking about your own transition to new arrangements.

Peer Challenge Model – Yorkshire and Humber:

There is a long history of children’s services peer challenge in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Supported by Directors of Children’s Services they have completed nearly 40 challenges over a 5 year period.

They have started to develop variations on their original peer challenge business process to respond to emerging agendas and needs. One model, which has proved popular, allows several organisations/systems to engage in peer challenge at the same time.

This model has three components:

This model has been applied to the children’s mental health agenda; child sexual exploitation (CSE) and domestic abuse, customising self-assessments according to the focus.

The introduction of new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements has created a further opportunity to utilise this peer review business process. With some financial support from the Local Government Association (LGA) they have developed a self-assessment tool and refined their business process.

Whilst it was originally envisaged that the process might take place prior to the implementation of new arrangements, there has been greater interest in it being used as a reflective tool – perhaps six months in. There has also been some debate about the potential for the model to be repeated annually as part of the independent scrutiny of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. They continue to reflect on this possibility.

See the details of the tool here: