Working Together to Safeguard Children

Last year, there were over 58,000 children in the UK identified as needing protection from abuse. This distressing statistic is difficult enough to discuss and even more difficult to tackle.

Of course, there is no doubt that we all have a responsibility to protect children from harm of any form, be it violence, exploitation, abuse or neglect, but organisations that come into contact with children are formally inspected and assessed on their safeguarding procedures.

In the context of the government consultation on Working Together to Safeguard Children, it is essential that we address the challenges currently facing children’s services in the UK. Designed to support the new system of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements established by the Children and Social Work Act 2017, the consultation will bring about significant changes in what is expected of organisations when it comes to child safeguarding.

So How Does It Work?

The proposed changes to the statutory guidance will affect how children’s services in a local area work together.

One of the key issues that organisations face, and a crucial element of the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) process, is how to develop effective multi-agency collaboration. Under Joint Targeted Area Inspections, four inspectorates jointly assess how local authorities, the police, health, probation and youth offending services are working together in a designated area to identify, support and protect vulnerable children and young people.

As well as evaluating how effectively these agencies are working together to protect children, the inspectors also look at the multi-agency response to a particular ‘deep dive’ theme. The latest ‘deep dive’ looks at children living with or at risk of neglect.

What is Child Neglect?

Child neglect is a form of child abuse that consists of failing to meet a child’s basic needs.

The Different Types of Neglect

  • Physical Neglect: this includes failing to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or not meeting the safety needs of the child
  • Educational Neglect: not ensuring that a child receives an education
  • Emotional Neglect: failing to meet the child’s social and emotional needs. This could involve ignoring, isolating or humiliating them.
  • Medical Neglect: the failure to provide appropriate healthcare including dental care

Source: Horwath (2007)

Signs of Neglect

Children who are neglected may have:

  • Poor Appearance and Hygiene
  • Health and Development Problems
  • Housing and Family Issues

Source: NSPCC

HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, says “Identifying signs of neglect in middle childhood and adolescence can be very complex, as children at this age experience and respond to neglect differently from younger children. However, at any age, the impact of childhood neglect can be lifelong. It’s crucial that local partner agencies understand the long-term effects of neglect and recognise the need for early and appropriate intervention.”

What Next?

Once the Joint Targeted Area Inspections of the multi-agency responses to child abuse and neglect are completed, an Overview Report will be published which will highlight best practice and set out areas in need of improvement.

Given the proposed changes to the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance, it is crucial that local partner agencies learn from this report so that they can improve future JTAI outcomes and effectively integrate arrangements in their area.

If your organisation could benefit from exploring the JTAI process further, join Reg Hooke on our Improving Outcomes in Joint Targeted Inspections Course on 19th April 2018. Through a range of theory and practical activity, gain unique insights into the next ‘deep dive’ area and leave with a thorough understanding of how new guidelines will impact what is expected of your organisation individually, and jointly to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

What about you?

How do you and your team work towards safeguarding children? Any tips that you can pass on to other people and organisations facing the same difficulties? Tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov

Alternatively, If you would like to talk to member of our team about anything you have read in this blog; including Improving Outcomes in Joint Targeted Inspections on 19th April 2018, please contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected].

What about your organisation?

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from  Improving Outcomes in Joint Targeted Inspections training? We also offer this course as a highly flexible In-House training session, delivered direct to your organisation on a date to suit you. Contact our In-House Training team on [email protected] to find out more.