2. Roles and Responsibilities of the LSCB
Last updated 12/11/2018
UNTIL THE MULTI-AGENCY SAFEGAURDING ARRANGEMENTS (WORKING TOGETHER 2018) COME INTO EFFECT IN SEPTEMBER 2019, THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LSCB WILL REMAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 13 of the Children Act 2004 requires each local authority to establish a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for their area and specifies the organisations and individuals (other than the local authority) that should be represented on LSCBs.
Statutory objectives and functions of LSCBs
An LSCB must be established for every local authority area. The LSCB has a range of roles and statutory functions including developing local safeguarding policy and procedures and scrutinising local arrangements. The statutory objectives and functions of the LSCB are described in the two boxes below. Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) HM Govt
Statutory objectives and functions of LSCBs
Section 14 of the Children Act 2004 sets out the objectives of LSCBs, which are:
(a) to coordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area; and
(b) to ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for those purposes.
Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006 sets out that the functions of the LSCB, in relation to the above objectives under section 14 of the Children Act 2004, are as follows:
1(a) developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area of the authority, including policies and procedures in relation to:
(i) the action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
(ii) training of persons who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
(iii) recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
(iv) investigation of allegations concerning persons who work with children;
(v) safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered;
(vi) cooperation with neighbouring children’s services authorities and their Board partners;
(b) communicating to persons and bodies in the area of the authority the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, raising their awareness of how this can best be done and encouraging them to do so;
(c) monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of what is done by the authority and their Board partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advising them on ways to improve;
(d) participating in the planning of services for children in the area of the authority; and
(e) undertaking reviews of serious cases and advising the authority and their Board partners on lessons to be learned.
Regulation 5(2) which relates to the LSCB Serious Case Reviews function and regulation 6 which relates to the LSCB Child Death functions are covered in chapter 4 of this guidance.
Regulation 5(3) provides that an LSCB may also engage in any other activity that facilitates, or is conductive to, the achievement of its objectives.
In order to fulfil its statutory functions under Regulation 5 an LSCB should use data and, as a minimum, should:
- assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families, including early help;
- assess whether LSCB partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations set out in chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.;
- quality assure practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned; and
- monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency training, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.1 2
Local authorities and Board partners should provide the LSCB with data to enable it to fulfil its statutory functions effectively.
LSCBs do not commission or deliver direct frontline services though they may provide training. While LSCBs do not have the power to direct other organisations they do have a role in making clear where improvement is needed. Each Board partner retains its own existing line of accountability for safeguarding.
1 The Children’s Safeguarding Performance Information Framework provides a mechanism to help do this by setting out some of the questions a LSCB should consider.
2 Research has shown that multi-agency training in particular is useful and valued by professionals in developing a shared understanding of child protection and decision making. Carpenter et al (2009). The Organisation, Outcomes and Costs of Interagency Training to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. London: Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Statutory Board partners and relevant persons and bodies
Section 13 of the Children Act 2004, as amended, sets out that an LSCB must include at least one representative of the local authority and each of the other Board partners set out below (although two or more Board partners may be represented by the same person). Board partners who must be included in the LSCB are:
district councils in local government areas which have them;
the chief officer of police;
the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies;
the Youth Offending Team;
NHS England and clinical commissioning groups;
NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts all or most of whose hospitals, establishments and facilities are situated in the local authority area;
the governor or director of any secure training centre in the area of the authority; and
the governor or director of any prison in the area of the authority which ordinarily detains children.
The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 amended sections 13 and 14 of the Children Act 2004 and provided that the local authority must take reasonable steps to ensure that the LSCB includes two lay members representing the local community.
Section 13(4) of the Children Act 2004, as amended, provides that the local authority must take reasonable steps to ensure the LSCB includes representatives of relevant persons and bodies of such descriptions as may be prescribed. Regulation 3A of the LSCB Regulations prescribes the following persons and bodies:
the governing body of a maintained school;
the proprietor of a non-maintained special school;
the proprietor of a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or an academy; and
the governing body of a further education institution the main site of which is situated in the authority's area.
All schools (including independent schools, academies and free schools) have duties in relation to safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. Local authorities should take reasonable steps to ensure that the LSCB includes representatives from all types of school in their area. A system of representation should be identified to enable all schools to receive information and feed back comments to their representatives on the LSCB.
The LSCB should work with the Local Family Justice Board. They should also work with the health and well-being board, informing and drawing on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
In exceptional circumstances an LSCB can cover more than one local authority. Where boundaries between LSCBs and their partner organisations are not coterminous, such as with health organisations and police authorities, LSCBs should collaborate as necessary on establishing common policies and procedures and joint ways of working.
Members of a LSCB should be people with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation. They should be able to:
- speak for their organisation with authority;
- commit their organisation on policy and practice matters; and
- hold their own organisation to account and hold others to account
The LSCB should either include on its Board, or be able to draw on appropriate expertise and advice from, frontline professionals from all the relevant sectors. This includes a designated doctor and nurse, the Director of Public Health, Principal Child and Family Social Worker and the voluntary and community sector, and any to whom the local authority has delegated children’s social care functions. Where applicable, LSCBs should also be able to draw on advice from those appointed to support local authorities to move out of intervention.
Lay members will operate as full members of the LSCB, participating as appropriate on the Board itself and on relevant committees. Lay members should help to make links between the LSCB and community groups, support stronger public engagement in local child safety issues and an improved public understanding of the LSCB's child protection work. A local authority may pay lay members.
The Lead Member for Children’s Services should be a participating observer of the LSCB. In practice this means routinely attending meetings as an observer and receiving all its written reports.
LSCB Chair, accountability and resourcing
In order to provide effective scrutiny, the LSCB should be independent. It should not be subordinate to, nor subsumed within, other local structures.
Every LSCB should have an independent chair who can hold all agencies to account.
It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) to appoint or remove the LSCB chair with the agreement of a panel including LSCB partners and lay members. The Chief Executive, drawing on other LSCB partners and, where appropriate, the Lead Member will hold the Chair to account for the effective working of the LSCB.
The LSCB Chair should work closely with all LSCB partners and particularly with the Director of Children’s Services. The Director of Children’s Services has the responsibility within the local authority, under section 18 of the Children Act 2004, for improving outcomes for children, local authority children’s social care functions and local cooperation arrangements for children’s services.
 Department for Education statutory guidance on The roles and responsibilities of the Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member for Children’s Services (2013) expands on this role.
The Chair must publish an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the local area. The annual report should be published in relation to the preceding financial year and should fit with local agencies’ planning, commissioning and budget cycles. The report should be submitted to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, the local police and crime commissioner and the Chair of the health and well-being board.
 This is a statutory requirement under section 14A of the Children Act 2004.
The report should provide a rigorous and transparent assessment of the performance and effectiveness of local services. It should identify areas of weakness, the causes of those weaknesses and the action being taken to address them as well as other proposals for action. The report should include lessons from reviews undertaken within the reporting period (see chapter 4 and chapter 5). Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.
LSCBs should conduct regular assessments on the effectiveness of Board partners’ responses to child sexual exploitation and include in the report information on the outcome of these assessments. This should include an analysis of how the LSCB partners have used their data to promote service improvement for vulnerable children and families, including in respect of sexual abuse. The report should also include appropriate data on children missing from care, and how the LSCB is addressing the issue. Where the LSCB has a secure establishment within its area, the report should include a review of the use of restraint within that establishment and the findings of the review should be reported to the Youth Justice Board.
The report should also list the contributions made to the LSCB by partner agencies and details of what the LSCB has spent, including on Child Death Reviews, Serious Case Reviews and other specific expenditure such as learning events or training. All LSCB member organisations have an obligation to provide LSCBs with reliable resources (including finance) that enable the LSCB to be strong and effective. Members should share the financial responsibility for the LSCB in such a way that a disproportionate burden does not fall on a small number of partner agencies.
All LSCB Chairs should have access to training and development opportunities, including peer networking. They should also have an LSCB business manager and other discrete support as is necessary for them, and the LSCB, to perform effectively.
Chapter 1 (Working Together 2015) sets out how effective sharing of information between professionals and local agencies is essential for effective service provision. Every LSCB should play a strong role in supporting information sharing between and within organisations and addressing any barriers to information sharing. This should include ensuring that a culture of information sharing is developed and supported as necessary by multi-agency training.
In addition, the LSCB can require a person or body to comply with a request for information. This can only take place where the information is essential to carrying out LSCB statutory functions. Any request for information about individuals must be 'necessary' and 'proportionate' to the reasons for the request. LSCBs should be mindful of the burden of requests and should explain why the information is needed.
 Section 14B of the Children Act 2004
Child Death Reviews
The Regulations relating to child death reviews
The Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) functions in relation to child deaths are set out in Regulation 6 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006, made under section 14(2) of the Children Act 2004. The LSCB is responsible for:
a) collecting and analysing information about each death with a view to identifying -
(i) any case giving rise to the need for a review mentioned in regulation 5(1)(e);
(ii) any matters of concern affecting the safety and welfare of children in the area of the authority;
(iii) any wider public health or safety concerns arising from a particular death or from a pattern of deaths in that area; and
(b) putting in place procedures for ensuring that there is a coordinated response by the authority, their Board partners and other relevant persons to an unexpected death.
Each death of a child is a tragedy and enquiries should keep an appropriate balance between forensic and medical requirements and supporting the family at a difficult time. Professionals supporting parents and family members should assure them that the objective of the child death review process is not to allocate blame, but to learn lessons. The purpose of the child death review is to help prevent further such child deaths, and families may find it helpful to read the child death review leaflet.
 Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths leaflet. The child death review – a guide for parents and carers
The responsibility for determining the cause of death rests with the coroner or the doctor who signs the medical certificate of the cause of death (and therefore is not the responsibility of the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP)).
Responsibilities of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)
The LSCB is responsible for ensuring that a review of each death of a child normally resident in the LSCB’s area is undertaken by a CDOP. The CDOP will have a fixed core membership drawn from organisations represented on the LSCB with flexibility to co-opt other relevant professionals to discuss certain types of death as and when appropriate. The CDOP should include a professional from public health as well as child health. It should be chaired by the LSCB Chair’s representative. That individual should not be involved directly in providing services to children and families in the area. One or more LSCBs can choose to share a CDOP. CDOPs responsible for reviewing deaths from larger populations are better able to identify significant recurrent contributory factors.
Other LSCBs or local organisations which have had involvement in the case should cooperate in jointly planning and undertaking the child death review. In the case of a looked after child, the LSCB for the area of the local authority looking after the child should take lead responsibility for conducting the child death review, involving other LSCBs with an interest or whose lead agencies have had involvement.
The LSCB Chair should decide who will be the designated person to whom the death notification and other data on each death should be sent. LSCBs should use sources available, such as professional contacts or the media, to find out about cases when a child who is normally resident in their area dies abroad. The LSCB should inform the CDOP of such cases so that the deaths of these children can be reviewed
 List of people designated by the CDOP to receive notifications of child death information.
FOLLOWING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MULTI-AGENCY SAFEGUARDING ARRANGEMENTS, THE FOLLOWING WILL BE THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LOCAL PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENTS FOR SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN: (WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN 2018)
Nothing is more important than children’s welfare. Children who need help and protection deserve high quality and effective support as soon as a need is identified.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE) 2018 states: We want a system that responds to the needs and interests of children and families and not the other way around. In such a system, practitioners2 will be clear about what is required of them individually, and how they need to work together in partnership with others.
Whilst it is parents and carers who have primary care for their children, local authorities, working with partner organisations and agencies, have specific duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. The Children Acts of 1989 and 2004 set out specific duties: section 17 of the Children Act 1989 puts a duty on the local authority to provide services to children in need in their area, regardless of where they are found; section 47 of the same Act requires local authorities to undertake enquiries if they believe a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm. The Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member for Children’s Services in local authorities are the key points of professional and political accountability, with responsibility for the effective delivery of these functions.
These duties placed on the local authority can only be discharged with the full co-operation of other partners, many of whom have individual duties when carrying out their functions under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (see chapter 2). Under section 10 of the same Act, the local authority is under a duty to make arrangements to promote co-operation between itself and organisations and agencies to improve the wellbeing of local children (see chapter 1). This co-operation should exist and be effective at all levels of an organisation, from strategic level through to operational delivery.
The Children Act 2004, as amended by the Children and Social Work Act 2017, strengthens this already important relationship by placing new duties on key agencies in a local area. Specifically the police, clinical commissioning groups and the local authority are under a duty to make arrangements to work together, and with other partners locally, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area.
Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing impairment of children's health or development
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
A child-centred approach to safeguarding
This child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. A child centred approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families.
All practitioners should follow the principles of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 - that state that the welfare of children is paramount and that they are best looked after within their families, with their parents playing a full part in their lives, unless compulsory intervention in family life is necessary.
Children may be vulnerable to neglect and abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of different forms, including: sexual, physical and emotional abuse; neglect; exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. Whatever the form of abuse or neglect, practitioners should put the needs of children first when determining what action to take.
Children are clear about what they want from an effective safeguarding system. These asks from children should guide the behaviour of practitioners.
Children have said that they need:
· vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them
· understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon
· stability: to be able to develop an ongoing stable relationship of trust with those helping them
· respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not
· information and engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans
· explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response
· support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family
· advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views
· protection: to be protected against all forms of abuse and discrimination and the right to special protection and help if a refugee
Anyone working with children should see and speak to the child; listen to what they say; take their views seriously; and work with them and their families collaboratively when deciding how to support their needs. Special provision should be put in place to support dialogue with children who have communication difficulties, unaccompanied children, refugees and those children who are victims of modern slavery and/or trafficking. This child-centred approach is supported by: • the Children Act 1989. This Act requires local authorities to give due regard to a child’s wishes when determining what services to provide under section 17 and before making decisions about action to be taken to protect individual children under section 47. These duties complement requirements relating to the wishes and feelings of children who are, or may be, looked-after (section 22(4)), including those who are provided with accommodation under section 20 and children taken into police protection (section 46(3)(d))
A co-ordinated approach – safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility
Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe. No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances and, if children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
In order that organisations, agencies and practitioners collaborate effectively, it is vital that everyone working with children and families, including those who work with parents/carers, understands the role they should play and the role of other practitioners. They should be aware of, and comply with, the published arrangements set out by the local safeguarding partners.
This statutory guidance sets out key roles for individual organisations and agencies to deliver effective arrangements for safeguarding. It is essential that these arrangements are strongly led and promoted at a local level, specifically by local area leaders, including local authority Chief Executives and Lead Members of Children’s Services, Mayors, the Police and Crime Commissioner and through the commitment of chief officers in all organisations and agencies, in particular those representing the three safeguarding partners. These are Directors of Children’s Services, Chief Constables of police and Accountable Officers and/or Chief Nurses of clinical commissioning groups.
The local authority and its social workers have specific roles and responsibilities to lead the statutory assessment of children in need (section 17, Children Act 1989) and to lead child protection enquiries (section 47, Children Act 1989). It is crucial that social workers are supported through effective supervision arrangements by practice leaders4 and practice supervisors, as defined under the National Assessment and Accreditation system, who have the lead role in overseeing the quality of social work practice. Designated Principal Social Workers have a key role in developing the practice and the practice methodology that underpins direct work with children and families.