The Department for Education has today (21 March) published revised Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance. Ellen Broome, Director of Policy at The Children’s Society, said:
'The government has been very clear that it wants to see simpler and less prescriptive guidance, leaving more decisions to local agencies and individuals.
'We very much welcome steps to make the guidance easier to follow. But more flexibility for local working should be underpinned by greater local accountability and rigour.
'The Children's Society works with thousands of vulnerable children who are affected by this guidance. It will have a real impact on their lives. So we’re pleased the government listened to the concerns of organisations like ours and decided not to abolish the 45-day timescale for completing assessments.
'We know that children often struggle to get the assessments they are entitled to, so keeping these guarantees will prevent further drift.
Views of children
'It is also positive that the focus is back on the needs and views of children themselves. And the guidance provides welcome clarity on the roles of police, education and health services, recognising that safeguarding is everybody’s business. However, we would like to see more on the specific and different needs of older children.
'The unfortunate fact is there are areas of the country that are failing to adequately protect children. There needs to be a very clear set of principles and shared understanding of what a good practice is for everyone involved in child protection.
'There must also be effective ways to hold professionals to account and for partner agencies to challenge poor practices. Only in this way will we ensure children get a consistent service, and avoid creating a postcode lottery of child protection.'
For more information
Please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4423 or by email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.