Local Safeguarding Partnerships - what schools need to know

Sam Preston 14 November 2023 1 min read
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In England, the Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for setting out child protection policy, legislation and statutory guidance for how the child protection system works. Working together to safeguard children is the statutory guidance to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, which directs the practice of all agencies and providers working with children and young people.

As a statutory requirement under this guidance, each local area has a Local Safeguarding Partnership (LSP). Each LSP is responsible for providing strategic leadership to develop methods of coordinating safeguarding services. The legislative duties of the former Local Safeguarding Children's Boards are now transferred to each LSP. They must set out their area's safeguarding arrangements and formally in published them.

This includes:

  • Children who may be at risk of radicalisation;
  • Modern slavery;
  • Trafficking and all forms of exploitation;
  • Children with SEND (including those without statutory Education, Health and Care Plans);
  • Children demonstrating signs of commencing anti-social or criminal behaviour. This includes gang involvement and association with organised crime e.g. county lines, financial exploitation;
  • Children frequently missing from home or care;
  • Children returning home from having been in care;
  • Children that are privately fostered;
  • Children misusing drugs or alcohol;
  • Children whose family circumstances present challenges e.g. domestic abuse, substance misuse, adult mental health issues;
  • Children who are young carers.

Each LSP is a 'safeguarding tri-partnership'. These tri-partnerships consist of Local Authorities, Chief of Police Officers and Integrated Care Systems (previously referred to as Clinical Commissioning Groups CCGs).

Each member agency of the LSP tri-partnership has an equal and joint responsibility for safeguarding arrangements. They are required to formulate arrangements for working together with other 'relevant agencies' to safeguard children and young people in their local area. Each LSP must formally identify the 'relevant agencies' who will then have a statutory duty to cooperate under their published local arrangements. Given their remit, it is highly likely that schools, academies, colleges and other educational establishments will be named as 'relevant agencies' by each LSP.

In order to cooperate, all schools must be aware of and comply with their area's LSP arrangements. This is particularly important when writing school policies and procedures as these documents must align with locality arrangements. Staff should also be made aware of any LSP directives pertinent to their role e.g. Prevent Duty direct reporting requirements.

LSPs are also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency training, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Under the revisions of Working together to safeguard children due to be released shortly, LSPs have the authority to request an audit of safeguarding provision from individual educational settings so it is prudent to have this in place.

Sam Preston

SSS Learning Safeguarding Director

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