NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will play a major role in helping York become one of the first adopters of new child safeguarding guidance in the country.
On 4 July the government set new legal requirements designed to better protect at-risk children through improved safeguarding partnerships with CCGs, councils and police forces.
Under the new safeguarding arrangement, Vale of York CCG, North Yorkshire Police and City of York Council will work together to develop local plans to better protect children at risk of abuse or neglect, and to promote children’s welfare.
The new advice is aimed at all professionals who come in to contact with children and families, and includes guidance on current threats to child protection, including sexual and criminal exploitation, gangs and radicalisation.
York is one of 17 areas in England to be early adopters and the three safeguarding partners will work with the National Children’s Bureau to implement the new guidance locally before it is established across the rest of the country.
Early adopter areas, such as York, will develop new and innovative approaches to set up multi-agency safeguarding processes and produce clear learning, which will then be shared with other areas.
The new arrangements include:
• Equal duties placed on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), police forces and local authorities to work together on safeguarding decisions and to promote children’s welfare.
• Placing greater accountability on senior leaders for each agency: the CCG’s accountable officer, the council’s chief executive and the police force’s chief officer.
• Strengthening expectations on schools and other educational organisations to ensure that they must co-operate with the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
• Extending safeguarding responsibilities to sport clubs and religious organisations in recognition of their important role in working with and protecting children and young people.
• New duties on CCGs and councils to carry out reviews of child deaths, instead of children’s services; in line with evidence that only a small number of these incidents relate to safeguarding concerns.
• Better reviews of complex or nationally important cases, and improving identification of the lessons learnt from these, led by the new Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, chaired by Edward Timpson, and replacing Serious Case Reviews.
Michelle Carrington, Vale of York CCG’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing and Safeguarding Lead, said: “The safety and welfare of all children is of the utmost importance and the CCG will carry out this new duty as a local safeguarding lead with vigour and determination.
“The CCG is proud to have the opportunity, along with City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police, to shape how to better protect at-risk children from abuse and neglect, and promote child welfare at a local level.”
Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, Head of Safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said: “The police play a key role in protecting children from harm but we cannot do it alone. Sharing information and working together with all of our partner agencies is vital and this latest partnership can only enhance our joint working and more importantly, increase protection for children at risk.”