The UK child protection system is laudable

The government plans to scrap local safeguarding children boards, which have improved the way agencies work together

According to koodakpress، As the government ploughs ahead with plans to abolish local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) in England, turning over the ground on which good child protection has flourished and helped to nurture fertile multi-professional and multi-agency working, it is urgent to reflect on what will be discarded.


The boards’ genesis goes back to the mid-1970s and the response to the inquiry following the death of Maria Colwell. The inquiry identified concerns about how agencies and professionals worked together – for Maria it was about social services, health, school, education welfare, housing, police and the NSPCC.


The inquiry highlighted the complexity of seeking to protect and assist children and families when different agencies each hold partial information; how difficult it is to build a full picture of what is happening; and how assumptions about what other workers and agencies might be doing can leave gaps in responding to concerns. The report also recognized the realities of trying to work with families and predicting what might happen in the future to a child.


The Colwell inquiry gave rise to what eventually became LSCBs. There were also the first iterations of what was to become the national Working Together statutory child protection guidance for all who work with children. The original statutory guidance was brief and focused – and as a social worker and then team manager I was able to carry it around in my work bag (along with key social services and social security legislation).


Over the past 40 years, further inquiries have led to the extension of statutory guidance and the growth of government directives. This has had its strengths in seeking to shape and promote good practice, but it has also created complexity that needs some simplification. One of the dangers of each inquiry and serious case review is that they generate more and more procedures, which create constipated organizations and undermine reflective practice.


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