Effectiveness of the new local safeguarding children boards in England: interim report

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) were established under the Children Act 2004 and have the responsibility for co-ordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of the work of partner bodies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (Children Act 2004, Section 14). The functions of the LSCB are as follows: (a) developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area of the authority… (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; (e) undertaking reviews of serious cases and advising the authority and their Board partners on lessons to be learned (The Local Safeguarding Children Board Regulations 2006, Section 5). Research demonstrates that Area Child Protection Committees (ACPCs) had a number of weaknesses, including lack of statutory power, poor leadership, high variations in membership and insufficient resources (Chief Inspector of Social Services et al., 2002; Ward et al., 2004). In trying to understand how successful LSCBs have been in overcoming some of these weaknesses the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health (DoH) have commissioned the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) and the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) at Loughborough University to undertake a large scale research study that explores the effectiveness of LSCBs in England. The final report, which will draw on data from six case study areas, including: interviews with Chairs and DCSs, 60 Board members from social care, health, education, early years the police and others and 180 frontline professionals as well as social network analysis (in two areas) to more fully explore the extent to which LSCBs have been able to engender change and their overall effectiveness. [... continued].