The Department of Health is working with the Department for Education to integrate health reforms with proposals from Eileen Munro’s review of child protection.
The departments have asked the chief nursing officer, Dame Christine Beasley, to lead on the development of an accountability framework for the NHS contribution to safeguarding children.
“The work will set out the proposed roles and responsibilities of NHS bodies, including the NHS Commissioning Board, clinical commissioning groups, NHS and independent sector providers, taking account also of the role of the Care Quality Commission,” a statement by the DH and DfE said.
Working across the departments, the chief nursing officer will develop and test proposals with stakeholders, including members of the health and well-being boards and other local partnerships.
The work will take Munro’s other recommendations into consideration, such as proposed reforms to Working Together to Safeguard Children and plans for future inspection arrangements. The Care Quality Commission is being consulted in this area.
The proposals will be presented to a wider stakeholder group for discussion in January 2012 and, depending on the progress of legislation, will be put to ministers for adoption and action in Spring 2012, the statement said.
From January 2012, the departments will also examine how sectors can work together more effectively to deliver early intervention services to children and families. However, the government has yet to make a decision on whether it will create a duty on organisations to provide early intervention, as recommended by the Munro Review. Originally the government had set September as the deadline for making a decision.
Jeanette Pugh, head of safeguarding at the DfE who is overseeing the implementation of the Munro recommendations, told Community Care the DfE had a round table meeting with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and other interested parties earlier this month on the topic. However, although a lot of different views have been expressed, no final conclusions had been made, she said. Another discussion is due to take place before the end of the year.
Pugh also announced that Coventry would undertake piloting of the SCIE systems learning approach to a case that met the statutory threshold for holding a serious case review. She said the SCIE approach has yet to be tested under such conditions and needed to be before the government could make a decision on how to move ahead with the reform of the SCR system.
Professor Eileen Munro has also been commissioned by the government to publish an interim report on progress made on the implementation of her recommendations about child protection in England. Due to be published in the Spring, it will include a summary of the progress made and unexpected challenges being faced.
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