DCSF: New safeguarding unit will engage with social workers

The National Safeguarding Delivery Unit will engage directly with practitioners to ensure its oversight of child protection is informed by the front line, the government said today.

In its response to Lord Laming’s child protection review, which called for the creation of a unit to monitor safeguarding and support improvements, the government said the unit would “act as a bridge between national policy development and local implementation”.

Engagement with social workers

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said the unit would reflect the views of the front line through seconding practitioners into the unit of developing links with a “family” of social workers, whom it would consult over the effectiveness of policy.

The unit – which will be staffed by civil servants from the DCSF, Home Office, Department of Health and Ministry of Justice and local and voluntary sector experts – will start work on 1 July and produce a detailed work programme in September 2009.

The DCSF said its other core functions would be to:-

  • Support the development of strategic priorities and related national targets on protecting children.
  • Produce comparative analysis on variations in local performance.
  • Identify and promote good practice and improve co-ordination and coverage of various sources of support.
  • Identify where more support is needed and commission tools to meet needs.
  • Develop or commission a small number of practice reports to help practitioners, for instance on the operation of thresholds across the country.
  • Support Roger Singleton, the government’s new chief adviser on the safety of children, in producing an annual public report to Parliament on safeguarding.

Singleton’s role

The DCSF said Singleton would not head up the unit but would advise it on its priorities and scrutinise its performance.

It added that the unit would also work through regional government offices to support and challenge local safeguarding children boards on the quality of serious case reviews and negotiate with councils on appropriate local targets for safeguarding.

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