Local safeguarding children boards in Wales are failing to evidence their child protection work and need stronger leadership and accountability.
Inspectors praised professionals for their “very demanding and complex” work, finding that children in Wales are better safeguarded and protected than they were prior to the death of Victoria Climbié in 2003 – after which LSCBs were established.
But their report, published last week, found the boards “have difficulty in demonstrating how they are improving outcomes for children” and are not effectively fulfulling their legal responsibilities, under section 31 of the Children Act 2004.
The inspection identified seven key factors which need to be addressed in order to ensure LSCBs operate more effectively: leadership, accountability, funding, strategic direction, structures, performance management and quality assurance.
Among the recommendations made, LSCBs should be held to account by their member organisations and LSCB partners should establish secure funding arrangements to ensure appropriate levels of funding and resourcing are in place.
Inspectors found that, in practice, LSCBs are not accountable to, and are not being held to account by, statutory bodies and partner agencies, while many LSCBs rely too heavily on “unsustainable” local authority funding. This “further reinforces the misconception that LSCBs are primarily the responsibility of local authorities”, the report stated.
Imelda Richardson, chief inspector of CSSIW, told the BBC: “Leadership should be more effective; [the boards] need to develop strategic direction and there is limited evidence as to how they are engaging with children, young people, parents, carers and wider communities.”
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