Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 came about by the Department for Education as new guidance for people working with children in England.
This guidance updates the previous version, Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013). The 2015 guidance includes changes around:
- How to refer allegations of abuse against those who work with children
- Clarification of requirements on local authorities to notify serious incidents
- The definition of serious harm for the purposes of serious case reviews
Many of the revisions have been made to incorporate legislation or statutory guidance that has been set out over the last few years. This revised document also makes it clear that safeguarding and child protection applies to all schools and colleges whatever their status or constitution.
The 2015 changes:
1. The referral of allegations against those who work with children
Working Together 2015 says that local authorities should have a designated officer or team of officers for the management and oversight of allegations against people that work with children.
The guidance also states that new appointments should be qualified social workers, unless the person being appointed is an existing officer moving between authorities.
2. Notifiable incidents involving the care of a child
This chapter has been updated to clarify when local authorities are required to report incidents to Ofsted and the relevant organisations.
A notifiable incident is an incident involving the care of a child which meets any of the following criteria:
- a child has died, or been seriously harmed and abuse or neglect is known or suspected
- a looked after child has died
- a child in a regulated setting or service has died
3. The definition of serious harm for the purposes of Serious Case Reviews
Seriously harmed includes, but is not limited to, cases where the child has sustained any or all of the following, as a result of abuse or neglect:
- a potentially life-threatening injury
- serious and/or likely long-term impairment of physical or mental health or physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development
In addition, even if a child recovers, this does not mean that serious harm cannot have occurred.
Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. For services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part.
A child-centred approach is needed for services to be effective. They should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.