Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023
Working Together to Safeguard Children is the multi-agency statutory guidance that sets out expectations for the system that provides help, support and protection for children and their families. Working Together applies at every level from senior leaders to those in direct practice with families, and across all agencies and organisations that come into contact with children. It gives practitioners clarity about what is required of them individually and how they need to work in partnership with each other to deliver effective services. It was last revised in 2018, with a limited factual update in 2020.
In February 2023, the government published Stable Homes, Built on Love, which set out an ambitious plan to transform children’s social care, committing to support every child to grow up in a safe, stable and loving home. Updating Working Together is central to delivering on the first phase of this transformation journey, implementing strengthened multi-agency working across the whole system of help, support and protection for children and their families, re-balancing the system towards help at an early point, and ensuring strong, effective and consistent child protection practice.
Consultation closes 6 September 2023
Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners
This consultation seeks views on a revision to non-statutory guidance: Information sharing advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (“Information Sharing Advice”).
The Information Sharing Advice:
1. outlines the responsibilities of agencies and organisations and the golden rules to promote effective information sharing;
2. summarises the key responsibilities of professionals who share and process personal information and/or have responsibility for deciding how to process it; and
3. explains the lawful bases that may be most appropriate for sharing personal information in a safeguarding context.
We are asking for your views on the revised Information Sharing Advice to ensure that it provides more clarity, is easily understood, and instils confidence to share information appropriately amongst practitioners.
Consultation closes 6 September 2023
Domestic Homicide Review Legislation
The Government are seeking views on amending the Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) legislation in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (DVCVA) to ensure a DHR is commissioned when the death has, or appears to have, resulted from domestic abuse as defined by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Currently, the DVCVA 2004 specifies that a DHR should be considered in instances where ‘the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by either:
- a person to whom he was related or with whom he was or had been in an intimate personal relationship
- a member of the same household as him’
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 introduced a statutory definition of domestic abuse that incorporates a range of abuses beyond ‘violence, abuse and neglect’ to include controlling or coercive behaviour, emotional and economic abuse. Explicitly including the term domestic abuse (DA) would ensure that DHRs continue to contribute to our understanding of DA, and capture learnings to prevent fatal DA.
They are also seeking views on amending the term ‘homicide’ in DHRs to reflect the range of the deaths which fall within scope of a DHR. The statutory guidance was updated in 2016 to clarify that DHRs could be conducted for suicides by victims where the circumstances give rise to concern, for example it emerges that there was controlling or coercive behaviour in the relationship. This was in recognition of the number of victims who die by suicide linked to DA. The term ‘homicide’ in a DHR can be confusing and problematic for families after their loved one has died by suicide linked to DA. The term ‘homicide’ is also not applicable when conducting a review into deaths ruled as ‘unexplained’ or ‘unexpected’ by a coroner.
Consultation closes 11 August 2023