Earlier this month, the iHV submitted a written response to the Department for Education’s Working Together to Safeguard Children: changes to statutory guidance consultation.
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. It 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.
Updating ‘Working Together’ forms a central part of the Government’s plans to transform Children’s Social Care, set out in Stable Homes, Built on Love. The plans aim to strengthen multi-agency working across the whole system of help, support and protection for children and their families, with greater emphasis on earlier help and strong, effective and consistent child protection practice.
The Working Together consultation ran from 21 June 2023 to 6 September 2023 and views were sought from children and young people, parents and carers, and others who are ‘essential to children’s safety and welfare’. Officials at the Department for Education contacted the iHV with a direct request for a response to the proposal that health visitors might become lead professionals for children subject to Child in Need – section 17 arrangements. Our submission is therefore focused on the questions that relate to this proposal.
Our response was formulated with support from members of the iHV Working Together Safeguarding Roundtable Event that was held on 21 August 2023. The group met specifically to consider the impact of the proposed changes to the statutory guidance on health visiting practice. Further practitioner intelligence, and views on the proposed changes, were also collated from direct emails that the iHV received from members and discussions with partners during the consultation period.
What happens next?
The results of the consultation and the department’s response will be published on GOV.UK in Autumn 2023.
With special thanks to Trish Stewart, iHV Expert Advisor for Safeguarding and Associate Director for Safeguarding and Children’s Public Health Nursing at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust; Georgina Mayes, iHV Policy and Quality Lead; and members of the iHV roundtable event for their valuable input and support with this submission.