Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership - Role and Function


Significant changes have been made to multi agency working as part of the Children and Social Work Act 2017. The Act abolishes local safeguarding children boards and creates new duties and a system of collective accountability for ICBs, local authorities and police to make arrangements locally to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area.


Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership


This chapter was reviewed and updated throughout in March 2020 and should be read in its entirety.

1. Introduction

A safeguarding partner in relation to a local authority area in England is defined under the Children Act 2004 (as amended by the Children and Social Work Act, 2017) as: (a) the local authority (b) a Integrated Care Board for an area any part of which falls within the local authority area (c) the chief officer of police for an area any part of which falls within the local authority area. The Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership will be led by the 4 statutory partners of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, Dorset Council, Dorset Integrated Care Board and Dorset Police and will cover two local authority areas.

The four safeguarding partners in Dorset each agree on ways to co-ordinate their safeguarding services; act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents.

2. Purpose

The purpose of the Safeguarding Partnership is to support and enable local organisations and agencies to work together in a system where:

  • Children are safeguarded and their welfare promoted;
  • Partner organisations and agencies collaborate, share and co-own the vision for how to achieve improved outcomes for vulnerable children;
  • Organisations and agencies challenge appropriately and hold one another to account effectively;
  • There is early identification and analysis of new safeguarding issues and emerging threats;
  • Learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and implement changes to practice;
  • Information is shared effectively to facilitate more accurate and timely decision making for children and families.

In order to work together effectively, the safeguarding partners with other local organisations and agencies should develop processes that:

  • Facilitate and drive action beyond usual institutional and agency constraints and boundaries;
  • Ensure the effective protection of children is founded on practitioners developing lasting and trusting relationships with children and their families.

3. Independent Scrutiny

Each Safeguarding Partnership must have independent scrutiny.

The role of independent scrutiny is to provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of multi-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in a local area.

This independent scrutiny is part of a wider system which includes the independent inspectorates' single assessment of the individual safeguarding partners and the Joint Targeted Area Inspections.

The Safeguarding Partners across Dorset have ensured that scrutiny is objective, acts as a constructive critical friend and promotes reflection to drive continuous improvement.

A key role of the independent scrutineer is to consider how effectively local arrangements are working for children and families as well as for practitioners, and how well the Safeguarding Partners are providing strong leadership and agree with the Safeguarding Partners how this will be reported.   Locally, this is reported via Safeguarding Partnership Annual Reports.

4. Membership

Across Dorset the Safeguarding Partners have equal and joint responsibility for local safeguarding arrangements. Should the lead representatives delegate their functions they remain accountable for any actions or decisions taken on behalf of their agency. If delegated, it is the responsibility of the lead representative to identify and nominate a senior officer in their agency to have responsibility and authority for ensuring full participation with these arrangements. The representatives, or those they delegate authority to, should be able to:

  • Speak with authority for the Safeguarding Partner they represent;
  • Take decisions on behalf of their organisation or agency and commit them on policy, resourcing and practice matters;
  • Hold their own organisation or agency to account on how effectively they participate and implement the local arrangements.

Relevant agencies are those organisations and agencies whose involvement the Safeguarding Partners consider is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children.

A list of relevant agencies is set out in The Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Relevant Agency (England) Regulations 2018.

Members will be those with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation. They should be able to:

  • Speak for their organisation with authority;
  • Commit their organisation on policy and practice matters;
  • Hold their organisation to account and hold others to account.

5. Integration with other Forums

To be effective, safeguarding partnership arrangements should link to other strategic partnership work happening locally to support children and families. This will include other public boards including Health and Wellbeing Boards, Adult Safeguarding Boards and Community Safety Partnerships.

6. Annual Report

In order to bring transparency for children, families and all practitioners about the activity undertaken, the Safeguarding Partners must publish a report at least once in every 12-month period. The report must set out what they have done as a result of the arrangements, including on child safeguarding practice reviews, and how effective these arrangements have been in practice.

In addition, the report should also include:

  • Evidence of the impact of the work of the Safeguarding Partners and relevant agencies, including training, on outcomes for children and families from early help to looked-after children and care leavers;
  • An analysis of any areas where there has been little or no evidence of progress on agreed priorities;
  • Record of decisions and actions taken by the partners in the report's period (or planned to be taken) to implement the recommendations of any local and national child safeguarding practice reviews, including any resulting improvements;
  • Ways in which the partners have sought and utilised feedback from children and families to inform their work and influence service provision.
Safeguarding Partners will ensure the report is widely available on their websites.

7. Voice of Children, Young People and Families

Capturing the voice of children, young people and their families will enable the Safeguarding Partners to hear about the experience and impact of multi-agency support, improve understanding about the safeguarding context in the local area and shape priorities to help keep children and young people safe.

The Pan Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership will seek assurance on how individual agencies regularly seek and act upon feedback from children and young people. Resource has been built in to the proposed infrastructure to develop engagement and participation activities to explore new ideas for directly and indirectly involving children and young people in the work of the partnership.