2.2 Agency Roles and Responsibilities

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An awareness and appreciation of the role of others is essential for effective collaboration between organisations and their practitioners.


This chapter outlines the main responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children of all statutory organisations, voluntary agencies and professionals who work with children.


It should be read in conjunction with the details set out in Chapter 4 Working together to safeguard children 2023: statutory guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Statutory Duties


All organisations that work with children share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare. For many organisations, this is underpinned by statutory duties.


Children's Services have a number of specific duties to organise and plan services for children; these are set out in more detail in the Statutory Framework for Child Protection 


Section 11 of the Children's Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations, agencies and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

  •  Local Authorities and district councils that provide children’s and other types of services, including children’s and adult social care services, public health, housing, sport, culture and leisure services, licensing authorities and youth services 
  • NHS organisations and agencies and the independent sector, including NHS England and Integrated Care Boards, NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and General Practitioners
  • the police, including police and crime commissioners and the chief officer of each police force in England and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in London
  • the British Transport Police
  • the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies (The section 11 duty is conferred on the Community Rehabilitation Companies by virtue of contractual arrangements entered into with the Secretary of State)
  • Governors/Directors of Prisons and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs)
  • Directors of Secure Training Centres (STCs)
  • Principals of Secure Colleges
  • Youth Offending Teams/Services (YOTs)



Local Authorities also have duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in relation to its functions under section 175 of the Education Act 2002.


As well as the education service provided by the local authority, schools (both maintained and independent) and Further Education institutions, including 6th form colleges, have duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils who are under 18. Guidance about these education duties is contained in  Keeping Children Safe in Education


Early years services include children's centres, nurseries, childminders, preschools, playgroups, and holiday and out-of-school schemes. All early years providers must:

  • Take necessary steps to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Promote the good health of children, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection, and take appropriate action when they are ill;
  • Manage children's behaviour effectively and in a manner appropriately for their stage of development and particular individual needs; and
  • Ensure that adults looking after children, or having unsupervised access to them, are suitable to do so.

These general welfare requirements are set out in detail in Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings (September 2019).

The current statutory guidance 'Early Education and child care: Statutory guidance for local authorities (September 2014)' was last updated in February 2019.


The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) also has a duty under S12(1) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved in family proceedings in which their welfare is, or may be, in question.



Common Features


Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 those listed in 12.2.6 must evidence:

  • a clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  •  a senior board/Director or equivalent level lead with the required knowledge, skills and expertise or sufficiently qualified and experienced to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s/agency’s safeguarding arrangements
  • a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services
  • clear whistleblowing procedures, which reflect the principles in Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Review and are suitably referenced in staff training and codes of conduct, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed
  • clear escalation policies for staff to follow when their child safeguarding concerns are not being addressed within their organisation or by other agencies
  • arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other practitioners and with safeguarding partners
  • a designated practitioner (or, for health commissioning and health provider organisations/agencies, designated and named practitioners) for child safeguarding. Their role is to support other practitioners in their organisations and agencies to recognise the needs of children, including protection from possible abuse or neglect. Designated practitioner roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Practitioners should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively
  • safe recruitment practices and ongoing safe working practices for individuals whom the organisation or agency permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check
  • appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training
  • creating a culture of safety, equality and protection within the services they provide

In addition:

  • employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role
  • Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and the procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or welfare
  • all practitioners should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they have knowledge, skills and expertise that improve over time

Specific Roles and Responsibilities of Agencies


Chapter 4 of Working together to safeguard children 2023: statutory guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk) sets out the specific roles and responsibilities.

Sussex Police


The police are one of the three statutory safeguarding partners as set out in chapter 3 and are subject to the section 11 duties set out in this chapter. Under section 1(8)(h) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) must hold the Chief Constable to account for the exercise of the latter’s duties in relation to safeguarding children under sections 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004.




The police have a primary responsibility to protect life, prevent crime and bring offenders to justice. The protection of the most vulnerable people in society is a core policing value. All police officers and staff have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

The role of the police when dealing with incidents of alleged abuse is to:

  • Ensure the immediate safety of any child;
  • Ascertain if a crime has been committed;
  • Identify any person responsible for committing any crime;
  • Seek to obtain all available evidence in relation to any identified crime;
  • Where appropriate protect children through the prosecution and conviction of offenders.

All police officers, and other police employees such as Police Community Support Officers, are well placed to identify early when a child’s welfare is at risk and when a child may need protection from harm. Children have the right to the full protection offered by criminal law. In addition to identifying when a child may be a victim of a crime, police officers should be aware of the effect of other incidents which might pose safeguarding risks to children and where officers should pay particular attention. Harm may be indirect and non-physical as, for example, in the case of some domestic abuse which may involve controlling and coercive behaviour and economic abuse. An officer attending a domestic abuse incident should be aware of the effect of such behaviour on any children in the household. Children are victims Domestic Abuse Act - Children as victims due to domestic abuse


During any police intervention, the welfare of the child will remain a priority, and the police will work in co-operation with all other safeguarding agencies.

General Response


Wherever possible, all referrals of alleged abuse will be investigated by officers from a Safeguarding Investigations Unit, who have received specialist training in joint working and the interviewing of children.


There will always be occasions when officers from other disciplines become involved in child protection investigations, and on such occasions they should ensure close liaison at the earliest practical opportunity with a Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Emergency Response


Whenever there is the need for emergency action to protect a child, contact should be made with the police via the 999 system. In such cases the attendance of uniformed response officers will normally occur.


All police officers have a power under Section 46 of the Children Act 1989 to remove a child from their parents or carers and place them in police protection. This power can be exercised when an officer believes a child would be likely to suffer significant harm. Wherever possible any decision to remove a child should be made by a court, rather than by the use of police protection.


The use of this power can involve removing a child from their home or a public place to suitable accommodation, or ensuring their removal from a place like a hospital is prevented. When the police use this power they must inform Children's Social Care, who are responsible for accommodating the child, and commencing a Section 47 Enquiry.

Investigative Response


Officers will undertake the investigation of child abuse allegations from the Safeguarding Investigations Unit. Routine referrals and information about children can be passed to the police by use of the non-emergency number 101 or go to Report a crime | Sussex Police


Safeguarding Investigations Units will be responsible for the following investigations:

  • All intra-familial allegations of abuse;
  • All other allegations of child abuse where a suspect has a family connection with a child;
  • Allegations involving persons who work with children;
  • All allegations of rape or serious sexual abuse.
  • Sudden and unexpected deaths of children (up to and including age 17 years);
  • Non recent allegations of abuse where there are current child protection issues, or cases which are complex, contentious, or sensitive.
  • Child sexual or criminal exploitation offences
  • Harmful Practices including Forced Marriage of a child, Female Genital Mutilation and Honour Based Abuse 

Safeguarding Investigations Units work closely with other police officers responsible for the investigation domestic abuse, adult protection, race and hate crime, and the monitoring of registered sex offenders.


In most cases officers from a Safeguarding Investigations Unit will jointly investigate allegations of abuse with social workers.


The police will share information with Children’s Social Care in keeping with guidance and legislation as laid out in 2.2 Information Sharing  


Any decision to prosecute will be taken in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and will where possible take account of the views of other agencies. In all cases, the wishes and feelings of any child will be considered, and their welfare will remain a priority.



Integrated Care Boards are one of the three statutory safeguarding partners as set out in chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children. NHS organisations and agencies are subject to the section 11 duties set out in this chapter. Health practitioners are in a strong position to identify welfare needs or safeguarding concerns regarding individual children and, where appropriate, provide support. This includes understanding risk factors, communicating and sharing information effectively with children and families, liaising with other organisations and agencies, assessing needs and capacity, responding to those needs and contributing to multi-agency assessments and reviews.



A wide range of health practitioners have a critical role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children including: GPs, primary care practitioners, paediatricians, nurses, health visitors, midwives, school nurses, allied health practitioners, those working in maternity, child and adolescent mental health, youth custody establishments, adult mental health, sexual, alcohol and drug services for both adults and children, unscheduled and emergency care settings, highly specialised services and secondary and tertiary care.



Integrated Care Boards should employ, or have in place, a contractual agreement to secure the expertise of designated practitioners; such as dedicated designated doctors and nurses for safeguarding children and dedicated designated doctors and nurses for looked-after (in care) children (and designated doctor or paediatrician for unexpected deaths in childhood).


This page is correct as printed on Friday 24th of May 2024 04:37:43 PM please refer back to this website (http://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.