12.2 Agency Roles and Responsibilities
In September 2015, this chapter was updated to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.
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 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015.
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 Authorities 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 Procedure.
As well as the local authority, NHS organisations, Police, British Transport Police, Probation and Prison Services, Youth Offending Teams and Training Centres, all have duties under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Guidance for these organisations about their duty under section 11 is contained in "Making Arrangements to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children", which was published by the DfES in August 2005.
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: for schools and colleges (March 2015).
In addition, boarding schools, residential special schools and FE Institutions that provide accommodation for pupils under 18 must have regard to the relevant National Minimum Standards for their establishment, which can be found at GOV.UK.
CAFCASS also has a duty under section 12(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.
Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, local authorities, NHS organisations, Police, British Transport Police, Probation Service, Prisons and Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres and Youth Offending Teams/Services should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:
Specific Roles and Responsibilities of Agencies
Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 sets out the specific roles and responsibilities of the following:
The police have a primary responsibility to protect life, prevent crime and bring offenders to justice. All police officers and staff have a duty to safeguard children from abuse and neglect.
The role of the police when dealing with incidents of alleged abuse is to:
This will assist in complying with the objectives of the Sussex Police Child Protection Policy, which are:
During the course of any police intervention the welfare of the child will remain paramount, and the police will work in co-operation with all other LSCB agencies.
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.
In most cases officers from the Safeguarding Investigations Unit will then assume responsibility for any investigation
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.
The investigation of child abuse allegations will be undertaken by officers from a Safeguarding Investigations Unit. Routine referrals and information about children can be passed to the police by use of the non-emergency number 0845 60 70 999.
Safeguarding Investigations Units will be responsible for the following investigations:
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 actively share all relevant information with Children's Social Care
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 paramount.