The government's guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Local authorities have overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. They have a number of statutory functions under the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts which make this clear, and the government's guidance to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children sets these out in detail.
This includes specific duties in relation to children in need and children suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, regardless of where they are found, under Sections 17 and 47 of the Children Act 1989.
The Director of Children's Services and Lead Member for Children's Services in local authorities are the key points of professional and political accountability, with responsibility for the effective delivery of these functions.
Whilst local authorities play a lead role, safeguarding children and protecting them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing impairment of children's health or development
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes