Clearer role needed for Local Safeguarding Children Boards says committee report

Published 30/11/2010   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Clearer role needed for Local Safeguarding Children Boards says committee report

30 November 2010

There is too much confusion and a lack of information surrounding the role bodies set up to help protect children in Wales, according to a National Assembly report.

The Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee found the role of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) was not clearly understood, differed in different areas and, in some cases, was even unknown to those working for agencies represented on those boards.

LSCBs were set up to develop strategic processes to protect children and safeguard their welfare. They are made up of individuals and agencies including local authorities, health boards, social services and police.

The Committee understood that the priority for LSCBs is child protection but, in some cases, little consideration is given to a board’s wider role of welfare. Some of the evidence suggested in many cases the boards were too reactive rather than proactive in their strategies.

Further concerns were also raised about LSCBs’ scrutiny of and organisations as, in some cases, there may be representatives of bodies under review on the board – raising questions over their impartiality.

The committee was also told that front-line workers - those in direct contact with children, families and carers - were often unaware of decisions and strategies of their relevant LSCB or even, in some cases, of its very existence.

Chair of the Health, Wellbeing and Local Government Committee, Darren Millar AM, said: “There can be no doubt of the importance of protecting our children from harm, or of the invaluable work and contributions of the many people and organisations whose job it is to protect them.

“But this inquiry has uncovered grey areas with regards to role requirements, responsibility and accountability that cannot be ignored.

“Clearer guidance as to exactly what Local Safeguarding Children Boards are responsible for, how they go about meeting those responsibilities and how the decisions they make are implemented is essential.

“My Committee colleagues and I heard about a lot of the good work being carried out by LSCBs. But if there is uncertainty over their role among the people on the front line of the very organisations represented on the board, then more effort is needed to establish that.”