As part of the government's drive to improve outcomes for children, new legislation (The Children Act 2004) was passed in November 2004. This required that every local authority replace their Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC) with a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) by April 2006.
The services provided by LSCB’s are shaped by guidance issued by the Department for Education, the Department of Health and the Home Office, notably the newly updated Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015).
Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) is a statutory body, independent of other structures and arrangements. The SSCB brings together partner agencies in Sunderland to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of what partner agencies do.
Sunderland Brief History
- An LSCB was established in Sunderland in October 2004
- These arrangements were reviewed in September 2014
- A Business Unit was established in January 2009 to support the work of the SSCB
Sunderland SCB has an Independent Chair who ensures that the Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board operates effectively and independently of its partner organisations. The Independent Chair leads the development of the SSCB, ensuring effective implementation of all statutory functions within statutory timescales and responds to locally identified priorities. The Independent Chair acts on behalf of the SSCB, to challenge individual safeguarding agencies.
Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board has representation from a number of partner agencies across the City. These include:
- SSCB Independent Chair
- Chief Executive, Sunderland Local Authority
- Chief Executive, Together for Children – Sunderland (representing Children’s Safeguarding)
- Director of Public Health, Sunderland Council
- Chief Officer Northumbria Police
- Chief Officer National Probation Service
- Chief Executive South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
- Chief Executive NHS England
- Chief Officer Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company
- Chief Executive City Hospitals Sunderland, NHS Foundation Trust
- Chief Executive Northumberland Tyne and Wear Mental Health Foundation Trust
- Chief Executive CAFCASS
- Lay Members
- Chief Officer Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group
- Chief Executive North East Ambulance Service
- Chief Executive Healthwatch
- Chief Executive Gentoo
- Chief Executive Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
- Chief Executive Sunderland College
- Director of Education, Sunderland Council (representing schools and academies)
- Portfolio Lead Member Sunderland City Council (Participatory Observer)
Membership of Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board reflects the requirements of the Children Act 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. This guidance states that ‘members should be people with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation’.
Members should be able to:
- Speak for their organisation with authority
- Commit their organisation on policy and practice matters
- Hold their organisation to account
In accordance with Working Together 2015, the SSCB has appointed Lay Members to the Safeguarding Board. The role of the Lay Members in Sunderland is to strengthen the Safeguarding Board by providing a strong community voice and open up the Board to wider public scrutiny.
As a minimum, Lay Members are required to attend 6 meetings per year and may be invited to attend sub committees and events where appropriate.
The Lay Members live in Sunderland but are not employed by any of the agencies represented on the Board.
Their membership represents the local community and will provide a local voice to assist in shaping and directing the work of the Board.
The Council have appointed a Solicitor from its Corporate Services to act as Legal Adviser as well as providing a Financial Adviser to the Board.
The Councillor who holds the portfolio for Children’s Safeguarding Service attends all meetings of the Board as a participatory Observer
- The core objectives of the SSCB are set out in section 14 (1) of the Children Act 2004. To coordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area of the authority
- To ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for that purpose
- Individually and collectively committed to putting children's interests first
- Seeking the views of Children and Young People, families and carers in all aspects of our work
- Respecting everyone's contribution to keeping children safe
- Operating openly and honestly in the public interest and sharing responsibility
- Challenging and supporting all involved to improve outcomes for Children and Young People
- Accepting accountability for Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board decisions and actions
To develop policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Sunderland, including policies and procedures in relation to:
- The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention
- Training of persons who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children
- Recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children
- Investigation of allegations concerning persons who work with children
- Safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered
- Co-operation with neighbouring children’s services authorities and their Board partners
- Communicating to persons and bodies in Sunderland the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, raising their awareness of how this can best be done and encouraging them to do so
- Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of what is done by the authority and their Board partners individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advising them on ways to improve
- Participating in the planning of services for children in Sunderland
- Undertaking reviews of serious cases and advising the authority and their Board partners on lessons to be learned
- Undertake statutory functions in relation to the deaths of any children normally resident in Sunderland