Safeguarding and quality assurance for children
Key services such as Independent Reviewing Officer Service, Child Protection Coordinators, Local Authority Designated Officers and more.
If you have reason to believe that a child, young person or adult is at immediate risk from harm contact the Police: telephone: 999
If you have any concerns about a child or young person living in Worcestershire and feel that they may be in need of protection or safeguarding contact the Family Front Door.
Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO)
This service is responsible for chairing reviews for all looked after children and ensuring they have a Care Plan and that the Plan is quality assured and right for the child or young person. All looked after children (for the duration they are legally looked after) will have an allocated Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and be able to contact them and know who they are.
Who is an Independent Reviewing Officer?
- a registered Social Work Professional, independent of the case or line management, who chairs Looked After Child Reviews in accordance with the IRO Handbook
- primary focus is to quality assure the care planning and review process for each child and to ensure that his/her current wishes and feelings are given full consideration
- subjects the Local Authority's Care Plan to scrutiny and robust challenge where necessary
- engages meaningfully with Looked after Children and strive to remain child-centred throughout
Child Protection Chair
This service is responsible for organising and chairing Initial and Review Child Protection Conferences.
Who is an Child Protection Chair?
The conference chair should be a professional, independent of operational and/or line management responsibilities for the case. Where possible the same person should chair subsequent child protection reviews. The chair should meet the child and parents, where ever possible, in advance to ensure they understand the purpose of the conference and the process.
The chair should also quality assure progress to secure improved outcomes for the child in between case conferences – this is achieved through mid-way audits.
Those with Parental Responsibility and professionals involved in the child's life will receive copies of the Conference Minutes and the Outline Plan.
Are you worried about an adult who works with children? (LADO)
All organisations providing services to children and young people must ensure that their staff and volunteers are safe to do so. Most adults who work with children and young people act professionally and aim to provide a safe environment for the children and young people in their care, however, it must be recognised that there are adults who will deliberately seek out, create or exploit opportunities to abuse children.
The allegations' process is managed by Worcestershire’s Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) as part of the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service.
LADO procedures should be applied when there is an allegation that any person who works with children, in connection with their employment or voluntary activity, has met the below threshold:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
- behaved in a way that indicates they may pose a risk to children
- behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children
- Information regarding position of trust meetings (PDF)
- A guide for professionals and volunteers who work with children (PDF)
- Managing allegations - guidance if you have allegations made against you (PDF)
Making a referral
All statutory partner agencies are required to report all allegations to the LADO within one working day. Referrals should be submitted through the portal if the threshold for LADO procedures has been met. Please see the guidance on how to register and make a referral.
All statutory partner agencies are required to report all allegations to the LADO within one working day.
Who can I contact if I have a concern?
If you are unsure about referring to the LADO please speak to your Designated Safeguarding Lead or manager in the first instance and read the leaflet for professionals to ensure threshold is met.
Management of Allegations training and briefing
Management of Allegations Training is available through Worcestershire Children Safeguarding Partnership, this course will provide information which will help you to better understand the Management of Allegations processes, the role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), and the role of the multi-agency network.
It will help give you details on the legislation, procedures and processes; ensure you know what to do if there is an allegation against a professional; and better understand your role as professionals working in regulated activity.
The Advanced Practitioners Service is part of the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service, their roles include:
- working with Newly Qualified Social Workers across the service; they are committed to supporting and enabling Social Worker's learning experience and providing opportunities to develop practice
- they work as a team to support the service to promote Practice Standards, Culture and the Vision for children in Worcestershire; they do this through modelling good practice and enabling reflection and analysis
- Advanced Social Work Practitioners will complete Stage 1 complaints to give an independent view/investigation of the complaint received
- Advanced Social Work Practitioners will work with experienced Social Workers beyond their Newly Qualified Year on targeted interventions such as assessment and planning work; this may include practice learning sessions and Signs of Safety Mapping sessions
- the Advanced Practitioners will work to develop practice sessions on key learning and present these within Team Meetings across the service
Signs of Safety
In Worcestershire we are introducing a new approach to our work with children and families; this approach is called Signs of Safety.
What is Signs of Safety?
The Signs of Safety approach, seeks to strengthen assessments and maximise family participation and where possible they actively contribute to solutions to keeping their child safe. Using the Signs of Safety approach professionals supporting families work together to:
- Look at what’s going well in the child’s life - the strengths.
- Understand who is worried and why - the worries and concerns.
- Identify what needs to be done to build on the strengths, reduce the concerns and keep the child safe - the outcomes.
The approach expands on the assessment to encompass strengths and signs of safety that can be built upon to stabilise and strengthen a child’s and family’s situation. The approach is designed to help professionals and families throughout assessment and intervention.
Learn more about Signs of Safety
Signs of Safety updates will be published in the quarterly Safeguarding Board Newsletter
More information can be found on the Signs of Safety website
More information about Signs of Safety in Worcestershire: