Safeguarding boards lack NSPCC rep

By Lauren Higgs

| 16 October 2007

One third of local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) in the UK are missing out on having an NSPCC representative, despite the fact that government recommendations describe the need to involve the child protection charity as "important".

Working Together to Safeguard Children, the Department for Children, Schools andFamilies guidance on inter-agency working, says NSPCC members should be added to local safeguarding children boards where possible,and rates their involvement on the same level of importance as GPs or school representatives.

However, the NSPCC does not currently have the capacity to supply staff members to every LSCB, and can only provide representatives for two-thirds of them.

Sue Woolmore, national safeguarding children board advisor for the NSPCC, told CYP Now:

"Because we sit on so many local safeguarding children boards we are able to share best practice."

The experience of the NSPCC and other voluntary sector organisations is because they often have more contact withmarginalised groups of children than social services.

They also provide important access to groups that the safeguarding boards might otherwise be unable to reach.

The DCSF's guidance highlights these benefits and refersto the charity's expertise as "an important national resource on which local safeguarding children boards will want to draw".

Most importantly, Woolmore says, "NSPCC reps have the frontline operational experience in child protection that other members might not always have".

Ian Johnston, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said: "My biggest concern is that each board has the correct skill-mix of members. That's more important than which particular agency a member represents.

"I would recommend an audit of the skills of members on every local safeguarding children board."

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