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1.1.3 Context, Definitions and National Guidance


Over the last five years there have been significant changes in how services are delivered to children 'in need' in England and Wales, partly driven by Lord Laming's Inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié (2003).

In 2004, the government launched its Every Child Matters agenda which provided a framework for promoting the achievement of a holistic set of outcomes for all children:

  • Be healthy;
  • Stay safe;
  • Enjoy and achieve;
  • Make a positive contribution;
  • Achieve economic well-being.

Accompanying this was Every Disabled Child Matters Aiming High for Disabled Children. See Short Breaks Procedure.

This seeks to set out ways in which public services could respond to children with all levels of need, and resulted in changes to the way that services were organised and delivered in Cambridgeshire.

The Every Child Matters Outcomes Framework can be found here.

The Children Act (2004) provided the legislative support for Every Child Matters. Amongst other issues it:

  • Gave a greater emphasis on safeguarding children, with statutory Local Safeguarding Children Boards replacing Area Child Protection Committees and a duty on all key agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Encouraged Partnership: Local Authorities working with other services through Children's Trust arrangements to agree local priorities for improving services for children, young people and parents - in Cambridgeshire this is the Cambridgeshire Children's Trust Board;
  • Clarified accountability by making Local Authorities¬†appoint Directors of Children's Services who will have responsibility for education and children's social care services and designating Lead Members (Councillors) to provide vision and impetus.

The review of child protection in England and Wales conducted by Lord Herbert Laming and the resultant action plan (see Protection of Children in England Action Plan) and progress report (see Protection of Children in England Progress Report) from the now Department of Education will continue to influence change, including to some of the most important pieces of guidance, for example "Working Together to Safeguard Children" the most recent edition of which was issued in 2015.

However key legislation and definitions remain the same:

We refer to the Children Act 1989 (s17, s31, s47) and the subsequent amendment made by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (s120) to define what is meant by a child in need, and in need of protection from significant harm caused by abuse and neglect. The working definitions of what is meant by physical abuse; neglect; sexual abuse and emotional abuse can be found within Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015).

We are committed to working within the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Human Rights Act (2000).

We are guided in producing quality assessments and plans for children and young people by Framework for Assessment of Children and their families (2000).

We are committed to working with other agencies to safeguard children and young people by following "Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), which in turn provides the basis for Cambridgeshire LSCB's Procedures for Safeguarding.

This manual provides the procedures for social care that sit within the interagency procedures. Recently the Department of Education has produced guidance on "Safeguarding Disabled Children: Practice Guidance".

A variety of additional important guidance can be found in the appended reading list (see Recommend Reading) regarding the safeguarding of children in specific situations e.g. young people that are trafficked; at risk of sexual exploitation; at risk from domestic violence and substance misuse. See also the Safeguarding Children guidance still available from the DfE website.

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