This was our resolution following the Annual Conference of Independent Chairs of Safeguarding Children Boards.
PROTECT CHILDREN AT RISK FROM SPENDING REVIEW CUTS
LSCB CHAIRS CALL FOR SYSTEMATIC RISK ASSESSMENT OF
THE IMPACT OF SPENDING REVIEW CUTS
ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN & FAMILIES
‘Vulnerable children face serious risks in the 2015 Government Spending Review process’,
said David N Jones (AILC Chair) speaking immediately after the annual conference of the
Association of Independent Chairs of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (AILC), where a
resolution was passed unanimously (see below) highlighting the safeguarding risks for
children within the Chancellor’s 2015 Spending Review.
‘All the Independent Chairs present at the conference voiced grave concern at the likely
impact of proposed expenditure cuts on vulnerable families’, he continued. ‘There is already
evidence of serious reductions in early help and intervention and in youth services, both of
which are vital for those most at risk.
‘Effective safeguarding depends on coordination of a range of family and children services,
including general services such as health, education and criminal justice, as well as
specialist services such as social work. There is a real danger that fragmented approaches
to service redesign alongside reduced financial support for parents will create more risk for
children than the sum of each individual decision.
‘For the sake of the most vulnerable children in the country, safeguarding MUST be
protected and, if cuts are required, they must be planned and coordinated across the whole
of children’s services. Each organisation should publish an assessment of the risks for
children and the action proposed to reduce those risks. As always, health, education, police
and social care professionals will do their best to protect children, come what may, but they
need to tools to do the job’, David Jones continued.
The LSCB Chairs agreed unanimously that they ‘will continue to implement the LSCBs’
statutory duty to monitor and report on the effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements,
including the impact of funding decisions on the safety of children and young people’.
For interviews or more information from David N Jones please email
email@example.com or phone 01604-414345 or 07880-209788.
Statutory Local Safeguarding Children Boards bring together the leaders of the agencies working
with children in every local authority area in England. There are similar arrangements in Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland. LSCBs are required to have an Independent Chair and 2 lay
members who are not employed directly by any of local agencies. The Lead Member for Children’s
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Services of the local council is a participant observer on the Board. LSCBs approve local procedures
for investigations, ensure multi-professional training is provided and scrutinise the effectiveness of the
local system, including overseeing serious case reviews when needed. LSCBs have arrangements to
gather the experience of children and young people and have to be connected to local communities.
However Boards have no power to insist on action by local agencies. They need the resources and
support to perform these functions effectively.
The Association of Independent LSCB Chairs is the national membership organisation for
Independent Chairs of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, a statutory position. Its membership is
made up of approximately 100 Independent LSCB Chairs operating across 146 LSCBs in England
(some chair more than one Board). There is collaboration with colleagues from equivalent structures
in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Independent LSCB Chairs come from a
variety of professional backgrounds including police, social work, law, health and public
Vulnerable children face serious risks in the 2015 Government Spending Review process.
Families in need frequently depend on additional help from health, education, criminal justice
and social care services. The police are also involved when there are safeguarding
concerns. All these services are facing major cuts in funding. Proposed reductions in
financial support for low income families add to the pressures on vulnerable families.
LSCB Chairs urge all decision makers to protect essential safeguarding of children, which
must include early help and intervention for vulnerable families to prevent serious abuse and
neglect. The future health and development of thousands of young people depend on early
help and intervention; there are already signs that these services (including youth services)
are being seriously cut back.
LSCB Chairs call on all government departments and local partners to undertake and
publish a risk assessment of the impact of financial cuts on vulnerable children and families
and their strategies to reduce those risks.
LSCB Chairs will continue to implement the LSCBs’ statutory duty to monitor and report on
the effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements, including the impact of funding
decisions on the safety of children and young people.
Association of Independent LSCB Chairs
Sheffield, 10 November 2015
Passed unanimously at the annual conference of the Association of Independent LSCB