Morrison, Tony and Lewis, Dorothy (2005) Toolkit for assessing the readiness of local safeguarding children boards: origins ingredients and applications. Child Abuse Review, 14 (5). pp. 297-316. ISSN 0952-9136

A central plank in the transformation of children's services in England and Wales is the creation on a statutory footing of Local Safeguarding Children Boards in every local authority area. The focus of the boards will be on the promotion, multiagency coordination and scrutiny of services to safeguard and promote children's welfare. They replace Area Child Protection Committees, which were judged to be ineffective. This paper presents the origins, ingredients and applications of an audit and preparation Toolkit designed to support the establishment of the new boards. The Toolkit was developed from the findings of a survey of 204 members of 16 ACPCs by the first author, and has been tested and refined through work with a large number of ACPCs. This survey identified problematic aspects of interagency collaboration that will need remedying if the new boards are to succeed where the previous committees failed. These include: the board's strategic relationship to wider children's planning fora; operational definition of the term safeguarding; collective accountability; level of membership; performance management capacity; service user consultation. The ingredients of the Toolkit are described in relation to the findings of the survey. The paper concludes with a discussion of the applications and approaches to be considered in using the Toolkit.

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