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Safeguarding Children

The safeguarding of children is everyone's responsibility.

As commissioners we strive to ensure that all services we commission have good safeguarding arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children living in our communities.

We aim to be an inclusive organisation firmly placing families at the heart of commissioning and delivery of services. We work in partnership with children, young people, parents/carers and colleagues in other agencies making sure that every child matters.

The NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group statutory safeguarding duties are outlined in national and local guidance and reflected in the organisation's safeguarding documents.

As commissioners we:

  • Ensure that the organisations we commission services from provide a robust system that safeguards children at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Ensure robust processes are in place to learn from cases where children die or are seriously harmed and / or abuse or neglect is suspected.
  • Work in partnership with the local authorities to fulfil its duties to promote the health and wellbeing of children in care as their corporate parent.
  • Meet our statutory requirement, alongside our Local Authority Partners to share responsibility for and be active members of the Child Death Overview Panel.
  • Share an equal and joint responsibility with the police and the local authorities to be active members of the Cheshire East and Cheshire West Safeguarding Children Partnerships. The Partnerships have a duty to make arrangements to work together, and with other partners locally, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area.

Our two Safeguarding Children Partnerships have been established to oversee the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children arrangements as required by the government guidance Working Together 2018. It is formed by the statutory agencies the Local Authorities (Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester), Cheshire Police and NHS Cheshire CCG. All partners have equal and joint responsibility for local safeguarding arrangements and we are committed to the principles that support these arrangements. Safeguarding Children Partnerships documents can be found via the following links: Cheshire West and Chester & Cheshire East

The death of any child is a tragedy. It is vital that all child deaths are carefully reviewed. The death of all children under the age of 18 must be reviewed by Pan Cheshire Child Death Overview Panel which is a group of professionals who meet several times a year to review all the child deaths in the area. The Panel is not given the names of any children who died - all the details are dealt with anonymously. The main purpose is to learn how to prevent future deaths: Cheshire West and Chester & Cheshire East

Pan Cheshire Child Death Overview Panel - 7 Minute Guide

The Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP) is responsible for initiating a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) in circumstances where there has been a death or serious injury to a child, abuse or neglect is known or suspected, and there are opportunities for learning in relation to inter-agency working.

The purpose of the Review is to:

  • Establish whether there are any lessons to be learnt from the case and from the way in which local professionals and organisations worked together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
  • Identify clearly what those lessons are, how they will be acted on, what is expected to change as a result and within what timescale; and
  • As a consequence, improve inter-agency working to better safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

Links to our local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews can be found via the following links: Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester

The term 'looked after' applies to children or young people up to the age of 18 for whom the local authority provides care and accommodation on behalf of their parent(s), or for whom the local authority has either sole or shared parental responsibility by virtue of a court order. 

“Evidence from research, shows that looked after children and young people share many of the same health risks and problems of their peers, but often to a greater degree. They can have greater challenges such as discord within their own families, frequent changes of home or school, and lack of access to the support and advice of trusted adults. Children often enter the care system with a worse level of health than their peers, in part due to the impact of poverty, poor parenting, chaotic lifestyles and abuse or neglect. Longer term outcomes for looked after children remain worse than their peers, as they face greater challenges related to long-term health, social and educational needs.”

(Statutory Guidance on ‘Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked after Children, DFE, DH, 2015)

NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group is the Responsible Commissioner of health care for Looked After Children and Care Leavers who are in the care of both Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council. It has a statutory role and responsibility, under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, to ensure the timely and effective delivery of health services to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers.

Children and young people who in the care of Cheshire East Council are referred to as Cared for Children, whilst those in the care of Cheshire West and Chester Council are Children in Care, as per the wishes of the children and young people themselves.

A Designated Doctor and Designated Nurse for Looked After Children and Care Leavers are employed as strategic leads to advise and assist NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group in fulfilling their responsibilities to improve the health of looked-after children. They also provide assurance to the Commissioners of the effectiveness and compliance with Statutory Guidance (2015) by monitoring and reporting on the provision of health services for this vulnerable group of children and young people to ensure their effectiveness and compliance with statutory guidance.

Cheshire East Cared for Children

Cheshire West and Chester Children in Care

Department of Education (2017) Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery

Statutory Guidance on ‘Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked after Children, DFE, DH, 2015

Private fostering is an arrangement whereby a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability) (S.66 Children Act 1989) is placed for 28 days or more in the care of someone who is not the child’s parent(s) or a ‘connected person’.

A connected person is defined as a ‘relative, friend or other person connected with a child’. The latter is likely to include person(s) who have a pre-existing relationship with the child, for example, a teacher who knows the child in a professional capacity.

Private foster carers can be from the extended family, e.g. a cousin or a great aunt, but cannot be a relative as defined under the Children Act 1989, section 105:

‘A relative under the Children Act 1989 is defined as a ‘grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent’.

For more info please use the links below:

Cheshire East Safeguarding Children Partnership Private Fostering

Cheshire West and Chester Safeguarding Children Partnership Private Fostering