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2.2 Local Safeguarding Children Board - Role and Function


The Children Act 2004 required each local authority to establish a Safeguarding Children Board. 

Chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children sets out in detail the arrangements for the work of each Local Safeguarding Children Board. This chapter provides a summary only.

This Manual covers the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board area. NSCB has its own website (see Northumberland County Council website).


This chapter was updated in October 2015. References to Working Together to Safeguard Children were updated to 2015. 


  1. Role and Functions
  2. Scope of the Role
  3. Accountability
  4. LSCB Chair
  5. Membership
  6. Structure
  7. Annual Business Plan
  8. LSCB Annual Report

1. Role and Function

The overall role of the LSCB is to coordinate local work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to ensure the effectiveness of what the member organisations do individually and together.

Specific objectives of the LSCB are to:

  • Develop and agree inter-agency policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, consistent with Working Together to Safeguard Children, including:
    1. The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
    2. Training of those working with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
    3. Recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
    4. Investigation of allegations concerning persons working with children;
    5. The safety and welfare of privately fostered children;
    6. Cooperation with neighbouring children’s social care services authorities and their Board partners.
  • Participate in the planning of services for children in the local authority area;
  • Communicate the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Develop procedures to ensure a coordinated response to unexpected child deaths;
  • Monitor the effectiveness of what is done to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Undertake reviews of serious cases and ensure lessons are understood and acted upon;
  • Collect and analyse information about child deaths.

As part of the Monitoring and Evaluation Function of the LSCB, there is a requirement for the LSCB to ensure appropriate links exist with any secure settings in its area and to be able to scrutinise the use of restraint, and incidences and injuries.

2. Scope of the Role

In order to fulfil its statutory functions, an LSCB should use data and, as a minimum, should:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families, including early help;
  • Assess whether LSCB partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations;
  • Quality assure practice, including through joint audits of case files involving practitioners and identifying lessons to be learned; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency training, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The Children's Safeguarding Performance Information Framework provides a mechanism to help do this by setting out some of the questions a LSCB should consider.

3. Accountability

Whilst the LSCB has a role in coordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of local individuals’ and organisations’ work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, it is not accountable for their operational work.

Each Board partner retains its own existing lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by their services.

Whilst the LSCB does not have the power to direct other organisations, it does have a role in making clear where improvement is needed.

4. LSCB Chair

In order to provide effective scrutiny, the LSCB should be independent. It should not be subordinate to, nor subsumed within, other local structures.

Every LSCB should have an independent chair who can hold all agencies to account.

It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) to appoint or remove the LSCB chair with the agreement of a panel including LSCB partners and lay members. The Chief Executive, drawing on other LSCB partners and, where appropriate, the Lead Member will hold the Chair to account for the effective working of the LSCB.

5. Membership

The LSCB is made of organisations which will designate particular, named people as their LSCB member so that there is a consistency and continuity in membership.

Members will be those with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation. They should be able to:

  • Speak for their organisation with authority;
  • Commit their organisation on policy and practice matters;
  • Hold their organisation to account.

Members of the LSCB must include:

  • Children’s Social Care Services;
  • Adults’ Social Care Services;
  • NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation trusts;
  • Police;
  • Probation;
  • Youth Offending Team;
  • Any Secure Training Centre;
  • Any prison which ordinarily detains children;
  • Two representatives of the local community;
  • Representation from schools, which means taking steps to ensure that the following are represented: the governing body of a maintained school; the proprietor of a non-maintained special school; the proprietor of a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or an Academy; and the governing body of a further education institution the main site of which is situated in the authority’s area. Independent schools should also be included as appropriate.

Other members may include:

  • NSPCC;
  • Faith groups;
  • State and Independent Schools;
  • Further Education Colleges;
  • Children’s Centres;
  • GP’s;
  • Independent Health care organisations;
  • Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations;
  • Armed Forces;
  • Immigration Service;

The LSCB should either include on its Board, or be able to draw on appropriate expertise and advice from, frontline professionals from all the relevant sectors. This includes a designated doctor and nurse, the Director of Public Health, Principal Child and Family Social Worker and the voluntary and community sector.

In addition, the LSCB will make strategic links with other organisations and individuals, for example Substance Misuse Services, the local MAPPA, dental health services, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Coroner, either through inviting them to join the Board or through some other mechanism.

The LSCB also need to draw on the work key national organisations and liaise with them where necessary, for example the Child Exploitation and On-Line Protection Centre.

The Lead Member for Children should be a participating observer of the LSCB. In practice this means routinely attending meetings as an observer and receiving all its written reports.

6. Structure

To assist the LSCB with its objectives, each LSCB has a supporting structure. Terms of Reference for each of the Boards sub-groups are available through the LSCB website's.

7. Annual Business Plan

The LSCB produces an annual business plan setting out:

  • A work programme for the following year to include measurable objectives;
  • Relevant management information of child protection activity in the previous year;
  • Progress against objectives established for the year ending.

8. LSCB Annual Report

The Chair must publish an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the local area (this is a statutory requirement under section 14A of the Children Act 2004). The annual report should be published in relation to the preceding financial year and should fit with local agencies' planning, commissioning and budget cycles. The report should be submitted to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, the local police and crime commissioner and the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

The report should provide a rigorous and transparent assessment of the performance and effectiveness of local services. It should identify areas of weakness, the causes of those weaknesses and the action being taken to address them as well as other proposals for action. The report should include lessons from reviews undertaken within the reporting period.

The report should also list the contributions made to the LSCB by partner agencies and details of what the LSCB has spent, including on Child Death Reviews, Serious Case Reviews and other specific expenditure such as learning events or training.