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Exploring the learning and improvement processes of Local Safeguarding Children Boards

A research summary

This report explores the learning and improvement processes and experiences of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). LSCBs are the key statutory mechanism under the Children Act 2004 for agreeing how partner agencies will co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in their locality. The report documents the perspectives of a small number of LSCB executives at the ‘frontline’ of these strategic partnerships on their LSCBs’ experiences of seeking to identify learning, target and drive improvement in multi-agency safeguarding.

The research findings affirm that LSCBs are engaged in a significant volume of learning and improvement activity, taking place within a difficult operating context with increasing budgetary pressures on frontline services. Ofsted is described as a key driver for this activity in England. The research suggests five key enablers of learning and improvement activity across LSCBs. These are; effective partnership-working, the adoption of a strategic approach to managing the full range of knowledge available to the LSCB, effective engagement with frontline staff and service users and their families, well-functioning board subgroups and mechanisms, and strong leadership to drive challenge. Across these five enablers of learning and improvement, resourcing was consistently identified as a key factor. This includes the capacity and skills of the LSCB business unit, the resources available across LSCB partners, and access to support, including peer support. The report concludes with a number of key learning points.

The research was undertaken before the announcement in December 2015 of the government review of the role and functions of LSCBs in England, led by Alan Wood CBE. This report has been published shortly after the publication of Alan Wood’s review in May 2016. A draft copy of the research report was submitted to the review.