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Multiagency safeguarding arrangements during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic: Identifying shared learning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Jenny Driscoll, Ann Lorek, Aisha Hutchinson, Katrina Kiss, Christopher Stride

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2774
JournalChild Abuse Review
Volume31
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jun 2022
DOIs
Accepted/In press21 May 2022
E-pub ahead of print15 Jun 2022
Published15 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The study was funded by the King's Together: Multi and Interdisciplinary Research Scheme (King's College London) and the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Social Science Impact Fund. The research team is extremely grateful to Annie Hudson for reviewing an earlier draft in relation to the work of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (any remaining inaccuracies are the fault of the authors); to our partner organisations (National Police Chiefs Council, Vulnerability, Knowledge and Practice Programme (reporting through the cross-government Child Safeguarding Reform Delivery Board), The Association of Safeguarding Partners, The Association of Child Protection Professionals, and The Children's Society; and the experts who provided advice and support on development of the study: Her Honour Judge Carol Atkinson, Designated Family Judge for East London; DS Steve Clancey, the Metropolitan Police Continuous Policing Improvement Centre (Safeguarding Strand); Dr Peter Green, Chair National Network of Designated Health Professionals; Sarah Hannafin, Senior Policy Adviser, National Association of Head Teachers; Annie Hudson, former Strategic Director, Children's Services, London Borough of Lambeth; Gwen Kennedy, Director of Nursing Leadership & Quality at NHS England & NHS Improvement; Lorraine Parker, National Policing Facilitator Multi Agency Child Safeguarding Reform; Professor Jenny Pearce, Professor of Young People and Public Policy at the University of Bedfordshire; Hannah Perry, Co-Chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC), Joint Head of Family at TV Edwards Solicitors LLP; Martin Pratt, ADCS Greater London Chair, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director Supporting People Camden, Regional representative on ADCS Council of Reference. We would also like to record our gratitude to all interview participants and survey respondents, who gave of their time and expertise to contribute to the study notwithstanding the unprecedented pressure under which they were working. Many interviewees commented on the value of the opportunity provided for structured reflection. A PDF of the survey questions is available at: http://bit.ly/KCLSurvey. Funding Information: The study was funded by the King’s Together: Multi and Interdisciplinary Research Scheme (King’s College London) and the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Social Science Impact Fund. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Child Abuse Review published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Abstract

Measures to combat transmission of the coronavirus presented unprecedented challenges for safeguarding and child protection practice, including through withdrawal of routine opportunities to observe and engage with children and families and disruption of systems for inter-agency communication and coordination. This article reports on a two-stage study designed to identify shared learning from adaptations to professional practice in response to the measures. Interviews with 67 London-based senior safeguarding leads from seven professional groups undertaken during the summer of 2020 informed an England-wide survey to similar groups in February–March 2021. SPSS was used to analyse 417 responses, which were supplemented by answers to open questions. Findings are reported using the six practice themes which the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel expects to inform shared learning to improve safeguarding at national and local levels. The study revealed the formidable barriers facing professionals in understanding the changing environments in which children were living and in identifying and assessing new or altered risks due to the pandemic; steps taken to respond to changing risks and to keep in touch and re-engage families; strategies to support critical thinking and challenge among professionals working under unprecedented pressure; and opportunities for enhanced multiagency working and inter-agency collaboration.

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