Protecting children and young people: Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer responsibilities

Guidance outlining Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer responsibilities for protecting children and young people.

Section 3 - Function of the Child Protection Committee

3.1 CPCs are the key local bodies for developing, implementing and improving child protection strategy across and between agencies, bodies and the local community. A CPC is expected to perform a number of crucial functions in order to jointly identify and manage risk to children and young people, monitor and improve performance and promote the ethos that "It's everyone's job to make sure I'm alright". CPCs must ensure all of these functions are carried out to a high standard and are aligned to the local Getting It Right For Every Child arrangements. This section sets out what those functions are and will assist a CPC in evaluating its own performance.

3.2 The functions are grouped as follows:

  • continuous improvement
  • public information, engagement and participation
  • strategic planning and connections
  • annual reporting on the work of the CPC

CPCs form subgroups or subcommittees to support their work. The number and composition of these vary from area to area. However, almost all areas have subgroups or subcommittees focussing on:

  • quality assurance / self-evaluation / performance / improvement
  • learning / development / training

Public Information, Engagement and Participation

3.3 Keeping children and young people safe is everyone's job and the CPC must be able to demonstrate that its work is informed by the perspectives of children, young people and their families. CPCs will maintain an overview of levels of knowledge and confidence in child protection systems within their area and address issues as required within their Improvement / Business Plans. Each CPC will develop, implement and regularly review a communications strategy that includes:

  • raising awareness so that members of the public, including children and young people, know what child protection means and what to do if they have a concern for a child or young person
  • explaining and promoting the role of services in protecting children and young people
  • engaging with local communities to raise awareness of indicators of concern
  • increasing understanding of the role that communities and all adults have in protecting children and young people
  • involving children, young people and families in its design and delivery
  • taking account of new and emerging risks

Continuous Improvement

3.4 CPCs have a pivotal role in the continuous improvement of the protection of children and young people. A number of functions relate directly to this role. These are:

Policies, Procedures and Guidance

Clear and robust inter-agency guidance is vital to the protection of children and young people.

Each CPC will:

  • ensure that local child protection policies, procedures and guidance are informed by this guidance and the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014)
  • systematically develop, disseminate and review the effectiveness of inter-agency policies, procedures and guidance
  • ensure that policies, procedures and guidance are developed around current and emerging issues where there is agreement that this is required

Data and Evidence

CPCs will have an overview of performance from key services about their work to protect children and young people in line with the shared dataset. This will include qualitative and quantitative data on the effectiveness of services in improving the experiences of, and outcomes for, children in need of protection. They will ensure this is used to influence improvements in the quality of services to protect children and young people. CPC members will ensure that they have appropriate data collection arrangements and analytical capacity in place so that activity, trends and themes can be proactively identified and escalated. This should reflect the national child protection minimum dataset.

Quality Assurance and Self Evaluation

CPCs have responsibility for the development and implementation of inter-agency quality assurance mechanisms. Each CPC will:

  • establish systematic approaches to quality assurance and self-evaluation which focus on the experiences of, and outcomes for, children, young people and families
  • use the learning from this activity to develop, implement and measure the impact of improvement plans
  • involve key stakeholders including frontline staff, managers, children, young people and families in aspects of undertaking, reviewing and learning from quality assurance and self-evaluation activity
  • take account of learning from sources including research; inspection locally and nationally; and other CPCs in order to promote good practice and contribute to improved outcomes for children and young people

Conducting Initial and Significant Case Reviews

CPCs, on behalf of the Chief Officers, are responsible for undertaking any ICR and reporting / recommending a significant case review when the agreed criteria are met and they must do so in line with the most up-to-date relevant guidance. (See National Guidance for Child Protection Committees for Conducting a Significant Case Review (2015)).

CPCs must use the learning from ICRs/SCRs to promote good practice, improve practice and contribute to improved outcomes for children and young people across Scotland.

Learning and Development

Learning and development for those in contact with children, young people and families must be undertaken at both single-agency and inter-agency level, in line with the National Child Protection Learning and Development Framework. CPCs are responsible for publishing, implementing and reviewing an inter-agency child protection learning and development strategy. They should quality assure and evaluate the impact of that learning and development activity. The CPC Learning and Development strategy's aim is to ensure that each partner has a suitably skilled, confident and competent workforce to deliver the CPC's priorities and meet the needs for children and young people in their area.

Strategic Planning and Connections

3.5 CPCs must ensure strong and robust strategic planning links to wider integrated children's services planning arrangements in their local area in order to ensure that the need for support and protection of children and young people can be comprehensively met in well designed, effective and sustainable local services, programmes and initiatives.

CPCs must link effectively with other multi-agency partnerships and structures locally, regionally and nationally, including Chair and Lead officer participation in Child Protection Committees Scotland.

Annual Reporting

3.6 CPCs must produce and publish an annual report, endorsed by the Chief Officers, which sets out the work undertaken by the Committee, delivery against key performance measures in that year as well as identified priorities for the year ahead.

The reporting period for the annual report should be aligned with the reporting period for the shared dataset.


Email: Child Protection Unit

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