Safeguarding Children is a multi-stranded identifying concept that reaches beyond basic child protection to incorporate the additional aims of preventing the impairment of children’s health and development, ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, as well as protecting children from maltreatment.
The UK Government has defined the term ‘safeguarding children’ as: ‘The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.’
This shift from traditional child protection to a more all-encompassing approach were influenced by the first Joint Chief Inspectors’ safeguarding children report (2002) and the Victoria Climbié Inquiry (2003). The Every Child Matters programme outlined in the Children Act 2004 formalised these changes in approach into a legislative framework. Every Child Matters aimed to improve outcomes for children in 5 key areas; being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being.
To help achieve this the Act made a number of institutional changes including the abolition of Area Child Protection Committees that had been deemed to have performed poorly in some areas by the Joint Chief Inspectors’ 2002 report and the formation of the multi-agency Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). These consisted of representatives from local partner agencies such as housing, health, police and probation services. The LSCBs were charged with co-ordinating the functions of all partner agencies in relation to safeguarding children. They carry out this function by, among other things, agreeing the contribution of all member agencies and deciding how these pooled funds should be allocated. In addition they are responsible for commissioning independent Serious Case Reviews and training member agency staff in safeguarding children best practice. The Act also placed a duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children 
In 2006 the government released Working Together to Safeguard Children, which set out the ways in which organizations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children. In 2010 this was superseded by Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) which expanded the focus on interagency working and took into account the recommendations of Lord Lamings 2008 progress report The Protection of Children in England which suggested it was imperative that frontline professionals get to know children as individuals.
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- Safeguarding children The third Chief inspectors’ report on arrangements to safeguard children 2008