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Guidance, Policies & Procedures

Local child protection procedures & protocols advice for professionals and multi-agency working

For children to be kept safe from harm it is essential that the local workforce of practitioners and managers, including volunteers and workers in faith settings, are well informed and understand the agreed local child protection procedures.

Workers and volunteers in all services (including adult-focused services) need to know:

  • how to recognise signs of need or possible abuse, harm or neglect to children (up to 18 years);
  • what actions to take;
  • how and where to seek advice;
  • how to refer children in need and children in need of protection to the relevant protection services;
  • what to say to children and their families;
  • rules about sharing confidential information; and
  • what records to keep.

Research has shown that children are best protected through well-coordinated multi-agency working and information sharing.

London Child Protection Procedures

Merton Safeguarding Children Partnership and its member agencies are signatories to the London Safeguarding Children Procedures (LSCP) as our local procedures.

You may access the London Procedures here:

London Safeguarding Children Procedures Website

The London Safeguarding Children Procedures are based on current legislation and the latest edition of national statutory guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2018

Local Child Protection Protocols and Procedures

Where the MSCP has agreed supplementary protocols or procedures to those agreed for London they can be accessed in this section.  As these website pages are updated we will also show how the London Child Protection Procedures operate locally within Merton.

Local Child Protection Protocols and Procedures are agreed by the MSCP and local agencies, on the advice of the MSCP Policy Sub Group and the Promote and Protect Young People Sub Group.

The MSCP has agreed definitions for ‘strategy’, ‘policy’, ‘protocol’ and ‘procedure’.  These are defined as follows:

  • Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). The senior leadership of an organization is generally tasked with determining strategy. It involves activities such as strategic planning and strategic thinking. MSCP Strategies will be agreed by the MSCB not the Sub Groups
  • Policy is a system of principles to guide decisions and achieve agreed outcomes. A statement of intent, and is then implemented as a procedure or protocol. The process of making important organisational decisions, including the identification of different priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the impact they will have. For an LSCB policies will be agreed based on current legislation, national guidance, local assessments of need, resources and understanding of validated research and best practice.
  • Protocol is an accepted code of conduct or acceptable professional behaviour, including rules and guidance. For the MSCB Protocol will be used to denote a specific agreement, including both policy and procedure, by the MSCB for its Partner Agencies about a set of responsibilities to meet a particular issue– e.g. Information Sharing Protocol.
  • Procedure  sets out the actions, stages and people responsible for undertaking a process. It will be derived from agreed policy.  It will give greater detail than a policy or protocol and forms a set of guidance or instructions to be followed.

Your own agency may also have its own internal procedures, which you should follow.

Advice on child protection

If you need advice your agency may have a ‘designated’ person whose job it is to advise on child protection or you can seek advice from the Children and Families Hub (formerly known as the MASH).

See the MSCP pages on Learning and Development to access our current Training Programme and apply for courses which link to these policies and procedures.

The ‘Trigger trio’

Research, including lessons from serious case reviews, has shown that where there is presence in a family of domestic violence, drug or alcohol misuse or parental mental ill-health there is a greater possibility that a child or young person may be neglected, including emotional neglect, or abused in some way.  The risk may be increased where more than one of these is present and where the focus is diverted to the parents’ needs.

In Merton the MSCP expects all agencies to ensure that staff, especially those who work mainly with adults who may be parents or carers, are aware of this increased risk and consider the welfare of children, as well as adults.