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Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board

Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Email: safeguardingboard@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8314 3396

Independent Scutineer for Safeguarding Children in Lewisham

Applications are now closed.

Can you be a constructive critical friend to the Lewisham Children’s Safeguarding Partnership?

The Lewisham Safeguarding Partnership (Lewisham Council, Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group and the South Eastern Basic Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police), would like to hear from candidates with skills and experience to bring challenge to our new multi-agency partnership arrangements.  You will need to be able to support and constructively challenge partners to hold each other to account to deliver high-quality safeguarding work across the partnership.  As an Independent Scrutineer we require you to provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of services to protect children and young people in Lewisham and to assist when there is a disagreement between agencies. We would require you to develop a system of scrutiny for the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership. We would also like the Independent Scrutineer to support the partnership to be a learning organisation.

Lewisham is a diverse and vibrant community with a young population.   Partners have signed up to a new Children and Young People’s Plan which puts young people and their families at the centre of agency priorities, with a strong emphasis on promoting equality and valuing diversity.  

To do this role you must be able to demonstrate your strategic and operational knowledge and experience to help us embed partnership working at all levels. You must understand and provide evidence of your understanding of the complexity of partnership arrangements.  You need to be able to form appropriate relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, ranging from practitioners in safeguarding to senior managers and elected councillors. You must be experienced and knowledgeable in safeguarding and child protection work at a senior level and possess the ability to challenge effectively. You should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 and what this means to local partnerships.

This is an exciting opportunity for the right individual to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in Lewisham. We welcome applications from people from a range of disciplines with a safeguarding background.

Time commitment and salary: It is estimated that the role will require up to 24 days per year, for which you will be paid £650 per day outside of IR35. This arrangement will be reviewed after six months, with an initial term contract of 2 years.

Instruction on completing an application

Please email your CV and a covering letter of application indicating your skills, knowledge and experience, and why you would be suitable for this role .This should be no more than three sides of A4.

Closing date for all applications is 10th July 2019. Please note that these dates are only indicative at this stage and could be subject to change.

The closing date is given as a guide. We reserve the right to close this vacancy once a sufficient number of applications have been received. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you complete and return your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For further information about the role please contact Grace Fagan, Safeguarding Partnership Strategic Lead email; grace.fagan@lewisham.gov.uk   

Useful Information

The Partnership is committed to making our recruitment practices as inclusive as possible for everyone. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a culture that values differences, recognising that employees from a variety of backgrounds bring important and positive contributions to improve the way we deliver services. We are proud to be a Disability Confident Partnership.

Important Information

This post is exempted under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and as such appointment to this post will be conditional upon the receipt of a satisfactory response to a check of police records via Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).


The Children and Social Work Act 2017 replaced Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with a new statutory framework requiring clinical commissioning groups, police and local authorities to determine local arrangements for the protection and safeguarding of children in their area.

The legislation stipulates that arrangements must include scrutiny of effectiveness.

The role of independent scrutiny

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) gives further guidance and states that scrutiny should be:

  • Objective
  • Act as a constructive critical friend
  • Promote reflection to drive continuous improvement

In Lewisham, the role is designed to provide critical challenge to:

  • Provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of services to protect children
  • Assist where there is a disagreement between agencies
  • Support the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership to be a learning system

Independent scrutiny will be provided by a single individual (or designated substitutes) with a view to generating learning for system improvements.

The independent Scrutineer will be required to provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of multi-agency arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in Lewisham, including arrangements to identify and review serious child safeguarding cases.

They should consider how effectively the arrangements are working for children and families as well as practitioners and how well the safeguarding partners are providing strong leadership. 

In order to make these judgements, the Scrutineer will be invited to attend all Executive and Partnership meetings.  In addition, the Scrutineer will determine which activities they think are appropriate or necessary to attend in order assure themselves of the quality of the arrangements and will therefore have the option to attend any subgroup meeting, task finish group meeting, audit activity, quality assurance or learning and development activity organised by the LSCP.  They will have access to any papers from those meetings or activities. 

The Scrutineer will ensure that hearing and learning from the voice of the child and service users is at the heart of LSCP activities and they can speak with and receive direct feedback from children, young people and families to test the interconnectedness between performance, practice and the voice of the child, young person and family.

This should give the Scrutineer the opportunity to assess how well organisations come together to cooperate with one another to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to hold each other to account for effective safeguarding and to allow the Scrutineer sufficient evidence to judge:

  • Are appropriate and effective systems and processes in place in all partner agencies to fulfil their statutory duties and ensure that children are protected and that appropriate safeguarding strategies are developed and embedded?
  • How effective are the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements in getting a clear line of sight on single agency and multi-agency practice?
  • Are the structures for the operation of the safeguarding partnership purposeful, efficient and effective?
  • Are evidence, performance information and evaluation used to develop an integrated data set that supports a unified approach across the complex landscape of safeguarding?
  • Do the arrangements enable space for reflection and learning from practice?
  • Is the partnership able to evidence that they are having a positive impact on multi-agency working and/or front-line practice?
  • What has gone well and what is the evidence to support this?
  • What has potential but it is too early to assess impact?
  • Are there concerns or issues that need addressing?

The Scrutineer will develop an annual work plan in partnership with the Executive and meet with them regularly. The Scrutineer will also connect to the governance arrangements for the local authority CCG and police and have regular meetings with elected officials and senior officers of the three safeguarding partners.

The Scrutineer will present their independent assessment as part of the Annual Report.

Qualifications and experience: The following qualifications and experience are required of the person providing independent scrutiny:

  • The Scrutineer (or any appointed substitute) must be suitably qualified and experienced. This can be broadly interpreted but will generally include extensive knowledge of safeguarding practice, guidance and legislation and previous work at strategic and operational level in front line services in child protection, safeguard and promoting the welfare of children.
  • The Scrutineer must have the ability to use data and other evidence to formulate hypotheses and questions, weigh up complex and sometimes conflicting evidence, reach robust conclusions and convey these both verbally and in writing.
  • The Scrutineer must be authoritative and influential with the skills and experience to be able to hold senior managers across all agencies to account, act as a constructive critical friend and be a key driver in promoting reflection for continuous improvement.
  • The Scrutineer must not be related to an elected member (or equivalent of any of the partners), nor to an officer who is employed by a partner agency in a role that is relevant to its safeguarding functions.


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