Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Our Partnership Arrangements

Our Safeguarding Children Partnership Arrangements - introduction

mother and childAll children in Lewisham regardless of their background and circumstances, should have a happy and fulfilled childhood where they enjoy school and family life, learn, belong, grow and achieve so that they enter adulthood ready, willing and able to achieve their highest potential.

We believe that everyone and every agency who comes into contact with children has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action to safeguard them.

Safeguarding is everybody’s business.

For many years, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board has aimed to ensure that member agencies work together to keep children and young people safe, hold one another to account and ensure that safeguarding remains a priority.

During that time, it has successfully delivered against a substantial work programme to ensure the continuous improvement of the safeguarding of Lewisham’s children. This has been achieved through a culture where values and priorities are shared and understood and where cooperative and collaborative working is the norm. The LSCB has worked alongside the Lewisham Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership to deliver the borough’s Children and Young People’s Plan, where safety is a central theme.

In response to the Children and Social Work Act 2017, a new partnership has been created between the London Borough of Lewisham, the Southeast Basic Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police and Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group. Together we have a shared and equal duty to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in Lewisham. Effective 29 June 2019, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership will replace the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board.

Our work is underpinned by shared values and a determination and commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people.

We are committed to building upon what has already been achieved. In designing the new arrangements, we have been acutely conscious that a partnership is only effective if all partners actively engage and buy into the shared vision. In these times of austerity and pressures on services, it is vital that the arrangements make the best possible use of everyone’s time and that all activities demonstrably improve the quality and impact of practice so that that outcomes for children improve.

Working together with relevant agencies we want to ensure a system where children are safeguarded and their welfare promoted. As it says in the Lewisham Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-21:

“It is everyone’s business to ensure we support our children to cope with the complexity of life and emerge from challenging experiences with a positive sense of themselves and their future.”

Pinaki Ghoshal, Executive Director for Children and Young People, London Borough of Lewisham

Simon Dilkes, Detective Superintendent Public Protection South East BCU, Metropolitan Police

Ceri Jacob, Lewisham Place Executive Lead, NHS South East London ICS

LSCP Memorandum of Understanding Document 2022-2023

Our Strategy, Vision & Values

disabled childWith over 300,000 residents, Lewisham is the 14th largest borough in London by population size and children make up 24.5% of the population.

We are an ethnically diverse borough with over two thirds of the children in our schools being from black and minority ethnic backgrounds with over 170 different languages spoken by pupils.

Our aim, backed up by what children, young people, parents, carers and those whose job it is to support them have told us, is that children in Lewisham should:

  • Have the best start in life and be protected from harm
  • Have good physical and emotional health
  • Develop, achieve and be ready for adulthood
  • Feel listened to, understood and respected, in a context of community diversity

To deliver our goals, we will:

  • Put children and young people first every time
  • Together with families, we will have the highest aspirations and ambition for all our children and young people
  • Make a positive difference to the to the lives of children and young people

We will use evidence and analysis to set the Strategic Priorities which will form the focus of our activities. These priorities will be the areas that we believe are the key areas where, working in partnership, we can improve, develop and achieve our goals As a partnership, we are firmly committed to the belief that safeguarding of children is everyone’s business. Our Overarching Priorities are the areas that will be demonstrated across our safeguarding activity in the partnership and is integral to the way we work. 

Our LSCP Strategic Priorities for 2023- 2025 are:-

  • Child Exploitation - To reduce the risk of children/young people and families experiencing exploitation.
  • Neglect - To improve outcomes for children and young people experiencing and those who are at risk of neglect.
  • Think Family - To define and strengthen our Think Family approach to ensure that we consider families holistically in assessments, planning and intervention.

  • Overarching priority: Voice of the child - To develop our approach to include the voice of the child and families throughout the partnership.
  • Overarching priority: Measuring impact  - To demonstrate across the partnership how we are making an impact and achieving positive outcomes for children and families
  • Overarching priority: Anti- racist practice in partnership - To collectively explore and develop our approach to anti-racist practice in partnership.

Our LSCP Strategic Priorities for 2023- 2025 can also be found here LSCP Strategic Priorities 2023-2025

The LSCP have developed our shared values which we will demonstrate across the partnership.   

Lewisham safeguarding children partnership values

Our Organisational Structure

young childWe know that strong leadership and the right structures are critical for the new arrangements to be effective.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) names the local authority chief executive, the accountable officer of a clinical commissioning group and a chief officer of police as the lead representatives with accountability under the legislation.

The lead representatives may delegate the responsibility and authority for ensuring full participation with these arrangements to a senior officer, but remain accountable for any actions or decisions taken on behalf of their agency.

In Lewisham, the lead representatives have named the following senior officers who will have delegated responsibility to work together to promote multi agency safeguarding within the borough of Lewisham:

London Borough of Lewisham
Pinaki Ghoshal
Executive Director for Children and Young People

NHS Lewisham Integrated Care System (ICS)
Ceri Jacob
Place Executive Lead

Metropolitan Police

Simon Dilkes
Detective Superintendent, Public Protection, Southeast BCU

Together with Senior Advisors, they will form the LSCP Executive Partnership which will be responsible for:

  • Setting the vision, strategy and policy direction for Lewisham’s safeguarding arrangements
  • Ensuring wider accountability across services
  • Delivering a fully accountable multi agency system for safeguarding and protecting children in all settings

The Executive Partnership will meet bi-monthly and will be supported by, and work closely with, the Partnership Group.

Members of the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership Group will be drawn from relevant agencies and provide monitoring and challenge to their own and other agencies. They will be required to speak with authority and take decisions on behalf of their agency, commit them on policy, resourcing and practice matters and hold their own organisation to account on how effectively they participate and implement the local arrangements.

The Partnership group will meet three times a year and be chaired by a member of the Executive in yearly rotation.

Organisation Representative
London Borough of Lewisham - Joint Chair Executive Director for Children and Young People
NHS Lewisham CCG - Joint Chair Managing Director
Metropolitan Police - Joint Chair Detective Superintendent Safeguarding
Children's Social Care Director Children’s Social Care
Youth Offending and Community Safety Director of Public Protection and Safety
Commissioned Children’s Services including Children’s Centres Director of Joint Commissioning and Early Help
Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16 Education, SEND and inclusion Director of Education Services
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group Designated Doctor for Safeguarding Children
Schools and Academies Headteacher and Governor Representative
NHS England Director of Nursing for South London
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Lead Clinician
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Chief Nurse
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector, Safeguarding
Probation Area Manager
Community Rehabilitation Company Area Manager
Public Health Director of Public Health
Housing Director of Housing
Community Christ the Rock Ministries
Phoenix Community Housing
Local Authority Cabinet Member for School Performance and Children’s Services

Four subgroups will report to and inform the work of the Executive Partnership and the Safeguarding Partnership.

  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Service Improvement, including Audit
  • Learning from Practice
  • Schools’ Safeguarding Network
  • Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) 

In order to minimise bureaucracy and learn from practice, time limited Task and Finish Groups will be convened when needed.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Service Improvement including Audit

The purpose of this group is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of what is being achieved the partners, individually and collectively. Multi agency audits help to measure the quality, effectiveness and outcomes of safeguarding work across the partnership. Members of this group participate in audit activities including case audits, interviews with children, young people and parents, surveys, consultations and discussions with practitioners and triangulate this information to establish the quality of safeguarding delivery, identify areas that require further improvement and influence system change.

Learning from Practice

The Learning from Practice group is part of our commitment to a dynamic and self-improving system where excellent practice is the norm. It has responsibility for identifying and reviewing incidents that raise issues of improvements to practice, conducting rapid reviews and, where appropriate, notifying incidents to the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and commissioning and publishing local child safeguarding practice reviews.

The Learning from Practice Group has a key role to play in improving collective knowledge about where there is good practice and also whether there are systemic issues and how policy and practice might change to address them.

Our focus is on evidence and analysis, not who did or didn’t do what and when, but on ensuring that learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and that changes to practice can be implemented.

Schools’ Safeguarding Network

Schools are a vital and central part of the safeguarding partnership as they have a crucial role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, given the intensity of the contact with children, young people and their families. The Executive Director for Children and Young People represents schools on the Executive of the partnership.

The Schools Safeguarding Network is responsible for communicating the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children to all schools within Lewisham. It will monitor safeguarding activities across all the schools, across the phases to improve outcomes for children, provide a communication channel between all schools and the Lewisham Learning and Development Partnership and act as a source of peer support in meeting safeguarding responsibilities. The chair of the Schools Safeguarding Network will then sit on the Partnership Group.

Multi-Agency Child Exploitation subgroup (MACE) 

In response to London guidance, the Lewisham Safeguarding partnership reviewed our local arrangements (Concern Hub). In January 2022 we started to transition from the Concern Hub model to a MACE structure based on the new London guidance. 

The Lewisham MACE provides a strategic, tactical and operational response to extra familial harm to children and young people across Lewisham. The definition of extra familial for the purpose MACE includes sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, county lines, serious youth violence and harmful sexual behaviour. The strategic approach to exploitation in Lewisham encompasses 4  key strands:  Pursue , Prevent, Protect and Restore. The strategic MACE subgroup as a partnership seeks to understand and identify themes of exploitation and support the development of strategic responses to child exploitation in Lewisham.

young childSafeguarding Partnership Support Team

The day to day work of the LSCP will be undertaken by Safeguarding Partnership Support Team reporting to the Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance in the Council. The unit will provide organisational and administrative support for the Executive and Safeguarding Partnership and well as sub groups and be responsible for the day to day running of the Partnership.

A member of the support team will have responsibility for supporting with data analysis to ensure understanding of need, emerging issues and relevant service performance, in particular answering the questions:

  • How much have we done?
  • How well did we do it?
  • What difference has it made?

Arrangements with Greenwich and Bexley

Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley will have discrete Multi-Agency Safeguarding Partnership Arrangements but the three boroughs will work closely together to share learning and improve innovation, collaboration and efficiency.

At the most senior level, this will work through a Tri-borough Steering Group that will meet twice annually to consider the areas where a Tri-borough focus can most efficiently and effectively improve safeguarding and where possible align priorities.

Our Partnership Functions

young childHow we will work as a Partnership

Although all partners share the same vision for children, they have different remits and resources.

We believe that vulnerable children are best protected when professionals clearly understand their individual responsibilities and collaborate effectively.

Lewisham has a strong tradition of effective multi agency working and a shared commitment to improving services to children at risk of harm. All partners are committed to ensuring that this continues and develops further under the new arrangements.

We believe that children are best safeguarded when partners have a shared language and understanding, but continue to maintain different perspectives. Our challenge is to ensure that those perspectives are used to enrich our understanding of complex situations and lead to deeper learning.

All members of the partnership are committed to openness and honesty and will strive to ensure a balance of respect and challenge. We will resolve conflict through conversations with maturity and restorative approaches.

The LSCP will work closely with the Safer Lewisham Partnership, Lewisham Adult Safeguarding Board and Lewisham Health and Well Being Board to develop better integration and more efficient and effective safeguarding arrangements throughout the borough.

All of our activities and processes are designed to facilitate and drive action beyond institutional and organisational boundaries.

Although different professionals will have areas of specific, and sometimes statutory, responsibility we aim to ensure that there is no hierarchy of professional identity but instead an understanding of professional and cultural differences and how the range of backgrounds complement each other.

We want to ensure that legitimate professional challenge ensures that there is a true multiagency dimension to complex decision making in safeguarding children.

We know that safe and effective practice is rooted in purposeful quality assurance and challenge. Our goal is for staff in all agencies to feel supported to be part of an a self improving safeguarding culture.

Safe and effective practice is rooted in purposeful quality assurance and challenge and purposeful challenge is rooted in mutual respect, transparency and honesty.

When there are weaknesses in the system, our focus is on evidence and analysis, learning for the future, not blame and recriminations.


Partners and relevant agencies will contribute funding and services in kind to support the implementation of our priorities. In the first year these will be equal to the previous year.

The local authority will act as the host agency for funding, receiving contributions and making payments for expenses incurred on behalf of the partnership.

Role of the Scrutineer

Legislation and statutory guidance require us to ensure the effectiveness of our arrangements through scrutiny by an independent person. This role is designed to provide critical challenge to:

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

Independent Scrutiny will be provided by a single individual with a view to generating usable learning for system improvements.

The Scrutineer will attend Executive and Partnership Meetings as an observer and will be free to read any documentation and attend any meetings that she deems appropriate to satisfy herself of the effectiveness of the arrangements.

The Scrutineer will publish their assessment as part of the Annual Report and will have regular meetings with the Mayor of Lewisham, the LeadCabinet Member, the Chief Executive of the Council, the Chief Operating of Lewisham ICS and the Borough Commander for the Police Southeast Basic Command Unit.


Everyone who works with or has contact with children has a legal obligation to keep children safe. The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership is committed to helping all practitioners understand their role and has published Thresholds for Intervention: Multi Agency Guidance on How Children, Young People and Families Can Access the Right Support at the Right Time in Lewisham.

This document aims to provide a clear framework and promote a common understanding for the provision of support to children with universal, additional, complex and acute needs. 

Annual Report and Review

In order to ensure accountability and transparency for children, families and practitioners about our activities and outcomes, we will produce an annual report.

This report will include:

  • Our agreed priorities and evidence of the impact of the work of safeguarding partners and relevant agencies on those priorities, including areas where there has been little progress
  • A report and analysis of training and effectiveness
  • A record of decisions and actions taken, or planned to be taken, to implement the recommendations of any local and national child safeguarding practice reviews, including and resulting improvements
  • Ways and which the voice of children and families has been used to inform work and influence service provision
  • Any agreed updates and proposed timescale for implementation to our published arrangements

Prior to publication, the report will be subject to independent scrutiny by the Scrutineer. It will be endorsed by the Lewisham Children’s Strategic Partnership Board and presented to the Council’s Children and Young People’s Select Committee and the ICS Governing Body. It will be published on the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership, Lewisham Council and Lewisham ICS websites and distributed through relevant partners’ communication systems.

A Culture of Respect and Challenge

Since everyone in the children’s workforce has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership has a remit to ensure that there is a culture and climate that promotes safeguarding among all staff.

We recognise that no single professional can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances and everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action in order to ensure that children and families receive the right help at the right time. We value the diversity of our workforce and the skills and experiences that the staff from different backgrounds and agencies bring.

Learning and Development

All of our processes and procedures will be designed to support learning that can be embedded consistently and coherently across agencies and systems. We want the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership to be a learning organisation and to create a culture where workers’ desire to improve and learn is linked to front line practice.

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership is designed to be a dynamic and self-improving system with learning from audits, deep dives, feedback, surveys, learning reviews and an annual conference used to inform the development of a single and multi-agency training. Multi agency and inter borough training and learning events will be organised by the operational team who will also report on effectiveness and impact.

To be effective, practitioners need to continually develop their professional judgement and be aware of new and emerging threats. We will offer high quality multi agency training, but understand that every interaction, with families and colleagues alike, is an opportunity for reflective learning.

Our approach is both challenging and supportive. We want to learn from what works as well as look openly and forensically when the system does not work as well as it needs to.

Safeguarding ChildenFuture Developments

Our commitment to learning and continuous improvement means that the arrangements as described in this document are not static.

Our principal priority is ensuring that our safeguarding arrangements work effectively for children and families.

We will consistently challenge ourselves to improve and will seek to learn from our own analysis and good practice in other areas,

We will formally review our arrangements each year and make changes whenever we believe that they will improve outcomes for vulnerable children. 

Our Annual Reports

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) brings together all the main organisations who work with children and families in Lewisham, with the aim of ensuring that they work together effectively to keep children safe.

The core legislation underpinning the work of the LSCB is the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004. The LSCP’s objectives, as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, are:

  • to co-ordinate the work of agencies to safeguard children and promote the welfare of children within Lewisham
  • to ensure the effectiveness of safeguarding children in Lewisham

LSCP Annual Report 2022-2023

Ofsted Joint Targeted Area Inspection Report - 31.01.23

LSCP Annual Report 2021-2022

LSCP Annual Report 2020-2021

LSCB Annual Report 2018-2019

LSCB Annual Report 2017-2018

LSCB Annual Report 2016-2017

LSCB Annual Report 2015-2016

Child Death Overview Panel Annual Report 2016-17

LSCB Priorities & Task Groups 2017-2019

Lewisham’s Safeguarding Children Partnership praised by inspectors +

Inspectors have praised Lewisham’s Safeguarding Children Partnership – which includes Lewisham Council, the South East London Integrated Care System, and the Metropolitan Police – for its work supporting at-risk and vulnerable children.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, and Ofsted carried out their inspection in November 2022 to assess how well we and our partners work together to keep children safe and support their families.

Their report, published today, observes that ‘committed staff, managers and multi-agency teams are working proactively in a complex and multi-faceted environment’ and ‘display a resolute focus on protecting children living with neglect’.

The wide-ranging report also found that:

  • Skilled and committed frontline early help, social care and health practitioners, police officers and school staff work hard to provide effective support to vulnerable children and their families and to prevent risk and harm escalating.

  • Despite increased demand pressures, leaders’ continuous and strenuous efforts to collectively drive forward improvement are making a positive difference to the quality of front door practice with their most vulnerable children and residents.

  • Information sharing across the partnership is effective, driven by professionals who understand and share known risks for children and families.

  • Staff morale is good and working relationships across the partnership are ‘very positive’ and ‘productive’, with a ‘tangible culture of professional accountability and respectful challenge and collaboration between services in Lewisham [that] is impressive’.

  • The process of accessing the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which is made up of representatives from a range of services that keep children safe, is swift and simple for professionals involved in safeguarding, such as school leaders.

  • Schools are valued and respected safeguarding partners.

  • There is evidence of persistent child-centred social work, and a diverse workforce that reflects the local community is a real strength.

  • The safeguarding partnership brings together groups of professionals to focus on learning from practice. These benefit from good engagement which ensures that the work of professionals is aligned with the partnership’s priorities, such as addressing child exploitation.

  • The quality of police referrals is improving, with the voice of the child and their family’s needs captured well.

  • Safeguarding children and maternity safeguarding teams provide valuable support and consultation to all health staff employed by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

The positive impact of child and adolescent community mental health and youth offending services is also highlighted, and inspectors also note that children’s social workers ‘respond effectively’ to risks when children go missing from home and that there is ‘tenacious child-centred practice with children and young people by skilled practitioners’.

Inspectors conclude their main findings by observing that the partnership has ‘the components in place to drive the improvements needed to ensure that children consistently receive the right level of help and protection’.

The report also noted some areas for improvement, but acknowledges that these had already been identified by the partnership, including improving the communication between agencies.

Response from Lewisham Council

Councillor Chris Barnham, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Community Safety, said:

“I’m pleased that this report has recognised our work to keep children safe. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our staff and partners, and by working effectively as a partnership and sharing information, we’ve been able to make great strides to ensure a timely, effective response for children who are vulnerable or at risk.

“I’m also pleased that the report has commented on our hardworking workforce and recognised the strength that comes from its diversity and reflecting the local community which, in turn, has led to better engagement by children and their families with social care services.

“Of course, we know there’s more to do. The council and our partners will continue to work effectively together to build on the strengths identified in this report and address gaps to ensure that we’re consistently supporting children to be safe, happy and healthy.”

Response from the South East London Integrated Care System

Ceri Jacob, Lewisham Place Executive Lead, South East London Integrated Care System, said:

“I welcome the findings of this report. It is positive that the improvements have been recognised. I note the areas in need of further improvement and will continue to work with our partners across health and social care to improve services for children and young people in Lewisham who need help and protection.”

Response from the Metropolitan Police:

Detective Superintendent Richard McDonagh said:

“As local police lead for public protection and the former Chair of Lewisham Children Safeguarding Partnership I take particular pride in this report. The recognition of the efforts of the partnership are paramount as safeguarding children is an enduring priority. However, I am also pleased that Met Police practises have been recognised as effective and productive.

“We have demonstrated greater evidence of professional curiosity using a child centred approach. This means officers and staff consider the wider context of any situation to better identify risk. This enables partners to prevent harm to young people.

“We know that information and intelligence sharing between appropriate services is key to safeguarding vulnerable children and their families in Lewisham. We will of course reflect on the suggestions for improvement in our drive to provide the best possible protection and safety for children.”

Our Policies & Procedures

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) is governed by, and adheres to different policies and procedures, developed in accordance with the "Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018" and other National Guidance.

London Child Protection Procedures provide standards for agencies and a framework to promote children’s welfare and protect them from abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding Disabled Children Practice Guidance

Children's Act 1989

Children's Act 2004

FACT SHEET: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Munro Review of Child Protection: A Child-Centred System

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 Practice Guidance

As you navigate around this site you will see we have done our best to ensure that relevant policies and procedures are included on our main pages to make them easier for you to find and read, depending on what information you looking for.

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