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Supporting and Engaging Schools in Decision-making and Multi-agency working for the Protection and Safeguarding of Children

Research Aims

This research has the potential to provide new evidence to inform local practice and generate recommendations for policy reform at the national level. The specific aims of the project are:

1) To assess the effectiveness of inter-agency working at local government level in supporting schools in the identification, referral and management of child protection and safeguarding concerns.

2) To enhance understanding of the decision-making process in which members of staff in schools engage in relation to child protection and safeguarding concerns, including:

  • inter-agency information sharing;
  • accessing advice and support;
  • making referrals to local authority children’s social services;
  • engaging in inter-agency collaboration.

3) Investigate how structural differences between schools and other local agencies impact upon child protection and safeguarding practice in (a) schools and (b) children’s social services departments (or departments that include children’s social care services).

4) To recommend changes that should be made to improve safeguarding and child protection practice in schools and local authorities.

Project Overview

Phase 1: Scoping
The first phase of the data collection process is a series of interviews with staff from education and children’s social care in local authorities, as well as with a range of representatives of other agencies with an interest in the subject. Teachers and social workers in some areas will also be interviewed or invited to focus groups. These interviews will enable us to scope the issues which will inform the later phases of the project.
Phase 2: Survey
The second phase will be a survey of representatives of children’s social care, local authority education services and LSCBs in all English local authorities.
Phase 3: Case Studies
The third phase of the study will involve in-depth case studies of five local authority areas. This will include: 1) a survey sent to all schools in the case study authorities; 2) interviews and/or focus groups with key individuals in ten schools and other local agencies in each of the case study areas.
Phase 4: Analysis and Dissemination of Findings
The findings of the research will be presented to a range of academic and practice networks and conferences, and written up for a both academic and practice publications.



Driscoll, J., Baginsky, M., Manthorpe, J. & Purcell, C. (2018) ‘Supporting & engaging schools in decision-making & multi-agency working for the protection of children: scoping the landscape’ BASPCAN Congress, University of Warwick, Coventry, 9 April.

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