Local Safeguarding Children Boards to be scrapped

Boards set up to help safeguard vulnerable children in Wales are being scrapped by the Welsh government.

The 22 Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) will be merged into six new Safeguarding and Protection Boards, covering both children and adults.

There will also be a single national board to oversee the boards’ work.

LSCBs were criticised just over a week ago in report which found they lacked focus and were not fulfilling their legal role.

The joint report by five inspectorates said there was good work by individuals, but the LSCBs were not showing measurable results.

LSCBs are made up of different agencies across social and care services to help protect children.

They were established in 2006 to prevent the mistreatment of children resulting from confusion between agencies.

Social Services Minister Gwenda Thomas said the most recent evidence fom inspectors showed that the current system of boards, which mirror each local council area, was not working as effectively as hoped.

“I have said many times that doing things 22 times is not sustainable,” she said.

“The rationale for fewer boards is considerable. As is the case for placing adult protection boards on an equitable footing with those for children.”

A joint report by five inspectorates found the 22 boards lacked focus and were not fulfilling their legal role.

The report recommends better scrutiny and accountability, and for local authorities to take the lead.

Ms Thomas said the proposals will go out to consultation, while she hoped the national board, with an independent chair, to oversee the six new boards would have “teeth”.

In November 2010, the Welsh assembly’s health committee said the role of LSCBs needed to be clarified, claiming it was not clearly understood or consistent across Wales.