Safeguarding commissioning assurance in the NHS

Integrated care systems and safeguarding

The health safeguarding system needs to evolve to meet the new challenges following the introduction of the NHS Long Term Plan, which outlines the establishment of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and an expectation of closer alignment and working across the health and care system.

Under Working Together to Safeguard Children, changes were made to legislation removing the statutory authority of local safeguarding children boards. It introduced new local safeguarding partnership arrangements, where Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Local Authorities (LAs) and the local constabulary now have equal and joint accountability for children safeguarding responsibilities. Adult responsibilities remain unchanged in line with the Care Act 2014.

Across England, developing ICSs have used these arrangements as the catalyst for change, ensuring safeguarding remains paramount in any new structures. It is likely that legalisation will be created by Government to support better integration across health bodies and social care, with safeguarding seen as the golden thread throughout.