BSCB policies procedures and guidance
BSCB policies and procedures are developed with multi-agency input and agreed by the full Board. The below documents have been produced by the BSCB for multi-agency use across Bristol. Links to relevant local protocols and national guidance have also been provided.
Types of document
The different types of document are defined below:
- Policy. A policy sets out the organisations position (i.e. its shared beliefs, organisational intentions and commitments) and is a set of ideas or plan of what we should, or would do, in a particular situation.
- Strategy. Strategies are about the way organisations intend to do things to help achieve a specific aim in a planned, coherent and coordinated way. A strategy would be supported by an implementation plan.
- Procedures. Procedures describe how a policy will be put into action and should outline who will do what; what steps to take and which forms and documents to use.
- Protocol. Procedures should be done by protocol. A protocol defines a set of operational procedures to ensure that there is a well- defined way of doing a particular task or range of tasks often informed by past experience.
- Practice Guidance. Guidance provides information on how to act in a situation. It often refers to what is good or best practice and provides contextual information or addresses the question of ‘why?’ specified actions may be required. Practice guidance is not the same as statutory guidance which sets out what organisations must do to comply with the law.
- Pathway. A Pathway is a way of achieving specified results or a course of action.
SWCPP and local arrangements
Professionals in Bristol should also visit the South West Child Protection Procedures. This is a joint set of procedures agreed by the South West Local Safeguarding Children Boards covering all types of child abuse. All the information is based on current legislation and up to date national policy and is updated regularly and should be followed by all organisations. The specific multi-agency guidance below expands on some of these procedures and provides guidance for risk assessments and so should be read in tandem.
The Single Assessment Framework (2014) is guidance developed by Bristol City Council for professionals assessing needs of families for early help.
All local and national safeguarding arrangements should be aligned with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.
BSCB multi-agency documents and resources
The BSCB Threshold Guidance 2018 has been designed to help practitioners working with children and young people identify when additional support will help children achieve their potential, and keep them safe from harm. The 2018 refreshed document includes matrices to assist practitioners in their decision making.
The process for the Bristol MASH can be found below:
Think Family Approach
The Think Family Approach is a multiagency guidance document developed jointly between the BSCB and BSAB. It has been written for professionals working with parents whose complex needs impact on their ability to care for the children around them. For example parents and carers who have mental health issues; disabilities; have drug and alcohol problems; affected by domestic abuse and/or have involvement with the Criminal Justice System. In many of the cases in which there are concerns about a child's welfare, parents will be facing at least one these issues.
The BSCB Escalation policy should be used to formally raise concerns between agencies regarding work relating to children.
It is necessary to record each instance in which the Escalation policy is used to resolve professional disputes. Complete and send the below form to
bscb @ Bristol.gcsx.gov.uk from a secure email.
Allegations against people who work with Children
Guidance for professionals on how to manage allegations against a person who works with children.
To notify the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) of any allegation against a person who works with children, please complete the following form and return to the relevant email address.
Advice specific to the management of allegations against foster carers can be found below.
Partnership agreements and written undertakings
Used effectively partnership agreements and written undertakings can provide clarity and direction in managing a risk or concern relating to a child. However, learning from recent Serious Case Reviews has highlighted that, if not used effectively, they fail to provide sufficient protection to the child subject of the agreement. The following guidance outlines how to use partnership agreements and written undertakings effectively.
Professionals should use the following template when drafting a partnership agreement
Professionals should use the following template when drafting a written undertaking
This guidance is to support professionals working with children and families in the holding of Strategy Discussions where there are child protection concerns and it is considered that there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
Multi Agency Professional Meetings
This guidance will outline the purpose of MAPM’s; when it is appropriate to convene a MAPM; and how this should be managed.
Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) are the statutory arrangements for managing sexual and violent offenders in the community in a way that mitigates the risk that they pose as much as possible. The process is ensured by the Responsible Authority which consists of police, prison and probation services and they are charged with the duty and responsibility for the assessment and management of risk of all MAPPA offenders. CYPS social care have a 'duty to co-operate' with the Responsible Authority under section 325(3) of the Criminal Justice Act (2003). Guidance for social workers can be found here.
A professionals briefing has been developed:
7 min MAPPA briefing - Publisher this version can be edited by agencies to highlight their specific expectations
Domestic abuse can cause serious harm to children of all ages. Everyone working with women and children should be alert to the frequent inter-relationship between domestic abuse and the abuse and neglect of children.
A MARAC is a meeting where information is shared on the highest risk domestic abuse cases between representatives of local police, health, child protection, housing practitioners, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and other specialists from the statutory and voluntary sectors. After sharing all relevant information they have about a victim, the representatives discuss options for increasing the safety of the victim and turn these into a co-ordinated action plan. The primary focus of the MARAC is to safeguard the adult victim. The MARAC will also make links with other fora to safeguard children and manage the behaviour of the perpetrator.
At the heart of a MARAC is the working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a victim, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety. The victim does not attend the meeting but is represented by an IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor) who speaks on their behalf. Specific Guidance and Checklist relating to Young people aged 13-17 who are victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse has been developed by CAADA- DASH and is available here.
This practice briefing for professionals addresses what Criminal Exploitation is; what is your responsibility; and what you should do.
Child Sexual Exploitation
A dedicated CSE sub group of the BSCB coordinates the work to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation across Bristol. The following guidance outlines the principles which underpin best practice interventions to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation
The BSCB CSE strategy sets out the commitment of Bristol Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) and stakeholders to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in a co-ordinated, multi-agency and strategic manner, and to support victims in mitigating the impact of CSE.
The BSCB CSE Strategy has been translated for young people by Barnardo’s.
Free From Fear film premiere, designed by young people, to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation among young people.
The following document provides a list of the professional services responding to Child Sexual Exploitation across Bristol.
Use the below form to send concerns about persons suspected of sexual exploitation to the police. You must use the secure email address on the form. If you do not have access to a secure email account please call 101. If it is an emergency dial 999.
Fraser and Bichard guidelines are national guidance in relation to responding to reports of sexual activity involving young people under 16.
A new CSE resource about peer-on-peer sexual exploitation to raise awareness with professionals has been developed by NWG, Barnardo’s and the Met Police. This can be found at the following link: www.barnardos.org.uk/cse-can-you-see-it
As well as multi agency training provided by the BSCB, training around sexual health services for young people can be found at https://www.4ypbristol.co.uk/for-professionals.
Guidance is also available for non statutory organisations
Female Genital Mutilation
FGM is practiced in 30 African countries, the Middle East and specific parts of Asia. FGM is a secretive practice as it is illegal in many countries, including the UK. It is a cultural rather than a religious practice and there are variations in the types of practice. FGM is generally not performed with the use of anaesthetic or in sterile conditions. It is a grave human rights violation with serious health consequences.
These guidelines will support the statutory guidance outlined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children - 2015’ and the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
Leaflets can also be found on the BAVA website
Harmful Sexual Behaviour
Children and young people who abuse others should be held responsible for their abusive behaviour, whilst being identified and responded to in a way that meets their needs as well as protecting others. They are likely to be children in need and some will, in addition, be suffering – or be at risk of – significant harm, and may themselves be in need of protection. This protocol provides guidance to professionals on how to work with and address children who display Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB).
Expected Baby Protocol
Guidance for addressing concerns relating to an unborn baby.
Injuries in non-mobile babies
Protocol developed jointly with South Gloucestershire and North Somerset LSCB to address injuries on non-mobile babies
Children Missing from Home and Care
These documents were developed to provide a clear outline of the multi-agency responsibilities and response to meeting the needs of children who go missing from home and care
Visit this page for Children Missing Education
The below summary document outlining the impact of neglect in childhood and the information and support available.
The 2018 BSCB Neglect strategy outlines aims and objectives to address neglect across the city
Joint Targeted Area Inspection 2017
In 2017 Bristol LSCB and other local partners were inspected as part of the joint targeted area inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Bristol. The full report can be read here.
As a result of the inspection the following response and action plan has been produced.
Key learning points for professionals have been identified and are highlighted in the following professionals briefing document
BSCB and Safer Bristol have produced revised guidance for professionals to support them in their work with families where drug and/or alcohol use is problematic.
To assist professionals to identify which patients are parents or carers, those that have children or children staying with them and the safeguarding arrangements that should be in place when a client is undertaking Opiod Substitution Treatment.
The following leaflet for substance using parents can be used as a professional resource.
Achieving Best Evidence
When a criminal offence has been committed against a child and the child is considered a witness there are particular procedures that should be followed. In all cases it should be remembered that the welfare of the child is paramount and any investigation should always place the child's needs first.
The below guidance note should be used when vulnerable children can't be protected by other means
BSCB Guidance on the Transfer of a Child Protection Safeguarding File to another Educational Setting
This guidance has been created to ensure that all relevant child protection and safeguarding information about a child is known to the educational setting that a child attends. It is imperative that, in order to promote a child's welfare and thus their educational needs, that any concerns around the child are documented and passed on when the child moves to a new setting.
Learning and Improvement Framework
The BSCB Learning and Improvement Framework 2014 covers the requirements within chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013. Chapter 4 describes the way that professionals and organisations safeguarding children need to reflect on the quality of their services and learn from their own practice and that of others. It outlines the requirements for an integrated local learning and improvement framework and the principles to be used when undertaking Serious Case Reviews, as well as other types of review and audit. More information on Bristol Serious Case Reviews can be found at the Serious Case Reviews page
Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP)
The West of England Child Death Overview Panel produce an annual report detailing their activities in the preceding year. This is reported to the BSCB.
All professionals should ensure that the decision to share information with another agency is undertaken in accordance with the DofE Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners.
A guide to Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding for Faith Based Establishments. Jointly produced by the BSCB and BSAB, adopted from Faith Associates, Birmingham City Council.
Joint Perinatal Mental Health Protocol
This protocol has been developed jointly between the BSCB and BSAB
The purpose of this protocol is to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the systems and pathways in place within Bristol. It will address the importance of professionals taking collective responsibility for the woman, her baby and the family, and responding effectively to concerns around Perinatal Mental Health.
Joint Integrated Supervision Good Practice Guide and Tools
This Good Practice Guide has been developed jointly for BSCB and BSAB. The aim of this guide is to promote and develop a culture that values and engages in regular safeguarding supervision. It is intended to provide an overarching framework for all staff working in multi-agency organisations across Bristol.
This briefing note about Forced marriage and Honour Based Violence contains information about the issues and directs towards available resources.
The BSCB Trafficking guidance is currently being updated. Find more information on trafficking and Modern Slavery at the South West Child Protection Procedures website.
Building the Bridge is the organisation that works to keep Bristol communities safe from radicalisation and violent extremism. Below are leaflets for both professionals and the public that lets you know what help and information is available where you have a concern that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation.
Safeguarding children who have returned from Syria
This briefing note provides advice for professionals working to Safeguard children who have returned to the UK from Syria after exposure to radicalisation.
Joint Safeguarding Children, Young people and young adults with disabilities
Safeguarding children, young people and young adults is everyone’s responsibility especially because their vulnerability makes them more susceptible to all forms of abuse than people without impairments. It is important that professionals identify low level risks and ensure that they are managed through multi agency early support so there is early intervention and prevention to minimise the risk and harm that could occur.
Safeguarding Older Adolescents And Young Adults (16-25)Through Their Transition Years
Older Adolescence and Young Adulthood are important developmental periods. Often the needs of these age groups are only understood through the experience of ‘Transitions’ as children move into adult services. Transition is defined as ‘A purposeful and planned process of supporting young people to move from children's to adults' services.’
Agencies in Bristol both statutory and voluntary such as health and social care, youth services, charities, housing, education, benefits and employment agencies must meet the challenge to map their work with others, and, develop cooperation among each other whilst involving the young person and their families. This documents provides a good practice guideline for agencies involved in transitions.