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The Director of Nursing in NHS England and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer NHS England/Improvement explains the reforms to ensure the safeguarding of children and other vulnerable people:
I am pleased to launch the revised NHS Safeguarding Accountability and Assurance Framework (SAAF).
This framework has been updated to reflect the safeguarding reforms that have passed through government since the last publication in 2017.
Working Together to Safeguard Children legislative reforms have made clear the paramountcy of the child has to be central to the focus of multiagency safeguarding partnerships. Of equal significance is the fact that health is now an equal partner with local authority and police organisations with accountability for ensuring local systems have outcome-focused children’s safeguarding arrangements.
Recently, the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 was published. This will have a significant impact for professionals across the system, particularly those working with 16 and 17-year-olds and professionals working in mental health and learning disability services. The NHS safeguarding community will take a leading role in supporting the implementation of the reforms across healthcare services, ensuring relevant colleagues are supported appropriately to understand what the changes mean for them and for those in their care.
We continue to anticipate further reforms such as the Domestic Abuse Bill which, for the first time, will see a cross-government statutory definition of domestic abuse to ensure that this type of abuse is properly understood, deemed as unacceptable and actively challenged across statutory agencies and in our communities.
The Government’s consultation on a new legal duty to support a multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence will potentially lead to further reforms and any implications for the NHS will be reflected in further updates to the Safeguarding Accountability and Assurance Framework.
This is a time of opportunity for individuals, organisations and systems working in health and care as the investment associated with the NHS Long Term Plan is enabling transformation to take place at pace.
Never before has it been more important to ensure that safeguarding remains integral to all transformative activity and this framework sets out the legislation and national arrangements that will support us all in working together to focus on health and wellbeing in a way that keeps individuals and communities safe.
I want to thank all of you who contributed to the latest edition of this framework; your feedback has been invaluable.
Please keep engaging via Twitter using the #teamCNO #NHSSafeguarding hashtags. I will keep listening and engaging – with colleagues, teams and the public – so we continuously develop and improve with partners across the safeguarding landscape.