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Breaking Down the House of Lords’ Inquiry into The Children and Families Act, 2014

In this blog we outline how safeguarding software can be used to address the recommendations outlined by the House of Lords’ inquiry into the Children and Families Act, 2014. 

The House of Lords’ inquiry into the consideration of the Children and Families Act, 2014, published 6 December 2022, identified criticisms around the implementation of the act, stating it was blighted by “insufficient data and inadequate implementation and monitoring.” 

The Children and Families Act – which aims to give greater protection to vulnerable children, young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and improve support for separating families – was described by the House of Lords as something that “should have been a landmark piece of legislation and instead is largely a missed opportunity to improve the lives of children and young people.” 

The key conclusions drawn by the House of Lords inquiry revealed that, despite admirable intentions, the sheer breadth of the areas covered by the Act, a lack of due concern given to implementation, poor data collection to measure impact and a lack of joined up action at all levels, has contributed to children and their families feeling let down by the system

Within the inquiry, the House of Lords Select Committee also cited the value of early intervention as one of its key themes for the future: 

“It is clear to us that investing in early intervention results in better outcomes for children and young people. It can head off crises before they emerge, reducing the need for high-cost interventions later in the cycle. Despite the clear value of early intervention, it remained absent across many of the areas we looked at, threatening the stability of families and the health of children and young people.”  

Key recommendations from the inquiry 

  • Some of the key recommendations set out by the House of Lords’ report on how the Government can realise its ambitions as initially set out in the Children and Families Act, 2014, include: building robust systems for monitoring and assessing the implementation of legislation, including data collection and sharing. 
  • Addressing the ever-growing delays in public family law cases, which began long before the pandemic. This requires improved data gathering and sharing, and top-level leadership of an often-disparate system by Government. The Committee urged the Government to publish an ambitious target for the timeliness of public children cases, along with an associated action plan laying out how it aims to achieve this reduction and how it will measure progress. 
  • Developing a safe and modern digital contact system for post-adoption contact. The Committee urged the Government to support adoption agencies in developing and rolling-out a safe and appropriate national digital system for contact as a priority. 
  • Reviewing the current approach to empowering the voice of the child in family law proceedings including recommending the Family Justice Council reviews the guidance setting out the approach to judges meeting with children. 

Using CPOMS to solve challenges raised by the inquiry  

CPOMS Engage safeguarding software allows local authorities and the different departments within them, including social care, early help and domestic abuse teams, as well as schools and virtual schools to record and monitor safeguarding concerns of children and young people in one place. This helps to provide complete transparency and build a full picture of an individual child’s safeguarding needs.  

The software helps to create a joined-up response, making it easier to recognise and respond to safeguarding concerns via seamless and secure transfer of information between systems. The simplicity and speed of this software helps ensure a timely, collaborative approach to the safety and wellbeing of children and makes any relevant referral process much more efficient. 

CPOMS Engage also allows local authorities to share information received from other public services, including the Police, directly with schools. This eliminates the need for organisations to reformat files, send emails and make countless phone calls so that time can be spent providing the individuals in need with the early help and support they require. 

In the event a child moves from one local authority to another, CPOMS Engage allows the authorities to quickly share information with one another, helping to ensure that no child falls through the gaps. Doing so also gives the new local authority a full picture of the child’s history so that staff can make informed decisions about the support they may need.    

Summary 

The House of Lords inquiry Children and Families Act 2014: A failure of implementation highlights the importance of child welfare, multi-agency collaboration and the need for more schools and local authority organisations to invest in tools that enable them to monitor and share information more easily. 

Safeguarding software like CPOMS Engage can solve several challenges set out in the House of Lords inquiry into the Children and Families Act, 2014. Ultimately, CPOMS Engage allows schools and local authorities to: 

  • Share accurate information efficiently and securely without compromising on quality or safety.  
  • Create a full picture of a child’s safeguarding needs – enabling concerns to be identified earlier. 
  • Simplify and enhance their safeguarding processes – eliminating the need to reformat files, send secure emails and make countless phone calls. 
  • Maximise resources and collaboration so that a multi-agency approach where expertise and talents are put to good use for the benefit of the child can be leveraged. 
  • Ensure better outcomes for children through effective joint decision making and coordinated action cross settings.  

To find out more about how CPOMS Engage software can enhance local authority collaboration, read our blog. 

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