Roles of safeguarding professionals and organisations

Local children’s social care team

Where there are concerns that a child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm a referral should be made to the local authority children’s social care.

Local authorities have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.

Within one working day of a referral being received, a local authority social worker should make a decision about the type of response that is required and acknowledge receipt to the referrer.

For children who are in need of immediate protection, action must be taken by the social worker, or the police or NSPCC if removal is required, as soon as possible after the referral has been made to local authority children’s social care.

GP practice child safeguarding lead

Provides advice, support and monitoring of child safeguarding policy and practice within each GP practice. This person will link with their local named GP (see below).

Local named GP for child safeguarding

Named professionals have a key role in promoting good professional practice within their organisation, providing advice and expertise for fellow professionals, and ensuring safeguarding training is in place within a local CCG area. This is mainly within healthcare but will also include advice on health matters related to safeguarding practice to police, children’s social services and other statutory and voluntary agencies. This person will link closely with GP practice leads and support the work of the local safeguarding children board including engaging health colleagues with learning lessons from local serious case reviews.

Designated doctor and designated nurse for child safeguarding

The term designated doctor or nurse denotes professionals with specific roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children, including the provision of strategic advice and guidance to organisational boards across the health community (including the local safeguarding children board) and the provision of leadership and support to the local named GPs and the named professionals in hospital and community trusts. In England all Clinical Commissioning Groups are required to have a designated doctor and designated nurse. To contact your Local Medical Committee (LMC) team click here.

Your responsibilities

Protecting Children and Young People. A short guide for GPs