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Safeguarding children

Safeguarding roles responsibilities

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Multiagency working and cooperation

NHS North East London (NEL) Integrated Care System (ICS) is one of the three statutory safeguarding partners (tripartite arrangement) for each Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCP) across NEL.

Designated and Named Professionals are members of LSCP subgroups; Designated Professionals are usually expected to chair or co-chair some of these subgroups. They provide expert advice on all safeguarding health matters, review audits and analyse data. Designated Professionals take the strategic lead on the health component of child safeguarding reviews, advising on which health organisations need to be included and quality assuring health reports. In addition, Designated and Named professionals inform and advise on policy and practice development locally and nationally.

Background to health safeguarding services

The health safeguarding system is underpinned by legislation and frameworks, which states that NHS North East London and provider organisations are required to have effective arrangements in place to promote health and safeguard vulnerable children. In addition, further statutory guidance; (2015) sets out the joint working responsibilities of NHS organisations, in partnership with key agencies to improve health outcomes and the wellbeing of Looked-after Children.

Implementation of legislation

Responsibility for safeguarding children and young people in the health service lies with NHS North East London (NEL) Integrated care Board (ICB). The organisation has an Accountable Officer who is responsible for ensuring that NEL fulfils its duties and safeguarding functions effectively and efficiently. NEL collaborates with health services for the local population and also jointly commissions health and social care services across NEL. In addition, Public Health Services commission Health Visiting and School Nursing, who are employed via Community Health Trusts. 

Designated Professionals – roles and responsibilities

Each Integrated Care System (ICS) is statutorily required to provide the following roles:

  • Designated Professionals: a Senior Nurse and a Consultant Paediatrician for children and young people; a Senior Nurse and Consultant Paediatrician for Looked After Children
  • Named GP for Primary Care

These are strategic and clinical roles relating to all aspects of the health service’s contribution to safeguarding children and young people across all health care settings (NHS and independent) within each borough. Designated Professionals and the Named GP play an integral role in all parts of the commissioning cycle from procurement to quality assurance. In addition, Designated Professionals and the Named GP provide advice, support and supervision to Named Professionals and expert advice on all health safeguarding matters across the multiagency arena e.g., Social Services, Police, Education and the LSCPs. They provide a conduit between NHS England and the whole Health system supporting the Safeguarding Accountability and Assurance Framework (NHSE, 2022).

Named Professionals – roles and responsibilities

All NHS services are required to have a safeguarding children/children looked-after lead as part of their organisational structure. Hospitals and community services are additionally required to appoint a Named Dr (Consultant Paediatrician), a Named Nurse and a Named Midwife (Senior Nurse/Senior Midwife) where those services are provided, to take the professional lead on all safeguarding/children looked-after matters. Named Professionals for children have a key role in promoting good professional practice, providing advice and expertise to professionals and ensuring appropriate safeguarding training is in place within their organisations. Named Professionals for safeguarding/children looked-after have the skills, knowledge and competencies, support all activities necessary to ensure that the organisation meets its responsibilities to safeguard and protect children and young people.

NHS North East London Integrated Care System

The Health system is the term used for the different health organisations that make up the whole of the health service provision across North East London. NEL ICB commissions:

Barking and Dagenham

City of London and Hackney




Tower Hamlets

Waltham Forest

Safeguarding the health of children, young people and families

Health professionals have a distinct contribution to make to the safeguarding of children. Wherever they are working, health professionals are key to the prevention of child maltreatment and the early identification of abuse and neglect. This includes:

  • Providing health related interventions to children and families
  • Monitoring health and development
  • Providing advice and support via early intervention to manage emerging needs as they arise
  • Referring children at risk/or who have been abused  to specialist support, including therapeutic support and also MASH to prevent further abuse

In addition, health professionals working in adult services (such as ED, adult mental health and/or drug and alcohol services) will support parents/carers and escalate concerns in respect of issues that may adversely affect children in their care and work towards a smooth transition into adult services.