How NHS England assures safeguarding in the NHS
NHS England’s safeguarding role is discharged through the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), who has a national executive safeguarding leadership role. The CNO is the Lead Board Executive Director for Safeguarding and has a number of forums through which assurance and oversight is sought. The system wide National Safeguarding Steering Group coordinates these forums and gains assurance on behalf of the CNO in order to underpin the Safeguarding Accountability and Assurance Framework.
During 2023 the new Integrated Care Board (ICB) Executive Chief Nurses will be taking executive accountability for statutory safeguarding across the NHS using their quality escalation process with NHS England Regional Chief Nurses and via their Joint Forward Plan with integrated care partnerships.
The NHS national safeguarding steering group (NSSG)
The NSSG works with a range of temporary and permanent subgroups that focus on key issues using a risk-based approach. Membership of the NSSG includes representation from designated/named professionals, regulators, professional bodies and arm’s length bodies (ALBs). Further information regarding the NSSG is available on our webpage.
The National Safeguarding Team in NHS England have devolved, shared leadership for safeguarding assurance to the regions in the form of Regional Safeguarding Leads.
The NHS regional safeguarding leads (RSL)
The role of the Regional Safeguarding Leads includes:
- provide safeguarding advice, role modelling and leadership across the NHS underpinned by contemporaneous evidence-based methodologies such as contextual safeguarding; trauma informed practice and strength-based approaches to safeguarding interventions
- collectively strive to improve safeguarding practice across the NHS and positive health outcomes for victims and survivors of abuse and exploitation and all citizens in all communities
- actively engage direct commissioning leads of Specialised Commissioning and Health in the Justice System at national, regional and local levels for safeguarding assurance
- ensure all NHS providers and system leaders are engaged in arrangements for safeguarding both adults and children
- learn lessons from cases where children or adults die or are seriously harmed and to ensure the learning is effectively disseminated across the NHS, including deep listening to the lived experience
- ensure the implementation of effective safeguarding assurance arrangements via the NHS Standard Contract, Safeguarding Accountability and Assurance Framework (SAAF) and the Safeguarding Commissioning Assurance Toolkit (Safeguarding CAT)
- disseminate national policy and guidance across the health system within their region
- provide quarterly assurance and annual reporting, via the NSSG as per the agreed template(s)
- provide support, leadership and guidance on the development of NHS Safeguarding policies and procedures for safeguarding
- support our social movement of engaging partners from lived-experience and cross-Government fora, including @NHSSafeguarding