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Thinking aloud: decentralisation and safeguarding in English schools

Mary Baginsky (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK)
Jennifer Driscoll (Department of Education and Professional Studies, King's College London, London, UK)
Jill Manthorpe (Professor, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 21 December 2015




The purpose of this paper is to consider possible implications of recent policy initiatives in schools and local government for child safeguarding practice in education settings in the state sector in England.


Recent policy changes to promote devolution of decision-making to school and local government level are analysed in the light of the literature on multi-agency working for the protection of children.


The paper highlights the complexity of the current context in which local arrangements for the safeguarding of children are operating. This includes efforts at integration of funding and structures, coupled with rapid changes in policy in both education and children’s social care and greater decision-making powers at local level. Together this makes it difficult to evaluate the current strengths of safeguarding arrangements between schools and other local agencies to help ensure that arrangements for the safeguarding of children in “independent” state schools are robust and effective.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers and policy-makers need to consider the efficacy of safeguarding arrangements under new local government and integrated structures in England.

Practical implications

There is relatively little research addressing inter-organisational information exchange in relation to education professionals involved in safeguarding. This paper sets out some directions for inquiry, including specific priorities that may be useful to the research and practice communities in the context of integration.


The paper provides a summary of key policies and strategies that inform child protection in state school settings in England.



Baginsky, M., Driscoll, J. and Manthorpe, J. (2015), "Thinking aloud: decentralisation and safeguarding in English schools", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 352-363.



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