Implementing child protection system ‘must be priority’ for councils and NHS organisations – children’s minister

NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of this information.

Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP has called on councils and NHS organisations yet to implement a child protection information sharing system to do so as a priority.

The Minister today visited Finchley Memorial Hospital walk-in centre to see Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) in action and talk to nurses and social workers from North London who use it.

CP-IS is the first national safeguarding system which shares information between health and social care. It works by linking up the information held by local authorities on looked after children, and those on current child protection plans, with systems at NHS unscheduled care settings such as emergency departments and minor injuries units.

If a vulnerable child known to a local authority attends an unscheduled care setting, a notification is generated and sent to the child’s social worker. It also alerts clinicians that they are dealing with a vulnerable child. This enables health and social care staff to work more closely together to protect children most at risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

Its implementation across England has seen a rapid acceleration since last autumn, with over 131,000 vulnerable children now protected by the system – an increase of over 50 per cent compared with September last year.

This follows a funding boost of £500,000 from the Department for Education and a further £500,000 from NHS England to help councils and NHS organisations implement the system.

The Minister was shown how the system works, spending time with Trish Stewart, Head of Safeguarding at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and representatives from the London Boroughs of Camden and Hackney also explained the benefits.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP said:

“Keeping children safe is absolutely vital and we want a world-class child protection system that makes sure our vulnerable children get the support they need, when they need it.

“A key part of this is access to information, and the Child Protection Information Sharing project is an important tool in joining up our systems so doctors, nurses and social workers have a more detailed picture about the vulnerable children they care for.

“The funding has helped rapidly increase the number of children protected by the system and we want the remaining local authorities and healthcare organisations to implement as soon as possible.”

Head of Safeguarding at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust Trish Stewart said:

“Findings from numerous serious case reviews and public inquiries has highlighted the importance of effective communication and professionals working together to safeguard and protect children.

“Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) supports health and social care staff to share information and work in partnership when a vulnerable child or young person is seen at a care setting such as a walk-in centre or accident and emergency department. The CP-IS system highlights known risks or new concerns which help ensure the best outcomes for the child, young person or family.”

Children’s quality assurance service manager at Camden Council Jenni Spencer  said:

“CP-IS ensures that social workers have a more complete picture of a child’s contact with unscheduled health services. We have on a number of occasions obtained crucial information about a young person’s wellbeing that we would otherwise not have received. Without the notifications from CP-IS, carers and social workers could have known nothing about these young people visiting health sites for care, thus preventing us from providing the support and follow-up required.”

Tables showing the increase in implementation of CP-IS since last autumn:

England-wide statistics

Measure

September 2017

May 2018

Percentage increase

Number of children whose data is included in CP-IS

85,967

131,721

53%

Live local authorities

71 (47%)

109 (72%)

54%

Live healthcare organisations*

68 (26%)

174 (65%)

156%

Live individual healthcare settings

227 (19%)

668 (59%)

194%

Number of notifications in month

2,306

5,285

129%


* NHS organisations with at least one of its sites live with CP-IS

London-wide statistics

Measure

September 2017

May 2018

Percentage increase

Live local authorities

16 (50%)

25 (76%)

38%

Live healthcare organisations*

13 (28%)

30 (64%)

131%

Live individual healthcare settings

61 (36%)

102 (60%)

67%

Watch the minister talk about the benefits of child protection information sharing here.

ENDS

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Notes to editors

  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depends.
  2. You can find interactive maps showing you progress in implementing across local authorities and across health organisations here: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/child-protection-information-sharing-project/implementation-progress
  3. To find out how CP-IS works, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3Jp5WF8I1c&feature=youtu.be
  4. For media enquiries please contact media@nhsdigital.nhs.net or telephone 0300 30 33 888.