Working together to safeguard children

Last updated: 13 Jan 2022 Topics: Case management Safeguarding standards

Working together to safeguard children: a guide to statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, produced by the Department for Education (DfE), outlines what organisations in England must do to safeguard children and young people. 

Author: Department for Education
Published: July 2018, updated Dec 2020


  • assessing need and providing help
  • organisational responsibilities
  • multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
  • improving child protection and safeguarding practice
  • child death reviews

Sports specific guidance from the update

In December 2020 a number of areas were added or amended within Working together. We have summarised what these key changes mean for sport. 

Contextual safeguarding - contextual safeguarding was renamed in the guidance as 'assessment of risk outside the home' (p.25), and teenage relationship abuse has been added as an area of risk.

Criminal exploitation - criminal exploitation has been added to the areas of risk in which practitioners should be developing their skills and knowledge to address (p.14). The National Working Group has provided resources and training to support sports organisations in this area. 

Domestic abuse - the impact of domestic abuse, including controlling or coercive behaviour, has been integrated throughout the revised guidance. Both domestic violence and controlling and coercive control have been added to the definitions (pp.110-111).           

Homelessness duty - the Homelessness duty has been added to this guidance (p.23) in relation to local authorities’ duties to intervene at an earlier stage in homelessness.

Information sharing - guidance was refined in response to the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This includes guidance about:

  • appropriate information sharing of safeguarding and child protection concerns
  • data protection legislation to not prevent the sharing of information to keep a child safe
  • consent not being required when sharing information for safeguarding and protecting the welfare of a child (p.19)
  • using GDPR guidance to inform decisions making about appropriate information sharing
  • not needing to have the agreement of the child and parents to share information, it is important to explain the reasons for this (p.15). However agreement is encouraged

This strengthened guidance should support sports organisations in sharing information between themselves and with statutory bodies.

Mental health and wellbeing - the importance of mental health concerns for children has been emphasised throughout the revised document. Mental health has been added to physical health (p.7 & p.14) and the significance of mental health concerns about a child has been linked to abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Download the guidance

Download the Working together to safeguard children 2018 guidance from the website. 

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