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Looked after child (LAC)

See Children in Care

Local authority (LA)

A local authority is also known as your local council. In safeguarding we refer to the local authority or LA rather than the council. It relates to the social and children’s services department of the council.

Local authority designated officer (LADO)

Local authorities should have a designated officer, or team of officers (either as part of multi-agency arrangements or otherwise), to be involved in the management and oversight of allegations against people who work with children. They should be sufficiently qualified and experienced usually as social workers.

Local safeguarding arrangements (children)

From September 2019 each local area must have an arrangement for different agencies to coordinate safeguarding. These are led by three statutory 'safeguarding partners':

  • The local authority
  • The clinical commissioning group
  • The police.

Each local authority area may have different arrangements. 

The three safeguarding partners should agree on ways to:

  • co-ordinate their safeguarding services
  • act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others
  • implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents.

To find out more see the guide to the child protection system (from the NSPCC)

Local safeguarding children board

A local safeguarding children board (LSCB) was a multi-agency body set up in every local authority. They coordinated work by different groups to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area. They were abolished in September 2019 and replaced by local safeguarding arrangements. In practice they may be the same grouping and the local arrangement may continue to call itself 'board'.

Making safeguarding personal (MSP)

MSP is an important approach to safeguarding work as it is moving away from safeguarding being process driven. Instead the person at risk should always be at the centre of the safeguarding process. 

It is an approach that recognises that we all have different preferences, histories, circumstances and lifestyles. It engages the person in a conversation about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances involvement, choice and control as well as improving quality of life, wellbeing and safety.

Mental capacity

According to the Mental Capacity Act, if a person aged 16 or over cannot do one or more of the following things, they are deemed to be lacking mental capacity about a particular decision:

  • Understand information given to them about a particular decision
  • Retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision
  • Weigh up the information available to make the decision
  • Communicate their decision

A lack of mental capacity can be caused by disability, mental health issues, substance misuse, brain injury or others. If a person is deemed to be lacking mental capacity in relation to a specific situation carers must follow the guidance set out in the Mental Capacity Act’s code of practice and all decisions about that situation must be made in the individual’s best interests

Modern slavery

Modern slavery is defined as the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation. It is a crime under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and includes holding a person in a position of slavery, servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA)

This is the statutory arrangement to protect the public from serious harm by sexual and violent offenders. It is the process where agencies such as the police, the prison service and probation work in each area work together to share information about offenders in order to assess the level of risk they pose to the public.

The government appoints two volunteer lay members (non professionals) to the arrangements to provide an independent perspective on their work.

  • Want to learn more about MAPPA and how you can volunteer? Visit the website.  

Multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC)

A MARAC is a forum of organisations where information about high risk domestic abuse cases is shared. The primary focus of the MARAC is to safeguard the adult victim. The MARAC will also make links with other fora to safeguard children and manage the behaviour of the perpetrator across  boundaries.

Agencies attending can include the police, children’s service, the police, independent domestic violence advisors (IDVAs), probation and voluntary sector bodies.

Multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH)

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is made up of police, adult services, children’s services, NHS, and other organisations. It helps to ensure that agencies are able to act quickly but in a coordinated way therefore maintaining the safety of the person at risk.


Neglect of a child is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

However, neglect is not a form of abuse which only children have to deal with. Adults at risk can also be subject to neglect. Examples of neglect of adults at risk are similar to those of children, if they:

  • are not provided adequate food, clothing, shelter
  • do not have access to medical care or treatment,
  • do not have support in changing dirty clothes or washing themselves
  • are not protected from physical and emotional harm.

These are all forms of neglect of an adult at risk.

Organisational abuse

This occurs when a system of power or institution ill-treats or abuses a child or adult. This includes abuse or ill-treatment within a hospital, care home, within social care, emergency housing, or if care is provided within a person’s own home. To be classed as organisational abuse the ill-treatment or neglect is perpetrated by a regime or individuals in a setting or service where the person is living or which they use. It can be a one-off incident or on-going abuse.

According to Staffordshire Police

‘Organisational abuse occurs when the routines, systems, and regimes of an institution result in poor or inadequate standards of care and poor practice which affect the whole setting’.
Page last edited Oct 04, 2019

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