Lancashire family safeguarding

We are redesigning our support services for families including early help and child protection services to families who need help.

Our new whole-family approach aims to reduce the number of children coming into care and enable children to be brought up at home wherever it is safe to do this.

Here is a short video from Edwina Grant OBE, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services on the introduction of family safeguarding in Lancashire.


Children's Services Celebration

As part of the changes to Education and Children's Services we ran a celebration event detailing how the new services will work together with wider partners, who is involved and what the benefits to Lancashire families will be. The recording of the event also outlines some of the changes in action, with examples from practitioners from staff at Lancashire County Council and other organisations that are working in partnership to help families to succeed in Lancashire.

Video timings

Time Subject Presented by
0 Introduction Smyth Harper
1.56 Welcome Cllr Geoff Driver (CBE), Leader of Lancashire County Council
2.30 Background to the service changes Cllr Phillippa Williamson
07.20 The change programme, partnerships and the pandemic Edwina Grant MBE Executive Director for Education and Children Services
16.31 Family Safeguarding - changing the culture of child protection Sharon Hubber Director of Children's Social Care
22.02 Motivational Interviewing Alasdair Kant associates
37.30 Adult specialist roles and partners Change Grow Live; We are With You (40:40); National Probation Services (45:10) and Lancashire and South Cumbria Care Foundation Trust
54.10 Participation engagement and co-production Mandy Stott Head of Lancashire Family Safeguarding
55.30 Approaches to Conferences with families Sharon Rowles Independent Reviewing Officer
57.00 Health Visitor perspectives and conferencing  
1.03.10 Young people's perspectives on involvement  
1.06.30 Lancashire Constabulary Neil Drummond
1.07.22 Young person experiences of care and engagement groups Kat Ormerod
1.12.36 Investing in Early help services Sarah Callaghan Director for Education and Skills
1.17.58 Teams around the schools  
1.25.27 Schools perspective of changes Tina Wilkinson Head at St Andrews Oswaldtwistle
1.29.06 Children Family Wellbeing Services Debbie Duffell Head of Service 
1.33.39 Parent and family view of Children and Family Wellbeing Services
1.37.30 Questions and Answers  
1.51.30 Reflections from key partners Isabelle Trowler Chief Social Worker for children and families
1.53.21 Hertfordshire County Council support role Sue Williams Director of Family Safeguarding for the DFE
2.01.21 Local Government Association perspective Linda Clegg LGA Regional Advisor for Children's Services
2.06.04 Final words Angie Ridgwell Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council

​A new approach

The Family Safeguarding model is a pioneering approach to providing help for families in need.

By bringing together children's social care professionals with specialists in adult mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse we will provide wrap around support for parents.

Our local family safeguarding teams will provide direct help to parents so they are better able to look after their children, preventing them being taken into care.

Family safeguarding teams will work alongside partnership and early help teams within local communities.

Teams around the schools and local community partners will play a key role in identifying and supporting families who need early help.

Better for families

Family safeguarding focuses on a whole family approach and makes it easier for parents to access all the support they need from within one team.

This will help them deal with the complex issues of domestic abuse, mental health and drug or alcohol abuse that may harm their lives and those of their children, if these are not dealt with.

This new way of working will strengthen family relationships and help to reduce the numbers of children being taken into care.

Better for professionals

This new way of working will strengthen information sharing between professionals. It will also free up social workers time enabling them to spend more time working with families and less time on administration.

In other areas of the country that have implemented the family safeguarding model, children's social care practitioners report that this way of working increases their motivation and job satisfaction.

Information for parents

Our information for parents web page and leaflet were produced using this new partnership approach. You can download the leaflet here for use in your work with families:

Lancashire Family Safeguarding leaflet (PDF 6.82 MB)

How it will work

Without access to specialist help, children’s social workers alone cannot address the all risk of harm to children. This may be from the risks they are facing from parental mental health, domestic abuse or substance misuse.

Children’s social workers don’t have the specialist knowledge or expertise in these areas and need to refer parents onto other agencies where they may not meet eligibility thresholds and parents may be reluctant to attend appointments.

We're creating 21 co-located, multi-disciplinary Family Safeguarding Teams, including adult specialists providing direct help for families and their children.

We changed our focus from 'monitoring compliance' to engaging families and producing change through motivational interviewing.

Our innovation is founded on, and overseen by, strong multi-agency partnerships including:

  • the county council
  • health
  • police
  • National Probation Service
  • recovery services (Change Grow Live and We are with You)
  • the local Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

Adult specialists across our 21 safeguarding teams are employed directly by these organisations.

The concept of Family Safeguarding is simple: enabling people who are working with the same family to work in a team, sharing the responsibility and focusing on positive change for the whole family.

Children’s Services have changed the focus of how we work with families towards a more collaborative way of working.

Our aim is to motivate parents to identify for themselves the change needed within their families and create the conditions around them to realise positive change.

It's important that as professionals we come together to support parents to identify their own reasons for change and the actions which they need to take to make the necessary changes to ultimately keep their children safe.

The overall aim of this new way of working is to bring about a long term change within families that is driven by the parents themselves. This positive change is therefore more likely to be sustainable for the future.

Our workers are trained in working with and supporting families to understand why we are involved and supporting them to make the necessary changes.

Co-location, shared recording systems and a shared practice approach all work to enhance collaborative practice and improve how we work with families.

Multi-disciplinary teams are made up of

  • Social workers who work with families to support them to make the changes in their lives to keep their children safe.
  • Children and family practitioners who work with families and children and provide support to social workers.
  • Domestic abuse practitioners who work with those who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse to support them in understanding the impact of domestic abuse on themselves and their children.
  • Domestic abuse officers are experienced staff from the National Probation Service. Their focus is to work with those that perpetrate domestic abuse, with the aim of breaking the cycle of abusive behaviour.
  • Recovery workers who work with parents/carers who are experiencing difficulties with either drugs, alcohol or both, and support them to make positive lifestyle changes.
  • Mental health practitioners who work with parents/carers experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • Psychologists who work with parents/carers on specific aspects of parenting and how this may affect their children.

Our multi-disciplinary teams work with families to support them and address the difficulties they may be experiencing.

Previously, social workers could be compliance and task-focused, perhaps more rigidly following actions on Child Protection or Child in Need plans rather than more relationship based and focused on what will help achieve the best outcomes and positive change for families enabling them to stay together. Relationships with families could be more adversarial than collaborative. 

Before and after case supervision meetings with their manager, the social worker would spend additional time contacting other agencies to gather information and discussing next steps.

Now, group case supervision includes all the professionals working with the family. The format, organisation and way this is recorded means it's more:

  • collaborative
  • analytical
  • outcome-driven
  • solution- focused and
  • with an emphasis of helping the family to utilise their strengths.

We've developed a new way of recording families' information in our Integrated Care System known as the 'Workbook' that aims to reduce the time social workers spend recording information.

The benefits of the Workbook are it:

  • simplifies day-to-day recording
  • is a multi-disciplinary recording tool
  • guides the Family Safeguarding worker through the interventions they undertake with families

The information within the Workbook creates an integrated family assessment. It incorporates tools that support more collaborative work with families. This develops a deeper understanding of their dynamics and the impact for children. It helps to define priority issues and enables the team to set and track progress towards goals for each family member.

The single family Workbook for all professionals, combined with co-located working aims to reduce the amount of time spent on recording, travelling, meetings and writing separate reports.

The Workbook provides a succinct record of the case, and has proved helpful in reducing time spent preparing for case proceedings and maximising the time spent with families.


For further information email us at:

More information

The Family Safeguarding Model was founded by Hertfordshire County Council in 2015, and has significantly reduced the number of children being taken into care.