Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.


Working together to safeguard children 2018

Ref: DFE-00195-2018PDF, 1.03MB, 116 pages

Working together to safeguard children: statutory framework

Ref: DFE-00196-2018PDF, 300KB, 13 pages

Working together: letter from Nadhim Zahawi

PDF, 197KB, 2 pages

Working together: letter from Edward Timpson

PDF, 200KB, 3 pages


This guidance is for:

  • local authority chief executives
  • directors of children’s services
  • safeguarding partners
  • teachers and education staff
  • social workers
  • health service professionals
  • adult services
  • police officers
  • voluntary and community sector workers in contact with children and families

It applies to:

  • local authorities
  • all schools

A version of the guidance for young people and a separate version suitable for younger children are also available for practitioners to share.

Statutory guidance is issued by law – you must follow it unless there’s a good reason not to.

Working together to safeguard children 2018

The updated 2018 version, which makes factual changes, replaces the 2015 version, which has been removed from this webpage.

The Working Together transitional guidance, which has also been removed, was available to support Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs), safeguarding partners, and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel in the transition from LSCBs and serious case reviews (SCRs) to a new system of multi-agency arrangements and local and national child safeguarding practice reviews. This transition took place between 29 June 2018 and 29 September 2019.

Statutory framework

The updated statutory framework sets out the legislation relevant to safeguarding and it should be read alongside the statutory guidance.

Published 26 March 2015
Last updated 9 December 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ with factual changes in relation to information sharing, homelessness duty and references to domestic abuse. Removed ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ and ‘Working Together: transitional guidance’.

  2. Updated ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ to reflect how local authorities should notify the Child Safeguarding Panel.

  3. Corrected a small error in chapter 5, footnote 99.

  4. Added the Working Together 2018 version, transitional arrangements, statutory framework, and introductory letters from DfE and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.

  5. Minor amendment to the guidance to add the definition of child sexual exploitation.

  6. First published.