What is Darlington Safeguarding Partnership?

Darlington Safeguarding Partnership (DSP) was established in accordance with the Children Act 2004 (as amended by Children and Social Work Act 2017) and Chapter 3 Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018. 

Safeguarding responsibilities are placed on police, health and local authorities to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  The three organisations have equal responsibility for setting out the safeguarding arrangements in Darlington.  Although the statutory guidance is applicable for child safeguarding, the Statutory Safeguarding Partners in Darlington agreed the arrangements will also cover Adult Safeguarding arrangements (in accordance with the Care Act 2014 for Safeguarding Adult Board). The new arrangements provide a greater opportunity of strengthening partnership working across adults and children, ensuring everyone in Darlington can live their lives, safely. The new arrangements were implemented on 1st July 2019 and information about the new safeguarding arrangements are included in the Darlington Safeguarding Partnership Published Plan. [PDF Document]

Statutory Safeguarding Partners

The three key leads appointed as the Statutory Safeguarding Partners in Darlington are:

Group Director for People - Darlington Borough Council
Director of Nursing - North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Tees Valley
Detective Chief Superintendent - Durham Constabulary

The Statutory Partners share responsibility for ensuring the local safeguarding arrangements are coordinated and effective.   

Annual Report

The Safeguarding Partnership is required to publish an annual report which sets out what the Partnership has achieved over the past year to ensure there are effective arrangements in place to protect and promote the welfare of children and adult with needs for care and support.

DSP Annual Report 2022/23 [PDF Document]

Below are previously published annual reports under the new Safeguarding Partnership Arrangements.  

DSP Annual Report 2021/22 [pdf document]

DSP Annual Report 2020/21 [pdf document]

DSP Annual Report 2019/20 [pdf document]

Strategic Plan

Darlington Safeguarding Partnership has published its Strategic Plan for 2023-2026.

The plan sets out the Partnerships shared vision and actions that will help keep children, young people, and adults with needs for care and support safe and protected from abuse and neglect and will ensure:

  • Partners work collaboratively to ensure effective arrangements are in place
  • Partners achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and adults with needs for care and support
  • Partners work collaboratively to strengthen existing practice with a focus on a ‘whole family approach’
  • Partners challenge and hold one another to account effectively
  • Partners improve safeguarding practice
  • Learning is promoted and embedded across the partnership
  • Information is shared effectively to ensure timely decision making
  • Early identification of ‘new’ safeguarding issues and emerging threats

The Strategic Plan is a statutory requirement and sets out the Partnerships strategic priority areas of focus for 2023-2026 and will be reviewed annually.

To access the Strategic Plan 2023-2026, please click HERE.

Relevant Agencies

Relevant agencies are those organisations which the Statutory Safeguarding Partners consider may be required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults with needs for care and support, with regard to local need. To read details of relevant agencies please read the relevant agencies document [pdf document]


Darlington Safeguarding Partnership is underpinned by its Governance arrangements.  The Partnership Terms of Reference (refreshed June 2023) document makes it clear what is expected of Partnership members to ensure that Governance is robust and fit for purpose. It also highlights the accountability arrangements for the Partnership. 

Structure of the Partnership

The structure of the Partnership provides an inclusive model, the structure diagram [pdf document] demonstrates each layer of the partnership which includes full representation from relevant partners and agencies working with children and adults with needs for care and support in Darlington. Please see revised governance and lines of accountability chart (October 2022) [PDF Document].

Scrutiny and Assurance

The statutory partners are committed to ensuring there is an environment which promotes openness and transparency to enable constructive challenge and scrutiny.  

Ann Baxter is the Independent Scrutineer/Chair and her role is to:

  • challenge how well the Statutory Safeguarding Partners are providing strong and effective leadership
    seek assurance of whether all agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults
    have assurance of whether agencies are joined up and working together
    chair the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Partnership Group
    determine the effectiveness of arrangements relating to Serious Child Safeguarding cases and Safeguarding Adult Reviews
    be involved in the escalation and conflict resolution process
    support culture change throughout the Partnership to embed scrutiny as a positive process with learning as its outcome. 
    Clinical scrutiny and challenge of health and others services will be provided by the Designated Doctor for safeguarding children.

Strategic Partnerships

A local Protocol is in place which identifies how the following strategic boards/partnership will link in with the Partnership. 

The strategic partnerships are:

  • Community Safety Partnership: 
  • Darlington Partnership 
  • Health and Wellbeing Board 
  • Darlington Children and Young Peoples Collective 
  • Local Family Justice Board
  • Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Executive Group
  • Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements

The Protocol sets out the key roles of each of the Partnerships/Boards and how they link with each other and the means by which they will ensure that leadership and accountability for issues of common interest are clear.