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Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) - Role and Function


The SBNI is established under section 1 of the Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (the Act). The duties placed on the SBNI are stipulated in the Act. Further prescription of the membership, functions and procedures is provided for in the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (Membership, Procedure, Functions and Committee) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 (the SBNI Regulations) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) 'Guidance to Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland', May 2014.

1. Statutory Objectives and Functions

The statutory objective of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) is 'to coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.'

Specific functions of the SBNI are to:

  • Develop policies and procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including:
    1. Definitions of child safeguarding, child protection and child abuse, and how concerns should be managed, including thresholds for intervention;
    2. A training framework with different levels of training commensurate with the level and nature of contact with children and young people;
    3. Procedural guidance on recruitment, selection and supervision of staff including reference to statutory requirements relating to those who work with children and young people;
    4. Procedural guidance on the sharing of information between organisations working with children and families.
  • Promotion of awareness of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Communicate the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Keep under review the effectiveness of what is done by each person or body represented on the Board;
  • Undertake Case Management Reviews;
  • Review such information as may be prescribed in relation to the deaths of children in Northern Ireland;
  • Promote communication between the Board and children and young people.

2. Membership

The SBNI is chaired by an Independent Chair. The SBNI is made of organisations which are specified under Section 1 of the Act, with prescribed representatives of these organisations outlined in Regulation 3 of the SBNI Regulations. Representatives from the bodies listed in Section 1 of the Act have been selected because of the capacity of each organisation to safeguard and promote children's welfare in the context of the services which they currently provide to them. The prescribed representatives of the persons or bodies specified are at a level of seniority considered necessary for strategic decision making by the SBNI and to facilitate commitment on behalf of their agencies.

Members include the:
  • Health and Social Care Board;
  • Public Health Agency;
  • Health and Social Care Trusts;
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland;
  • Probation Board of Northern Ireland;
  • Youth Justice Agency;
  • Education Authority;
  • District councils;
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children;
  • A designated nurse;
  • Five representatives from the voluntary and community sectors;
  • A GP who will be a member of the British Medical Association Specified.

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