Despite the fact that the concept of ‘multi-agency working’ has underpinned developments in this area for at least 60 years, there is scant evidence for its effectiveness and even less for what works in engaging agencies at an operational level. The chapter examines the structures, arrangements and policies that are in place at national and local levels to support schools in fulfilling their responsibilities to safeguard and protect children, as well as the key factors that influence the role of schools in working with other agencies over safeguarding and child protection. These factors include the policies that have been developed in children’s social care and education since the start of this century as well as the impact of austerity and growing societal inequalities that became ever more evident during the study. The chapter then outlines the main stages of the research project, describing the range and experience of individuals, groups and agencies that contributed to the study and concludes by preparing the reader for the chapters that follow.
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