The Child Protection Senior Officials Group (CPSOG) provides strategic direction and a joined up approach to the issue of Child Protection across Northern Ireland, within the overarching policy framework set out in Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland | Department of Health (health-ni.gov.uk). The group is chaired by the Deputy Secretary for Social Services Policy / Chief Social Work Officer within the Department of Health (DoH). Other senior officials also attend from the Department of Health, Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Finance and the Department for Communities (DfC).
CPSOG was established in 2018. Since that time, it has directed, overseen and co-ordinated activity across departments relating to Child Sexual Exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and, more recently, Child Criminal Exploitation. It is supported by a sub-group, which it established in 2021.
CPSOG works in accordance with an approved work plan and has agreed to report on progress against the plan. The first published report reflects the broad programme of work undertaken by CPSOG from its inception in 2018 up to February 2022. It demonstrates significant progress across government in connection with child protection against a backdrop of significant challenges, including significant Covid-19-related pressures on services and staffing during 2020-22.