I suspect it is used when people want to be seen to "protect" or "care" for something but know they, in truth, cannot achieve that, so use this term to give the same impression while promising nothing at all.
It has the whiff of protocol about it. You know, those robotic, box-ticking, flowchart, process orientated narrow-minded, linear sorts of things we encounter when some stupid phone menu, software or, worse still, individual is encountered who cannot understand the difference between what we want - a choice - and what they give - a false dichotomy.
Not being a denizen of the Public Sector, the term only came to light during the Baby P case in which we now hear the Director of Social Services and Chair of the Haringey Local Childrens Safeguarding Committe or some such cobbled together scrabblefest, Sharon Shoesmith* has been "removed from office".
That is not the same as being sacked. That does not imply being prevented from passing GO and collecting a gold plated pension, expected salary and bonuses equivalent to the next 4 years etc etc. As some people have mentioned, this person is a member of "The Masons for W&ankers", Common Purpose.
We are watching.
* Cobblers, to be exact.