Who's looking out for the children?
Dear Shropshire Safeguarding Children Board,
This question has been sent to a sample of LSCBs falling within each of the Police Force “regions”in England and Wales.
In December 2011 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary published a Joint Inspection Report, Who’s Looking Out for the Children? The report concerned the provision of appropriate adults and accommodation for children charged and detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. The report suggested that its recommendations were taken forward through Safeguarding Children Boards. Key players are the Police, Children’s Services and Youth Offending Teams. The report, amongst other things, endorsed much earlier guidance from the Youth Justice Board that protocols were drawn up concerning the provision of such services.
My questions are as follows:
1. What action has the Board taken specifically in respect of the report and, more generally, the provision of appropriate adults and accommodation for children charged and detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act? If a protocol or service agreement exists between agencies in your area (including the voluntary or private sector who, in some areas have been commissioned to provide an appropriate adult service) please provide a copy.
2. What arrangements are in place to monitor, audit or otherwise scrutinise arrangements which are applied in practice regardless of whether they fall within an existing protocol? What evidence has arisen from such arrangements?
3. How effective are current arrangements in terms of securing the attendance of a social worker to act as appropriate adult where a parent is not available or suitable or the detained child is looked after by a local authority?
4. If current arrangements are contracted out to a voluntary or private sector organisation or are delivered by a volunteer scheme organised by a YOT:
a. What training do volunteers receive concerning the role of appropriate adult ensuring that they have the skills to identify persons with learning difficulties, mental vulnerability, drug or alcohol problems, communication difficulties, welfare concerns etc?
b. Are reasons recorded why a HCPC registered social worker is unable to fulfil the role and in their absence it is assigned to “some other person” in the form of an unqualified member of a YOT or a volunteer?
5. In approximately 2001/2 the Youth Justice Board published a report, Remand Management, prepared by Sue Thomas and Anthea Hucklesbury(http://yjbpublications.justice.gov.uk/en... ) which addresses, amongst other matters, the provision of appropriate adults and PACE transfers. It suggests:
APPROPRIATE ADULTS ACTIVITY MUST BE UNDERPINNED BY ADEQUATE TRAINING AND SUPERVISION TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE EFFECTIVE, THAT THE RIGHTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SAFEGUARDED ANDTHERE ARE CLEAR ARRANGEMENTS FOR REQUESTING PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT. What supervision arrangements are in place for appropriate adults who are not HCPC registered social workers? Has your local YOT followed the suggestion in the report of establishing a standby service for out of hours PACE situations?
6. Where an appropriate adult is someone other than a social worker or an unqualified member of a YOT what requirements are in place for such persons to alert the YOT/Out of Hours service where there is a suggestion that bail may be refused and a child may need to be accommodated by the local authority?
7. What accommodation does the local authority have available to receive children on an emergency, overnight basis and on how many occasions during the last 12 month period for which information is available have children been transferred under section 38(6) requests? How many have been left in the police station during the same period?
8. YOTs are comprised of persons professionally qualified and unqualified and must include a person nominated by the Director of Children’s Services with experience of social work with children....not necessarily a registered social worker. Other members of a YOT can include Accommodation Workers, Probation staff, Connexions Workers, Police Officers, Recreation Workers etc etc. Which members of YOTs or others engaged by the Local Authority including out-sourced providers of appropriate adult services have authority to access accommodation in response to 38(6) requests and what procedures should they follow?
9. Who’s Looking Out for the Children? Asserts that custody officers routinely request “secure accommodation”. What training do custody officers receive in relation to the concept of “protection of the public from serious harm” as defined in PACE and elsewhere? What training do they receive concerning statutory criteria for placement in such accommodation under the Children Act and Regulations?
10. The occupancy rates for secure accommodation in England and Wales range from 70-80%. What procedures are those receiving requests for such accommodation under section 38(6) required to follow in order to ascertain the availability of such accommodation and, when available, to ensure that a child is removed from the undesirable surroundings of a cell block? How are such procedures monitored and to what effect?
11. What current plans does the Board have to ensure inter-agency arrangements are in place to ensure agencies comply with Article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time” .....“every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance”?
Dear Mr Bell
Re: Information Request - Reference Number: 2013050043
Thank you for your request for information received on 7 May 2013. We are
currently processing your request in accordance with the relevant
legislation and will respond to you within 20 working days.
You have requested details regarding Shropshire Safeguarding Children
Board's response to the report "Who's looking out for the children", as
outlined in the letter of request.
(Please note this may be a summary of your request and full details, as
outlined in the request, will be sent to the team providing the
If you feel the information is inaccurate or requires amendment, please
notify us as soon as possible using the contact details provided below.
Information Governance Team
Tel: 01743 252179 or 252774
Email: [email address]
Dear Mr Bell
Further to your Freedom of Information request which we received on 7 May
2013, please find our response below. We are sorry for the delay in
Information Governance Team
Tel: 01743 252179/252774
Email: [email address]
(See attached file: 2013050043 - response.pdf)
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