Title of outcome: Outline current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures within own UK Home Nation affecting the safeguarding of children and young people Legislation is the term used to describe the laws or Acts and Statutes enacted by the UK Parliament. The UK government provides guidelines to organisations and individuals in England and Wales to inform them about how legislation enacted in Parliament should be interpreted and applied.
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Policy is the term used to describe as a principle or rule used to inform decision making within organisations, so that they are able to achieve a rational or desirable outcome. Policy differs from legislation as it guides actions, but cannot compel or prohibit behaviours. A procedure is a document written to support a policy principle or rule. A Procedure is designed to establish corporate accountability for implementation of a policy by describing the set of actions that have to be executed and by whom within an organization in relation to it.
Practitioners working with children do so within a complex framework of both national legislation and guidance, and local policy and procedure, directed at safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. For practitioners to achieve the best outcomes for children it is essential that they are familiar with the legislative and policy framework within which work. In terms of current legislation and policy safeguarding the welfare of children and young people is defined as: protecting children from maltreatment preventing impairment of children’s health or development ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
Child protection is an aspect of safeguarding children’s welfare and refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. Children Act (1989) The Children Act (1989) charged local authorities with duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area, to work in partnership with parents and to provide “services for children in need, their families and others”?
The Act also imposed upon local authorities a “duty to investigate … if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm” (section 47). The Children Act (1989) requires courts to make the welfare of the child the paramount consideration in any judgments made. It also introduced the principle that delays in court proceedings were harmful to the child. The Act articulated the principle that parents have responsibilities for their children not right over them.
Education Act (2002) The Education Act (2002) included a provision (section 175) requiring school governing bodies, local education authorities and further education institutions to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The Laming Report (2003) The Laming Report arose from the inquiry into the murder of child abuse victim Victoria Climbie. In his report Lord Laming made at total of 108 recommendations for the overhaul of child protection in England and Wales. Key recommendations of the Laming report included:
The creation of a children and families board chaired by a senior government minister, to coordinate policies and initiatives, that have a bearing on the wellbeing of children and families. A national agency for children and families, led by a children’s commissioner, should be established to ensure local services meet national standards for child protection and implement reforms. The report directed that Safeguarding Boards for children and families should be established by councils, with members drawn from social services, education, housing, the NHS, the police and probation services.
The boards should appoint a local director of children and family services to monitor effective interagency working on child welfare and protection. The creation of a national children’s database that keeps a record of every contact a child has with a member of staff from the police, health and local authorities. Every Child Matters (ECM) (2003) The UK government responded to the Laming Report with the Every Child Matter (ECM) green paper launched in 2003.
ECM covers children and young adults up to the age of 19, or for those with disabilites up to the age of 24.. Its main aims are for every child, irrespective of their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to: Be healthy Stay safe Enjoy and achieve Make a positive contribution Achieve economic well-being All childcare settings are required to demonstrate that are promoting the 5 (SHEEP) principles of ECM. Each of these themes has a detailed framework attached whose outcomes require multi-agency partnerships working together to achieve.
ECM set out to ensure that children and families do not receive poorer services because of the failure of professionals to understand each other’s roles or to work together effectively in a multi-disciplinary manner. ECM stressed that it is important that all professionals working with children are aware of the contribution that could be made by their own and each other’s services and to plan and deliver their work with children and young people accordingly. It is the central goal of ECM to ensure every pupil is given the chance to be able to work towards the goals articulated within it.
All maintained schools in England and Wales have implemented the ECM policy. Children Act (2004) The Children Act (2004) enacted the key principles of the ECM green paper. The Act set out the requirements to: Establish the post of a Children’s Commissioner for England Create an electronic record of every child in England, Scotland and Wales to make it easier to trace children across local authorities and government services.? Cooperate across all services that work to protect children Establish the new statutory bodies called Local Safeguarding Children Boards responsible for child protection.?
Appoint a director of children’s services in each of the local authorities in England Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) The Act legislated for the establishment of a new centralised vetting and barring scheme for people working with children and vulnerable adults operated by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The ISA is empowered by the Act to make barring decisions following referrals from employers or other organisations Anyone barred by the ISA cannot work or volunteer with a group from which they are barred, and will be committing an offence if they seek to do so