Child Protection Improvement Programme
Child Protection Improvement Programme Update Part 2 #10
December Blog – part 2
The National Action Plan on Internet safety for Children and Young People
As part of the implementation of the actions within the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People, the Scottish Government supported the UK Safer Internet Centre to facilitate a planning day on 15 November 2018 attended by key stakeholders, to raise awareness and plan activity to celebrate Safer Internet Day on 5 February 2019.
Safer Internet Day is celebrated annually by around 140 countries to empower children and young people to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The UK Safer Internet Centre is a driving force and key partner working to inspire and enthuse organisations from across Scotland to participate in Safer Internet Day 2019.
Supported by the Scottish Government and Local Authorities across Scotland, the South West Grid for Learning has been delivering a series of Online Safety Live events, open to all who work with children and young people and covering the latest in research, legislation and technology, tools and resources.
In September 2018 the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd and the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes, attended assemblies at primary schools in Falkirk and Stirling, learning more about the Be Internet Legends programme, which has been developed by Parent Zone, in partnership with Google. Be Internet Legends is the first PSHE Association-accredited internet safety curriculum that schools can use to teach younger pupils important internet safety messages.
Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending involving children and young people
The Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending Involving Children and Young People comprises experts from across justice, education, academia and health with a remit of identifying how to further improve the whole system approach to preventing sexual offending involving children and young people with a particular focus on cyber enabled offending. It last met on 11 December 2018 and it is anticipated the Group will report its findings to Scottish Ministers by the end of March 2019.
The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill
The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill is included in the Programme for the Government and fully addresses the points raised by the Supreme Court judgment in a way that improves the named person service. It gives families, practitioners and the wider public greater confidence that information sharing must comply with other legal requirements under data protection law, and the founding principles of Getting It Right For Every Child.
The Deputy First Minister has committed to proceeding with the development of the Code of Practice with the Getting It Right For Every Child Practice Development Panel which was established in January 2018, independently chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance, and continuing to take forward Named Person Service to ensure children and families get the support they require.
The Panel have been developing a draft Code of Practice for information sharing since February 2018 in conjunction with the Legal Focus Group and support from relevant officials. The Panel have ensured that practical knowledge of information sharing in the public services, experience of children and families as rights holders along with appropriate legal approaches are the foundation of the development of this draft Code.
Professor Ian Welsh CEO, Chair of the GIRFEC Practice Development Panel wrote to the Deputy First Minister in October 2018 to provide an update on the Panel’s progress. The Chair stated that the Panel along with its Legal Focus Group want to consider the UK Government guidance on information sharing which was published in July 2018 before finalizing the draft Code of Practice.
There will be work at national and organisational levels to identify what may need to change in current and developing practice to support the amended legislative provisions when they are commenced. This will include national support to strengthen Getting It Right For Every Child practice as well as national and local communications to inform and engage parents, children and young people and practitioners.
Family Law Bill
The Scottish Government has consulted on the Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act). Part 1 of the 1995 Act covers parental responsibilities and rights and contact and residence cases relating to children when parents are no longer together. The consultation closed on 28 September 2018.
The Programme for Government announced that there will be a Family Law Bill introduced during this Parliamentary Session. This will be informed by the outcome of the consultation. The key policy aims of the Bill will be to further compliance with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and ensure that the child’s best interests are at the centre of any contact and residence case or Children’s Hearing, as well as ensuring that the voice of the child is heard.
We recognise that primary legislation is only part of the action necessary to improve the operation of family justice. We will produce a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy when the Family Law Bill is introduced. This will set out work that is ongoing by Scottish Government and others; work that can be done via secondary legislation or by improved guidance; areas covered by the Bill; and areas that are for longer term work.
Children’s Services strategic engagement
A Scotland-wide programme of engagement with Children’s Services Strategic Partners started in October 2018 and will run through to June 2019. The work aims to: identify good practice and apply this more widely; identify challenges for partners in delivering services and improving outcomes and inform deployment of existing Scottish Government improvement programmes.
The team is reviewing Children Services Plans, seeking feedback on the statutory guidance for the Children Services Plans and providing support on development and implementation of the plans. The engagement will also explore ways of improving and streamlining planning and reporting across children services. Out of the 32 visits planned, 10 have already been completed.
As we approach the holiday period we are reflecting on a busy year during which a lot of progress have been made in delivering the Child Protection Improvement Programme. We look forward to an exciting and productive 2019 and we wish you a very merry Christmas and peaceful holiday season.