DOH advice for professionals on identifying and responding to child abuse

The Department for Education has published new advice for professionals on identifying and responding to child abuse. It replaces the previous version of ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (2006).
Source: Department for Education 26 March 2015
Further information:
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners (PDF).

Source:  CASPAR



DOH advice for safeguarding professionals on information sharing

The Department for Education has published advice for safeguarding professionals on information sharing. The advice explains relevant legislation and includes key principles and practicalities of sharing personal information . This advice replaces ‘Information sharing: guidance for practitioners and managers’ (2008).
Source: Department for Education 26 March 2015
Further information:
Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (PDF).

Source: CASPAR



The Home Office has published guidance on adolescent to parent violence and abuse

The Home Office has published guidance on adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA). Issues covered include: safeguarding, risk assessment with young people and safety planning. Specific advice is included for professionals in: healthcare, education, social care, housing, police and youth justice.
Source: Home Office website 30 March 2015
Further information:
Information guide: adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA) (PDF).

Source: CASPAR

The Scottish Government has published children’s social work statistics for 2013/14.

The Scottish Government has published children’s social work statistics for 2013/14. Findings include, as of the 31 June 2014, there were 2,882 children on the child protection register. This is a 9% increase on the 31 June 2013 figure.
Source: Scottish Government 31 March 2015
Further information:
Children’s Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2013-14 (PDF).

Source: CASPAR

DOH Published New Guidance on commissioning services for women and girls with female genital mutilation

The Department of Health has published new guidance for England on commissioning services for women and girls with female genital mutilation. Issues covered include: service standards, scope of service, and future prevention work.
Source: DoH website 27 March 2015
Further information:
Commissioning services to support women and girls with female genital mutilation (PDF).

Source: CASPAR

Warning Over £4.3bn Social Care ‘Black Hole’


Warning Over £4.3bn Social Care ‘Black Hole’

A group of more than 80 charities has warned that the social care system is facing an estimated £4.3bn funding “black hole” by 2020 as major reforms come into place across England.


The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) says thousands of disabled and elderly people risk losing out on vital help unless more funding is allocated for social care.


Reforms under the Care Act come into effect in England today. The act was passed last year and represents the most comprehensive overhaul of the system since 1948.


The changes establish the first-ever national eligibility threshold, a set of criteria to determine when local authorities need to provide people with support.


The reforms aim to address variations which currently exist between local authorities.


They also introduce a personal cap on care costs of £72,000, excluding accommodation.


While welcoming some aspects of the Care Act, the charities say the reforms will only succeed if adequate funding is provided for the social care system.


Cuts in social care will amount to an estimated £4.3bn by the end of the decade, according to the Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).


CSA chairman Richard Hawkes said: “The Care Act is a bold and ambitious piece of legislation. But it will only live up to its promise of a genuinely preventative system that promotes well-being if it is properly funded.


“Chronic under-funding of social care has seen dramatic year-on-year rationing of support for older and disabled people and their carers, excluding hundreds of thousands of people from the support they desperately need.


“Equally, while we welcome a national threshold for eligibility, by setting the bar at such a high level, the Government has ensured that the year-on-year rationing that has seen people squeezed out of the system will continue.


“Ultimately, social care is an election issue and whoever forms the next government needs to urgently address the crisis in care funding, as well as in the health system.”


Janet Morrison, chief executive of older people’s charity Independent Age, said: “The Care Act has the potential to radically improve the lives of older people but could fall at the first hurdle for lack of funds.


“Thousands of frail and elderly people don’t get any help at all at the moment with basic tasks such as washing, dressing and eating.


“Without proper funding to plug the black hole in social care funding – estimated by councils to be £4.3bn by the end of the decade – this problem looks set to get worse despite the bold and welcome ambitions of the act.”


Source: Sky News

Nearly one in five councils do not have policies to support kinship carers, study finds

Nearly one in five councils do not have policies to support kinship carers, study finds

Study by the Family Rights Group find 17% of authorities have not published policies, despite legal duty to do so since 2011

Nearly one in five local authorities do not have a published policy on supporting the needs of children living with family and friend carers, the Family Rights Group has found.

According to the charity’s research, this means 17% of English local authorities are “failing to comply with the most basic requirement of statutory guidance”.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson wrote to all English authorities earlier this year reminding them they should have a published friends and family policy.

Legal duty

The study, ‘Could do better…Must do better’, which was published last week, also found three quarters of local authorities are failing to use local demographic and needs data, or consult with partner agencies, when drawing up their policies and plans for services.


Only 13% of published policies indicated that the authority had a dedicated worker or team to support family and friends carers – often referred to as kinship carers – while a third of published policies made no reference to having a senior manager with responsibility for implementing them.


The charity called for a legal duty on authorities to publish family and friends care policies, and for them to establish and commission family and friends care support services.


Cathy Ashley, chief executive of the Family Rights Group, said local authorities are dragging their feet by not publishing a policy that was required by September 2011. ”Even where policies and services do exist, they often bear no resemblance to the specific and distinct needs of the local population,” she said.

Source: Community Care Online


Ofsted should get rid of ‘crude’ single inspection framework, say sector leaders

Ofsted should get rid of ‘crude’ single inspection framework, say sector leaders

Crudely graded, blunt current framework needs to be replaced by narrative ‘portfolio approach’ according to ADCS, LGA and Solace

Sector leaders have called for Ofsted to get rid of its single inspection framework, labelling it “flawed and not conducive to improvement”.

The position paper on the issue of Ofsted inspections, co-authored by the Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors for Children’s Services (ADCS) and Solace, called for an accountability framework that is “less reactive and more holistic than the current single inspection framework”.

It should be replaced by a “portfolio approach”, the organisations said, which would include an unannounced inspection of the contact, referral and assessment front door services. This would be on a multi-agency basis, depending on local arrangements.

‘Crudely graded’

If the front door inspection identifies serious concerns or inadequacies then the local authority and its partners would be subject to a wider, multi-agency joint inspection with a narrative judgment replacing the “crudely graded, overall judgment” currently in use.

The paper criticised the current inspection regime, which has so far found 70% of councils to be less than good. “This cannot be right when national data show 20 of the 29 performance indicators in children’s services have improved since 2007,” the paper argued.

It also raised concerns about how the current ‘inadequate’ judgment is counterproductive to staff recruitment and retention.

Alan Wood, president of the ADCS, said the organisation believes that the current framework “does not get to the heart of how well services are working”. “A new regime is needed, one that takes into account the input of all safeguarding partners and contributes much more positively to achieving better outcomes for children and young people,” he said.

‘Blunt judgments’

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said there needs to be a “back to basics” review of Ofsted.

He said there remain questions over the quality of judgments from the watchdog, particularly after it was accused of providing “false reassurances” to Rotherham residents after failing to spot the sexual exploitation of 1,400 children during inspections prior to 2014.

President of Solace, Mark Rogers, argued that currently Ofsted inspects “around artificial boundaries using blunt judgments”.

The policy paper stated the new model of accountability should be based on councils being responsible for their own performance and improvement.

Councils should also be primarily accountable to local communities rather than government or inspectorates, and should have a collective responsibility for the sector’s performance as a whole, the paper recommended.

Source: community care online