BEDFORDSHIRE LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD
Publishes highly critical report today 14 JUNE 2010
Bedford LSCB 090610unprotected(2)
6.1 The review made detailed recommendations to all the participating agencies and to the Bedford Borough Council Local Safeguarding Children Board that have been accepted and each agency has produced an improvement plan to respond to the review. The high-level recommendations are below and form the basis for a multi-agency action plan, which is being monitored by all the LSCB partner agencies.
BEDFORD BOROUGH SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD
6.2 The Board should
a) ensure that there is a co-ordinated action plan for dealing with the recommendations from this review to the participating agencies.
b) ask the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit to liaise with the appropriate government Departments about the lack of any clear regulatory framework to ensure the welfare of children in immigration detention.
c) establish new arrangements to report to its Strategic Board specifically on the Immigration Removal Centre, in line with the recommendation from the previous Children‟s Commissioner in his most recent report.
d) ensure that all appropriate staff understand the need and purpose of the initial assessment process as identified in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010
e) update guidance and disseminate to all appropriate staff as to when the use of Achieving Best Evidence interviews is appropriate, and when it is not. The consequences of such choices should be clear.
f) consider the need for further training for relevant staff:
to understand and respond appropriately to the significance of the concepts of “consent” and “age of criminal responsibility” in relation to child protection, and in particular to sexual activity between children.
to ensure that staff are aware of the need and purpose of medical assessment rather than just medical examination
BEDFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL AND CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE COUNCIL
6.3 The local authorities should:
a) investigate why child protection procedures were not complied in this case with and take action as necessary
b) satisfy itself that Emergency Duty Team and Intake & Assessment managers and staff are sufficiently skilled and knowledgeable to recognise and respond appropriately to complex child protection referrals
6.4 Bedfordshire Police should
a) ensure that staff who do not have specialist knowledge of the police‟s responsibilities in relation to child protection are able to recognise matters which should be referred to specialist staff, and do so.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO SERCO
6.5 SERCO should
a) ensure that it can discharge its specific duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, in a way that is not solely reliant on other agencies, and includes an assessment of a child‟s welfare needs and any risks posed to or by that child.
b) review arrangements for joint working with Bedford Borough Council to ensure that there are clear systems for feedback to residents of the IRC detained with children, the outcome of any BBC involvement, including options for taking the matter further if the resident remains dissatisfied.
c) review the form and use of Keeping Children Safe from Harm documents. The review should take account of the Common Assessment Framework.
RECOMMENDATION TO SERCO HEALTHCARE
6.6 SERCO Healthcare should ensure that medical practitioners and other health staff providing services at the IRC are aware of their responsibility to ensure they are familiar with and follow local child protection arrangements including the need to consult a paediatric specialist.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO UKBA (CONTRACT MANAGEMENT TEAM THE OFFICE OF THE CHILDREN’S CHAMPION AND FDU)
6.7 UKBA should
a) ensure that those making decisions about the appropriateness of continuing to detain children suspected of having experienced harm within the detention estate are fully aware of the assessed needs of the children, so that they are in a position to evaluate how their needs impact on their continuing detention, and their placement within the detention estate.
b) UKBA should review with Bedford Borough Council the arrangements for the involvement of its professional advisors in specific child protection cases in the IRC, to enable them to give reassurance to UKBA that there is appropriate multi agency support for safeguarding of any children concerned.
c) consider whether the present arrangements meet their obligation under S55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
BEDFORDSHIRE LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
14 JUNE 2010