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7.1 Persons Identified as Posing a Risk to Children


Contents

  Introduction
  Criteria for Information Sharing with Children's Social Care
  Who Should Share Information with Children's Social Care
  How to Share Information with Children's Social Care
  Convening a Person Who Poses a Risk to Children Meeting
  Recording of a Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting
  Outcome of Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting
  Storing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children
  Accessing Information Held on Persons who Present a Risk to Children
  Logging Requests for Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children
  Informing People that Information is Held on them/Reviewing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children
  Sharing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children with Other Agencies/Members of the Public


Introduction

  1. In 2005, the Home Office issued Circular 16/2005 instructing agencies that the term Schedule One Offender should be discontinued and replaced with 'a person identified as presenting a risk or potential risk to children'. Alongside the circular, a List of Offences was also issued for consultation by agencies when considering those persons who are identified as presenting a risk to children;
  2. Whilst the terminology Schedule One Offender has been widely used by agencies to describe those persons who present a risk to children, it is a label that historically has caused confusion and has elicited inconsistent responses from agencies. Persons with a Schedule One conviction regardless of the age they were convicted, remain labelled as Schedule One Offenders throughout their lives;
  3. Whilst some persons with a Schedule One Offence may always present a risk to children, other persons (i.e. a 15 year old involved in a playground fight with another 15 year old) may never present a risk to children in the future;
  4. The move away from using the terminology Schedule One Offender was therefore intended to ensure that a wider focus is given to identifying persons who present a risk to children. Legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1998, Freedom of Information 2000 Act, Data Protection Act 1998 and Crime and Disorder Act 1998 will also ensure that information held on persons presenting a risk/potential risk to children is held lawfully and is subject to review.


Criteria for Information Sharing with Children's Social Care

  1. Persons who present a risk to children represent a serious threat to the well-being of children in society. Equally, however, it is important that agencies do not hold information on persons without due regard to legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1998, Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Crime and Disorder Act 1998. With the above legislation in mind, the following criteria should be considered when making a decision to share information in respect of a person who presents a risk to children with Children's Social Care:
    • Those persons who have convictions included in the List of Offences. Persons who have other non-conviction disposals e.g. cautions or final warnings may also require referring;
    • Those persons with a finding of fact against them from either 'private or public law proceedings';
    • Those persons whose names are on the Children's or Adults' Barred Lists held by the Disclosure and Barring Service;
    • Those persons where it is deemed either at a professionals meeting, Strategy Meeting or Child Protection Conference that they present a risk to children;
    • Information on persons under the age of 18 years, who meet the above criteria, should also be shared with Children's Social Care, if they are deemed by the referring agency to present a risk to children;
    • This list is not intended to be exhaustive and professional judgement should always be exercised in making a decision to refer.
  2. Where there are concerns about a person who works with children (either in a paid or voluntary capacity), the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO/Designated Officer) should be contacted in the first instance and the Allegations Against Persons who Work with Children (including Carers and Volunteers) Procedure followed.


Who Should Share Information with Children's Social Care

  1. All agencies have a professional responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under the Children Act 2004. Even where the core business of the agency is not child protection, the welfare of the child is paramount and confidentiality must be breached if a child is deemed to be at risk of Significant Harm. See Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure;
  2. Professionals may need to share information on persons who present a risk to children with Children’s Social Care in the following circumstances:
    • Social workers where information comes to light, either through Single Assessment, Enquiries, or case work that a person(s) presents a risk to children;
    • Human Resources Officers where an employee has been referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service;
    • Probation Officers/Youth Offending Team Officers where it comes to light through case work that a person/young person presents a risk to children;
    • CAFCASS Officers where a finding of fact is made against an individual(s) in either private or public law proceedings and the person resides in the area or is associated with children who reside in the area;
    • The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO/Designated Officer) where it comes to light that there are concerns about the suitability of a person to work with children and young people;
    • Where a professionals meeting, Strategy Meeting or Child Protection Conference has taken place and it is deemed by the majority of the members of that meeting that a person(s) presents a risk to children, the Chair of the meeting will be responsible for recording the decision of the meeting, notifying the said person and ensuring that the information is recorded and appropriate follow up action is taken;
    • This list is not intended to be exhaustive and professional judgement should always be exercised in making a decision to refer.
  3. The decision to refer should be based on the risk that the person is assessed to pose and should be made irrespective of any known contact with children. If information comes to light that suggests that the person presents a risk to a known child a referral should also be made in accordance with the Making a Referral to Children’s Social Care Procedure.


How to Share Information with Children's Social Care

  1. Information should be passed in the first instance to the Children's Social Care, Safeguarding Unit;
  2. Information will only be accepted in written form or by email;
  3. Any verbal information should be followed up in writing. Wherever possible, information should be sent on the Inter Agency Referral Form for the relevant area;
  4. Where this is not possible, any written communication should contain, as a minimum, the following details:
    • The full name (including any aliases) of the person who presents a risk to children;
    • Date of birth (including any aliases);
    • Current and any previous addresses;
    • Name and address of any children they are associated with/in contact with;
    • Any convictions, findings of fact, sex offender register requirements, Section 47 Enquiries etc.;
    • Name of person sharing information, position within organisation and telephone number;
    • Whether the person who presents a risk to children also works with children and young people and, if so, whether the Local Authority Designated Officer and the Disclosure and Barring Service has been informed;
    • Confirmation that the person who presents risk to children has been informed of the information being shared with Children's Social Care. Where it is assessed that informing the person who presents a risk to children would increase the risk that they present they should not be informed and Children’s Social Care should be advised accordingly.


Convening a Person Who Poses a Risk to Children Meeting

  1. Where further information is required to make a decision as to whether the subject of a referral does pose a risk to children, or action is required to manage this risk the Safeguarding Unit may convene a Person Who Poses a Risk to Children Meeting.
  2. The following persons should always be invited to a Person Who Poses a Risk to Children Meeting:
    • Police;
    • Social Worker for the child (if there is an involved child with an allocated Social Worker), otherwise Duty and Assessment Team;
    • Referring Agency/person;
    • ** Consideration should also be given to inviting the following people to the strategy meeting:-
      • LADO;
      • Housing;
      • Probation/YOT;
      • Health (Designated child protection officer);
      • Education (if child identified);
      • Legal;
      • Any other person involved with the adult/child.
  3. The purpose of the Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting is:-
    • To share information and consider whether the person meets the criteria of a person who presents a risk to children;
    • To consider whether any action needs to be taken in respect of the person who presents a risk to children;
    • To consider whether Section 47 enquiries are required in respect of any children who are in contact with the person who presents a risk to children. If Section 47 enquiries are not required, consideration needs to be given to services/support should be offered to any of the identified child/ren.
  4. The Agenda for the Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting may include:
    • Sharing of information to enable a decision to made as to whether the subject should be considered a Person Who Presents a Risk to Children;
    • Sharing of any plans to manage the risk that the subject presents;
    • Agreement of an action plan to manage the risk that the subject presents (including any necessary legal action);
    • Confirmation as to whether the subject has contact with any children;
    • An action plan to safeguard any identified child/ren;
    • Decision as to any review process that should be undertaken in respect of the decisions of the meeting.
  5. Prior to the meeting the person who presents a risk to children should be notified in writing and advised to seek legal advice.


Recording of a Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting

  1. At the conclusion of the Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting, an action plan must be recorded and circulated to all parties within one working day. The Chair of the meeting will be responsible for this action;
  2. Any disagreements to the plan will be detailed on the record/minutes of the meeting. All those who contributed to the discussion will receive a copy of the strategy meeting record;
  3. Records of Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meetings should be held in the relevant record systems for the adult. This record will have restricted access. A connection to the person who presents a risk to children will be made on the record of any known child(ren) under the heading of Warning, with a note to contact the Safeguarding Unit for further details.


Outcome of Person who Presents a Risk to Children Meeting

  1. Where there is agreement that a person presents a risk to children, the Safeguarding Chair will undertake the following actions:-
    • Forward details of the offence/concerns to the appropriate administrative officer, who will create a restricted record for the adult and connect this to any relevant child’s record;
    • Write to the person who presents a risk to children outlining the concerns raised, action to be taken by the Local Authority;
    • Ensure that any actions agreed at the strategy meeting are undertaken.


Storing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children

  1. Information received in respect of person(s) who present a risk to children will be stored electronically on the Integrated Children’s System.


Accessing Information Held on Persons who Present a Risk to Children

  1. Information held on persons who present a risk to children is highly sensitive. Disclosure of information in respect of persons who present a risk to children should be made in accordance with the relevant legislation, i.e. Data Protection Act 1998, Human Rights Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, or to protect a child:
    • Access to information held on persons who present a risk to children will only be permissible at the discretion of the Safeguarding Unit of the relevant area;
    • Information held by one of the councils covered by this policy in respect of persons who present a risk to children may only be accessed by relevant employees;
    • The exception to this will be delegated persons in Human Resources who will have authority to request information via Safeguarding Unit, for the purpose of employment/volunteer reference checks;
    • Any person outside of the local authority/Children's Social Care wishing to access information on a person they believe may present a risk to children should contact Children's Social Care detailing their concerns.


Logging Requests for Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children

  1. All external requests for information on persons who present a risk to children should be logged as a contact by Children's Social Care;
  2. The following details should be requested by the person receiving the contact:
    • Name of person requesting information;
    • Position within organisation and phone number;
    • Name of person information requested on;
    • Reason information is required / name of child associated with;
    • Date requested.
  3. The name of the member of staff who gave the details and also the date information was shared should also be recorded;.


Informing People that Information is Held on them/Reviewing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children

  1. Information held on members of the general public must be held lawfully and be subject to review. Information held by each Safeguarding Unit on persons who present a risk to children must therefore be held in accordance with current legislation i.e. Human Rights Act 1998, Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Crime and Disorder Act 1998:
    • Any person on whom the Local Authority holds information has the right to request sight of information about them under the Data Protection Act 1998;
    • Professionals sharing information with the Safeguarding Unit in respect of a person(s) who presents a risk to children should make the person aware that the local authority will hold information on them and that the information will be subject to review;
    • The referring agency is responsible for maintaining and updating their records (in accordance with their own internal procedures) and will inform the relevant Safeguarding Unit and the person who presents a risk to children if there is any change in their status.


Sharing Information on Persons who Present a Risk to Children with other Agencies/Members of the Public

  1. There will be some instances when it will be necessary to share information with other agencies/members of the public in respect of those persons who present a risk to children;
  2. However, information sharing in respect of persons who present a risk to children should be done so in accordance with legislation such as the Human Rights Act 1998, Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Crime and Disorder Order Act 1998 - see Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure.

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