Safeguarding News January 2021
Welcome to the news round up for January 2021.
New Safer Recruitment Arrangements
The headline has to be the introduction of the new DBS filtering rules which were rushed through late November 2020 and now mean, in certain cases, that a Basic DBS check will show more information about youth cautions, convictions etc than an Enhanced DBS. Additionally there are also post Brexit arrangements to consider when appointing new personnel in 2021 As a response, SAFEcic
- has launched a brand new online Safer Recruitment Course which can also be supplemented by a Zoom training session with one of SAFEcic's safeguarding experts and
The Review has now launched a public Call for Evidence which will consider how the Human Rights Act is working in practice and whether any change is needed.
The government is establishing an independent review to examine the framework of the HRA, how it is operating in practice and whether any change is required. Specifically, the review will look at two key themes, which are outlined in the Terms of Reference (ToR) as follows:
- the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
- the impact of the HRA on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature
The review will consider the approach taken by domestic courts to jurisprudence of the ECtHR, including how the duty to “take into account” jurisprudence has developed. It will consider whether the HRA strikes the correct balance between the roles of the courts, the Government and Parliament. Moreover, it will consider whether the current approach risks domestic courts being unduly drawn into questions of policy. The panel will then consider whether and if so, what reforms might be justified.
As part of its work the review will also examine the circumstances in which the HRA applies to acts of public authorities taking place outside the territory of the UK, with consideration of the implications of the current position, and whether there is a case for change.
The review is limited to consideration of the Human Rights Act, which is a protected enactment under the devolution settlements. The review will not consider the scope of the substantive rights scheduled to the Human Rights Act.
Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE updated January 19th 2021 following the UK leaving the European Union (EU).
1. Paragraphs 149 and 165 (bullet 5) References to checking Teacher Services for EEA sanctions have been removed. It now reads: From 01 January 2021 the TRA Teacher Services system will no longer maintain a list of those teachers who have been sanctioned in EEA member states. Advice about how information about a teacher’s past conduct may be obtained can be found at paragraph 172. 165 (bullet 5) further checks on people who have lived or worked outside the UK (see paragraphs 172)
Paragraph 172 This has been amended to provide advice on how schools and colleges can check the past conduct of individuals who have lived or worked overseas following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and now reads:
Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK must undergo the same checks as all other staff in schools or colleges (set out in paragraphs 154 and 160). This includes obtaining (via the applicant) an enhanced DBS certificate (including barred list information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity) even if the individual has never been to the UK. In addition, schools and colleges must make any further checks they think appropriate so that any relevant events that occurred outside the UK can be considered. These checks could include, where available:
- criminal records checks for overseas applicants - Home Office guidance can be found on GOV.UK; and for teaching positions
- obtaining a letter of professional standing from the professional regulating authority in the country in which the applicant has worked. Advice about which regulatory or professional body applicants should contact is available from the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom, UK NARIC.
Where available, such evidence can be considered together with information obtained through other pre-appointment checks to help assess their suitability. Where this information is not available schools and colleges should seek alternative methods of checking suitability and or undertake a risk assessment that supports informed decision making on whether to proceed with the appointment. Although sanctions and restrictions imposed by another regulating authority do not prevent a person from taking up teaching positions in England, schools and colleges should consider the circumstances that led to the restriction or sanction being imposed when considering a candidate’s suitability for employment. Further information can be found in DfE Guidance: Recruit teachers from overseas. and Staffing and employment advice for schools: Departmental advice for school leaders, governing bodies, academy trusts and local authorities January 2021
Annex H of the updated document also contains a table of substantive changes from KSCIE September 2019 to the September 2020 update.
Six New Case Reviews have been added to the NSPCC collection
1. Death of a 7-year-old boy in December 2016. Emergency services found Child X and Mother deceased at Mother's home address. Inquest concluded Child X was unlawfully killed, and Mother died by suicide. Family moved to England in 2011 for work. Mother worked as a nurse; history of alcohol dependency and mental health problems. Had contact with Police following a rape allegation in 2015. Mother's hospital employment terminated in 2015. School concerned about Child X's appearance and attendance; referrals made by family and school about Mother's wellbeing. Mother reported to cousin that she was going to take her own life and that of Child X. Father reported Child X as missing after he did not attend school, and being unable to contact Mother. Family are Irish. Learning includes: information sharing within police did not always work well and information about Mother and Child X was lost; information held by friends and family should be taken seriously and support given to help them share information; lack of focus on the potential impact of Mother's alcohol use and mental health on her role as a parent and a nurse. Recommendations include: guidance from the College of Policing should be unambiguous that, in cases of sexual assault, a victim care plan should be delivered by the police force where the victim resides; GPs should always ask patients whether they have any dependants when alcohol misuse is a problem; consider with national organisations whether a helpline for families concerned that a child is at risk could be developed.
2. Delay in responding to potential trafficking of a female child in May-June 2019. Aaron and Helen, both African, presented as homeless; Aaron applied for accommodation. Housing raised concerns with children's social care and police that Helen, 24-years-old according to Aaron, was a child. Helen was removed under Police Protection Powers and placed in foster care in June 2019. An age assessment of Helen resulted in an age of 12-years-old assigned to her. Aaron was arrested for trafficking offences. Learning includes: immigration identification documents are not evidence-based; need for professional curiosity; need for professional advice in a timely manner and to escalate concerns to enable a multi-agency approach; need for a multi-agency approach to age assessment and to have a pathway to resolve disputes on the presenting age of an individual; consider the child's views at all times. Recommendations include: Local Safeguarding Partnership to develop effective multi-agency pathway and deal with risk of child trafficking; UK Visas and Immigration to ensure robust identification procedures and have a consistent approach to directing practitioners with concerns if someone with an adult ID is thought to be a child.
3. Examines the quality and effectiveness of statutory agency involvement with Freddie, a child under 8-years-old, from January 2014 through to his being made the subject of a final Care Order in October 2016. Freddie lived with his mother and two older half-siblings who were known to children's services due to concerns including neglect and physical abuse. Evidence of sexual abuse of Freddie's half siblings by their father. Freddie's mother started a relationship with a person posing a risk to children. The children were made subjects of Child Protection Plans under the category of sexual abuse in June 2014. Accounts of Freddie displaying sexually inappropriate behaviours at pre-school; excluded from school in June 2015 for displaying aggressive and sexualised behaviours. In March 2016, Mother reported that she no longer felt able to manage Freddie and he was taken into local authority care due to neglectful parenting. Whilst in care Freddie made statements about sexual abuse that had taken place within the family. Learning includes: importance of management support and supervision when working with intra-familial child sexual abuse; the value of seeking additional input from specialised services in helping professionals remain objective and child focused; not letting biases of professionals towards parents hamper judgements and undermine decision making. Recommendations: ensure that the plans for children subject to Child Protection Plans are fit for purpose and have pace; to examine blocks and barriers to effective multi-agency work around the issue of child sexual abuse; and increase the knowledge and confidence of practitioners in assessing and working with cases involving child sexual abuse.
4. Serious, non-life threatening injuries to an adolescent in 2019. Sam was the victim of a targeted attack and admitted to hospital. Sam had been known to services from an early age. Parents had separated; history of domestic abuse, some of which Sam witnessed. Father is in prison custody. Mother had two further children with new partner, one of whom died of natural causes. Police involvement with Sam on several occasions, including being arrested predominately for drug misuse. Sam left education aged 15-years-old with signs he was associating with people involved in organised crime. In 2017 a friend of Sam's was the victim of homicide. Sam was arrested for suspected involvement in a separate murder, for which he remains under investigation. In 2018 Sam was suspected in county lines drug supply. Ethnicity and nationality not stated. Learning includes: following any high-profile local incident community tensions and anxiety are likely to be heightened; safeguarding partners need to be assured that they are sharing key information and that they are doing so securely in compliance with regulations; there are potential implications for children and vulnerable people who are 'released under investigation' especially when this is for an extended period. Recommendations include: local police should review its 'Released Under Investigation Framework' to ensure that professionals conducting reviews take cognisance of a suspect's age, vulnerabilities and safeguarding risks; review the 'Step Up & Step Down' procedure to ensure that a multi-agency approach is taken when making decisions relating to levels of need.
5. Child sexual exploitation and neglect of an adolescent girl. An incident of rape and sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl by teenage males in February 2019 involved other children as victims, perpetrators or witnesses. Review focuses on one child, BR19. Criminal proceedings ongoing at the time of the review; BR19 and her sibling have been taken into care. Maternal history of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) including sexual exploitation; being in care; and domestic abuse. Mother had BR19 as a teenager; was imprisoned when BR19 was young. BR19 lived with Father until aged 10-years-old, when she returned to Mother. Both BR19 and her sibling were made subject to Child Protection Plan in 2013 for neglect. BR19 was not in school throughout most of an 18-month period; concerns expressed by Mother of possible child sexual exploitation (CSE) of BR19; became subject to a Child Protection Plan in September 2017 and 2019 due to ongoing concerns around CSE and Mother's ability to protect BR19. Ethnicity or nationality of family not stated. Learning includes: multi-agency planning and analysis of risk; impact of CSE and services for survivors of CSE who are parents; parental engagement and consent; professional challenge and escalation; professional curiosity of the child's lived experience; contextual safeguarding and perception of sexual activity between teenagers being consensual. Identifies good practice from professionals. Recommendations include: strengthening multiagency decision making and practice in relation to child protection processes; understanding and responding to the link between adolescent neglect, CSE and contextual safeguarding; understanding the impact of traumatic adverse life experiences on parenting through partnership assessments.
6. Death of a 1-year-old girl in April 2018 due to a suspected non-accidental head injury. Child Ap was in the care of Mother's partner, Mr X, on the day of the incident. Mr X called Mother reporting that Child Ap was unresponsive having fallen off the bed and an ambulance was called. A CT scan at hospital suggested that Child Ap had suffered bleeding and swelling of the brain. Subsequently discovered that Child Ap had suffered an earlier brain injury and concerns were raised at hospital as to the possibility of non-accidental injury. Mr X was convicted of Child Ap's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Child Ap's siblings had presented with several injuries over previous years and had also missed many health appointments. Mr X had been in care as a child and had a history of violence and substance misuse, as well as allegations of drug dealing. Child Ap's father was serving a prison sentence at the time of her birth. Learning includes: there is a need for information sharing to support holistic assessment; professional intervention was adult focused and the children's voices were not fully sought or captured; it is important to assess significant male adults in the lives of children. Ethnicity and nationality not stated. Recommendations include: ensure that agencies involved in child protection processes work together and focus on the needs and wellbeing of children; ensure agencies share all information known to them in order that a holistic assessment of the family can be undertaken.
Reports, Research and Consultations
The Government has responded to the recommendations set out in the IICSA report into institutional responses to the sexual abuse of children outside the UK,
1. Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a borderless crime.
2. The Government is committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation, not just in the UK, but across the world. The Home Office works with a range of partners to disrupt those who travel overseas to abuse children and bring justice to victims and survivors. This includes close collaboration with the international community to facilitate a coordinated and effective response to CSA, including through Home Office leadership in the Five Country Ministerial and the WePROTECT Global Alliance and wider work with a range of multilateral discussions and organisations.
3. In recognition of the changing nature and scale of CSA, the Government will shortly be publishing a landmark cross-government Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy. This first-of-its-kind strategy will set out the Government’s whole system approach to tackling CSA in all its forms, including working internationally to prevent CSA and tackle transnational child sex offenders.
4. The Strategy is part of, and captures, a wider package of work to improve the management of sex offenders, including by strengthening existing civil orders and reviewing the police-led management of sex offenders in the community under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements.
It also includes:
- Recommendation 2: Civil orders – list of countries
- Recommendation 3: Disclosure and barring – extending the geographical reach of the Disclosure and Barring Service scheme
Recommendation 4: Disclosure and barring – extending the mandatory nature of disclosure and barring
Recommendation 5: Disclosure and barring – guidance
5. CQC launch proposals for more flexible and responsive regulation – they want to hear your views.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made health and social care services think differently and we are no exception. Following on from the consultation on our new strategy and ambitions launched earlier in January, we’re now proposing some specific changes that will enable us to deal with ongoing challenges from the pandemic and move us towards our ambition to be a more dynamic, proportionate and flexible regulator.
Our inspection reports and ratings give a view of quality that’s vital for the public, service providers and stakeholders. We want to introduce changes to allow us to assess and rate services more flexibly, so we can update our ratings more often, and make ratings easier to understand for everyone.
We are also proposing changes that will make our ratings for GP services and NHS trusts simpler and more relevant for people who use services. At the moment we are not proposing any changes to how we aggregate ratings in adult social care as part of this consultation.
The way we currently consult and engage on any changes to our methods is a long process and means we can’t implement changes and tell our stakeholders about them quickly enough. We want to change this.
Going forward, we’ll hear people’s views constantly through a range of ways, making it easier for us to design solutions together with all our stakeholders in real time as we develop our future ways of regulating.
This means you’ll see fewer large-scale formal consultations, but more on-going opportunities to contribute as we’ll engage in different ways.
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive, said; “The world of health and social care has changed significantly since we were established nearly a decade ago as an independent regulator – not least in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to make sure we meet the needs of the people who use services and the providers we regulate, we need to change too.
“We’ve learned a lot from our response to the pandemic so far, and we’re using this to put us in a better place for the future and support services to keep people safe.
“Your views and feedback have been invaluable as we’ve developed our strategy. We’d also like to hear what you think of our proposals for more flexible and responsive regulation so we can make sure the changes we make work for everyone.”
Worthy of Note
Beverley Bevis was fined £1,500 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 7 January 2021. She was also ordered to pay £10,380.91 costs and a £170 victim surcharge as a result of the prosecution brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Prior to her sentencing, Mrs Bevis pleaded guilty to providing a regulated activity – personal care – in people’s own homes through her company, Five Star Homecare Leeds Ltd, without CQC registration. This is a criminal offence.
Personal care includes assisting people to eat and drink, dress, bathe and use the toilet.
CQC brought the prosecution after it received feedback, in September 2018, from a relative of a person who used Five Star Homecare.
At this time, Mrs Bevis had not registered Five Star Homecare with CQC.
This prompted CQC to begin investigating the company, and inspectors visited its Morley premises, unannounced, three weeks later, in October 2018.
On arrival, they found a large window sticker advertising personal care. It falsely stated that the firm was CQC-approved.
Inspectors also found evidence that the company had 23 staff providing personal care to at least seven people. They also saw staff time sheets and invoices demonstrating that it had been operating illegally.
In April 2020, Five Star Homecare successfully applied for CQC registration – following a robust process – meaning it can now provide a lawful service.
The service was inspected in November 2020 and rated Requires Improvement. CQC continues to monitor it, including through future inspections, to ensure people’s safety.
Although CQC understands that Mrs Bevis retains involvement with the company, she is not responsible for supervising its regulated activity.
Joyce Frederick, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of registration, said:
“It is unacceptable that Beverley Bevis risked people’s safety by running a care service without the benefit of CQC registration, so I welcome her guilty plea."
“The registration process is important to appropriately assess services before they care for people. Services are then monitored and inspected to ensure that they continue to meet standards that people should be able to expect."
“Unregistered services operate without oversight, putting people at risk of harm."
“Monitoring of domiciliary care agencies is especially important, as people who receive care in their own homes can be particularly vulnerable because of their circumstances."
“When we find providers operating illegally, we do not hesitate to act to protect people.
The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.
As an essential retailer based on high streets across the country, and with specifically trained staff, pharmacies can provide a safe space for victims to sound an alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in another way.
The Home Office has published its response to a consultation on pre-charge bail, which allows police to release a suspect from custody subject to conditions, while they gather evidence or await a charging decision.
The new measures will ensure a system where individuals are not held on bail for unreasonable lengths of time, whilst enabling police to impose strict conditions on more suspects in high-harm cases, including most cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The full package of reforms will be named ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation, despite evidence of previous domestic abuse.
The name ‘Kay’s Law’ also intends to help raise awareness of the new reforms amongst police and the public, and encourage greater use of pre-charge bail where necessary and proportionate, as well as increased engagement with victims.
The measures will be brought before Parliament in a major criminal justice bill, which will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. The Bill will provide better support and protection to police, create safer communities, and make sure those guilty of heinous crimes spend longer behind bars.
And The Reason to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding
Doctors thought Sofia-Grace Hill had tonsillitis or a viral infection until an X-ray revealed the battery the size of a 10p in her oesophagus.
She underwent a two-hour operation to remove it and is now on a liquid only diet.
A surgeon said her survival may be due to the battery being old and without charge.
Dad Calham, from Swindon, first noticed something was wrong in January 2020 and had countless paramedic call-outs and visits to the GP and local hospital.
He was convinced there was something else going on as Sofia-Grace would only eat pureed food.
After another hospital trip in May, she was given an X-ray which showed the battery lodged in her oesophagus was causing serious damage as it had corroded.
Mr Hill said: "I was gutted when I saw it and angry at myself. I blamed myself, but now I realise there was nothing we could have done to know."
Sofia-Grace had a feeding tube fitted to help her with food and to stop her throat from closing.
Every two weeks she has a general anaesthetic to stretch her oesophagus but faces the prospect of further surgery.
Mr Hill said: "The damage has left a pocket in her oesophagus which needs to close but Sofia is improving week by week with regular dilations which is improving her oesophagus.
"But I know the chance of survival in the first weeks after this happens is very low so we are moving in the right direction."
2.The National Crime Agency and police forces have arrested 320 people and safeguarded over 400 children as part of an operation targeting the UK’s most dangerous child sex offenders. The operation formed part of an enhanced UK law enforcement response to online child sexual abuse (CSA) since the first coronavirus lockdown, which led to 4,760 arrests and 6,500 children being safeguarded between April and September. The figures are being released as the Home Office publishes the first ever Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy. The strategy recognises the evolving scale, severity and complexity of this threat and outlines the whole-system response required to tackle it. Last year the NCA assessed there were at least 300,000 individuals posing a sexual threat to children in the UK, and warned of a spike in online CSA offending during the pandemic.
Rob Jones, NCA Director of Threat Leadership, said:
“The NCA welcomes this strategy at a time when the threat to children is more severe than it has ever been. It is vital that every part of the public and private sector recognises it has a part to play in tackling it.
“As part of the whole system approach, the NCA is focusing on the most dangerous offenders. Many feel they can operate with impunity online – using anonymisation techniques, secure accounts and the dark web – but as we have shown with this operation they are wrong and we have the capabilities to track them down.
“We have also provided hundreds of leads to police forces, and out of the 320 arrested, 122 were targeted by NCA officers. Seventeen were in positions of trust, including a volunteer with the Scouts, church youth group leaders, a social worker, primary school and college teachers, a hospital care assistant, a police officer, and a civil servant.
“In addition to operational activity against high harm offenders, the NCA also manages a huge number of referrals of child sexual abuse material from the tech industry. In 2020 alone, there were more than 84,000 referrals which resulted in over 16,500 actionable cases being developed and sent to police forces.
“These are not just images or videos being viewed online. What we are uncovering here is evidence of the horrific, real-world sexual abuse of children. It’s really important that connection is not lost or diluted.”
posing as County Court bailiffs, High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) and Certificated Enforcement Agents (CEAs).
In a number of cases they are claiming to be a bailiff at Northampton County Court.
They are targeting people with a County Court judgment for debt.
During the calls, the fraudsters claim that the person owes money, and demands that they transfer funds into a bank account.
Bailiffs may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant of control and will offer to take debit or credit card payments over the phone.
However, they will never:
telephone you to ask for your bank details
telephone you to ask you to make a bank transfer using your sort code and account number.
If anyone claiming to be a county court bailiff, an HCEO or CEA calls asking for this information, you should not make any payment and not provide your bank details.
You should end the call and contact:
- your local county court, if the caller says they are an HMCTS bailiff. Contact details for county courts are on GOV.UK
- the company the person claims to work for, if the caller says they are a HCEO or CEA. Contact the High Court Enforcement Officers Association or the Civil Enforcement Officers Association (CIVEA)for more information.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam you should report the matter to:
Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040.
Fraudsters are targeting elderly and vulnerable people with a vaccine scam and asking for bank details or cash payments for access to vaccines that are fake or non-existent.
The National Economic Crime Centre is working partners with government and law enforcement to urge people to remain vigilant and follow basic advice in relation to the NHS COVID vaccination programme, which will always be free. The NHS will never ask for payment for vaccines or bank details.
In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. At the appropriate time, people will be contacted directly by the NHS, their employer, a GP surgery or local pharmacy to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine is free of charge and at no point will people be asked to pay.
The public are asked to remember that the NHS will never:
- Ask for bank account or card details;
- Ask for a PIN or banking password;
- Arrive unannounced at someone’s home to administer the vaccine;
- Demand proof of identity by sending copies of personal documents such as a passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
Where to report if you are a victim of fraud:
- Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
- If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible or calling 0300 123 2040