Recruitment procedures and arrangements for checking that staff
are suitable to work with children are still inadequate new
research warns today, writes Amy
The joint inspectorate report on safeguarding children found
that the checking of recruitment agency staff, contractors and
staff from outside the UK and rechecking of existing staff with the
Criminal Records Bureau were particularly inconsistent.
The inspectorates also warn that physical control on children is
being used inappropriately and too often in young offender
institutions, secure training centres and secure children’s
homes. They add that staff in these settings lacked training on how
to avoid causing injury when carrying out physical control methods
and call on the government to issue one agreed set of principles
for when they can be used.
The eight independent government inspectorates, which include
the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Ofsted and Her
Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary, go on to state
that children are still being put at risk due to some councils
applying inappropriately high thresholds in their child protection
and family support work due to resource pressures. The same warning
was made in the first joint inspectorate safeguarding review
published in 2002.
The study says these continued problems “raise
questions” about whether all councils have the capacity to
protect and promote children’s welfare while achieving the
balance between preventative and universal services in line with
the Every Child Matters arrangements.
“Considerable concerns” about the welfare of asylum
seeker children held in detention with their families are also
discussed. The report says that there is a lack of effective
guidance from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, agreed
with local Area Child Protection Committees, on child protection
arrangements to be followed in immigration removal centres.
Other children covered by the research include those looked
after, those receiving universal services and those involved in
family court proceedings.
A DfES spokesman said, “There is actually a tremendous amount that
has been achieved, and this report recognises that. We have come a
long way since the Victoria Climbie inquiry with greater
accountability and safeguards in the system than ever
“But of course there is still more to do, and we will consider the
report’s findings carefully. We are already addressing a number of
the key issues raised by the report through policies such as the
workforce strategy, children’s trusts, the Integrated
Children’s System and the Common Assessment Framework.
Safeguarding Children from: www.csci.org.uk