Police audit leads to launch of new London-wide child protection body

Draft London-wide child protection guidelines were published
this week to reduce inconsistencies in practice across the capital
and to improve inter-agency working.

The guidelines, published at the launch of the London Child
Protection Committee, are intended to replace locally negotiated
inter-agency or inter-borough protocols currently found within
individual area child protection committees’ guidance and

The need for the London committee and guidelines was identified
by an audit of the city’s ACPCs, commissioned by the Metropolitan
Police, which revealed totally different working practices across
the 32 boroughs.

Deputy assistant commissioner Carole Howlett, who is responsible
for child protection issues in the Met, said: “Not only was there
inconsistency between boroughs, but different agencies within
boroughs were working in silos.”

Howlett said the findings, combined with the evidence coming out
of the public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie,
highlighted the need for a more sophisticated system to deal with
child protection issues across London.

The new committee’s aims include securing consistency by all
agencies, providing strategic leadership, disseminating and
ensuring adoption of best practice by all member organisations,
leading the development of multi-agency training, and influencing
the development of policy relating to child protection issues.

Committee members include Howlett, former president of the
Association of Directors of Social Services Moira Gibb, regional
director of health and social care John Bacon, a director of
education and voluntary sector representatives.

Speaking after the launch, Gibb said the guidelines “represented
an improvement on the current situation” and would not only improve
practice on a multi-agency basis but raise the profile of child
protection within each separate agency.

She said they would be officially launched in October after a
three-month consultation period, but would not be finalised until
after the publication of Lord Laming’s final report on the
Climbie‚ inquiry.

The draft guidelines list the role of each agency in the child
protection system, how information should be shared, the way the
referral and assessment process should be carried out, and how
child protection enquiries and conferences ought to be conducted.
There is also information about dealing with more specific issues
such as child prostitution and children who move around.

The procedures outlined in the guidelines would have the status
of “mandatory instructions” and define the explicit actions that
would have to be taken in specific circumstances. Any supplementary
internal procedures developed by agencies would be obliged to refer
to and comply with these procedures.

All London Child Protection Procedures from www.acpc.gov.uk

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