Parliament approves plan for children’s commissioner

The Scottish parliament has passed a bill leading to the
appointment of a children’s commissioner north of the border,
writes David Callaghan.

The move means both Wales and Scotland will have a
children’s commissioner with only the Westminster government
refusing to follow suit.

In Scotland, the commissioner will be appointed by the
parliament and can only be removed from office by MSPs. The
commissioner will be given a five-year term, which can be renewed
for a further five years.

The parliament’s audit committee has called for urgent
action from the executive to help local authorities address the
fact that 400 young offenders are not receiving a service from
social work departments.

A report from the Auditor General for Scotland, ‘Dealing
with Young Offenders’, showed that a shortage of social
workers means there are not enough staff to work with every young

The committee also called for:

– guidance on safeguards needed when a social worker is not

– data on the number of unallocated cases to be held

– introduction of independent inspection for community youth

New draft guidance to help schools improve child protection
procedures were also published, which includes better monitoring of
children who move between schools.

Schools are encouraged to work with health boards and social
services to ensure children are not lost between services.

* The Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill
can be found here

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