Rethink on axing child protection register as safety concerns mount

The government is reconsidering plans to abolish the child
protection register amid widespread concerns that to do so could
jeopardise the safety of children.

Responding to questions at Community Care LIVE Children and
Families last week, Althea Efunshile, director of the safeguarding
children group at the Department for Education and Skills, admitted
that a decision on the register’s demise was no longer “clear
She said draft guidance on safeguarding children, including the
child protection register, would go out to consultation in the
summer, with a final verdict expected in December.

Her admission is a shift from the government’s position in
September 2003, when it stated in its response to the Victoria
ClimbiŽ Report and joint chief inspectors report Safeguarding
Children that the register would become “redundant”.

It said the register could be “phased out gradually across the
country” alongside the introduction of the integrated children’s
system, which has been devised to enable local organisations to
work together, share information more easily and facilitate
referrals between organisations.

But Efunshile promised last week to work with service providers “to
see what exactly the whole system [to safeguard children] needs to

Penny Thompson, the new chief executive of Hackney Council and
former Association of Directors of Social Services spokesperson on
children’s services, spoke for many delegates when she warned
against scrapping a system that “in the main was effective”.

“For some time to come, and for possibly as long as I can imagine,
there will be a need for a children protection register,” Thompson
told the conference.

“The system has stood us in good stead for some time and we should
not give it up lightly.”

Voice for the Child in Care chief executive John Kemmis added: “If
it’s working, don’t fix it. And that currently would seem to apply
to the child protection register.”

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