DO NOT REPEAL Children Act 2004 duty to co-operate to safeguard children

All the signs are that vulnerable children are not a priority for this govt. Look at the DfE website – the home page has no mention of children's social care, not even a link. Every Child Matters is no longer the guiding document on children's matters and Safeguarding is being dismantled as a concept. The one ray of hope for those of us who work with and care about the most vulnerable children is that there has been no mention of repealing the Children Act. Most important to preserve is the duty on all kinds of agencies – not only those that deal directly with children but also thoase that, in dealing with adults or providing general services to the public may come across children at risk.

Why is this idea important?

All the signs are that vulnerable children are not a priority for this govt. Look at the DfE website – the home page has no mention of children's social care, not even a link. Every Child Matters is no longer the guiding document on children's matters and Safeguarding is being dismantled as a concept. The one ray of hope for those of us who work with and care about the most vulnerable children is that there has been no mention of repealing the Children Act. Most important to preserve is the duty on all kinds of agencies – not only those that deal directly with children but also thoase that, in dealing with adults or providing general services to the public may come across children at risk.

For an obligatory parenting education scheme

How much do you have to know about road safety before you are allowed onto the roads? A fair amount.

How much do you have to know about law before you can become a lawyer? A huge amount.

How much do you have to know about children before you can have kids? Nothing.

I think people should have to complete a government-funded course on raising children within five years of having them and ideally before having them. The within-five-year rule would be to take unplanned pregnancies into account.

What happens if you don't complete the course within five years? Your child is repossessed by an adoption agency. To claim it back, you must simply complete the course.

Why is this idea important?

How much do you have to know about road safety before you are allowed onto the roads? A fair amount.

How much do you have to know about law before you can become a lawyer? A huge amount.

How much do you have to know about children before you can have kids? Nothing.

I think people should have to complete a government-funded course on raising children within five years of having them and ideally before having them. The within-five-year rule would be to take unplanned pregnancies into account.

What happens if you don't complete the course within five years? Your child is repossessed by an adoption agency. To claim it back, you must simply complete the course.

CRB CHECK FOR VOLUNTEERING ON SCHOOL TRIP

GET RID OF CRB CHECKS FOR PARENTS WANTING TO HELP OUT ON SCHOOL TRIPS. THESE ARE ONLY ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR, IT SHOULDN'T BE NECESSARY TO GO WITH YOUR OWN CHILD WHEN YOU ARE ONLY CONCERNED FOR THEIR SAFETY, ESPECIALLY AT RECEPTION AGE WHEN THEY AREN'T AWAY FROM PARENTS BEFORE. IF THEY DO INSIST ON IT THE SCHOOL SHOULD PAY FOR IT, I LOOK AT IT LIKE THE SCHOOL IS HAPPY ENOUGH FOR THE SAME PARENTS TO GO IN DAY IN DAY OUT AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME KIDS, WHERE IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Why is this idea important?

GET RID OF CRB CHECKS FOR PARENTS WANTING TO HELP OUT ON SCHOOL TRIPS. THESE ARE ONLY ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR, IT SHOULDN'T BE NECESSARY TO GO WITH YOUR OWN CHILD WHEN YOU ARE ONLY CONCERNED FOR THEIR SAFETY, ESPECIALLY AT RECEPTION AGE WHEN THEY AREN'T AWAY FROM PARENTS BEFORE. IF THEY DO INSIST ON IT THE SCHOOL SHOULD PAY FOR IT, I LOOK AT IT LIKE THE SCHOOL IS HAPPY ENOUGH FOR THE SAME PARENTS TO GO IN DAY IN DAY OUT AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME KIDS, WHERE IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Change the law so teachers are allowed to share information

 

I was a teacher who was found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for sharing information with other professionals.  I showed my risk assessment for Child T, an 11 year old pupil, to the instructors at an outdoor education centre.  My risk assessment said that Child T was likely to run off, was reckless, refused to follow instructions and had a Statement which gave him full time support in school for his violent behaviour.  Hackney Social Services complained because I hadn’t allowed them to change my risk assessment so that Child T would be allowed to stay in an unsupervised dormitory.  (Child T was a “looked after child” from Hackney)  The Department of Education said the disciplinary finding was reasonable because I hadn’t followed the correct guidance and the law. 

 

In summary Department officials said that what I should have done was either to have gone to the HSE to get permission to share information or entered into a formal dispute with Kent CC about it.  I had done everything else officials described; in fact it was KCC who had told me to write the risk assessment for Child T when I went to them with my great concern about taking him without his support at night.  In school, even with his support, he had managed to assault both staff and pupils.

 

The Department agreed that I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident if I had changed my risk assessment but said I shouldn’t have worried because Kent CC would have been criminally liable too! 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WROTE:

 

“ [a] with regard to your statement "I gave information to Bowles, in line with government guidance”

 

 [iii] it appears to DfES that anyway your action was not in line with DfES guidance.  While HASPEV advises school staff to give information to a provider (e.g.: "The group leader should also provide any relevant information to the provider such as the group's age-range, competence etc." – para 169), it also advises that the group leader's risk assessment for the visit should be approved by the head teacher (para 37).  DfES understands that your action in passing information to the provider in this case was not approved by the head teacher.  Therefore it appears that your action went against DfES advice on obtaining head teacher approval

 

 [b] You mentioned that you gave information to Bowles "as a PID" (Public Interest Disclosure).  DfES has not issued guidance on PIDs, though as you know, our web pages now refer enquirers to DTI and HSE advice on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  DfES's view is that the employment tribunal system is adequate for dealing with PID matters between school staff and their employers;

 

[c] Your letter seems to imply that your only choices were either to send the information as you did, or to modify the risk assessment in line with Hackney's wishes.  DfES believes that a school employee generally has more options.  The employee could pass the provider's request for information to the head teacher.  If the head teacher then sent to the provider, or directed the employee to send to the provider, information which the employee believed would endanger safety, the employee could take that concern to the school's Governing Body; and then, if still not satisfied, to the school employer.  If still unsatisfied with any response from the school employer, the employee could follow the procedures outlined by DTI (as mentioned above), e.g. by informing the HSE if the PID related to "matters which may affect the health or safety of any individual at work; matters which may affect the health and safety of any member of the public arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work" (source: DTI guidance).  DFES'S VIEW IS THAT YOU COULD HAVE ACTED SIMILARLY IN THIS CASE, INSTEAD OF SENDING INFORMATION TO THE PROVIDER;


[e]  You also wrote that if you had modified the risk assessment in accordance with Hackney's wishes "I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident".  It might be worth reminding ourselves here that, as we both know, the school employer retains the main responsibility under workplace safety law.  Therefore:

– IF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ACTS ON THE EMPLOYER'S INSTRUCTIONS, THEN THE EMPLOYER AT LEAST SHARES CRIMINAL LIABILITY WITH THE EMPLOYEE; and

– if the school employee has done what workplace safety law requires (i.e. has drawn to the employer's attention the employee's view that the employer should make further arrangements to deal safely with a workplace risk, and has otherwise cooperated with the employer's arrangements), then the employer, not the employee, will bear the main
criminal liability; and if the employee, exercising their common-law duty of care, still believes that a particular action approved by the employer would be negligent of a pupil's safety, then THE EMPLOYEE CAN AVOID ALL CRIMINAL LIABILITY BY REFUSING TO TAKE THAT ACTION AND ENTERING A FORMAL DISPUTE WITH THEIR EMPLOYER as at 2c above.

[6]  DfES does not wish to take a view on whether any criticism by Hackney Social Services was or was not reasonable.  As stated at para 2c above, we believe that an employee can take a concern, about information which the employee believes would endanger safety, through internal and external dispute channels as outlined;”

Why is this idea important?

 

I was a teacher who was found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for sharing information with other professionals.  I showed my risk assessment for Child T, an 11 year old pupil, to the instructors at an outdoor education centre.  My risk assessment said that Child T was likely to run off, was reckless, refused to follow instructions and had a Statement which gave him full time support in school for his violent behaviour.  Hackney Social Services complained because I hadn’t allowed them to change my risk assessment so that Child T would be allowed to stay in an unsupervised dormitory.  (Child T was a “looked after child” from Hackney)  The Department of Education said the disciplinary finding was reasonable because I hadn’t followed the correct guidance and the law. 

 

In summary Department officials said that what I should have done was either to have gone to the HSE to get permission to share information or entered into a formal dispute with Kent CC about it.  I had done everything else officials described; in fact it was KCC who had told me to write the risk assessment for Child T when I went to them with my great concern about taking him without his support at night.  In school, even with his support, he had managed to assault both staff and pupils.

 

The Department agreed that I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident if I had changed my risk assessment but said I shouldn’t have worried because Kent CC would have been criminally liable too! 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WROTE:

 

“ [a] with regard to your statement "I gave information to Bowles, in line with government guidance”

 

 [iii] it appears to DfES that anyway your action was not in line with DfES guidance.  While HASPEV advises school staff to give information to a provider (e.g.: "The group leader should also provide any relevant information to the provider such as the group's age-range, competence etc." – para 169), it also advises that the group leader's risk assessment for the visit should be approved by the head teacher (para 37).  DfES understands that your action in passing information to the provider in this case was not approved by the head teacher.  Therefore it appears that your action went against DfES advice on obtaining head teacher approval

 

 [b] You mentioned that you gave information to Bowles "as a PID" (Public Interest Disclosure).  DfES has not issued guidance on PIDs, though as you know, our web pages now refer enquirers to DTI and HSE advice on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  DfES's view is that the employment tribunal system is adequate for dealing with PID matters between school staff and their employers;

 

[c] Your letter seems to imply that your only choices were either to send the information as you did, or to modify the risk assessment in line with Hackney's wishes.  DfES believes that a school employee generally has more options.  The employee could pass the provider's request for information to the head teacher.  If the head teacher then sent to the provider, or directed the employee to send to the provider, information which the employee believed would endanger safety, the employee could take that concern to the school's Governing Body; and then, if still not satisfied, to the school employer.  If still unsatisfied with any response from the school employer, the employee could follow the procedures outlined by DTI (as mentioned above), e.g. by informing the HSE if the PID related to "matters which may affect the health or safety of any individual at work; matters which may affect the health and safety of any member of the public arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work" (source: DTI guidance).  DFES'S VIEW IS THAT YOU COULD HAVE ACTED SIMILARLY IN THIS CASE, INSTEAD OF SENDING INFORMATION TO THE PROVIDER;


[e]  You also wrote that if you had modified the risk assessment in accordance with Hackney's wishes "I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident".  It might be worth reminding ourselves here that, as we both know, the school employer retains the main responsibility under workplace safety law.  Therefore:

– IF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ACTS ON THE EMPLOYER'S INSTRUCTIONS, THEN THE EMPLOYER AT LEAST SHARES CRIMINAL LIABILITY WITH THE EMPLOYEE; and

– if the school employee has done what workplace safety law requires (i.e. has drawn to the employer's attention the employee's view that the employer should make further arrangements to deal safely with a workplace risk, and has otherwise cooperated with the employer's arrangements), then the employer, not the employee, will bear the main
criminal liability; and if the employee, exercising their common-law duty of care, still believes that a particular action approved by the employer would be negligent of a pupil's safety, then THE EMPLOYEE CAN AVOID ALL CRIMINAL LIABILITY BY REFUSING TO TAKE THAT ACTION AND ENTERING A FORMAL DISPUTE WITH THEIR EMPLOYER as at 2c above.

[6]  DfES does not wish to take a view on whether any criticism by Hackney Social Services was or was not reasonable.  As stated at para 2c above, we believe that an employee can take a concern, about information which the employee believes would endanger safety, through internal and external dispute channels as outlined;”

Mentally disabled parents in Islington not allowed to rear children

I am disgusted that  parents in Islington who have / had a mental condition, or who have a mental disability, are not allowed to live with their child / children, because of recent legistlation changes by the Labour Party, which orders that these children be removed from their disabled parent and offered up for adoption. (ref: Adoption and Childrens' Act, Safeguarding Children Legistlation Islington, Mental Health Act, Disablility Choice and Control Islington, Personal Budgets……)

This is discrimination against the disabled, and infringes on their right to be integrated into society and not to be treated unfavourably, because of  their disability. It is a form of mental abuse of both parent and child, who wish to live with each other, and want to be able to see each other regularly. 

Legistlation should be changed, to allow mentally / physically disabled parents, the right to function with all the support they need ie in the home, as parents. Local authorities should be compelled to provide support of the parent in the home eg a live in Childcarer.

Scorning the mentally disabled has got to stop, starting with abolishing the legistlation, that forces the removal of children from parents, often by aggressive Police and Social Workers. The forced adoption of these children caused by legistlation / laws, should also be abolished. It is simply inhumane and fails to recognise the mental wellbeing of the disabled parent. It discriminates and is not  in line with the parenting allowed by the physically disabled.

Why is this idea important?

I am disgusted that  parents in Islington who have / had a mental condition, or who have a mental disability, are not allowed to live with their child / children, because of recent legistlation changes by the Labour Party, which orders that these children be removed from their disabled parent and offered up for adoption. (ref: Adoption and Childrens' Act, Safeguarding Children Legistlation Islington, Mental Health Act, Disablility Choice and Control Islington, Personal Budgets……)

This is discrimination against the disabled, and infringes on their right to be integrated into society and not to be treated unfavourably, because of  their disability. It is a form of mental abuse of both parent and child, who wish to live with each other, and want to be able to see each other regularly. 

Legistlation should be changed, to allow mentally / physically disabled parents, the right to function with all the support they need ie in the home, as parents. Local authorities should be compelled to provide support of the parent in the home eg a live in Childcarer.

Scorning the mentally disabled has got to stop, starting with abolishing the legistlation, that forces the removal of children from parents, often by aggressive Police and Social Workers. The forced adoption of these children caused by legistlation / laws, should also be abolished. It is simply inhumane and fails to recognise the mental wellbeing of the disabled parent. It discriminates and is not  in line with the parenting allowed by the physically disabled.