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Weekly News Bulletin 

Wednesday 2nd November 2022

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Children England News


The Public Order Bill brings back anti-protest measures defeated once in Parliament
As the Public Order Bill enters the House of Lords for second reading stage, a briefing lead by Liberty and supported by a wide range of organisations including Children England has been sent to peers. It explains how peers have already rejected most of its measures in their previous form - the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (as it then was) - and that they should reject a second reading of the Public Order Bill on the same grounds. Amongst various anti-protest measures, the Bill introduces:
  • Serious Disruption Prevention Orders which have the potential to effectively ban certain individuals from protesting, without the individual having committed a crime (read Pregnant Then Screwed's Joeli Brearly on SDPOs in Grazia)
  • Suspicion-less stop-and-search powers for the police (read Runnymede Trust on the implications for racialised and minoritised communities)
You can watch the House of Lords debate the Bill on Tuesday here and read the transcript here. Whilst many peers spoke against its provisions, it will now move to Commitee Stage from 16th November.

Contents

Government and Parliamentary News 

Latest ministerial appointments
Further changes to ministerial appointments have been made, although specific briefs are not yet confirmed for all. Lord Kamall has left his role as Minister for Civil Society. Appointments include:
  • Robert Halfon as a minister in the Department for Education (meaning he has stepped down as Chair of the Education Select Committee and another will be sought)
  • Nick Gibb as a minister in the Department for Education
  • Claire Coutinho as a parliamentary under secretary in the Department for Education
  • Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay as a parliamentary under secretary in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Kemi Badenoch as Minister for Women and Equalities (in addition to Internal Trade Secretary)
Care Review: National Implementation Board membership updated
The Department for Education has updated the list of National Implementation Board members to include three new care experienced members:
  • Anne-Marie Connelly, care leaver, working within participation at Action for Children
  • Angela Frazer-Wicks, birth parent/parent, Chair of Trustees of Family Rights Group
  • Janet Kay, adopter and kinship carer
Children in Need statistics
Statistics for Children in Need for 2021 - 2022 have been published by the Department for Education. There were 404,310 children deemed to be in need in as of 31st March 2022, which is a rise of 4.1% on the year before, and the highest number since 2018. In addition, the figures show:
  • There were 334.3 Children in Need per 10,000 which is also the highest rate since 2018
  • There were 50,920 children on child protection plans, a rise of 1.8% from the previous year
  • Over half of the children in need in 2022 had abuse or neglect identified as their primary need at assessment
  • Abuse or neglect also had the largest numeric rise between 2021 and 2022 (up 11,640 or 5%)
England government system needs overhaul says PACAC
The governance arrangements for England are not fit for purpose and in urgent need of comprehensive reform argues a new report by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The report describes the current governance system, which includes local government and metro mayors, as a “patchwork” and “opaque”, leaving citizens wondering about which democratic representative or institution is accountable for decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods. It criticises as 'wasteful' the current funding system of competitive bidding for short-term funds. It recommends:
  • Government should bring forward, and opposition parties support, a Bill to establish a cross-party Commission on the governance of England.
  • Move to a long term substantiable funding model for local government in England. Put an end to the system of bidding for pots of money from the UK Government.
  • Bring forward proposals for how the distinct interests of England can be represented effectively both within the legislative process and within Government and Civil Service structures.
  • Update Cabinet Manual for how a Minister should manage a conflict of interests between their role as a UK Minister and a Minister for England

Sector News and Publications


Concern for children held in overcrowded refugee reception centre
Amidst criticism of the Home Office's management of Manston, a centre for receiving people seeking asylum in the UK, charities have expressed concern for the welfare of the children who are being held there. CYP Now reports that 3,000 people are being held in a site designed to accommodate only 1,600, and that many are held for much longer than the 24 hours the process anticipates. The Refugee Council and SOAS Detainee Support describe how overcrowding is leading to disease at the centre, and that children are calling for help. The Guardian, meanwhile, reports that children at Manston have been advised to lie about their age, saying they are adults, in order to be moved on from the centre.

Children's charities contribute to Covid-19 public inquiry
CRAE and Save the Children are among the Core Participants giving evidence to the second stage of the public inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. They aim to show how children were affected by pandemic restrictions, and that it is vital children's own voices are heard in the inquiry. CRAE Director Louise King said:

“The response to Covid-19 demonstrated how children’s rights and voices are regularly overlooked in government decision-making with devastating consequences for children. The raft of emergency legislation, regulations, and guidance affecting many aspects of children’s lives, which were brought in during the pandemic, without the usual consultation process or parliamentary scrutiny, also showed a worrying lack of democratic scrutiny for children’s rights...

“Crucially, we will also be helping to ensure that children themselves are able to have their voices heard on how the pandemic impacted on their daily lives and have their views taken into account by the Inquiry.” 

Improving support for Muslim young people's mental health
The Muslim Mind Collaborative (MMC) has been formed as a result of years of research and community consultations conducted into the mental health and wellbeing of British Muslims and drawing on academia, statutory services, community practitioners, faith leaders, faith-led and psychotherapy services and those with lived experiences. Its aim is to widen the parameters of the agenda on mental health to consider the needs of faith.

It was found that 90% of Muslim young people would like a faith sensitive approach to mental health. Many more have decided not to engage with mainstream mental health services because they are not faith sensitive, highlighting the need for innovation in this space. This research demonstrated the integral relationship between faith and identity for British Muslims. The implications for practitioners and services are a greater need to understand and respond to this. Building upon the recommendations of the Hidden Survivors report, MCC encourages organisations to improve faith literacy for better outcomes and service performance that reflect the needs and requirements of the communities they serve. Read more online.

Safeguarding Pressures 8: interim report from directors of children's services
The Association of Directors of Children's Services has published an interim report on pressures in children's safeguarding this year, as well as a thematic report on rising mental health needs and the lack of capacity to meet these in current services provision. In its overview of the past two years, it says "referrals to children’s social care during this period reflected more complex needs. Families who were just about managing pre-pandemic and would not normally come to the attention of social care were now in need of help. More children, who were not previously known to social care services, were presenting at a later stage with greater needs and risks. As a result, more children were immediately becoming subjects of child protection plans or proceedings." Other headlines include:

  • Unaccompanied asylum seeking children: local authorities continue to be concerned about the robustness of the age assessments undertaken by the Home Office
  • SEND is now a major issue for many authorities with increasing numbers of EHCPs, pressure on high needs funding and significant cost of home to school transport
  • Workforce: A sufficient, skilled workforce was widely reported by research respondents as one of the key challenges at present
  • Funding: 65 respondents reported a total shortfall of £334.8m, an average of 7.5% of their children’s services budget. Extrapolated to all 151 local authorities, the total required now to close the budget gap is £778m in one year to ‘stay still’

Stop the Squeeze campaign launches
Civil society organisations have joined to launch a new campaign calling on the government to take bolder, longer-term action on the cost of living crisis, saying "We face this scale of crisis because of decisions made by those in the driving seat of our economy. Successive governments have failed to prioritise the wellbeing, security and prosperity of ordinary people and build a balanced economy that benefits everyone... An agenda of tax cuts, public spending cuts, and corporate deregulation that mostly benefits the richest and big business is only making the problem worse. This failed economics of the past is what led us into this situation. More of the same cannot be the answer." The campaign calls are:

  • Affordable, clean energy Energy is a basic need. It must be kept within reach for all. The government should implement a strategy to guarantee clean, affordable energy for everyone. This requires major reforms to our energy market to bring an end to profiteering and drive a rapid acceleration of investment in cleaner technologies that lower people’s bills and help avert dangerous climate impacts.
  • Boost Incomes Everyone needs an income they can live well on. The Government should deliver an immediate increase in the minimum wage, link future changes to the cost of living, and redesign our social security system to ensure everyone has access to a Living Income.
  • Higher taxes on wealth Our tax system is broken. When the economy crashes we pay the price, while the wealthy and big corporations get richer. More trickle down economics is not the answer. A nurse or teacher should not be paying higher rates of tax on their total income than those who earn many times more than they do. We need higher taxes on wealth, so that those who earn the most, and own the most, pay their proper share.

Sector Vacancies


Charity Commission: 3 board members
Commitment: 24 days per year for 3 years
Remuneration: £350 per day
Location: London
Deadline: 18th November 2022

The Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wishes to appoint three Board members to the Charity Commission for England and Wales. These three vacancies are senior roles requiring people with the necessary non-executive skills and experience to assist the Chair in providing strategic leadership and oversight of the Charity Commission. 

The main tasks of the Board are to ensure that the Commission: 

  • effectively fulfils its statutory objectives, general functions and duties and appropriately exercises its legal powers 
  • is accountable to Parliament, the courts, and the general public regulates independently, proportionately and impartially and acts in good faith and in the public interest 
  • delivers its services within its funding agreement The Board achieves this by setting the Commission’s strategic direction, approving its budget and business plans, and setting the risk framework and policies within which the Chief Executive and her team operate and/or follow and for which they are held to account 

DCMS is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity in its public appointments. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional routes.

Events, training and consultancy services
 

From Children and Families Across Borders:

CFAB’s International Child Protection Lecture: The Decolonisation of Social Work 
Date: Tuesday 15th November, 9.30am - 11am
Online
Cost: £5
CFAB will be joined by our guest speaker, Mthoko Ngobese-Sampson from the University of West London. The 90 minute session will focus on cultural humility, unconscious bias and the decolonisation of social work. We will be covering:

  • How social work has been shaped and influenced
  • Knowledge and power
  • The impact of unconscious bias and dominance Western ideals
  • Exploring other cultures and family structures.
  • Decolonising social work in practice
  • Child rearing practices and child family conferencing


From Healthcare Conferences UK:

Preventing Suicide in Young People & Children
Date: Thursday 17th November
Location: online
Cost: £250 for charities
This Sixth National Conference which this year will be held virtually focuses on Saving Young Lives – Preventing Suicide in Children and Young People. By attending this one day conference you will hear from expert speakers on how your services can reduce preventable suicides and save young lives. Through national updates, case studies from multi-agency settings and lived experience insight, this conference aims to set the scene for progress already being made and what needs to change to improve resilience, wellbeing, mental health support and effectively prevent suicide in children and young people. The conference will use case studies to demonstrate interventions that work in health, schools, universities and multi-agency settings. The conference will examine implementation of the self harm and suicide prevention competence framework for children and young people and will also reflect on suicide prevention in young people during Covid-19.

Receive a 20% discount with code hcuk20che

For Children England's current events calendar please
click through to our website.

Up to date lists for our training services are also online, as is a price list for the courses you can request from us. 

Consultations

(new consultations and inquiries are marked in *bold*):


Closing 8th November 2022
Department of Health and Social Care: Down's Syndrome Act guidance: Call for evidence

Closing 25th November 2022
Fundraising Regulator: Code of Fundraising Practice review

Children England's news bulletin is produced weekly and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in children and families policy.

If you or your organisation have new research, campaigns or policy development in children and families work that you'd like us to share, send us the details and we'll include it in Children England News.
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