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Weekly News Bulletin 

Wednesday 13th April 2022

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Children England News


Protecting children from online pornography
Children England is one of several charities to write to the Prime Minister last week regarding the Online Safety Bill, calling on government to ensure that requirements for age verification on pornography websites remain in the Bill, and are enacted and enforced swiftly and effectively. Lead by the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (Cease), the letter is covered in a BBC article about the effect of viewing pornography on school students, with Cease chief executive Vanessa Morse saying one impact of pornography is "the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse between schoolchildren", with young people inferring "that it is normal to treat others as sex objects".

"Boys report that it's the main way they know how to express their interest in a girl, and girls report that they feel under immense pressure to be OK with how they're treated," she says; lessons in schools that focus only on consent will not tackle the full scale of the problem.

Contents

Parliamentary News and Publications

Why do children go into children's homes?
Ofsted has published the results of its study to find out how well matched children are to their homes and the extent to which their participation, views, wishes and feelings are considered in the decision-making process. The study looks at a small group of children who have a very wide and diverse set of needs and who live in children’s homes that were visited by Ofsted inspectors in late 2019. Findings include:
  • the current placement was the first time ever in care for almost one fifth of the children
  • residential care was part of the intended care plan for just over half of the children
  • foster care was part of the original care plan for just over one third of the children
  • two thirds of the children entered a children’s home because of some form of interruption in their previous care: foster placement breakdown (41%), children’s home breakdown (15%) or family breakdown (12%)
  • the move to a children’s home was planned for almost four fifths of the children; that is, all the necessary preparations were made in advance
  • the move to a children’s home was an emergency move for one fifth of the children; that is, events either at home or in another care placement meant that urgent action had to be taken that resulted in the child entering the children’s home
Ofsted says it has also started to explore the provider side of the equation: what services children’s homes provide and what needs they are able to meet. It will publish its findings later this year. It is also calling for a national audit of children's needs to better understand the needs of children in care.

Impact of the pandemic on early years
Ofsted has published updated evidence of the effects of the pandemic on early years provision and the children it supports, as of the Spring term 2022. 
  • Providers reported difficulties retaining high-quality staff. This has left some providers with fewer skilled practitioners. These difficulties have affected the quality of teaching and the implementation of catch-up strategies.
  • Many providers reported that there are still delays in babies’ and children’s speech and language development. For example, some have noticed that children have limited vocabulary or lack the confidence to speak.
  • A few providers felt that wearing face masks continued to have a negative impact on children’s communication and language skills. Children turning 2 years old will have been surrounded by adults wearing masks for their whole lives and have therefore been unable to see lip movements or mouth shapes as regularly. 
  • Many providers reported an increased wait for external services for children needing additional support, such as speech and language therapists.
  • funded places for 2-year-olds have not been used as much as before the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, fewer parents sent their children to childcare settings, even for funded time.
Guidance for emergency planning in children's social care 
The Department for Education has updated guidance for emergency planning and response by education and social care settings. For providers of children's residential settings, it says:

In all circumstances, children’s home providers remain responsible for maintaining the quality of care, safety and security of the children in their setting. Settings that are experiencing staff shortages should:  
  • work with their relevant placing local authorities to identify how appropriate provision can be put in place while keeping staffing arrangements as consistent as possible  
  • where possible, pool staff with another setting; or
  • where necessary, consider whether you need to make use of agency staff.
£1.58 billion for England in the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that the Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces EU funding lost with Brexit, will allocate £1.58 billion to England over the next three years. 
  • In England each Local Enterprise Partnership area will receive the same in real terms as it used to under EU funding, and within each Local Enterprise Partnership area an index of need will be used to allocate (additional) funding to each local authority.
  • The allocation formula for UK Shared Prosperity Fund takes into account both the local population data, and a broadly based measure of need, including factors like unemployment and income levels.
  • Funding decisions will be made by elected leaders in local government, with input from local members of parliament and local businesses and voluntary groups.
  • The fund also includes a new £559 million adult numeracy programme for the whole UK, Multiply, which will support people with no or low-level maths skills get back into work.
More detail can be found in the Shared Prosperity Fund prospectus. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has responded describing it as 'bad policy'.

Implementation of the Charities Act 2022
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published its plans for implementation of the Charities Act, which became law in February. Different provisions are expected to come into force at different points over the next 18 months. The current intention is for the provisions to come into force in three groups, with the earliest coming into force this autumn, including:
  • Section 4: Power to amend Royal Charters
  • Section 5: Orders under section 73 of the Charities Act 2011
  • Sections 6 and 7: Cy-près powers, which allow charities to use funds from a failed fundraising appeal for similar charitable purposes
  • Section 8: Power of the court and the Commission to make schemes
  • Sections 15 and 16: Ex gratia payments
  • Section 30: Remuneration of charity trustees etc providing goods or services to charity

Sector News and Publications


Children's charities call for school guidance that prioritises safeguarding when considering exclusion
A coalition of 12 children’s charities led by Just for Kids Law, including NSPCC, The Children’s Society, and Barnardo’s has sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, calling for the Statutory Guidance on Exclusions and Guidance on Behaviour to better protect vulnerable children facing school exclusion from child criminal exploitation (CCE). Drawing on their expertise in the vulnerability of excluded children to exploitation, including that exploiters often engineer a child's exclusion by coercing them to take drugs or weapons into school, the charities are calling for two simple changes to the Statutory Exclusions Guidance and Behaviour Guidance:
  1. That it includes better information for teachers on how to spot the warning signs and risk factors for CCE, including reference to the Government’s own guidance.
  2. For both headteachers and governing bodies to consider whether a child at risk of exclusion may be showing risk factors for exploitation as part of their decision to exclude.
Exploring the experiences of teenagers entering the care system
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory has published The Care Files, drawing on young people's personal stories of their journey through the care system as a parallel with the official care files kept by social services. Based on issues reported by young people at each stage of the journey from early help before coming into care to leaving care, the report proposes changes such as:
  • Support and enable young people to be actively involved in decisions being made about their care – and at the very least help them understand the reasons behind decisions.
  • Trust young people to build relationships with the professionals in
    their lives
  • Help young people maintain relationships with their families and
    communities
  • Provide young people with the corporate parenthood they need to
    thrive beyond the age of 25
Good practice for charities in supporting the public response to Ukraine
NCVO has published a blog looking at the ways charities can use good practice learned in previous crises to support the public's generous response to Ukrainian refugees through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Commenting that "The speed and scale of the response from potential volunteers themselves aren’t always matched with the development of large-scale national programmes, particularly ones as complex as the Homes for Ukraine scheme," Catherine's blog offers charities advice such as: 
  • Establishing and maintaining a frequent dialogue with potential volunteers is essential. Where safeguarding checks, vetting and the matching process may take some time, it’s crucial we keep those who have signed up for the scheme updated and involved.
  • Those in Ukraine will have experienced atrocities and trauma and will need immediate and long-term support. Both hosts and those housed under this scheme will need clear, accessible and coordinated support into the future.
  • Financial support is clearly necessary to enable a wide range of people to support refugees in their homes, and wider integrated support will need to be established and maintained. Charities will play a vital role in ensuring that financial and other support is coordinated and directed to refugees on a local level.
Meanwhile, government has updated its FAQs on the Homes for Ukraine scheme today.

Has your charity experienced problems with banking?
The Civil Society Group has been working on helping charities that are experiencing problems with banking. This short survey will help us understand the scale of the challenges so that we can advocate on your behalf to the Charity Commission, government, and the banking sector. It should take you 5-10 minutes to complete. Deadline: Friday 6th May.

Sector Vacancies


At Just for Kids Law
  
Head of Immigration
Contract: Permanent, full time
Salary: £41,000 – £46,125
Location: Central London
Deadline: Midnight, Wednesday 13th April
This is an exciting role and unique opportunity to work in an organisation which is outcome-driven and focused on strength-based practise and trauma-informed lawyering. We support exceptionally vulnerable young people with complex immigration needs and are not motivated by financial targets. Just for Kids Law supports its legal practitioners through regular training which strengthens our child’s rights approach across the organisation and helps ensure that young people are fully engaged throughout the duration of their legal case.

Areas of practise will include deportation law and appeals on Article 8 grounds, refugee and human rights claims, trafficking claims and representation in NRM referrals, nationality law and citizenship claims and family and private life claims. There is opportunity to undertake judicial review challenges and legal advocacy in the First-tier and Upper-tier Tribunals, Immigration and Asylum Chamber. The postholder will conduct and supervise a diverse range of casework under LAA supervisor requirements. They will be regulated by OISC or the SRA, dependant on qualification. The postholder will supervise our immigration legal aid contract which we utilise to undertake casework where Exceptional Case Funding has been granted.

Charity Commission: 2 x board members
Time requirement: up to 24 days a year for three years
Remuneration: £350 per day plus reasonable expenses
Location: London or Liverpool
Deadline: 14th April 2022

These two 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 Commission’s work is highly varied and engages with people and institutions throughout England and Wales: the Board seeks to reflect that diversity in its composition. 

Successful candidates will have strong interpersonal, intellectual and analytical skills and sound judgement and the ability to make high level decisions as a senior non-executive, together with a commitment to and appreciation of good corporate governance. Candidates with previous non-executive director or senior executive experience in the private, public and/or not-for-profit sector are welcome to apply, however this is not essential.



At the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies
  
Communications and Business Support Officer
Contract: Permanent, Part-time, Part time - 20 hours per week. Flexible working can be considered within the demands of the role.
Salary:  £13,889 to £15,000 (£25,000-£27,000 Full Time Equivalent) dependent on experience
Location: Bloomsbury, London (hybrid working)
Deadline: 26th April 2022
Join our small, dynamic team providing support to not-for-profit adoption agencies across the UK.

This is a vital post supporting the voluntary adoption sector to do its best for the families it works with. As Communications and Business Support Officer, you will be part of a team working to deliver excellent services to CVAA members and keep them abreast of the latest developments across adoption and children’s social care, through newsletters, website, social media and events.

You will also be responsible for the smooth running of the CVAA office and be the first point of contact for the organisation, speaking with agencies on a daily basis. You will take the lead in organising board meetings for our Trustees, taking minutes, preparing key documents and managing diaries.



At NSPCC

Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer
This role does not require a degree and is #OpenToAll 
Contract: Permanent, 35 hours a week
Salary: £29,607 to £34,832, plus £3,366 London Weighting
Location: Flexible, home working / London
Deadline: 3rd May 2022

The NSPCC exists to prevent cruelty to children. We are seeking a new Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer to join us in shaping law, policy, and practice to ensure that children in the UK can grow up free from abuse. 

You will become part of a supportive and high-performing team, where you will play a leading role in influencing work that ensures legislative and policy frameworks in England and the UK are fit for purpose in preventing the abuse and neglect of children. You will develop and drive our policy work on the early years and the welfare and wellbeing of babies, children and families in England. You will also deliver public affairs and parliamentary strategies aimed at strengthening the child protection and children’s social care systems. 

Events, training and consultancy services

From Little Village:

It Takes a Village: A Little Village research report
Supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation  You are invited to join Little Village to hear the conclusions of their research into poverty rates among families with children under five, and the ways we can tackle it together.
When: 12:00pm - 1:15pm, Tuesday 26th April 2022
Where: Zoom link will be sent to confirmed attendees
Chaired by Sonia Sodha, Chief Leader Writer and columnist, The Observer
On the panel:
  • Carla Cebula, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Emilie De Brujin, Chair, Hartlepool Baby Bank
  • Sophie Livingstone MBE, CEO, Little Village
  • Anneka Russell, Early Years consultant
  • Professor Karen Wells, Birkbeck, University of London 


From NSPCC:

How Safe
Date: 11th - 12th May 2022
Online
This event will provide the latest information and guidance on recommended safeguarding practices. Key topics include: safeguarding in sport; the impact of physical punishment on children; and understanding the Online Safety Bill. All sessions will be available on-demand for four weeks after the event.
From Charity Finance Group:

Charities and Inflation - what you need to know
Date: Wednesday 18th May, 12 - 1pm
FREE to members and non-members
Online

The UK is experiencing a cost of living crisis, and charities are not exempt. Inflation is already eroding the value of reserves and donations and will likely mean greater demand for your services amongst beneficiaries, as people are finding themselves under increased financial pressure.

This webinar will explore the implications of inflation for charities, and perhaps more importantly, what you can do to help mitigate the effects. This will include:

  • The most recent OBR/ Bank of England forecasts on inflation and what this might mean for your charities finances
  • How to structure finances/ negotiate contracts to mitigate the effects of inflation.
  • How to protect your reserves/portfolio
  • How rising costs might affect recruitment and retention of staff.
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 27th April 2022
Department for Education: Review of post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below

Closing 28th April 2022
Government Equalities Office: LGBT+ Business Champion's call to engage on inclusion at work

Closing 29th April 2022
Committee on Standards in Public Life: the role of leadership in the Principles of Public Life

Closing 10th May 2022 *Closing mid-May 2022*
The National Lottery Community Fund: Strategic renewal survey

Closing 20th May 2022
Department for Education: Free early education for 2-year-olds with No Recourse to Public Funds

Closing 1st July 2022
Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care: SEND review

*Closing 5th July 2022*
Department of Health and Social Care: Mental health and wellbeing plan - discussion paper and call for evidence 

Closing 7th July 2022
Department of Health and Social Care: Changes to the Mental Capacity Act
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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