Government and Parliamentary News
The new Prime Minister and his cabinet
Rishi Sunak has been confirmed as Prime Minister after Liz Truss stepped down last week and other contenders for leader of the Conservative Party dropped out of the race. In his first speech as Prime Minister he pledged to lead a government with "integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level" and to deliver on his party's manifesto commitments including a stronger NHS, better schools and "Levelling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate, and create jobs." Appointments to ministerial posts include:
Children placed in hotels by the Home Office: inspection report
- Gillian Keegan as Education Secretary
- Steve Barclay as Health and Social Care Secretary
- Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor
- Suella Braverman as Home Secretary
- Dominic Raab as Justice Secretary
- Michelle Donelan as Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary
- Michael Gove as Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary
- Mel Stride as Work and Pensions Secretary
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has examined the use of hotels to accommodate unaccompanied asylum seeking children, assisted by Ofsted inspectors to provide expertise on children's needs and safeguarding. In a damning report echoing many of the children's sector's concerns about the practice, he notes that:
He concludes that "the Home Office is effectively operating unregistered young people’s homes. The defence of necessity likely applies, but the assertion of the operation as ‘temporary’ is less robust, especially as external oversight is absent, and viable, available, alternative solutions remain elusive." The report's recommendations include:
- Two staff staying over night at the hotels had not been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service
- Young people's access to good quality food, education and healthcare was very limited, and they had no access to legal advice
- The Home Office is not the right department to be operating such a scheme, and its staff feel uncomfortable and ill-equipped to be running it
- Staffing in the hotels is of inconsistent quality, with roles, responsibilities and accountability all unclear
- "The temporary nature of the provision, the speed at which it was set up, and the aspiration for it to end, has produced an operation notable for its piecemeal and inconsistent development."
Investment in early years teaching
- Immediately cease deploying any staff without enhanced DBS checks to the hotels
- Within a month, undertake a robust assessment of the needs of the young people, including under the UNCRC 'best interests' principle
- Within 6 months, develop, and begin delivering, a viable and sustainable exit strategy from the use of hotels which acknowledges the Home Office’s Section 55 duty and the principle of the ‘best interests’ of the child
The Department for Education has announced investment of £180 million in training for the early years workforce. Every region in England will benefit from programmes to improve teaching of children’s early speech, language and numeracy, along with professional development to build strong leadership skills and improve the understanding of children’s development. New opportunities will also be provided for graduates looking to embark on a career in early years teaching, as well as staff looking to train as early years special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs). Included in the package is:
Ending restraint of children in transport between care settings
- Early maths, language, and social development training for 10,000 professionals through the third phase of the Professional Development Programme (PDP3)
- The national rollout of the Expert and Mentors programme to provide bespoke leadership support to 7,500 early years settings and childminders
- Graduate-level specialist training
- Support for nearly 6,000 early years professionals to achieve the National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)
- Training for up to 5,000 Special Educational Needs Coordinators
- A new network of 18 Stronger Practice Hubs
- A new universal online child development training offer
- The continuation of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme
Wales has become the first UK nation to protect innocent children in care from being handcuffed or restrained when being transported between care settings, reports the Herald in Wales. The Senedd's Reducing Restrictive Practices Framework sets expectations of how children should be treated across childcare, education, health and social care environments, and stipulates that any contract for transporting children to care placements should include requirements to operate in line with the Framework, and to report any use of restraint such as hand-cuffs and leg-ties.
Organisations such as Article 39 have been campaigning for years to end this practice in England and their crowdfunder can be supported here.
Sector News and Publications
Chief Inspector's report echoes ECPAT UK concerns about children in hotels
ECPAT UK has responded to the report into Home Office use of hotels to accommodate unaccompanied children by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. It says: "What was meant to be an emergency solution has now been kept in place for over 14 months with no end in sight. The ICIBI report’s findings are that Home Office staff have no authority to accommodate children but that the Home Office is now effectively operating unregistered children’s homes. The most shocking assertion made by the ICIBC is that they found limited evidence of progress on a concrete exit strategy from the use of these hotels."
ECPAT UK has also published a new report report summarising the full findings from a participatory research study based on the voices of young people who have experience of modern slavery. The research aimed to understand what positive outcomes for these young people would look like, and what the pathways towards these positive outcomes might be. It examines how to ensure protection and support for children who have experienced modern slavery.
For the first time, young people have identified 25 distinct outcomes as being important and meaningful to them and have contributed to the development of a new ‘Positive Outcomes Framework’ which can be used by practitioners and policymakers when interacting with and supporting young victims of trafficking.
Care Leavers Week
- Work with children and young people must have a participatory, child-centred and rights-based approach
- Safety, being believed, having access to good quality advice and support, trust, freedom and equality are also highlighted by young participants as being crucial for achieving positive outcomes
- The UK Government must ensure that child victims are always afforded their rights to protection and care
- The Home Office must ensure the immigration and asylum system does not re-traumatise children, with an emphasis on those procedures that have the potential to increase the risk of exploitation
This week is Care Leavers Week, used to raise awareness of the experiences of young people leaving care, including their challenges, aspirations and achievements. It's right that this week is used as a platform for their voices so that we can all learn from and support what is a lifelong experience for young care experienced people - not simply a week in the calendar. Here are just a few:
IICSA final report
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its final report. Concluding after seven years and 15 investigations into many institutions, networks, individuals and overseas placements, it describes many failings such as individuals and institutions failing to believe a child who disclosed abuse; decisions being made that were not in the best interests of the child; and an ongoing lack of support for victims. The extensive findings have implications for everyone, including councils, care settings, the police, the justice system and the public. IICSA recommendations include:
Concerns about the Care Review Implementation Board
- registration of staff working in care roles in children’s homes, including secure children’s homes, and of staff in young offender institutions and secure training centres
- government makes it mandatory for all regulated providers of internet search services and user-to-user services to 'pre-screen' for known child sexual abuse material
- mandatory reporting of suspected child sexual abuse by people in designated positions including police officers and anyone working in a position of trust
- the removal of the three-year limitation period for personal injury claims brought by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in respect of their abuse
- the express protection of the right to a fair trial, with the burden falling on defendants to show that a fair trial is not possible
- a national guarantee that child victims of sexual abuse will be offered specialist and accredited therapeutic support
- the creation of Child Protection Authorities for England and Wales
CYP Now reports on concerns that recruitment to the board that will oversee implementation of care reforms has not been properly conducted, with recruitment of people with lived experience of the care system only sought through a small group of charities and from the Review's own Experts-by-Experience board. John Radoux, a care experienced counsellor for children and young people, shared his concerns that the process was too prescriptive after he made a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education. Become, one of the charities invited to nominate a young person to the board, also wrote of its concerns about the process and the role to the DfE. No care experienced people have yet been confirmed to the board.
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
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
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
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