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CHILD PROTECTION AUDIT FINDINGS PUBLISHED

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Improving child protection must be a priority for all agencies with ...
Improving child protection must be a priority for all agencies with

responsibility for children, stressed children, young people and families

minister, Margaret Hodge; health minister, Stephen Ladyman; and Home

Office minister, Hazel Blears, today following publication

of a joint report* by three national inspectorates.

The key findings from self-audits of child protection activity by NHS

organisations, social services departments and police forces showed

that recommendations from the Victoria Climbie Inquiry have had an

impact on police social services and the NHS, with the majority of

organisations making steady progress towards them.

The findings published today by the Social Services Inspectorate

(SSI), Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) and Her Majesty's

Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCI) also showed there were some

significant areas for development.

Ms Hodge said:

'The tragic death of Victoria Climbie showed us, yet again, that we

must change the way we work to better protect children.

'Today's report shows that steady progress has been made by police,

social services and the NHS in response to Lord Laming's report.

'But improving child protection must be the priority for all agencies

with a responsibility for children. Our Children's Green paper sets

out our proposals to reform children's services so that we get better

joined up services, better sharing of information and clear

accountability defined.

'We want to see services organised around the needs of children and

families. We want to see a stronger emphasis on preventative

services. Multi-agency teams of health and education professionals,

social workers and others will be based in and around schools and

children's centres. They will use shared information and assessment

systems to provide joined up support for all families and rapid

on-the-spot response to cases of serious concern.'

Mr Ladyman said:

' These audit findings are being used to inform future work by CHI,

who will discuss areas of concerns with strategic health authorities.

'The National Service Framework for Children is intended to set the

standards of care for children in all settings. The first standard on

Hospital Services stressed the importance of continuity of care and

record keeping and included a draft standard on child protection.

This will help ensure NHS care for children is genuinely safe.

'We recognise the importance of providing child protection advice to

support staff. In January 2002, a letter was sent to chief executives

of primary care trusts, setting out their role in dealing with child

protection cases. Also, in May 2003, we issued ''What To Do If You're

Worried A Child Is Being Abused', a clear and concise booklet for all

frontline staff who have day-to-day contact with children and are

concerned about their welfare.'

Ms Blears said:

'I am pleased to see this report published, which is an important

follow-up to the work of Lord Laming and his team. I understand that

this is the first time that police forces have conducted this kind of

exercise, and some of the results were encouraging. However, it is

important that all police forces continue to develop their child

protection services and that HMIC provide the necessary scrutiny to

ensure that standards are met.'

* The joint report is available here.

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

1. The Victoria Climbie Inquiry report by Lord Laming was published

in January 2003. It made 108 recommendations. The secretaries of

state sent check lists of the relevant practice recommendations to

all 625 NHS organisations and 150 councils with social services

responsibilities in England, and to all 43 police forces in England

and Wales.

2. The Social Services Inspectorate (SSI), Commission for Health

Improvement (CHI) and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary

(HMCI) were asked to audit the implementation of these

recommendations. All of the organisations completed self- audits. The

results represent the first large scale audit of child protection

arrangements.

3. The joint report will be distributed to all relevant agencies. The

key findings highlight areas where action is necessary and are being

used to inform future work by the inspectorates, and the star ratings

for councils with social services responsibilities.

4. The report will be sent to all area child protection committees in

England, with a request that they consider what, if any, action to

take as a result of the findings.

5. Every Child Matters, the Children's Green Paper, launched last

month set out the government's plans to reform children's services so

that all children can develop their full potential and be protected

from neglect and harm. It put forward proposals to make children's

services more joined up and accountable.

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