Phase Two of the Victoria Climbié Inquiry
Seminar Three - Determining Requirements
Assessment comprises the comprehensive gathering of relevant information
from a number of sources and an analysis of its significance, which will
involve the exercise of judgement. Decisions can only ever be as good as
the information on which they are based, but errors will also occur if
there is a lack of rigour, knowledge or discernment in the weighing up
of the evidence and in the application of judgement.
- The process of assessment is considered with some essential components
and factors that will influence the quality and actions resulting.
- The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their
Families is recommended for use by all agencies coupled with information
- Proposals are made to strengthen the qualifying training for social
care workers and for the selection and retention of staff.
- The resource implications of providing thorough assessments for all
identified children and necessary services need to be determined.
- It is suggested that ACPCs have statutory status and an enhanced role
in the performance management of the contributions of constituent
A dynamic process
Assessment of need is not static, even though it occurs at a particular
time. Some families and children will move across boundaries and will at
times need support and at others both support and protection. Social
workers and other professionals have the task of bringing order to what
may often seem a chaotic world. They will encounter pain, poverty,
muddle, ambivalence, evasion, hostility, violence, withdrawal and
seeming co-operation. Making an assessment in these circumstances is not
The effect of demand
When the scale of demand is greater than can be met and it is perceived
to be risky and complex, workers in all agencies feel under pressure.
When this happens the tendency increases to limit the acceptance of
responsibility and to define the problem as 'not mine' in order to avoid
being overwhelmed. This is particularly the case when there are acute
staff shortages. Rather then starting an assessment, effort is put into
transferring the responsibility. This can happen across geographical
boundaries as well as within and between agencies.
Understanding the impact of stress and anxiety in this context is
crucial. Evidence from studies about people under stress indicate that
they withdraw into themselves, look to close colleagues and team members
for support and tend to project their feelings of helplessness onto
others, hence: 'this task would be much easier if it wasn't for health,
schools, managers..' Understanding this process and working with it will
be critical to inter-agency and multi-disciplinary working.
Raising eligibility criteria is one way of deflecting demand and
targeting scarce resources on those most in need but this presupposes a
level of assessment in order to make a judgement.
Critical decision points
Decisions and judgements will often be made relatively early on in the
process as to whether a child is in need or also in need of protection
and this will have an effect on priority. The research behind the
Assessment Framework and Messages from Research shows that this split of
children in need and children in need of protection is a false
dichotomy. The differences of classification are subtle and liable to
vary with changing circumstances so that the thorough determination of
need promoted by the Assessment Framework is a key route to ensuring
children are safe. If the emphasis is on ascertaining and meeting need,
rather than focusing on a small top priority group, the dangers of just
falling outside this top group but still having significant unmet needs
are minimised. There are though considerable resource implications of
successfully broadening the focus in this way.
The importance of analysis
Any assessment tool must allow for new information to be considered in
the total context of what is already known about the child's experience
and when appropriate trigger a reappraisal of whether the child is safe.
Mistakes have sometime occurred because new information is seen as 'more
of the same' rather than a prompt for a re-evaluation of whether the
child's position is safe and sustainable. The quality of the analysis
is critical in any assessment. This has been highlighted in previous
inquiries but has not led to increased prominence in training courses or
to the development of tools to aid analysis. Workers need to be helped
with this task in supervision and to be able to recognise when a 'signal
has been passed at danger'.
Consideration of how and why mistakes occur and why workers do not on
occasions follow guidance should be part of core training. There is a
need for a commitment by government to further increasing the length of
training for social workers combined with an expectation by government,
employing authorities and staff to lifelong professional development.
It is interesting to note in this context that doctors, who have
specialised in psychiatry and psychotherapy, could well have undertaken
20 years virtually continuous training.
i. Having identified need, how can we ensure that the needs of each
child and their carers are properly assessed and an appropriate plan of
action put into operation and reviewed regularly?
There are no commonly agreed, owned and shared outcomes across agencies
with a requirement to report on linked performance targets and the
development of services by each agency which will contribute to
achieving those. See discussion and recommendations in ADSS submission
to Seminar 2, i.
Workloads for all staff engaged in assessing children's needs should
build in time for the proper collection of information, analysis,
communication,planning and reflection for each child who is referred.
It is important that workloads allow for proper discussion between key
health personnel, especially hospital paediatricians, GPs, and social
workers, including attendance at strategy meetings and child protection
conferences. Teachers too need time to contribute in a meaningful and
informed way and should be released to attend meetings.
It has to be recognised that when demand exceeds supply, in this
instance, when the number of referrals requiring assessment exceeds the
availability of staff, rationing has to take place. Establishing
eligibility criteria is also a form on rationing and an attempt to make
clear to partner agencies the kinds of referrals that are likely to be a
priority for an assessment. It also has to be recognised that social
workers have to use their judgement, in consultation with their
managers, as to which cases are addressed first.
Workload measurement schemes that exist in SSDs are relatively
unsophisticated. There is no common understanding of what it is feasible
for a worker to achieve. The Assessment Framework was introduced without
an evaluation of the time it would take to complete an assessment using
this tool. In order to realise the aspiration of a thorough assessment
for each identified child and their carers, there needs to be a proper
determination of the human resources necessary to complete the work. A
pilot study is required to examine a series of excellent assessments
across a range of situations and determine the components necessary to
produce them. This would involve an estimation of the time taken to
produce each assessment to the required standard, which should then be
extrapolated by the known number of assessments made each year. This
would produce an approximation rather than an exact outcome, but unless
attempts are made to specify what is necessary, expectations are likely
to exceed delivery.
This analysis should lead to a benchmark or indicative figure for the
number of social workers required in a given setting working to a known
population. Clearly account will need to be taken of a range of factors.
Norms are set for the number of approved social workers, GPs and teacher
to pupil ratios. We would argue for a similar norm applying to social
The task of the supervisor is broadly to ensure that the plan for the
child and family is being properly made and implemented. This is done
through monitoring the quality of the work effectively, sharing
responsibility for key decisions, constructively challenging judgements
and supporting the worker in implementing plans. Workers especially need
support when judgements or action are likely to be subverted by
hostility, threats of violence and intimidation. When individuals
experience intimidation, it requires a depth of training, knowledge,
self-belief and courage to withstand the tendency to withdraw, freeze,
become over compliant, inappropriately aggressive or assertive. A key
task is to ensure that organisations embed within their culture an ethos
of self-development, openness to learning, personal responsibility, team
working and crucially a focus on the needs of the individuals we serve.
Unless the culture is right, children's safety can be compromised. The
recommendations of the National Task Force on Violence against Social
Care Staff recognised and addressed this.
Another important consideration for supervisors and for the whole
organisation is to promote a learning rather than a blaming culture.
This is amplified in the publication by the Treasury 'Making a
Difference' which addresses the issues of vision and engagement.
Organisations must take responsibility for identifying when the
specified outcomes for a child are not being achieved and ensure a re-
evaluation and a change of direction. Individuals and the organisation,
through its monitoring processes, need to focus on whether the child's
quality of life has improved and be flexible enough to change the
original assessment and plan in the light of new information or if it is
not having the desired effect. This needs to sit alongside and be
consistent with individual and organisational accountability.
Review and audit
Assessments and the decisions that follow them should be reviewed
regularly to ensure that the stated aims have been achieved. When new,
significant information is received, it should be considered in the
light of the child's overall experience. Chronologies of incidents and
concerns should be maintained for each child and should be made
mandatory. Too often decisions are made on the basis of the latest piece
of information on a particular day without taking account of patterns of
behaviour or the social history. Workers may be inclined to limit the
extent of their own responsibility by looking narrowly at the newly
presented information, viewing previous concerns as already dealt with.
This approach fails to pick up or act on cumulative evidence which taken
together would indicate a different assessment and action plan.
Plans should stipulate the required outcomes for individual children,
the action required by whom and the mechanism and timescale for review.
If the required improvements for the child have not been achieved
despite the planned input, this is significant and will need to be
addressed. Independence is an important element in review and at regular
intervals someone not involved in the original assessment and decision-
making should undertake these.
Audit and performance management need to be more firmly embedded in the
methods and culture of organisations working with children in need and
this activity adequately resourced.
Recommendations by Agency
- A national outcomes-based strategy for children should be developed to
include child protection. For: DH, ACPCs, CYPU, DfES, Home Office, and
GSCC, LSPs, SSDs, Children and Young People's Strategic Partnerships and
- A pilot study should be undertaken to determine the time and human
resources required to complete an assessment to the required standard,
with the results extrapolated, based on the known levels of need and
demand. For: DH, DfES, Home Office, GSCC with SSDs.
- The recommendations of the National Task Force on Violence Against
Social Care Staff be fully implemented. For: SSDs, PCG/Ts, Voluntary
- The use of chronologies of incidents and concerns on each child should
be made mandatory through Section 7 guidance. For: DH, SSDs
- Agencies should ensure that actions and outcomes for children are
regularly and independently audited. For: SSDs and all agencies
ii. Is the 'Framework of the Assessment of Children in Need and their
Families' appropriate and able to be used by all agencies in their
assessment of vulnerable children in a way that avoids the same
information being collected by more than one agency? If not, what are
the obstacles to its successful implementation?
Wider use of the Framework
The Framework is an appropriate assessment tool and could be mandatory
for all agencies. The three-dimensional approach is a helpful way for
all professionals to understand both the strengths in families and
communities and the extent of unmet need. However, it assumes sufficient
resources to assess and meet needs within tight timescales. Whilst other
Agencies are encouraged to contribute it is not a key part of their own
professional tasks and core practice. To be successful all agencies need
to accord the Framework the same priority and release resources as
required. This increases the resource pressures. The current reality is
different and the problem will be exacerbated if the discovery and
identification of children in need is improved.
The limits of prediction
The limitations of the tool also need to be appreciated. The Framework
does not focus specifically on risk assessment and management and would
be improved by the introduction of a section on the identification and
analysis how children might be placed on a continuum of risk. This
would span children in need as well as those who have reached a
threshold of significant harm. What it will not do is identify
accurately those parents or carers who will go on to seriously harm or
kill their children. Research indicates that it is virtually impossible
to predict reliably which children will in future suffer serious injury
or death (Little and Mount, 1999) While there are some factors that are
often present in families where children are killed or seriously harmed,
those same factors also feature in families who do not harm their
children. This is illustrated by Browne and Stevenson's study (in Browne
and Saqi, 1988), which found that for every correct prediction arising
from the use of a risk schedule, there were 36 incorrect ones.
Similarly the tool does not easily facilitate assessment when the risk
to the child is outside the family or friendship network and cannot
easily assist in predicting risk in those circumstances.
Given the over representation of parental mental health issues in child
deaths, better access is needed to psychiatric assessments of the impact
of parental mental health on the safe care of children. Meeting the
needs of children must also be an explicit priority for substance misuse
service providers. Links between child care workers and Drug Action
Teams need to be strengthened.
Cleaver et al (1999) found in their review of the child protection
research that the prevalence of reported mental illness, problem drug
use including alcohol, or domestic violence increases incrementally as
an investigation progresses. They found, based on data from a number of
research studies, that parental mental illness was present in 42% of
cases that reached care proceedings. The comparable figure for alcohol
and drugs was 70%. Those offering services to vulnerable adults who are
also parents/carers need to focus more on safeguarding the child.
Changes are needed to eligibility criteria, reflecting more priority for
children. There is also a huge unmet demand for access to CAMHS
services, which are very pressurised. See discussion and recommendations
in ADSS submission to Seminar 2 i.
Listening to Children
In order to prioritise children and make effective assessments we (all
agencies) must make time and space to listen to children and must also
ensure that staff are effectively trained to listen not only to what is
said, but also what might be unspoken.
In order for information on children in need to be collected by only one
agency, there must be a protocol for sharing relevant information
between agencies. Points and recommendations made in the paper on
Seminar 1.iv also address this question.
Recommendations by Agency
- The Framework to be made the mandatory assessment tool for all
agencies. For: DH, DfES, Home Office, SSDs, ACPCs, all agencies
- Eligibility criteria for accessing specialised assessments and
services from mental health services, CAMHS and substance misuse
services should be revised to ensure that the needs of children are an
explicit priority. For: SHAs, MH Trusts.
iii. Are changes needed to current training programmes? If so, which
training programmes and for which groups of staff?
Overview comments on training
As the Bristol Report indicated, children's services have not been a
priority in the Health Service. Until the recent initiatives starting
with the Quality Protects programme, looked after children and those in
public care have not been a priority. Children in need and vulnerable
children have also not occupied a high place in Government's priorities.
It is recognised that this has now changed. However, this change is
exemplified by a raft of new (welcome) initiatives. It has not yet been
translated into mainstream policy. This particularly applies in the area
More detailed comments follow but in summary we believe:
- Qualifying training should wherever possible be undertaken jointly.
This may be logistically difficult and there are vested interests.
Nevertheless ADSS believes it is essential. For example, why would it
not be possible for human growth and development to be taught to
doctors, psychologists and social workers? Similarly the aetiology of
abuse. The cross fertilisation from such training would be beneficial
for all disciplines.
- Throughout our submissions the ADSS has argued that true teamwork
comes from co-location, not structural reorganisation which would be a
huge and unnecessary distraction. The opportunity to work together on
cases, projects and crucially training, both qualifying and post-
qualifying, is essential.
- Elsewhere in the submissions we have highlighted the disparity in
training between social workers and other professionals. A 3-year course
goes some way towards remedying this, but it must be seen as a step on
the road, not an end in itself.
- Recruitment and retention of the highest calibre professionals into
social work, as with teaching and nursing, will only be achieved by a
thorough review of salaries. There are disproportionate incentives
taking high calibre people away from these professions into others,
arguably better paid and less challenging.
Qualifying training for social care staff
The task of assessing and meeting children's needs is not valued
publicly and consistently. The complexity is not reflected in the core
training for social care staff, though the new three-year course goes
part way towards this. Qualifying courses should be tightly performance
managed by the GSCC regarding the quality of teaching, the currency of
the evidence base, how students are assessed and the standards for a
pass. Students should be tested to ensure a good minimum level of
literacy, numeracy and ability to analyse, summarise, and record
succinctly and to develop and articulate a rationale underpinning
proposed plans. The training should also cover the roles and
relationships of other disciplines and their contribution to meeting
children's overall needs and for protection. The system of practice
placements needs to be strengthened and more rigorous. See ADSS
submission to Seminar 2 - Levels of Training and Core Knowledge and
Selection of entrants
More graduate entrants to social care are required and workers in all
agencies need to be of good calibre and available in sufficient numbers.
There needs to be a much clearer definition of the skill set required,
the capabilities and the personality type best suited to different
aspects of the work and the level of intellectual ability required to
undertake the analysis of information the job requires. Entry
requirements for training could then be set accordingly.
Alongside this there need to be opportunities for those with fewer
formal qualifications to be recruited and trained with the aim of
ensuring a good mix of skills. Unless this is also in place recruitment
is likely to be more difficult and add barriers to recruiting a more
Vacancy rates and implications
Vacancy levels have been increasing in recent years and a recent
ADSS/LGA Survey showed this to be at 14.8% across the country, which
represents a shortage of around 2000 child care social workers. Results
from the 2001 Survey by the Employers Organisation showed 74% of SSDs
reported difficulties recruiting and retaining social workers. In the
same survey, in response to a question on skill gaps, social workers
were identified in particular as lacking in adequate professional skills
and qualifications. Turnover rates and retention difficulties tended to
be higher in London and the South East. There is as a result, intensive
pressure to recruit competent frontline staff and managers and a risk of
a competitive rather than a collaborative approach between London
authorities where workers tend to have a greater choice of local
authorities within travelling distance of where they live. The shortages
lead to a dependency on agency staff who require a high level of
professional supervision to ensure the quality of services.
The initial response to the recruitment campaign run by the Department
of Health has been encouraging, though interest will need to be
converted into a steady stream of good quality applicants.
Retention of staff
Workers in all agencies need to be well trained and well enough paid to
retain experienced workers in practice. One of the side effects of the
much valued Quality Protects programme has been to draw experienced
workers away from the front line to do a job which seems more manageable
and less risky for more money. Some new posts in Sure Start and
Connexions projects have also been attractive enough to have the same
effect. Skilled and experienced staff must be better rewarded in terms
of status, salary, training and balance of work so that there is are
incentives to remain in practice. In addition the positive aspects of
social work need to be emphasised to attract and retain staff. Immediate
assistance to local authorities to second significantly increased
numbers of candidates on social work courses needs to be provided.
Post qualification training
Post qualification training, across agencies is crucial and should
include how to access relevant evidence from research. This should be
part of everyone's expectations and seen as a shared individual and
agency responsibility. Multi agency training should be mandatory for all
relevant professionals, e.g. compulsory in service training days in
GPs, Accident and Emergency workers and school nurses have a broad
spectrum of training needs. Training to meet the needs of children,
including protection ought be given a higher profile. These workers are
often the first or only professionals to see non-accidental injuries and
those sustained as a result of domestic violence.
- Three year core training for entry qualification to social care to be
fully funded and performance managed. Consideration to be given to
extending this to four year qualifying training. For: DH, Treasury,
GSCC, NCSC, TOPSS.
- A thorough review to be undertaken of social workers' salaries. Career
grade opportunities to be available to encourage or enable experienced
practitioners to be retained. For: DH, Treasury, SSDs
- Immediate additional assistance to be made available to local
authorities to second unqualified workers on training courses as an
effective method of retaining competent staff. For: DH, Treasury
- Pre and post qualifying training to be undertaken jointly by relevant
professionals wherever possible. For: DH, ACPCs, all relevant agencies
- Make access to research evidence on children in need, including
protection a priority. For: SCIE, SSDs, all agencies
- Higher priority to be given to children in need, including protection
training specifically for GPs, A&E workers, paediatric staff and school
nurses. For: SHAs, Acute Trusts, PCG/Ts
- A Training Support Programme is needed for inter-agency training. For:
iv. How can agencies best organise themselves and the way in which they
handle their initial responses to concerns about children, regardless of
whether those concerns are raised by another professional agency or a
member of the public?
The first requirement is sound organisations, which are well led
politically and managerially. This is likely to produce stable
organisations both in terms of staff satisfaction, reflected in part in
low turnover, and in organisational structure. Whatever the benefits of
restructuring, the short term costs are often evident in deflection of
attention from the core task, high vacancy rates and low morale. The
work is inherently complex and challenging and workers need
organisational arrangements that offer security and stability.
When the volume of work is high and staff time is insufficient to meet
all needs that are presented, resources should be front loaded to ensure
that initial assessments are carried out. This will then allow priority
for those whose needs are greatest. Depending on how short resources
are, this strategy could result in agencies being unable to deliver
vital services to meet assessed need. This would reduce the credibility
of the service and relationships between partner agencies and the
community. Issues discussed in Seminar 1 in relation to the balance of
available resources devoted to investigation as opposed to service
delivery are relevant here.
Critical choices about priority are often made at an early stage in a
case due to competing pressures. Taking the time to deal with one child
comprehensively has implications for the time available for other
The corollary is that some children in need will be referred on to other
agencies and others will wait.
Links within and between agencies
It is often difficult to engage GPs in discussion about child protection
issues and attendance at child protection conferences. Their closer
involvement would improve the information base on which decisions are
As the management of schools is increasingly decentralised, the
communication links to other statutory agencies are becoming more
The links across service divisions for children and adults in SSDs need
to be enhanced and made more effective, particularly within mental
health and substance misuse services. Some good practice examples exist
of bringing mental health specialists into Investigation and Assessment
Teams as a way of bringing together the necessary skills.
All social inclusion projects need to be committed to agreed outcomes
across agencies for children with performance targets which specify and
measure what their contribution will be.
Inter-agency relationships and working across agency boundaries lie at
the core of an effective child protection system.
- Agencies need to devote sufficient resources to responding to initial
concerns but this should not have to be at the expense of delivering
services and treatment after assessment. Consequently there is a need
for greater investment. (see attached document ADSS/LGA Budget Survey)
For: SSDs, all agencies, DH, Home Office, Treasury
- All agencies should be required to prioritise the most vulnerable
children with performance measured against nationally agreed outcomes.
For: SHAs, Police, Probation, Schools, Housing Providers, Voluntary
- Although some new initiatives, like Sure Start and Connexions are not
specifically targeted at the most vulnerable children, all social
inclusion projects should address outcomes for children, including
protection, with performance targets which measure their contribution.
For: DH, CYPU, Sure Start, Connexions.
v. What are the implications for developing information systems to
ensure that assessments are properly shared, are acted on by those best
placed to do so and are regularly reviewed?
Developing IT systems
New electronic information systems should be developed in the context of
agreed inter-agency protocols. The complexity and expense of delivering
and implementing sophisticated IT systems needs to be borne in mind.
Local Authority and other public agency purchasing power is weak and
this has a knock on effect on the market. Systems used by partner
agencies will need to be complex, compatible, reliable and accurate.
Government could play a much bigger role in supporting the development
of such systems, given that it sets the parameters of the information
required, the sharing that is necessary and the scope of the task.
The recent introduction of new data protection and human rights
legislation has implications for the transfer of information between
agencies. This reflects the public concern for individual privacy,
rights and autonomy and sets limitations on information sharing.
Information sharing protocols will need to address this. See discussion
and recommendations in ADSS submission to Seminar 2, v.
- There should be long term investment in information systems, centrally
developed, which could be shared by all agencies with protocols to
support their use. For: relevant government departments
vi. Who should be responsible for ensuring that cases are properly
assessed, that appropriate action plans are in place and delivered to
Each agency has to be responsible for delivering its own particular
contribution to the commonly agreed outcomes for children. Performance
indicators linked to outcomes should be developed by agencies with the
ACPC and overall performance reported regularly both to chief officers
in each agency and to the ACPC. It would not be appropriate to give a
single agency responsibility for the delivery of a multi agency
assessment and plan without the power to determine priorities and make
Role of ACPCs
The role of ACPCs needs to be strengthened particularly in relation to
outcome setting and performance management of the respective
contributions of each of the agencies. The responsibility for delivery
should continue to be firmly located in each agency where the budgets
are held and the services provided. ACPCs need to explicitly link to all
other local arrangements between agencies for planning and providing
services to children and their families. ACPCs should have sufficient
resources to disseminate findings from research and case reviews,
provide multi-agency training and ensure that the arrangements for
monitoring performance across agencies are robust. The chair of the
ACPC, who may be independent of any agency, would have the
responsibility of presenting outcomes and linked performance monitoring
to the ACPC, the local authority Chief Executive, Director of Social
Services and Members.
Representation of all agencies on the ACPC should be at chief officer
level, and they would be accountable for the contribution of their
agency to outcomes for children, both to the ACPC and to their own
Members or Boards. This still leaves the vexed question of what
authority the chair of the ACPC has when an agency disagrees with a plan
of action or does not comply.
Outcomes for children and procedures would be nationally set and ACPCs
required to identify the contributions of all agencies to achieving
those outcomes. Any shortfalls in funding, access to services and
resources from any agency would be identified in the context of the
business plan. There is no reason why Health Act Flexibilities should
not be applied to child protection.
A Wider Role
Whilst discussing the role and function of the ACPC, the ADSS notes that
child protection committees are by and large the only forums in which
all agencies involved in child care meet. The ADSS encourages the
Inquiry to consider the options of recommending a broader role for ACPCs
into children's forums - in order to embrace the full children's agenda
and involve all appropriate agencies.
Multi agency working
Children in need and those needing protection are everyone's
responsibility and should have a high profile amidst the competing
priorities within agencies. The ADSS favours co-location of staff
wherever this is possible. We recognise that it is going to be difficult
to achieve in practice where there are scarce resources and
professionals have other duties, e.g. paediatricians, child and family
psychiatrists. We would still argue that a specific proportion of their
time could be allocated to a co-located team. We base our strong views
on the learning from other service areas, most notably mental health,
where co-location of teams has seen a real reduction in barriers and a
greater understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Clearly, as stated in previous submissions, we believe there is no need
whatsoever to change line management responsibilities. This would be
almost impossible to achieve given the range of professionals involved.
Multi-agency working, co-located wherever possible, is an essential and
much needed step forward.
Crucially, this needs to be linked to agreed outcomes. Providing
assessment and services for the most vulnerable children should be a
requirement of all partners and not simply that of a multi-agency, co-
located team - although clearly it would be one of their major
priorities. Agencies should not be able to place responsibility
elsewhere through passing information on to a specialist service. This
approach should be consistent nationally and not negotiated locally
Recommendations by Agency
- ACPCs should be given statutory status, and agencies should be
accountable for their contribution to achieving outcomes both through
their own accountability arrangements and to the ACPC. For: DH, DfES,
Home Office, ACPCs, SSDs and all agencies
- Further work needs to take place to develop an enhanced role for the
ACPC with agencies represented at chief officer level. For: Government,
SSDs, all agencies.
- Multi-agency working to support agreed outcomes for the most
vulnerable children should be mandatory, not discretionary. For: DH,
DfES, Home Office
- Wherever possible staff from key agencies should be co-located, if
necessary for part of their time, while retaining current line
management accountability. For: ACPCs, SSDs and all agencies
- Consideration should be given to widening the remit of ACPCs to
embrace the full range of children's issues. For DH, DfES, Home Office
vii. How should existing arrangements be adapted to ensure better
outcomes for children and their carers who are from different racial and
There is a lack of research evidence on the provision of good services
to black and ethnic minority (BME) children and families. BME children
need to be included in sufficient numbers in all research to allow
informed conclusions to be drawn about these groups. Although all
children have the same core needs, BME children are not a homogeneous
group. There is a complex interplay of heritage and culture, which
varies from group to group and from one religion to another. There are
implications for the skills needed by professionals where there is a
wide diversity of ethnic groups in an area as opposed to a substantial
community of one particular ethnic minority.
- Research and generation of good practice guidance in this area, drawn
from the experience of other European countries and the USA, to be
developed as a priority. For: SCIE
Table of Acronyms
SSD Social Services Department
DH Department of Health
ACPC Area Child Protection Committee
CYPU Children and Young People's Unit
DfES Department for Education and Skills
GSCC General Social Care Council
PCG/T Primary Care Group/Trust
SHA Strategic Health Authorities
MHT Mental Health Trust
CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
NCSC National Care Standards Commission
TOPSS Training Organisation for the Personal Social Services
SCIE Social Care Institute of Excellence
IT Information Technology
BME Black and Ethnic Minority
Browne, K. and Saqi, S. (1988) 'Approaches to screening for child abuse
and neglect' in Browne, K., Davies, C. and Stratton, P. Early Prediction
and Prevention of Child Abuse, Chichester: Wiley and Son, pp.57-86
Cleaver, H., Unell,I. and Aldgate, J. (1999) Children's Needs -
Parenting Capacity, London: The Stationery Office
Department of Health (2000) Framework for the Assessment of Children in
Need and Their Families, London: The Stationery Office
Department of Health (1995) Child Protection: Messages from Research
Department of Health (2001) Report of the National Task Force on
Violence Against Social Care Staff, London: The Stationery Office
HM Treasury (2002) Making a Difference - Motivating People to Improve
Performance Report of the Public Services Productivity Panel, London:
The Stationery Office
Little, M. and Mount, K. (1999) Prevention and Early Intervention with
Children in Need, Aldershot, Ashgate
President of ADSS
* see LGCnetfor 'VICTORIA CLIMBIE INQUIRY - UNION SAYS IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN'