In June last year, following exchanges via twitter and email with Peter Wanless, the CEO of the NSPCC, it seemed likely both NSPCC and MandateNow were moving towards a meeting.  Disappointingly and  for reasons still unknown to #MN, this did not happen.  In February we were contacted by someone known both to us and the NSPCC who, because their family has been failed by the inadequate child protection ‘system’, was keen both parties met to explore our divergent positions on mandatory reporting.  The timing is pertinent given the approaching consultation on mandatory reporting which was secured by Baroness Walmsley (LD) via her S43 amendment in the serious crimes bill. Mandate Now undertook the ‘heavy lift’ assembly of this amendment for Lady Walmsley who coincidentally is also the Parliamentary Ambassador for NSPCC.

The outcome of the exploratory meeting was positive and resulted in a meeting hosted by Mandate Now on the 29th June at chambers in Gray’s Inn.

Attending for Mandate Now :

Dr Mike HartillAnne Lawrence, Tom Perry (Founder Mandate Now), William Pumfrey non-practicing barrister, Jonathan West.

Attending for the NSPCC :

Lisa McCrindle (who has led NSPCC work to this point), Phillip Noyes (Chief adviser on Child Protection),  Peter Wanless (CEO),  Alan Wardle (Head of Policy), Professor Laura Hoyano*

*Mr Wanless advised us : Laura Hoyano is a researcher who has contributed to a good deal of the work that has helped inform the NSPCC’s understanding of the context we are operating in.

Four days prior to the meeting Mr Wanless further informed MandateNow that Professor Laura Hoyano would be ‘speaking for herself.’

Child protection is a  public interest matter and so we provide the agreed agenda below.  As the discussions are ‘work in progress,’ we are not providing a running commentary or minutes from the meeting. It would be unproductive and time consuming.  There are areas on which NSPCC and Mandate Now agree, and some interesting areas of discussion which deserve further consideration. It was a constructive engagement that also contained areas where our approach to the shortcomings in child protection in Regulated Activities differs markedly.

NSPCC Agenda 290615

Item #5 on the agenda is an important point worth highlighting and which is close to MandateNow’s heart. Training provision is extremely variable which the following Serious Case Reviews noted.

From Hillside First School: 

“This raises questions about the impact of the safeguarding training that staff in the school had received.”

“As the review acknowledges, Ofsted made considerable changes to the way it inspects safeguarding in schools in 2009 and provided additional training for inspectors.”

From Southbank International School: 

Child Protection policies were not “fully understood and/or implemented” and there was a lack of training among the school’s child protection officers.

Little Teds Plymouth 

Tick box’ regulation by Ofsted, inadequate staff training and lack of supervision condemned by serious case review

Daniel Pelka – Little Heath Primary School 

From the SCR:

16.10 The LSCB must review the adequacy of child protection training for school staff in terms of its sufficiency of provision, its take up and of its effectiveness in improving and developing child protection practice.


Why is training in such a poor state?

  1. There is no training accreditation scheme.
  2. ‘Statutory Guidance’ is unclear and complex and largely meaningless.
  3. Mistakes about the ‘legislation’ and even whether there is a law to report are frequent even among NGOs which deliver training.
  4. Quality of training delivered by unaccredited trainers is hugely variable and often contains errors.

Mandate Now proposed :

  1. An Association of Training companies and trainers to be created with constitution.
  2. This is to include online and off-line Training across the range of subjects in safeguarding for both children and vulnerable adults.
  3. Trainers also to be accredited by the Association’s scheme.
  4. Accredited training programmes to be developed which members will provide to clients across the child and vulnerable adult safeguarding training spectrum.
  5. Association to explore possible link with the Association of British Insurers (Liability Board)

This could provide Regulated Activities, LSCBs and Local Authorities with an assurance that a quality training programme is being delivered to settings and services. If SCR’s indicate improvements could usefully be made to the training, this can be quickly introduced through the network. Any change to the law could also be quickly introduced to training programmes across the Associations network.

Association members to be quality assessed by periodic testing.

Presently the standard of training is infinitely variable because no such scheme exists.


Next Steps

A further meeting is proposed for September subject to confirmation. MandateNow hopes this happens. The timing may even be rather late as the consultation on Mandatory Reporting will likely start at the end of August.