NEWS

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2202, 2019

How much does Barnardo’s really care for vulnerable children? | Why did it sign an Independent Advocacy Contract with the Youth Justice Board at Medway in which it agreed to not refer child protection concerns to Local Authority?

February 22nd, 2019|

In 2013 the children’s charity Barnado’s entered into a contract with the Youth Justice Board  to provide independent advocacy for children at the Medway Secure Training Centre in which the charity agreed not to refer any child protection concerns arising in the setting to the local authority (Kent).  What does this tell us about the charity’s commitment to vulnerable children and just how safe are children it advocates for and protects today?

Barnardo’s looks conflicted between protecting children and its cherished relationship with Government and the public sector. Agreeing a contract that obliges it to not report child protection concerns to the Local Authority hits rock bottom. But having reached it, Barnardo’s breaks out the Kango hammer and starts digging again.  (more…)

2701, 2019

Lawn Tennis Association Safeguarding remains dysfunctional

January 27th, 2019|

The LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said on the 25/1/19: “the LTA has now undertaken a root and branch review of its safeguarding” and “is committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Our review of the LTA safeguarding reveals dysfunctional safeguarding has been retained despite Mr Lloyd’s assertions.

Our review is available here.

Little reliance can be placed on the County Association Safeguarding Template policy. In England, Wales and Scotland there is still no statutory obligation to report either known or suspected abuse to the Local Authority (or the police in appropriate circumstances) for independent assessment. LTA policy provides no commitment even to consult with external agencies, such as the local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) for advice and/or guidance, when a safeguarding concern arises.

The LTA claims a child is a person under the age of 18 years. The proposed extension of the Position of Trust Law to sports coaches was put on hold by the Government many months ago. Here are the roles to which the law currently applies. Sports coaches are not included. The proposed extension can only make a very small difference to functioning safeguarding in Regulated Activities as we explained in this press release. 

The LTA policy is a Potemkin village. Like all safeguarding policies, its foundation is ‘statutory guidance’ issued by the Department for Education to assist Regulated Activities, such the LTA, deliver law effectively. But there is no law to report known or suspected child abuse. As a result the term ‘statutory guidance’ is little more than an oxymoron. The reality is, the head of an LTA affiliated tennis club/centre who has statutory responsibility for safeguarding cannot be held to account by safeguarding legislation for failures to refer known or suspected child abuse to the statutory agencies. Furthermore, absence of legislation means staff who make a report in good faith, have no protection against legal action if the report they make is not validated in law.

The LTA is free to exceed the de minimis expectations of ‘statutory guidance’ to produce a safeguarding policy on which greater reliance can be placed. Unfortunately it has made no attempt to address the legislative vacuum in order to support staff and better protect young players in LTA care. What hope for culture change?

2412, 2018

Update – IICSA / CA Royal Comm data comparison

December 24th, 2018|

The headline feature of our latest review continues to be the vastly different scale of resources committed by each Government to their respective child abuse inquiries. It is even more pronounced when you consider England and Wales has 2.43 times the population of Australia :

Headline data for 2018

 

Headline data for 2017

 

Our four page review (.pdf)

What impact is the striking difference in resources having on IICSA?

2210, 2018

Letter to IICSA from multiple signatories following the presentation by the Department for Education to the MR Seminar (1) 27.9.18

October 22nd, 2018|

A number of questions arise from the presentation given by Mr Graham Archer (Director of Children’s Social Care, Learning and Development – Department for Education) on the topic of ‘Existing Reporting Obligations in England and Wales’. With delegates not being permitted to ask questions of each other, Mandate Now and other signatories have written to IICSA to seek answers about a number of the ‘obligations’ to which Mr Archer alluded. We hope the inquiry asks and receives answers to these matters well in advance of MR Seminar (2) scheduled for 30/4/18, and makes them publicly available.

Our letter to IICSA dated 18/10/18 is available here: Letter to Brian Altman QC Counsel to the Inquiry

Signatories to the letter :

Mandate Now made two submissions to IICSA’s MR seminar which are available by following this link.

By clicking on the YouTube link you will be taken to the start of Mr Archer’s presentation.

 

On the 26th October IICSA sent the following reply to our letter. Of particular note is the fourth paragraph. It’s unfortunate that none of our questions, with which IICSA are so closely aligned, were asked at the MR seminar after Mr Archer’s presentation.

 

 

2709, 2018

Mandate Now Submission to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – #MRseminar (1) 27/9/18

September 27th, 2018|

“While some have opposed mandatory reporting laws (Hansen & Ainsworth, 2013; Melton, 2005), these claims have been challenged (Drake & Jonson-Reid, 2007; Mathews & Bross, 2008) and opponents have not explicitly made their claim in relation to mandatory reporting of CSA. There are at least three reasons for this. First, CSA is qualitatively very different from other instances of other types of maltreatment (Mathews, 2014). Second, the well-established gap between the real and disclosed incidence of CSA nullifies Melton’s (2005) claim that case-finding is not a challenge. Third, reports of CSA to government agencies account for a very small proportion of all reports of child maltreatment, repelling any claim that CSA reports intolerably overwhelm child protection systems or divert resources from other priorities. Mandated reports of CSA across Australia over a 10 year period accounted for just 6% of all reports of child maltreatment from all reporter groups (Mathews, Bromfield, Walsh, & Vimpani, 2015), and USA annual data are similar (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). In Australia, government inquiries have supported mandatory reporting of CSA as a necessary component of social policy, even after scrutinizing the validity of child protection systems and attempting to control expenditure (Carmody, 2013; Cummins, Scott, & Scales, 2012; Layton, 2003; Wood, 2008).”   Matthews et al., 2016

(more…)

2509, 2018

Mandate Now Review of : Summary of consultation responses and Government action following #MRconsult

September 25th, 2018|

To coincide with the #MRseminar at IICSA on 27/9/18, we are releasing our review of the published summary of consultation responses and Government action following the consultation titled ‘Reporting and Acting on Child Abuse and Neglect.’

The outcome of this mischievous and poorly designed consultation is a triumph of dogma over reality. Mandatory reporting of known and suspected abuse of children by specified regulated activities is an essential component of a functioning safeguarding framework. The majority of the rest of the world knows it.

Here is our detailed review.

The proposed action to be taken by government has ignored under-reporting of known and suspected abuse by Regulated Activities (such as schools), the very point of Amendment 43 tabled by Baroness Walmsley in the Serious Crimes Bill that secured the consultation, and instead concentrates on improvements to inter-agency services and communication once a referral has been received by the Local Authority.  Our review explains why this will deliver little change, but the status quo seems to be the intention of Government.

According to the consultation’s pre-launch media briefings, dinner ladies and secretaries were going to be jailed for failing to report signs of abuse. It’s nonsense of course, as anyone familiar with Amendment 43 will understand,  but it provides an insight to the irrational fear Government has of mandatory reporting of known and suspected child abuse, and here’s why.

The consultation omitted and also ignored empirical evidence and data in order to arrive at a its pre-determined outcome.

As provided in our submission, data from mandatory reporting jurisdictions reveals that mandatory reporting legislation introduced to Regulated Settings sees the number of referrals to the statutory agencies from mandated reporters’ double. In turn this leads to a near doubling in the number of children placed into safety who would otherwise be left to their fate.

The Government, and those who reject the introduction of MR, have to own and face up to the responsibility that they are knowingly leaving children to their uncertain fate who would otherwise be placed into safety with the introduction of mandatory reporting.