Annex 6: Responsible Authorities/ Duty to Cooperate (DTC) Agencies - Roles and Responsibilities
1 This part of the Guidance outlines the roles and responsibilities of each responsible authority and DTC agency. The detail should be agreed in the memorandum which the responsible authorities and DTC agencies are required by section 10 (5) of the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005 to draw up in the area of each local authority, setting out the ways in which they are to cooperate with each other.
LOCAL AUTHORITY SOCIAL WORK SERVICES
Chief Social Work Officer
2 Each local authority has a designated Chief Social Work Officer who is responsible for overseeing social work services.
3 They are responsible for the assessment and management of certain categories of offenders who may pose a risk to the public under the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005).
4 Criminal Justice Social Work is also responsible under section 27 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (as amended) for:
- provision of reports on offenders to the court, the Scottish Prison Service, Parole Board for Scotland or other agencies; e.g. the Criminal Justice Social Work Report (CJSWR), the Throughcare Assessment for Parole (TAP), Home Leave Reports, Breach Reports etc
- assessment and management of offenders in relation to community sentences, including the Community Payback Order (which replaced probation, community service and supervised attendance orders from 1 February 2011);
- provision of statutory and voluntary throughcare services to prisoners.
5 Different local authorities have different departmental structures, they may provide services themselves or in partnership with other agencies. They also vary in which ancillary services they provide. Different local authorities may be involved in the provision of pilot schemes that are not available throughout the country for example, the provision of specialist courts or various community disposals.
6 The local authorities provide a range of social work and social care services, including the provision of criminal justice services. Criminal Justice Social Work is responsible for the statutory supervision of post-custodial licences, including sex offenders sentenced to six months or more. All local authorities provide a voluntary throughcare service for those short-term prisoners (under 4 years) who apply for such a service up to 12 months after leaving custody. Those short-term prisoners who have substance misuse problems may be referred to the Throughcare Addiction Service (TAS).
7 National Outcomes and Standards lay down that reports to Court or the Parole Board should include a risk assessment and any action plan for someone on probation or a post-custodial licence should include a risk management plan aimed at reducing the risk of re-offending or the risk of serious harm. Supervision of these orders or licences should be informed by the risk management plan.
Children and Young People who Offend
8 Local authorities provide services to young people who offend or who are at risk of offending. This covers anyone up to the age of 16 who is offending, including registered sex offenders, and may cover those between 16 and 18. It may be that Child or Youth Justice Services, rather than the adult service, will supervise young people on community sentences.
9 Children who offend are considered to be children in need and are governed in the main by the principle that the paramount consideration must be the welfare of the child. However, the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (sections 25 and 26) states there may be exceptions to this for the purposes of protecting members of the public from serious harm (whether or not physical harm). In such circumstances a local authority may act or take decisions which are not consistent with affording paramount consideration to the welfare of the child, but which place a greater emphasis on public safety; there remains a duty, however, to consider the young person's needs and these cannot be disregarded.
10 Regardless of which system they are in, when assessing young people under 18, an understanding of the behaviour within its development and situational context is necessary. Risk management plans should outline clearly how risk is to be reduced as well as managed, and the plan for risk reduction should link to the assessment of how the young person's developmental needs can most appropriately be met.
11 Further information in relation to children and young people who offend can be found within the Scottish Government documents, Framework for Risk Assessment Management and Evaluation (FRAME) for Local Authorities and Partners for Children and Young People under 18 and the Whole System Approach.
12 In addition to the services to adult and young people involved in offending, local authorities have a duty to promote the wellbeing of children, and to identify and respond to situations where children may be at risk of harm as per the Scottish Government Child Protection Guidance. Each local authority will provide child protection guidance on how its staff will fulfil their child protection duties. All agencies, professional bodies, services and individuals which work with children and their families have a responsibility to recognise and actively consider potential risks to a child, irrespective of whether the child is their 'client'. These agencies include the Scottish Prison Service, service providers in prisons and the community, police, local authorities including education. An awareness and appreciation of the role of others is essential for the effective collaboration between organisations, professional bodies and the public.
13 Specifically, local authorities are required to make enquiries about any children referred to them in order to determine:
- if they are in need;
- if compulsory measures of supervision are required; or
- if emergency child protection measure need to be taken to secure the child's safety.
14 On the basis of information gathered, the social work service will determine if a multi-agency plan is needed for the support and protection of the child. This will be developed as part of a multi-agency case conference and may include a decision to place the child on the Child Protection Register or to refer the child to the Children's Reporter.
15 Where urgent action is needed, social work services may apply to the Sheriff for emergency child protection measures:
- an Exclusion Order against the person who is likely to place the child at risk prohibiting the named individual from residing at a given address and defining contact;
- an Assessment Order requiring a child to be made available for assessment purposes (for example, a health assessment);
- or a Child Protection Order (CPO) to remove the child to a place of safety.
16 A separate option, and one which in law must be attempted prior to seeking emergency child protection measures, is for social work services to attempt to reach agreement with the parents of the child that the child be looked after by the local authority or by another responsible person.
17 In addition, each local authority will be part of a multi-agency approach to child protection, led by a Child Protection Committee. The Committee will issue multi-agency guidance laying out the points of contact, guidance etc.
Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)
18 GIRFEC is the Scottish Government's national change programme aimed at changing the way adults think and act to help all children and young people grow, develop and reach their core potential. Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (as passed) outlines the requirement for a named person, lead professional and child's plan
19 GIRFEC is a common, coordinated approach across all agencies that supports the delivery of appropriate, proportionate and timely help to all children.
20 This approach is consistent with the principles of early intervention and means that concerns for a child should be identified at an early stage, to ensure that their needs are addressed by a system which supports staff to work together, share information where necessary and with consent and ensure that children get the right support, when they need it, for as long as they need it.
21 Under GIRFEC, risk management plans for young people should flow from an assessment involving child-centred approaches and tools, recognising both risks and needs, and be integrated as part of the 'single' plan.
Adults at Risk of Harm
22 Local authorities have a duty to investigate the circumstances of adults who are unable to protect themselves, are at risk of harm, and who are more vulnerable because of ill health/disability.
23 Identification of any adult meeting the above criteria should be followed by an adult protection referral to the relevant local authority.
24 In the absence of an identified adult protection contact person agencies should contact the Chief Social Work Officer.
25 The police have a duty to uphold the law by preventing the committing of offences, by preserving order and by protecting life and property. They have risk assessment procedures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of any individual who considers themselves to be in a threatening situation.
26 The responsibilities of the police in relation to people who are subject to the SONR are:
- to maintain an accurate record of those persons in the police force area who are required to register with the police in terms of sex offender legislation;
- to initiate enquiries where such persons fail to comply with the requirements placed upon them; to participate in the multi-agency process established for assessing and managing the risk presented by sex offenders or other potentially dangerous offenders in the community;
- and to develop, in conjunction with partner agencies, risk management plans for the purpose of managing the risks posed by sex offenders.
27 The police also have a responsibility to keep records on unregistered sex offenders whose current behaviour is of concern.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
28 For all prisoners, the SPS is responsible for carrying out risk and needs assessments to assist in determining the management of the prisoner during sentence and in preparation for pre-release planning and release. SPS is also responsible for pro-active joint working with the CJSW supervising officer during sentence and in preparation for release. This process of sentence planning is referred to as Integrated Case Management (ICM). A key objective of ICM is to ensure that, along with the police and CJSW, SPS meets statutory requirements to establish joint arrangements for assessing and managing the risk posed by sex offenders, including the sharing of information.
Electronic Monitoring Service Providers
29 Electronic monitoring service providers are included in the DTC in acknowledgement of the important service they can provide as part of a high-risk management plan. Currently the Scottish Government contract for the provision of electronic monitoring in Scotland is with G4S
30 G4S DTC is to be understood as being synonymous with their contractual responsibilities.
31 In practical terms this may involve them:
- providing a point of contact for advice to the responsible authorities on the available technology, explaining what it can and cannot do; and
- attendance by a member of the G4S management team at MAPPA or MAPPP meetings when the circumstances of a particular case deem it appropriate for them to do so.
32 It is recognised that electronic monitoring has a part to play in supporting and adding robustness to an offender's licence which may contain a number of specific conditions. G4S must ensure that appropriate protocols are put in place to share information about MAPPA offenders. These protocols will shape communication with partner agencies and ensure that information on any failure by the offender to comply will be passed to appropriate agencies within an agreed time scale.
33 Local Authority Education Services must act in cooperation with other responsible authorities and DTC agencies in the management of offenders under sections 10 and 11 of the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005. This duty will be performed in the context of the local or relevant MAPPA but only insofar as this is compatible with existing statutory responsibilities.
34 Education Authorities are statutorily required to 'make adequate and efficient provision of school education' (Education Scotland Act 1980) for their area. They are further required to develop the 'personality, talents, mental and physical abilities' of children and young people to their 'fullest potential' (Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2004). They have a duty to identify and keep under consideration any additional support needs of any kind that children and young people may have and to meet such needs, in cooperation with other authorities and bodies in certain circumstances (Education Additional Support for Learning Scotland Act 2004), reinforcing their shared, corporate responsibilities under the Children Scotland Act 1995 to make provision for children 'in need'.
35 They have therefore a dual role in providing education, and in developing and nurturing children and young people.
36 Increasingly, education services are working in an integrated way with social work, health, the voluntary sector and other relevant bodies (e.g. the police) in the following areas:
- Planning and delivery of services;
- Assessment and information sharing about individual children and families;
- Ensuring child protection;
- Significant incident review;
- Quality assurance and inspection.
37 Local authorities are required to publish plans for Children's Services, whilst integrated inspections of these services extend to all services for children.
38 Thus, national and local governance arrangements and practice; frameworks, protocols and procedures for partnership working and cooperation already exist across a number of the responsible authorities and DTC agencies.
39 Education authorities already cooperate with relevant bodies in relation to the provision of information and the assessment of risk for offenders. A further consideration for education services will be their duties under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 to refer onto the list of people disqualified from working with children, anyone with a relevant conviction, or anyone who has been dismissed or transferred or moved where there was judged to be risk of harm to children. Education authorities have a similar but wider ranging legal duty to refer matters concerning the conduct of certain staff to the General Teaching Council (Scotland).
40 The statutory authorities can commission services from the voluntary sector to support, complement and enhance their own provision.
41 The voluntary sector agencies include the larger organisations such as SACRO and APEX that specialise in work with offenders and also those that provide services such as supported accommodation to a range of service user groups.
42 The range of services that are provided to offenders that pose risks include:
- Intensive support and monitoring
- Residential facilities
- Supported flats and tenancies
- Bail supervision
- Services related to alcohol and drug misuse
- Group work programmes
- Voluntary throughcare
- Employability support services
43 Through the provision of these services, voluntary sector staff are in a key position to share information. They observe their service users out-with formal office settings, often when they are relating to other people in the community. Their contact with offenders is often more frequent and intense than is possible for statutory workers. This places them in a favourable position to contribute to risk assessment and risk management.
44 By providing information, they can assist the statutory services in their assessment, monitoring and supervision roles. They themselves provide support that can help to reduce risk. Stable accommodation, training and employment are factors that can have a major impact in risk management.
45 Voluntary sector staff should expect information sharing to be a two way process. They must also receive information about risk factors in relation to the people they work with. This is necessary not only to ensure the safety of their own staff but also to more effectively monitor behaviour and report potential risks as they may develop. It is important that voluntary sector staff fully understand their obligation to share information, and to support this consideration should be given to agreeing an information sharing protocol.
Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) and the role of the principal reporter
46 The principal reporter has a statutory role in relation to the children's hearings system.
47 The role relates predominantly to two groups of children:
- children who are the subject of a current referral to the reporter (generally where an agency or individual has provided information to the reporter because the person considers that the child is in need of protection, guidance, treatment or control and that it might be necessary for a compulsory supervision order to be made in respect of the child); and
- children who are already the subject of a compulsory supervision order.
48 The principal reporter delegates to individual children's reporters his statutory duties relating to these children. The role of SCRA is to support the Principal Reporter in the exercise of his statutory functions. SCRA is a national body and children's casework is undertaken through a structure of nine localities across the country, each locality being managed by two or more locality reporter managers and aligned with a number of local authorities.
49 Children are referred to the reporter for a variety of reasons, though always because the agency or individual considers that it might be necessary for a compulsory supervision order to be made in respect of the child. In exceptional circumstances it might be possible for the reporter to treat a child as referred where a specific referral is not received. In considering the referral of any child, the reporter must determine whether he considers that a 'section 67 ground' applies and, if so, whether he considers that a compulsory supervision order is necessary. The grounds set out in section 67 of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 cover a wide range of circumstances relating to the child. They include circumstances giving rise to concern about the welfare of the child from other people's behaviour or from the child's behaviour. The reporter has a statutory role to:
- make further investigations relating to the child as the reporter considers necessary;
- refer the child to a children's hearing if the reporter considers that a section 67 ground applies and that a compulsory supervision order is necessary;
- if arranging a hearing, draft a statement of grounds setting out which section 67 ground or grounds the reporter believes applies to the child and the facts supporting this;
- arrange any children's hearing, ensuring that relevant written material is provided to the child (if able to understand the material), the relevant persons in relation to the child (generally parents or carers) and the members of the children's hearing;
- keep a record of who attends the children's hearing and the decisions of the hearing;
- appear in the sheriff court in any proof hearing in relation to a disputed statement of grounds; and
- notify certain parties of the outcome of the referral of the child.
50 In relation to children who are the subject of a compulsory supervision order, the principal reporter has a statutory role to:
- arrange any children's hearing to review the child's compulsory supervision order, ensuring that relevant written material is provided to the child (if able to understand the material), the relevant persons in relation to the child (generally parents or carers) and the members of the children's hearing;
- keep a record of who attends the children's hearing and the decisions of the hearing; and
- notify certain parties of the outcome of that review hearing.
51 Where a further referral is received in relation to a child who is already subject to a compulsory supervision order, the reporter must determine whether he considers that a section 67 ground applies. If so, the reporter will refer the child to a hearing where the reporter is of the view that the child's welfare requires either that a specific new statement of grounds be considered by the hearing or that the compulsory supervision order be varied.
52 It is important to note that where a child is the subject of a compulsory supervision order, it is the local authority named in that order that has the on-going statutory responsibility to implement the order and safeguard and promote the child's welfare.
53 Although the principal reporter has a statutory role in relation to a children's hearing, the children's hearing is independent of the principal reporter. The children's hearing has to decide whether a compulsory supervision order is necessary for the protection, guidance, treatment or control of the child. The hearing must also decide what measures to include in any order.
54 Under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, the principal reporter also has a statutory role in relation to applying to the Sheriff Court for a parenting order.
55 There are two groups of children in relation to whom the principal reporter is likely to have contact with the MAPPA:
- a child who has contact with an adult offender who is known to the MAPPA; and
- a child to whom section 10(1) of the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005 applies as a result of that child being dealt with through the criminal courts. For the avoidance of doubt, where an offence of the type mentioned in section 10(1) is dealt with through a children's hearing and either accepted or established after evidence, the MAPPA arrangements do not apply.
56 Note however that the principal reporter will only be involved if the child is one of the children identified above, in relation to whom the principal reporter has a statutory role.
57 In these cases the principal reporter may:
- request information from one or more of the responsible authorities as part of the principal reporter's investigation into the circumstances of a child;
- provide information to one or more of the responsible authorities as part of that investigation;
- request information from one or more of the responsible authorities when arranging a children's hearing to review a child's compulsory supervision order;
- provide information to one or more of the responsible authorities regarding the decision made by the reporter following a referral or regarding the decision made by any children's hearing; and
- request information (and possibly call a person as a witness) from one or more of the responsible authorities in the course of a hearing of evidence at court. Such a hearing may be necessary where a child or relevant person dispute the statement of grounds prepared by the reporter or dispute other material facts on which the hearing's decision turned.
58 Given the nature of the principal reporter's involvement in MAPPA cases, there are likely to be limited circumstances in which a locality reporter manager (or a member of his/her team) will attend a MAPPA meeting in relation to a particular case.
Email: Gus MacDonald