National guidance for child protection in Scotland 2014

This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 version .

Appendix B

Training and Research Resources

Learning communities

1. Learning communities or networks can support the training and development of practitioners working with children in child protection and care. Broadly speaking, they bring together groups of people who share common goals, take responsibility for their own learning and support the learning of others in the community. Participants need to be motivated, active and willing to communicate with each other either face-to-face or in a virtual interactive environment.

2. Often, communities and networks will adopt an inter-disciplinary approach, based on an educational or 'pedagogical' design. They may also develop a shared repertoire of resources, including experiences, stories, tools and ways of addressing recurring problems. This takes time and sustained interaction. It is the combination of these elements that constitutes a community of practice.

3. Such communities share certain defining features or characteristics:

  • a sense of belonging and shared ownership;
  • loyalty to the community, its members and the groups that they represent;
  • constructive, honest and helpful interaction that builds trust and reinforces a sense of peer support;
  • openness and willingness to share, including lessons learned, challenges and interests;
  • active involvement and commitment to helping the learning community achieve its aims, including by providing input into its long-term development and review;
  • seeking knowledge and solutions wherever possible; and
  • a willingness to share learning, as appropriate, outwith the learning community in pursuit of common aims.

4. The variety of communities allows agencies to access a range of knowledge and support that can help inform policy and practice across child welfare. Together, these communities aim to foster collaboration between the practitioners, managers, academics and consultants that make up the child protection community in order to contribute to better outcomes for children and young people and disseminate evidence of best practice. These are important resources for local agencies and Child Protection Committees.

5. All agencies working in child protection and care should identify and clarify the resources available locally and nationally to support practitioners and managers and identify the means of sharing learning across the workforce. This should be managed through local strategic bodies such as Child Protection Committees.

6. More information can be found at:

  • WithScotland is based at University of Stirling and offers expert advice and support for all staff in Scotland working with child protection issues. It is also developing links between child protection and adult protection across Scotland. WithScotland's aims are to:
    • co-ordinate the exchange of knowledge across agencies, and disseminate policy and practice messages from existing national and international research evidence;
    • broker and facilitate links across both adult protection and child protection sectors in Scotland, the UK and internationally;
    • establish research partnerships to obtain funding to undertake new research to an international standard;
    • identify gaps in service provision or training needs to inform local and national policy developments; and
    • contribute to the development and promotion of a national strategic training and continuing professional development framework [86] .
  • The posts of National Child Protection Committee Co-ordinator and Adult Protection Coordinator were established to support the National Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum and Adult Protection Policy Forum respectively to take forward national priorities and to help both Child and Adult Protection Committees increase consistency and reduce duplication of effort. Both posts sit within WithScotland, in order to promote partnership working across both communities.
  • The University of Edinburgh/ NSPCC's Child Protection Research Centre was set up to conduct research and provide analysis and commentary on child protection developments across the UK. Based at the University of Edinburgh, the Centre is mainly funded by the NSPCC. The work of the Centre falls under the following broad strands:
    • tracking, monitoring and providing an overview of child protection policy across the UK;
    • conducting detailed comparative policy analysis into specific aspects of child protection; and
    • research into gaps in child protection knowledge.
  • The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice supports improvement in youth justice, contributing to the realisation of better lives for individuals and communities. The Centre's role is to strengthen the creation, sharing and use of knowledge and expertise and it works in collaboration with practitioners, managers, policy-makers, researchers and those whose lives have been affected by youth justice. This includes the interface between youth offending and child protection. The work centres on three key activities:
    • Practice development: Supporting youth justice practitioners and organisations to create, share and use knowledge
    • Research: Supporting the creation of new knowledge through doing, and supporting others to do, research
    • Knowledge Exchange: Supporting the dissemination of knowledge and facilitating dialogue between those with different perspectives or forms of knowledge
  • The NSPCC has developed resources for anyone working to protect Scotland's children. These include research and statistical briefings and resources on Scottish guidance, legislation, Significant Case Reviews and training.

Resources developed since 2010

National Framework for Child Protection Learning and Development in Scotland 2012

7. The purpose of the framework is to set out a common set of skills and standards for workers to ensure the delivery of a consistently high standard of support to children and young people across the country. The main aim is to strengthen the skills and training of professionals and improve the advice and tools available to them in assessing, managing and minimising risks faced by some of our most vulnerable children and young people.

National Risk Framework to support the Assessment of Children and Young People

8. This Guidance aims to support and assist practitioners at all levels, in every agency, to be able to approach the task of risk identification, assessment, analysis and management with more confidence and competence. It seeks to provide tools that, if used, support methodical and systematic approaches to not only better understanding risk and its presentation with children and families, but also enhance interventions and potential outcomes.

9. The Guidance should not be viewed as prescriptive in character; it requires practitioners to consider the use and application of the tools with each individual set of circumstances they are faced with. The expectation is not to follow slavishly each element but to apply these proportionately when focusing upon the child's needs, their wellbeing and the strengths and pressures within their life circumstances. This Framework, the Guidance and Tools it contains, seek to support and complement existing assessment processes. Risk is an element of all assessment, it does not stand alone. Children and young people's needs and emerging risks require to be considered along the continuum of their lifespan.

National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland: Guidance for Health Professionals in Scotland

10. This guidance is intended to act as a practical reference point for all healthcare staff working within an adult and child service context. It highlights the specific roles and responsibilities of specialist staff working in particular settings wherever children and young people will usually be seen. It sets out the framework to aid practitioners in their role in dealing with child protection concerns.

Getting our Priorities Right

11. The purpose of the guidance is to provide an updated good practice framework for all child and adult service practitioners working with vulnerable children and families affected by problematic parental alcohol and/or drug use. It has been updated in the particular context of the national GIRFEC approach and the Recovery Agendas, both of which have a focus on 'whole family' recovery. Another key theme is the importance of services focusing on early intervention activity. That is, working together effectively at the earliest stages to help children and families and not waiting for crises - or tragedies - to occur.

Protecting children and young people

12.The guidance published by the General Medical Council came into effect on 3 September 2012 and gives advice to doctors on:

  • their duty to identify children and young people at risk of abuse and neglect, even when only treating adults
  • the boundary between parental freedoms and child protection concerns
  • good communication with children, parents and families when there are child protection concerns
  • respecting confidentiality and when to share information
  • good record keeping practice
  • seeking consent to examination or investigation
  • understanding how other professionals involved in child protection work consider and act on child protection concerns
  • training and skills development; and
  • giving evidence in court as a witness of fact and as an expert witness.

Core competencies for Children's Services Workforce

13. The Common Core describes the skills, knowledge and understanding, and values that everyone should have if they work with children, young people and their families, whether they are paid or unpaid. They are also explicitly cross-referenced to the guiding principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC). The values are taken from the Getting It Right For Every Child approach.

International resources

Children and Families Across Borders ( CFAB)

14.Children and Families Across Borders ( CFAB) is a unique UK-based charity which identifies and protects children who have been separated from family members as a consequence of trafficking, abduction, migration, divorce, conflict and asylum, as well as other vulnerable individuals in often desperate circumstances. CFAB was previously known as ISS UK.

15. The organisation provides direct assistance, support and hope to:

  • re-unite children with their families, provided this is in their best interests;
  • to assist children and adults in re-establishing and maintaining contact with parents and extended grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings;
  • to keep children safe and protected at all times when they move across borders.

Child Family Community Australia ( CFCA)

16. Child Family Community Australia ( CFCA) information exchange is hosted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies ( AIFS) and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Child Family Community Australia ( CFCA) produces quality, evidence-based publications and resources for professionals in the areas of protecting children, supporting families and strengthening communities.


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