Following Lesley Sheppard’s retirement, Tom McNamara will take on the role of (interim) Deputy Director for Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice from 6 June 2022. Work is ongoing to identify his replacement as Head of the Children’s Hearings and Youth Justice Team.
Care and Justice Bill
The Care and Justice Bill consultation remains open until 22 June 2022. Section 6 focuses on secure care. A discussion to help inform responses is scheduled for the meeting.
We are planning to hold a series of workshops to progress discussions on the future of secure care and to understand any changes required to accommodate more under 18s from Polmont. Further details to follow. Discussions regarding funding requirements for secure care are continuing with COSLA.
Youth Justice Improvement Board
We are continuing to work towards delivery of our Youth Justice Strategy published in June last year with the two implementation groups (Children’s Rights and Advancing the Whole system approach) meeting this month. The Community alternatives group which sits under the WSA group is gathering examples of good practice for the development of a framework for practitioners.
United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) incorporation
On the 24th May, the Deputy First Minister (DFM) set out in parliament how we intend to amend the Bill to address the Supreme Court judgment, bring it back to Parliament and secure Royal Assent. The DFM’s statement is available to watch here.
To allow incorporation of the UNCRC to the fullest extent possible as soon as practicable, our preference is to address the Supreme Court’s judgment by returning the Bill to Parliament via the Parliamentary ‘reconsideration stage’. In his statement, the Deputy First Minister explained that to address the Supreme Court judgment we need to expressly limit the compatibility duty to devolved functions and devolved bodies and to remove UK Acts from the application of the interpretative obligation, strike down power and incompatibility declarator power.
Where we need to take action to ensure that legislation in devolved areas is UNCRC compliant, the Scottish Parliament will be able to amend or repeal legislation.
Residential cross-border placements
Parliament is currently considering the draft Regulations – The Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (Effect of Deprivation of Liberty Orders) Regulations 2022. These were laid on 26 April, with Impact Assessments and a draft policy note published the same day. The Education, Children and Young People Committee held an evidence session on 18 May with officials from the office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and on 25 May with the Minister for Children and Young People and Scottish Government officials.
We are also considering with stakeholders the administrative agreements that will accompany the Regulations, including: a Memorandum of Understanding (between governments); a notice and undertaking; and an individual placement template. In addition we’re preparing implementation guidance.
The Children’s Care and Justice Bill is currently open for consultation, to consider longer term measures – with a view to reducing cross-border placements to a minimum and better regulating the placements in the exceptional circumstances that they do need to take place.
National Care Service (NCS) consultation
The Scottish Government is committed to the establishment of a functioning NCS by the end of the current parliamentary term, and pledged to bring forward the legislation to enable its creation by the end of June 2022.
Scottish Ministers are still considering the wealth of information provided through the recent NCS consultation. We will continue to engage on the reforms with the people who access and deliver these services.
We will then be in a position to bring forward the detailed plans for improvement to be undertaken over the course of this Parliament. We are working to introduce the Bill by the end of this Parliamentary year, including publishing the impact assessments, a financial memorandum and other accompanying documents.
If you wish to contact the team please email email@example.com and we would be happy to discuss the position regarding children’s services with anyone.
COSLA is working with SWS to understand the support local authorities and partners have put in place for young people who may have been considered for secure care over the past year. Local authorities have been asked to share details of the arrangements put in place and the impact on the child/young person, their family, community and the staff supporting them, including how long those arrangements were in place for and any other details that might help us understand what needs secure care and alternatives need to meet in future. It is hoped that this initial work can be completed over summer, and based on this, can inform the kinds of support to commission going forward.
The Local Government annual report on progress towards Keeping the Promise was published in April 2022. It can be viewed online, alongside further details of local examples noted in the report. A campaign sharing these, and other examples is also now live, and members of the secure care board are invited to get in touch if there are examples and key messages they’d like to include.
Secure Transport Sub-group
The draft transport specification is out for consultation and engagement with young people with experience of secure care, and with the secure care transport sub-group, including Scotland Excel. The deadline for feedback is 30th May and the next meeting of the secure transport sub-group is 7th June. The hope is the specification will be finalised then and a discussion can take place on the best use of the specification and next steps for the group.
A discussion on transport will take place at the meeting on 1st June.
Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice
Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland
Since launching the Standards in October 2020 we have engaged with 18 local authorities have completing workshops including self-evaluations outlining their baseline measure, progress and implementation planning to meet the Standards. Aberdeen City, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow City Council, Highland, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling and West Lothian engaging in this process. While some of this engagement has been rudimentary and is a work in progress, a number of local authorities are fully engaged in the embedding of the pathway and standards and work in partnership with CYCJ as part of this process. Evidence of good practice examples are shared on the Standards website that is updated on an ongoing basis to encourage individuals and organisations to make use of the resources available.
A series of workshops have taken place in Tayside (input to an additional 44 social work practitioners), with SCRA, and additional plans are in place to revisit Standards input within the secure care centres who have all been at the heart of implementation and impact evaluations.
CYCJ continue to formulate a Standards report designed to capture the journey of implementation and learning from this as well as highlighting good practice examples and illustrations of how the Standards have impacted on practice and experiences since their launch. This report will be completed in the summer 2022 with input welcome from children, practitioners and organisations.
Secure Care Pathway and Standards Champions group
The group continues to meet 6–8 weekly with the next meeting on 31st May including inputs from Cyrenians Keeping Families Together and the Talking Hope 3 Project. Sessions continue to build on evidencing the impact that the Standards are having and shared learning across a range of settings. Group membership has increased to include 7 local authorities, the Secure Care centres, the Scottish Government, Education, CELCIS and the Third Sector. Both SCRA and Health have shown an interest in joining this group and we will continue to work to engage with other sectors not currently represented.
Secure Care Practitioners Forum
The practitioner’s forum for secure care had its inaugural meeting on the 31st of March agreeing to meet every second month, the second meeting took place on the 31st of May. The forum is an opportunity for practitioners to come together and discuss secure care practice but during the initial meetings it has been import to agree terms of reference and what people hope to get from the group.
We now have a more permanent part-time Participation Worker in the form of Julia Swann for STARR. Any queries in relation to the group should be directed to Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stage 3 of Talking Hope is well underway , with an expanded range of partners, including CYCJ, Good Shepherd, St Mary’s, Rossie, Foxgrove, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh. The project continues to be funded by the Scottish Government and Includem.
The STARR group won the community award at the Young Scot’s award ceremony in recognition of their contribution to secure care and pathway and standards work. They continue to be in high demand with their expertise and lived experience informing consultations in documents produced by Police Scotland, SCRA and the Scottish Government over the past month. STARR are currently working on their response to the Children’s Care and Justice Bill and they are looking forward to working with the secure care centres and other partners in the coming year. As always, STARR are seeking new membership so if you know anyone who may be interested please get in touch.
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