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Managing Individuals Identified as Posing a Risk to Children

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter contains guidance for practitioners on the identification and management of individuals identified as posing a risk to children.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Home Office circular 16 / 2005 Guidance on Offences against children

Appendix A: Practice Example

Appendix B: Flow Chart of Actions Managing Individuals who Pose a Risk

1. Introduction and Definition

This procedure provides practice guidance and information for managing adults, children and young people who have been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children.

When recording information it is important to ensure that the information logged on any system is appropriate to the concerns that have been identified.

Practitioners in Doncaster Children’s Services Trust should distinguish between ‘Hazards’ and ‘Risks’ when inputting records on Mosaic (the electronic recording system) and appropriate care must be taken when making the decision as to what section information is recorded in.

1.1 Definition of Hazards

The logging of a Hazard can be completed by a member of staff who has the approval to add a Hazard. This should not be confused with Risks to Children (RTC). It is possible to have an individual who has been logged with a ‘Hazard’ and a ‘RTC’.

A Hazard covers individuals, households or circumstances considered to pose a risk to any professional having contact with, or visiting a service user, under Health and Safety at work guidelines.

This includes the following:

  • Concerns in relation to the safety of staff/professionals when carrying out their role;
  • Issues in relation to interviewing or assessing needs.

If a member of staff believes an individual poses a risk in terms of their health and safety, this should be discussed in the first instance with their Team Manager. The Team Manager must then decide whether the individual should be recorded with a warning under ‘Hazards’.

A Hazard must not be used as a way of recording any individual that has been identified as a Risk to Children.

1.2 Definition of Risk to Children

Home Office Guidance (Home Office circular 16 / 2005 Guidance on Offences against children) explains how to identify those who present a Risk to Children (RTC).

This includes individuals who:

  • Have been convicted of an offence against a child (including those who have been cautioned/warned/reprimanded in relation to an offence against a child);
  • Have been charged - not convicted - but are the subject of investigation. This will also include Section 47 Investigations where agencies have concluded that there has been abuse of a child by an adult or young person. There may need to be further enquiries or protection planning to safeguard the child/ren. It is imperative that in order to safeguard other children, a multi-agency judgement should be made on the evidence to date to record an individual as a Risk to Child. This can be done through Strategy Discussions or child protection planning;
  • In some civil cases, e.g. Care Proceedings, findings of fact will have been made and should be responded to as if there was a conviction;
  • About whom there is significant multi-agency professional concern based on assessment that they potentially pose a risk if the individual is not monitored. This group is the one that will require rigorous scrutiny by a manager and any decisions must be clearly recorded with reasons for this professional judgement. In such cases legal advice may need to be sought;
  • A violent person that may impact on the safety and wellbeing of a child. Domestic Violence and Abuse for example can have a significant impact on a child both as witness or party to the event.

Any person included in this group must be recorded on Mosaic as a Risk to Children with a date to review the warning The information recorded by Doncaster Children's Services Trust must reflect the level of risk posed by the individual. In particular where there has not been a clear conviction, review dates must be short and scrutinised by a team manager.

1.3 Review Time Frames

The following time frames for reviewing those who present a risk to children are recommended.

Max 4 weeks review from logging the information Annually (12mths from the original date) 1yr-3yrs(professional judgement required and evidenced)
There is clear evidence that a child could be at risk of harm from an adult if protective action is not taken This would particularly be when an adult is being investigated and further assessment is required.

Have been convicted of an offence against a child.

This will include those who have been cautioned/warned/reprimanded in relation to an offence against a child.

In some civil cases, e.g. Care Proceedings, findings of fact have been made and should be responded to as if there was a conviction.

This would be same category of those in the annual review. However if they are in prison and their sentence means that they will not have any contact with children within the period of their sentence then a longer date for review can be set.

It is important to note that the warning in itself is not an assessment or a judgement as to whether that person is a risk at that specific time. It is however a clear indicator that there is information that requires further consideration in relation to any assessment of risk to the child.

2. Identification of a Person who Poses a Risk

Information in relation to a person who may pose a risk can come to the attention of the Children’s Services Trust through a range of sources. This may include members of the public, Probation Providers, Police, Health, whether individually or via the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) which deals with sexual and violent offenders.

This procedure provides practitioners with a framework to manage such information. Practice examples can be found in Appendix A: Practice Example.

The following provide guidance on what information should be recorded and shared with other professionals in order to safeguard children. They are not intended to replace or be used in isolation from current procedures.

Referral to Children’s Services Trust

When someone has been identified as a Risk to Children (see Section 1.2, Definition of Risk to Children) the following circumstances apply: On notification or discovery of a person who may pose a risk to children:

  • If the person is living in a household with children;
  • Has contact with children;
  • Is suspected of posing a risk to children in the area.

Reference must be made to Referrals Procedures and the relevant actions taken to ensure that any child or children are safeguarded.

As part of the identification and managing the information it is a requirement that the information regarding the individual is recorded on the Electronic Record (Mosaic).The process of recording the information when someone has been identified as posing a risk to children must be done with caution.

It is essential that you evidence that you have fully considered the legal context of the offence or are able to justify professional judgements and be accountable for your practice.

It must be noted that professionals can only look at the known facts. Speculation as to the reasons and circumstances of any plea are generally unsafe. Similarly, reliance upon the type of offence for which someone is convicted is not necessarily a reliable indicator of its seriousness.

The conclusion that a person who poses a risk to children should be based on all available information provided by relevant agencies.

Only an analysis of the context and seriousness of the offence(s) linked to an analysis of the current circumstances will enable professionals to make a valid assessment of risk.

A good indicator of future risk is past behaviour and, therefore, when persons with convictions for offences against children come into contact with children, an assessment should be made of the risk posed.

3. Recording and Sharing of Information

When a person has been identified as Risk to Children (RTC) it is then essential that the reasons must be recorded.

Prior to recording any assessment it is crucial that due consideration is given to a number of factors. These will include:

  • The date of the offence;
  • The age of the perpetrator in relation to the victim;
  • The type of offence;
  • The degree of coercive or threatening behaviour;
  • The pattern of offending;
  • The circumstances of the offence;
  • Any subsequent assessments of risk;
  • The offender’s attitude to the offence.

Any recording will be a reflection of your professional judgement and due care should be given to ensure that the quality of the information is of the required standard.

On receipt of information from other agencies it is mandatory that all the details are checked prior to recording the information.

The flowchart in Appendix B: Flow Chart of Actions Managing Individuals who Pose a Risk provides step by step guidance as how to log the information on Mosaic. This can only be done by individuals who have the correct level of authority as determined by the Head of Service of the Safeguarding and Standards Unit.

When a person has been logged with a Risk to Children status, this clearly indicates that the person has been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children. It is imperative that all professional judgements can be evidenced and that there is clear decision making based on the information available at the point of logging the warning. Therefore decision-making needs to be reflected under ‘case notes’ in the file of the individual and cross referenced where appropriate.

Whilst this data is held by the Children’s Services Trust, other agencies may request details to inform their assessments.

It is the responsibility of the person sharing the information that that the request will able to fulfil the requirements of the Information Sharing Procedure.

Information may also be shared with third parties when one of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Consent from the individual concerned;
  • Statutory requirements or other duty;
  • Duty to the public.

It is important for all agencies to be clear about the need and the reasons for exchanging information about people considered to be a risk to children.

It is not the transfer of information itself which protects children, but the assessment and action which that information enables. Therefore, it is important that information is full enough to enable effective analysis and assessment to take place.

  • Personal details, i.e. full name, date of birth, relevant addresses;
  • Details of the offender, type of offence and date;
  • Details of sentence (if applicable);
  • Victim details, i.e. full name, date of birth, relationship to offender;
  • Current relevance of the offence, including known or likely contact with children.

Legal advice should be sought where doubt exists as to the lawfulness of disclosure. (See Information Sharing Procedure).

4. Monitoring and Review

The reason to monitor the information we hold in relation to a RTC is twofold as outlined within Chapter 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Where there is active involvement by MAPPA or MARAC, the review will mirror the MAPPA / MARAC process and will require updating when the discussion is recorded. A new date for review will need to set. If the individual is no longer subject of monitoring through MAPPA / MARAC then the decision and the outcome will need to be recorded in the relevant section on the ESCR (Mosaic).

When an individual is not subject of a monitoring plan through a formal multi-agency plan then the review will be completed by a relevant person with the Safeguarding and Standards Unit (with the appropriate level of authority to record the information).

5. Summary Table

Step Action Responsibility
Definition of Risk to Children Refer to the policy and procedure. Social Worker
Team Manager
Identification of a Person who poses a risk

Through multi agency assessment.

  • Strategy meeting;
  • Child Protection Conference;
  • MAPPA/MARAC meeting;
  • Police/Prison/Probation.
The above will inform the relevant person to record this information on the case management system. This will include logging the warning, adding a case note to the file and or any other action to safeguard children including referral.
Provide the information-
Social Worker
Team Manager
Probation
HM Prisons
MAPPA
MARAC
Record the Warning-
Safeguarding Unit
Assessment of information Referral and assessment of the immediate risk to any child.
Collate relevant information and record on the system ensuring that it is cross referenced with the warning.
This can be done in a case note if no change to status.
Social Worker
Team Manager
Monitor and review

Review of an individual who is subject of on-going assessment.
The review of information of someone who is not currently monitored through a plan.

Jointly Social Worker Team Manager will review the information
Record the warning or amendment of the warning-
Safeguarding Unit

Trix procedures

Only valid for 48hrs