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Recommendations - Children in the Care of the Nottinghamshire Councils investigation report

These recommendations were made in the Children in the Care of the Nottinghamshire Councils investigation report.

Assessment of potential risks posed by foster carers and residential care staff

Recommendation

Nottingham City Council should assess the potential risks posed by current and former foster carers directly provided by the council in relation to the sexual abuse of children. They should also ensure that current and former foster carers provided by external agencies are assessed by those agencies. Any concerns which arise should be referred to the appropriate body or process, including the Disclosure and Barring Service, the local authority designated officer (LADO) or equivalent, the fostering panel and the police. 

Nottinghamshire County Council should assess the potential risks posed by current and former residential care staff and foster carers, which are directly provided by the council, in relation to the sexual abuse of children. They should also ensure that current and former staff in residential care provided by external agencies, and current and former foster carers provided by external agencies, are assessed by those agencies. Any concerns which arise should be referred to the appropriate body or process, including the Disclosure and Barring Service, the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC), the local authority designated officer (LADO), the fostering panel and the police

Responses

On 30 January 2020, Nottingham City Council stated that a systematic review of all allegations made about the conduct of foster carers (including any who are now de-registered) will be carried out, to assess the robustness of the decisions made and the appropriateness of the responses by modern standards. The Council will write to all current and historical private fostering agencies that have been responsible for placing Nottingham children, or that have registered offices in the area. 

On 16 December 2019, Nottinghamshire County Council stated it is working to review current and former residential care staff and foster carers; this work will be completed in January. A second phase of work, relating to residential care staff provided externally and those employed within independent children’s homes, is due to be completed in April. 

On 13 January 2020, Nottinghamshire County Council stated that the action plan in response to the findings to the Inquiry report was approved and a progress report will be brought back to the Children and Young People’s Committee in July 2020.

On 15 June 2020, Nottinghamshire County Council sought approval by the Children and Young People’s Committee for the establishment of a Managing Allegations Service from October 2020. The service will provide a centralised response to all allegations (both current and historical) against those who work, or who have worked with children. The Council states that the new service will also ensure consistency and timeliness of responses to allegations and provide an effective service for both the complainant and the individuals against whom allegations have been made.

On 21 September 2020, Nottinghamshire County Council provided an update on its review of existing and former members of residential care staff. Nottinghamshire County Council has engaged an external consultant to undertake reviews in respect of individual members of staff, former employees and residential staff. The consultant was commissioned to consider any issues raised and to make recommendations as to whether any further actions are needed. 

The external consultant has also directly reviewed specific cohorts of curent foster carers and reviewed all cases of identified former foster carers, including those where there had been concerns regarding sexual abuse. The findings from this internal review are currently being compiled in order to identify any issues for practice improvement and to give assurance that any necessary actions have been undertaken appropriately. 

On 22 September 2020, Nottingham City Council provided an update on its action plan to use a risk-based methodology to review the HR cases to assess the risks posed by current and former foster carers. Nottingham City Council stated that in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, it has written to all agencies who they have placed a child with (since 2013) and those on the East Midlands Commissioning Framework. The completion of this work has been delayed due to the pandemic.

Evaluation of practice concerning harmful sexual behaviour

Recommendation

Nottingham City Council should commission an independent, external evaluation of its practice concerning harmful sexual behaviour, including responses, prevention, assessment, intervention and workforce development. An action plan should be set up to ensure that any recommendations are responded to in a timely manner and progress should be reported to City’s Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Responses

On 26 September, Nottingham City Council produced a draft action plan to address these recommendations for agreement by the Safeguarding Children Partnership on 30 September, and noted that it would be approved by the Executive Board at its meeting in October 2019. 

On 30 January 2020, Nottingham City Council stated that it intends to commission an independent review into the practices and response regarding peer abuse between children in care. The review will be commissioned by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), in response to the Inquiry’s recommendation and will be agreed with partners on 30 September.

On 22 September, Nottingham City Council stated that individual agencies have responded to the independent external evaluation of the Council’s practice against the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework. A video conference was held with the NSPCC on 23 June to discuss findings and agree how best to disseminate learning and recommendations to the safeguarding partnership. Nottingham City Council stated that the findings of the audit were broadly positive about local practice. 

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Investigation report

View the Children in the Care of the Nottinghamshire Councils investigation report in its entirety.

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