Ahead of key debates or committee meetings we may submit a briefing note setting out the social work position on an issue.
These have been crafted to inform key stakeholders and politicians around specific issues and so will not be a complete picture of all the challenges and opportunities in a particular policy area. It may be helpful to read these briefings in conjunction with the official report of the relevant parliamentary debate or committee meeting.
Joint statement: Early and effective intervention (EEI)
30 June 2020
Early and Effective Intervention (EEI) during the COVID-19 pandemic: a joint statement from Police Scotland, Social Work Scotland and the Scottish Government
There are times when concerning or harmful behaviour of children and young people may bring them into conflict with the law. EEI is an opportunity, where appropriate, to divert them from formal systems such as the Children’s Hearing System or report to Procurator Fiscal. EEI allows for a proportionate and appropriate response to address any identified needs and concerns. We recognise that the restrictions imposed for COVID-19 are especially challenging for them, and this statement is intended to set out how we, as responsible partners, are approaching the principles of EEI.
EEI decision making should:
Where a child has a ‘lead professional’ they must be consulted regarding the initial decision making and where any intervention is identified. During COVID-19 restrictions initial gathering of information may be primarily by phone, or through the use of technology, when this is appropriate and secure.
Local protocols will determine local processes. Current guidance states that EEI referrals should, where possible, be progressed within 15 working days, and children and their families should be notified within 5 working days of the decision. However, if it is not possible for all the necessary information to be sourced within 15 working days, then reasons for this will be recorded, and decisions taken as soon as reasonably practicable.
Effective communication between Police Scotland concern hubs and the EEI coordinator is essential.
EEI referrals may be dealt with by a range of disposals:
Where an offer of intervention and support has been identified, opportunities to deliver this or the format may be limited during this phase of the pandemic. Local authorities will have contingency plans to maintain essential service provision.
The option to give formal warnings should be maximised by Police Scotland in local areas, as appropriate. If there is a delay in implementation of a disposal that requires face to face contact, then the reasons for the delay must be recorded. The situation should be reviewed on a three-weekly basis.
Meaningful communication with the child, family and/or carer should ensure a shared understanding of: the reasons for decisions; allow for updates if there is any delay in intervention; and ensure a collaborative purpose and approach.
Under Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act, Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for not complying with restrictions related to COVID-19 can no longer be issued to anyone aged under 18. Previous provisions allowed issue to 16 and 17 year olds.
Full consideration must be given to alternative courses of action and as a last resort, where 16 and 17 year olds are charged with a Coronavirus offence, the most appropriate disposal should be a Recorded Police Warning.
Where a 16 or 17 year old, and indeed any other child, is found in circumstances which amount to a breach of the Coronavirus regulations, and where there are concerns for their safety or wellbeing, then a Police Concern Form must be submitted to ensure full consideration is given to the circumstances.
Child protection concerns should be progressed as usual, applying local protocols, which will take account of Scottish Government supplementary guidance on child protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joint statement: Children and young people who go missing from care
Working together to protect children and young people who go missing from care during the Covid-19 pandemic:
A joint statement from Police Scotland,
A statement on the GIRFEC principles
Social Work Scotland shares the ambition that Scotland becomes the best place in the world to grow up.
To achieve that we know every child and family has to have access to the help they need, from people they know and trust, before a challenge becomes a crisis. The Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach remains our best chance of achieving that.
The Deputy First Minister’s announcement last week (19/9/19), withdrawing legislation which would have put the Named Person service on a statutory footing, does not signal the end of this policy. For Social Work Scotland, the announcement draws a helpful line after two years of uncertainty, allowing organisations and professionals to now get on with making GIRFEC real for children and families across the country.
We encourage our members and partners to reassert their commitment to the principles and aims of GIRFEC, and acknowledge the considerable progress already made.
Child Protection Briefing
Briefing outlining important actions required in protecting Scotland’s children.
Children’s Hearings Scotland Bill
Joint briefing for stage 3 of the Children’s Hearings Scotland Bill from ADSW and COSLA. This briefing refers in particular to amendment 98
Labour Party Debate