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6.9 Individuals who Present a Risk to Children

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter details guidance following a conviction or caution which triggers an assessment to determine if an individual presents an on-going risk to children. Prison, Probation or Youth Offending Service staff will undertake the assessment. The assessment will determine whether a Risk Strategy Meeting should be held.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

Sexual Offences Act 2003

Serious Crime Act 2015

Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Safeguarding Children Procedures 

AMENDMENT

In January 2016, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Context
  3. Process
  4. Continuing Validity of an Assessment


1. Background

1.1 Following a Home Office review in 2004, guidance was issued to the Prison service, Police, Probation and the Local Authority instructing that the term Schedule One Offender be discontinued. This change was made in recognition of the fact that the term schedule one offender did not clarify what level of continuing risk, if any, an individual posed to children. When dealing with offenders agencies are required to focus on whether an individual's conviction suggests that they pose a continuing risk to children.
1.2 A revised list of offences has been produced which, following conviction or caution, should trigger an assessment to determine if an individual presents an on-going risk to children. Prison, Probation or Youth Offending Service staff will undertake the assessment. Decisions about continuing risk should be based on individual risk assessments


2. Context

2.1 This guidance is for Children's Social Care staff. This guidance is limited to a very specific area of work, i.e. managing national notification processes associated with individuals that have been convicted or cautioned for a trigger offence.
2.2 The requirements set out in this guidance replaced the process that has been in place for some time for responding to notifications from Prison, Probation and Youth Offending Services which relate to Schedule One Offenders.


3. Process

3.1 Prison and Probation Providers will notify Children's Social Care when they are working with someone that has been convicted of an offence contained within the trigger list. Notifications should only be sent when the service has assessed the individual as posing an on-going risk to children.
3.2 Children's Social Care will also be routinely contacted for any relevant information to assist the prison with their assessment of offenders with convictions contained within the 'trigger list'. This will not constitute a 'notification' and the Prison Service retains responsibility for the assessment of risk.
3.3 Ordinarily notifications from prison and probation will be sent directly to the Safeguarding Children Information Management Team (SCIMT). Any notification received by localities should be forwarded to the SCIMT.


3.4

Action to be taken by the Safeguarding Children Information Management Team

The SCIMT will check Framework. If the notification simply contains information in relation to a change of prison about an individual already known on Framework in connection with a trigger offence the Safeguarding Children Information Management Team will simply update Framework. If the person is not known on Framework or is known but not in relation to a trigger offence the SCIMT will start a:

"Notification of Person who may pose a risk to children" episode
3.5 When a Notification of Person who may pose a risk to children episode has been opened the outcome of this will either be NFA or Pass Notification to MASH.
3.6

NFA as an outcome by the SCIMT

This will be the outcome if:

  • The notification received indicates that the person is in custody and is not due to be released for some time;
  • The notification indicates that the person is not going to be released in Nottinghamshire, unless information on Framework indicates that the individual has a link to a child/family in Nottinghamshire (see below).
3.7

Pass Notification to MASH as an outcome

This will be the outcome if:

  • The notification relates to a release date, rather than a prison move, to a release address within Nottinghamshire or the notification, or information on Framework, indicates a link to a child or family in Nottinghamshire.


3.8

Action to be taken by MASH

On receipt of the notification of a person who may pose a risk to children episode, the MASH will open the episode:

Undertake further investigation on a person who may pose a risk to Children, and a Manager will review the information available to decide how to proceed.
3.9

The assessment needs to consider whether any identified child could be at risk or whether there might be a wider risk to children in the community. This will require discussion with the agency that assessed that the individual posed a continuing risk to children. Depending on the conclusion of this assessment the outcome of the Undertake further investigation on a person who may pose a risk to Children will either be

  • NFA; or
  • Risk Strategy Meeting.
3.10

Risk Strategy Meetings will only be the outcome in very limited number of cases. They will be required when a potential risk is identified in relation to an adult and

  • There is a risk to a child but the child cannot be identified with the information currently available; and
  • There is no plan to hold a meeting under Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
3.11 The lead criminal justice agency may convene a multi-agency meeting under MAPPA. Children's Social Care would need to be a party to this meeting. The Undertake further investigation on a person who may pose a risk to Children episode would not be closed until any such meeting had been held, as this will inform the assessment.
3.12 If there is any indication of a risk to an identified child this will be recorded on the child's Framework file. From this point forward normal Child Protection processes will be followed, with information being recorded on the child's Framework file. The individual assessed as posing a continuing risk will be cross referenced on Framework with the child.


4. Continuing Validity of an Assessment

4.1 The information contained within the Notification of Person who may pose a risk to children episode and/or the Undertake further investigation on a person who may pose a risk to Children episode will indicate the date on which the episode was completed. The assessment will only be valid at the date on which it was completed. Any further information received, or any future contact with the individual, will require further assessment.
4.2 An example of this could be that notification is received of the release of someone convicted of an offence on the trigger list. Following an assessment by Children's Social Care the decision is made to take no further action as the individual will not be having contact with children. Information is subsequently received which indicates that the person is in a relationship with a partner who has children. At this point the validity of the assessment that the individual poses a risk to children will need to be re-visited
4.3

For some people that have committed very serious offences it may be that they are assessed as posing a risk to children in any context. For other individuals a range of factors will be relevant in assessing the risk that they pose to a child/children. These factors could include for example:

  • The context of their previous offence;
  • Any work that has been undertaken with them by an agency such as probation.

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