A brief history of UK Safeguarding

September 2020 New guidance on Keeping Children safe in education has been published. It provides a thorough guide to protecting those aged under 18 from a range of issues, including bullying, sexting, substance abuse and FGM.  It highlights the responsibilities of those working with children under 18.

It clarifies that The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent the sharing of
information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing
information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and
promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.

The Care Act 2014 sets out statutory responsibility for the integration of care and support between health and local authorities. NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups are working in partnership with local and neighbouring social care services. Local Authorities have statutory responsibility for safeguarding.

The Education Act 2012  impacted safeguarding in schools.  It granted anonymity to teachers accused of misconduct by pupils.  it also stated that the Secretary of State will keep a list of people barred from teaching and that “this must be available for inspection by the public”.

The government committed to ‘scaling back the Vetting and Barring Scheme and the criminal records regime to common sense levels’.  To achieve this the Home Office set up a cross government programme to develop the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which received royal assent in May 2012. This means that from 10 September 2012, the definition of regulated activity in relation to safeguarding adults changed. amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA).

Over 4 million CRB disclosures were issued in 2009.  Too many?

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2009 (DoLS) are an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They provide a legal framework to protect those who lack the capacity to consent to the arrangements for their treatment or care, for example ; by reason of their dementia, learning disability or brain injury

The  Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) extended the scope of  vetting and barring and included new definitions of Regulated Activity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects and supports people who do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves. It also provides guidance to support people who need to make decisions on behalf of someone else.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme was developed following the recommendation of the Sir Michael Bichard in his 2004 report. It was designed to protect children and vulnerable adults ( now referred to as Adults at risk) by preventing people who are judged to present a risk of harm from working or volunteering  with them.  Michael Bichard’s  recommendation 19 said: “.. New arrangements should be introduced requiring those who wish to work with children or vulnerable adults to be registered. The register would confirm that there is no known reason why an individual should not work with these client groups.”

The case of John Owen led to the Clwch Enquiry in 2004 received relatively little publicity following his suicide, however it led to a complete review of policies on whistleblowing by the Department of Education.  The  timeline of the case  illustrates the issues.

Can you believe that the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was only set up in 2002?  Disclosure information has become a central part of safe recruitment practice and many organisations insist on up to date disclosures as part of their policy.