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Children: Protection

Volume 690: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What guidance the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has issued to local authorities on Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, and the new duty on social workers to ascertain and give due consideration to the child's wishes and feelings in child protection inquiries and children needing assessments; and [HL2119]

How the Secretary of State for Education and Skills is monitoring the implementation of Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, and the new duty on social workers to ascertain and give due consideration to the child's wishes and feelings in child protection inquiries and children needing assessments. [HL2120]

The revised version of the core guidance document Working Together to Safeguard Children, which was published in April 2006, incorporates changes made as a result of Section 53 of the Children Act 2004, making clear the requirement to take the wishes and feelings of children into account and setting out when specifically this needs to be done in individual cases. In addition, the guidance makes it clear that local safeguarding children boards should put in place arrangements to ascertain the wishes and feelings of children about the priorities and effectiveness of local safeguarding work more broadly. The first part of Working Together is statutory guidance for local authorities, and the document also informs the work of other agencies involved in safeguarding children. The new duty is being monitored, as with the rest of local authorities' social care work, through the work of the relevant inspectorate, currently the Commission for Social Care Inspection. Multi-agency safeguarding children work is monitored by the inspectorates more generally, and the inspectorates produce a series of regular joint chief inspectors' reports on safeguarding children.