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Gypsies and Travellers

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place to ensure that where enforcement action is taken by local authorities against unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites children and young people are provided with suitable alternative accommodation. [HL899]

Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area. They are also required to establish local safeguarding children boards; these are the key statutory mechanism for agreeing how the relevant organisations in each local area will co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in that locality, and for ensuring the effectiveness of what they do. DoE Circular 18/94 makes clear that when local authorities decide to proceed with an eviction, they should liaise with the relevant statutory agencies, particularly where newly born children are involved, to ensure those agencies can fulfil their obligations towards those persons. We have issued clear guidance to local authorities which recognises enforcement action can be traumatic, and should therefore be proportionate and considered.