Child protection board moves step closer

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

  • by Adrian Darbyshire

Legislation is being drafted to put the Protecting Children Board on a statutory footing, Tynwald heard.

Chief Minister Allan Bell was quizzed in the court by Speaker Steve Rodan over the timetable for the new legislation.

Mr Bell told members that current arrangements are being reviewed by an external independent inspection. He said: ‘The arrangements for ensuring that children are protected continue to evolve.

‘The results of the inspection will become clear early in 2014 and the government is committed to ensuring the matter is thoroughly considered and that an appropriate response is swiftly implemented where any changes are required.’

Mr Bell said as currently proposed, the planned Education Bill could incorporate the necessary legislation – but he could not rule out a separate Bill being required.

He added: ‘The Education Bill is currently being progressed as a highly-priority Bill and is likely to be introduced into the branches in the 2014-15 session.’

He said legislation would cover the constitution of the Protecting Children Board, information sharing and data protection concerns, powers to carry out serious case and other multi-agency reviews and audits, and child protection procedures.

Mr Bell said that as a temporary measure the appointment of an independent reviewer would be considered by the Council of Ministers should the need arise – for example, if there is a need for a serious case review following a child death.

Mr Rodan welcomed the move, suggesting the current administrative procedures for serious case reviews ‘put the Board itself at risk and do not give full justice to individual families’.

He asked: ‘Will the Protecting Children Board, which is responsible for creating and overseeing child protection policy, still be tasked with investigating failures in that policy – in effect investigating itself, as happens now under the non-statutory procedures?’

Mr Bell said: ‘I’m not in a position at this stage to give a definitive answer as to exactly what shape this legislation will take until we have the final recommendations.’




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