The UNISON Scotland Submission to the Scottish
Executive consultation on the Draft Children's Services (Scotland)
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union
representing over 160,000 members working in the public
sector, many of whom work with children.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity
to respond to the Scottish Executive's consultation on the
Draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the Draft Bill's
intentions to improve services for children and ensure they
are provided in a more integrated way. The focus on early
intervention is positive and its vision of agencies working
together to support the child at the centre is laudable
and builds on current policy.
However, we believe that the single biggest
hindrance to children and their families receiving the services
they need, when they need them, is a lack of resources.
This is especially true at the early intervention stage.
We know that at present one of the key barriers
to the effectiveness of the Children's Hearing System, and
one of the major frustrations for social work and other
Local Authority staff and for panel members, is the lack
of resources of all kinds to meet the needs of children.
Unfortunately, when resources are mismatched
with need, priorities dictate that they are directed towards
offending behaviour, often the result of a lack of early
intervention, rather than at early intervention itself.
This further compounds the situation.
In addition, Scottish Executive ‘ring-fenced'
funding initiatives are often targeted at the symptoms (e.g.
anti-social behaviour) rather than the causes and at the
expense of early intervention.
If the Bill is to lead to improvements in
the well-being of all children, then considerable additional
investment will be needed which is targeted at early intervention.
There will also be a need for multi-agency
training in relation to the new requirements on agencies
outlined in the Bill.
UNISON Scotland believes there should be
more clarification in Section 19 of the Bill regarding Secure
Accommodation. It is unclear at what point
restrictions could be lifted or amended to allow reintegration
of the child (which will always be necessary) and who would
make that decision.
Secure accommodation is not a sentence and
was never intended to be a sentence. It is a measure to
offer protection to the child or others and was explicitly
set up with the safeguard that it would only be used when
necessary to effect that purpose and for only as long as
is absolutely necessary.
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union representing
over 160,000 members working in the public sector, many of whom
work with children. We represent many social workers, who perform
a wide range of duties in Children and Family services as well
as members working for the Scottish Children's Reporters Association.
We also have members working in schools as classroom assistants,
support and administrative staff, cleaners, janitors and caterers;
members working in early years establishments as nursery nurses,
support workers within nurseries and crèches; and members
across the NHS, working with children such as nurses, ancillary
staff, cleaning and catering staff, etc.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond
to the Scottish Executive's consultation on the Draft Children's
Services (Scotland) Bill.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the Draft Bill's intentions
to improve services for children and ensure they are provided
in a more integrated way. The focus on early intervention is
positive and its vision of agencies working together to support
the child at the centre is laudable and builds on current policy.
The concern, however, is that the Bill seeks to do this by imposition
without the consultation referring in any detail to the resources
that will be required to deliver this effectively.
The proposals build from the clear research evidence
and an acceptance in the 21st Review of Social Work,
that early intervention on an integrated joint agency basis
is the most effective way to ensure the "well-being"
of children and this is welcomed. However, the references to
resourcing these changes in the consultation document lack any
detail and the implication made often is that the savings it
anticipates will be made from some of the proposed changes can
just be used to fund other proposed developments.
However, we believe that the single biggest hindrance
to children and their families receiving the services they need,
when they need them, is a lack of resources. This is especially
true at the early intervention stage. Early intervention on
an integrated joint-agency basis has been shown to be the best
way to effect change and to improve the well-being and potential
of children. Apart from the ‘Communities that Care' and various
other research projects, this is also backed up by the fact
that most children who are referred to the Reporter on offence
grounds, have previously been referred on care grounds.
We know that at present one of the key barriers
to the effectiveness of the Children's Hearing System, and one
of the major frustrations for social work and other Local Authority
staff and for panel members, is the lack of resources of all
kinds to meet the needs of children.
Unfortunately, when resources are mismatched with
need, priorities dictate that they are directed towards offending
behaviour, often the result of a lack of early intervention,
rather than at early intervention itself. This further compounds
the situation. In addition, Scottish Executive ‘ring-fenced'
funding initiatives are often targeted at the symptoms (e.g.
anti-social behaviour) rather than the causes and at the expense
of early intervention. This not only skews resources, it also
diverts the limited pool of experienced staff, leaving gaps
at the primary intervention level. If the Bill is to lead to
improvements in the well-being of all children, then considerable
additional investment will be needed which is targeted at early
The principles of ‘It's Everyone's Job To Make
Sure I'm Alright' are reflected in parts of the Draft Bill but
other sections seem to restrict the ‘relevant agencies' coming
under the Bill's remit. It is important that all agencies and
functions, universal and targeted services and broad community
services, for example leisure and recreation, see the need to
There will also be a need for multi-agency training
in relation to the new requirements on agencies outlined in
the Bill. As we understand it the Bill will place additional
responsibilities on many of the agencies currently providing
services to children and changes the focus of their involvement.
Whilst good interagency working has developed across Scotland,
this Bill will extend the responsibilities on all agencies,
but particularly agencies other than local authority social
work services who will be obliged to act to meet and promote
the needs of children to a greater degree than they do now.
Clear guidance will be needed on how this will work in practice
alongside new procedures to ensure accountability and frameworks
for information sharing.
Secure Accommodation - Section 19 of the Bill
One significant question is missing from the consultation
regarding this Section which has important ramifications for
children detained in secure accommodation. The deletion from
the Principle Act of "during such period as the person
in charge of that establishment, with the agreement of the chief
social work officer of the relevant local authority considers
necessary" removes an essential safeguard that ensures
children are only detained in secure accommodation when it is
It is crucial that such a decision should have
the level of independent scrutiny inherent in the requirement
of agreement between the ‘internal unit manager and the ‘external'
chief social work officer and that should remain.
The form of the deletion leaves no checks and
balances as to what processes would be in place and at what
level a decision would be made about the point a child who ‘shall
be liable to be placed and kept in secure accommodation'. It
is unclear at what point restrictions could be lifted
or amended to allow reintegration of the child (which will always
be necessary) and who would make that decision. It would be
entirely unacceptable (and a recipe for disaster) for a child
to be placed in secure accommodation without an exit plan to
allow some form of transition.
Secure accommodation is not a sentence and was
never intended to be a sentence. It is a measure to offer protection
to the child or others and was explicitly set up with the safeguard
that it would only be used when necessary to effect that purpose
and for only as long as is absolutely necessary.
Additionally, there is a great emphasis in the
consultation paper on ensuring consistency. While the wording
of the proposed amendment to the Children (Scotland) Act leaves
the condition that a child would only be ‘liable' to be detained
in secure accommodation, it may be the intention that the actual
decision about detention is to be taken by the Childrens Panel.
If this is the case, the removal of the existing safeguard would
place the responsibility to ensure consistency in respect of
decisions about a child's need for secure care entirely with
the panel members making the decision (three from a large number
of panel members) rather than with a much smaller number of
senior professionals. Many of our members who work with these
children know that decision-making already lacks a level of
consistency and have come across situations where decisions
about secure care did not robustly meet the criteria laid down.
This underlines the need for a level of independent scrutiny.
If the deletion is designed to address the fact
that some orders cannot be implemented because of a lack of
resources, it is that which should be addressed and not the
important safeguard to ensure children are not unnecessarily
locked up without a clear welfare purpose.
Questions for Consultation
Part 1: The Draft Bill
Q1. Do you think that the concept of well-being
in relation to the duties on agencies set out in sections 1
and 2 of the draft Bill is helpful?
Overall, the concept of well-being is helpful,
in particular the identification of unmet need. However, this
needs to be matched with a resource strategy to meet the need.
Section 2 raises this issue of children who may
pose a risk to the safety of other people. This needs careful
consideration as to whether this would give fewer rights to
a child than an adult. The issues of proof, right to defend
allegations, etc., are addressed under Question 11. We are reassured
that the Bill requires that action must still be directed towards
the child in the same way as with a child with unmet care and
protection needs, especially as we know that these are often
the same children. However, it will be important to provide
guidance which ensures a focus on meeting needs rather than
just reacting to deeds.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 s93(4) defines
a ‘child in need'. This includes specific reference to disability
or being affected by the disability of another person in the
family. The definition of well-being may have benefited from
such a specific inclusion but so long as s93(A) of the Principle
Act remains in force we would have no objection.
Q2. Do you feel that the duties on agencies
proposed in sections 1 and 2 of the draft Bill will ensure that
all relevant agencies can and will act so that children get
the help they need when they need it?
UNISON Scotland welcomes these duties, but believes
they will be restricted depending on which agencies are defined
However, we find Sections 1 and 2 very general.
They place general duties on relevant agencies but lack any
detail as to what exactly this means in practice. For example,
whilst the Bill requires agencies to undertake certain specified
actions "as it considers appropriate" to meet the
child's needs, there is no specific duty to assess the needs
of the child. It is recognised that different agencies will
be able to contribute differently to an assessment of a child's
needs, but the Bill does not address this and prefers to deal
in more generalised concepts such as "take action with
a view to improving a child's situation." If this is to
ensure that children get the help they need when they need it,
in our view it will need to be underpinned by very robust guidance
(including what constitutes a "relevant" agency) and
Q3. In your view, do the proposals in sections
2(5) and 5 of the draft Bill for recording agency decisions
and actions and for a multi-agency action plan provide enough
of a framework to deliver effective planning across agencies
for the child and their family?
UNISON Scotland welcomes the role of the ‘lead
professional' implicit in 5.(1)(b) but believes that further
guidance will be required on how this is operated, what the
role and responsibilities of this person are and, crucially,
where the accountability for decisions, implementation of plans
and the provision of resources will lie. Support structures
for the role will be required along with clarification of what
powers the individual may have to ensure agencies collaborate.
This will also have training implications for
many staff, especially those in local authority and other agencies
who have not previously had to take on a "lead professional"
Q4. It is the intention that the proposals
in sections 4 and 5 of the draft Bill for collaboration of agencies
will provide a robust but simple framework for agencies to work
together locally. In your opinion, do you think that the framework
will enable this to happen?
The framework extends existing good practice and
formalises in law the requirement on agencies to work together.
Unfortunately this does not mean it will always happen in a
child-centred way and there will continue to be many challenges.
Furthermore, it is still not clear how this may be enforced.
Also, the "as so far as appropriate" clause will need
clarification and guidance. We need to know in what circumstances
it may be "inappropriate" for agencies to co-operate
with each other and what exactly "co-operation" will
mean in practice.
The issue of sharing information is not sufficiently
developed. Currently there are clear guidelines for sharing
information where parental permission is given, or without such
permission in terms of child protection. Concerns remain, however,
about the sharing of information under anti-social behaviour
initiatives and whether these fully comply with data protection
There is a need to ensure that information is
shared in appropriate circumstances. However, there should not
be a presumption that any child's personal information should
be shared automatically. Children have a right to privacy. The
commitment within the consultation paper to seek consent (from
children and their families) to information sharing is welcomed
and needs to be underpinned by clear guidance.
Different agencies have different arrangements
for storing and sharing information. It is crucial that there
are clear guidelines for all agencies about the use of that
information. For example, health, social work and education
records are assumed by children and their families to be confidential.
These agencies have procedures for secure storage, sharing and
allowing children access to their records. This will not necessarily
be the case for some other agencies and functions. There are
serious implications for agencies if someone other than the
agency which gathered the information in the first place accidentally
or otherwise discloses confidential information to third parties.
Several inquiries have highlighted the need for
better information sharing. However, they have concentrated
on situations where there is some reason to believe that the
child's safety requires that information to be shared.
There needs to be explicit thresholds and criteria
for sharing information (the Data Protection Act currently outlines
those) to avoid an unjustified random and unregulated sharing
(and possibly further dissemination) of personal information.
To protect the individual's right to privacy and balance that
with the need to share information to protect a child or others
requires a clear ‘need to know' guideline.
Q5. Are you content with the definition
of relevant agencies (including parts of the voluntary sector)
in section 7?
No. Section 7(1) (a) restricts the functions of
local authorities to social work, education and housing. In
terms of corporate responsibility for the well-being of children,
the principles of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and of "Its
Everyone's Job To Make Sure I'm Alright", the whole of
the local authority should be seen as a relevant agency. In
particular, culture, leisure, recreation and other services
have key roles in universal services to improve the well-being
The Bill leaves it open for Scottish Ministers
to define public or non-public bodies as relevant agencies.
We would need clear indications of what this may involve. For
example, some local authorities have passed their housing function
to housing agencies. Clearly, this reality should have been
recognised in the Bill.
Other examples include private fostering agencies,
the number of voluntary sector or private providers in residential
and home care, the arms-length provision of leisure services
and ‘commissioned' services from the community and voluntary
The intention of this section would be best served
by listing a range of functions which, if provided by a public
or non-public body, would designate that body as a relevant
agency. The Scottish Ministers' powers would then only be required
for exceptions or unforeseen eventualities.
Q6. With regards to section 11, do you agree
that the Principal Reporter should not be a member of the Administration
(the Board) of the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration?
We believe this would be a sensible separation
Q7. The new power in section 12 for the
Principal Reporter to appoint a representative if certain criteria
are met is meant to safeguard the rights of those children who
need such representation. Are you content with the introduction
of this new power?
It is relevant to note that this power is to appoint
a "legal representative". This is not a measure to
improve advocacy and general representation for a child.
While it is the case that children would benefit
from independent advice at the stage when they are considering
whether or not to accept the grounds of referral, once the grounds
have been established the focus changes.
It is important here to recognise the key principle
of a Childrens Hearing which is to put the child at the centre
of its deliberations. Ideally, Hearings should be discussions
which involve the child and the family in addressing an issue,
with the best interests of the child taking centre stage.
It is important to recognise firstly, that this
discussion takes place in the context of the grounds for referral
having been upheld or accepted and, secondly, that the child
is not on trial.
It is not the experience of our members that legal
representatives at Childrens Hearings enable the participation
of children or that they are always clear about their role.
Some can be very good and are clearly aware of the legal issues
that apply and have an ability to relate to children. Others
seem unsure as to their role and end up participating very little,
often leaving the child wondering what their purpose was.
The nature of legal representation is that it
tends to create an adversarial situation rather than a ‘problem
solving' approach and inhibits - or specifically advises against
- the participation of the child.
We do believe, however, that children would benefit
from this power in particular circumstances, for example where
they are being presented with offence grounds. Whilst the Rehabilitation
of Offenders Act still applies to children who come before a
Children's Hearing, it is important, that they are provided
with legal advice on the implications of accepting such grounds,
before they do so, and if they do not accept the grounds, supported
by their legal representative through the proof hearing. The
issue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and whether it
should apply in the Children's Hearing System has unfortunately
not been addressed in the Bill and we believe that this is a
However, we do recognise that there are other
occasions where a child may require specific advice and representation
in situations where they do not believe their interests are
being served or to help them to give their views. However, this
is a role that may be better served by children's advocates
or children's rights officers rather than legal representatives.
It is very important that the appointment of a legal representative
for a child does not take away their right to have a friend
or representative of their choice as well. After all, the child
is not given the choice as to whether or not to have a legal
representative or of who is appointed. This power rests with
It is important if the role of legal representation
is to be extended in this way, that consideration is given to
how such people are recruited and trained and that guidance
is provided as to their role which is also available to the
child, and therefore written in easily understood language.
Such appointments may address the problems that
can arise when a family engages a solicitor to represent them
or their child at Hearings. In these situations it is often
not clear whether the legal representative is acting on the
child's or the parents' behalf.
It is important to note under this question and
the following question that the decision of the Hearing can
be appealed to the Sheriff.
Q8. In section 12 the criteria for legal
representation is expanded to include the appointment of a legal
representative where a Children's Hearing is likely to make
a movement restriction condition. Are you content with the introduction
of this new criteria?
This seems appropriate given the possible restriction
of liberty but should not exclude the child's right to have
another advocate, e.g. children's rights officer.
In Questions 7 and 8, the additional pressure
on local authority financial resources will have to be recognised.
Q9. Section 14 introduces new provision
to withhold information about the child where disclosure would
be significantly against the child's interests. Are you content
with this new provision?
Yes. This used to be possible in the past until
procedures changed. The requirement to pass all information
to all relevant persons has caused considerable problems for
some children and, in abuse cases in particular, has lead to
important information not being communicated to the Reporter
because of possible danger to the child if one or more of the
‘relevant persons' had access to that information.
Q10. Are you content with the proposals
in section 15 of the draft Bill to change the grounds for referral
to the reporter and the Children's Hearing to reflect the needs
of a child and the need for compulsion?
The issue of compulsion exists in the current
legislation in terms of s52 and s53 where the local authority
has to refer if it believes a child may be in need of compulsory
measures of supervision.
We broadly welcome the three measure test in Section
52A(2) of the Draft Bill but we are concerned about Section
52A(2)(c). If one of the tests is that ‘compulsory measures
of supervision are (not may be)
necessary', this appears to prejudge the role of the Childrens
Hearing in deciding whether compulsion is necessary. If the
grounds were upheld, it would put the position of the Childrens
Hearing in an untenable position which could lead to the hearing
being unable to discharge and disagree that compulsion was necessary.
We believe this drafting and its implications
need to be closely examined.
Q11. The relevant situations in section
15 are intended to improve on the existing conditions in section
52(2) of the 1995 Act and to address possible gaps such as self-harm
by a child and exposure to domestic abuse. Do you feel that
the relevant situations are appropriate?
UNISON Scotland agrees that these are appropriate
in general but are concerned that the way they are set out in
the Bill puts the conditions which are based on the actions
of the child first (i.e. offence grounds, truancy etc.), whilst
the care and protection conditions are further down the list.
We believe this should be reversed to fit with the underpinning
welfare ethos of the Children's Hearing System.
We are also concerned about 52(B)(c) and what
the test will be in terms of being ‘has caused, is causing,
likely to cause another person to come to harm', etc. Our
concern is that this may be widely interpreted on an ‘offence'
basis with a much lesser burden of proof than the current ‘criminal
proceedings' level which is required. Thus whilst it may prevent
an offence being recorded on a child's record, the level of
proof required if the ground is disputed, will be less that
that required if an offence ground was to go to proof and would
be based on the balance of probability rather than beyond reasonable
Q12. In your opinion, do the provisions
in section 16 of the draft Bill to expedite the establishment
of the situational condition where the relevant person accepts
the condition but the child has not understood or is not able
to understand provide adequate and appropriate protection for
the rights of the child?
In terms of care and protection issues, the acceptance
of the grounds of referral by the
relevant person would be an acceptance of a lack of adequate
care. As such, measures could be put in place to address the
child's right to care and protection and in this case there
is probably adequate protection for the child's rights.
In a referral for an offence, it would not be
adequate protection of the child's rights if his/her parent
accepted the grounds but the child was not able to understand.
One would have thought that in these circumstances the child
should have access to legal advice and the right to have the
evidence heard. Subsection (5) grants this right but would not
necessarily ensure that a child could exercise it.
Q13. In your opinion, do you feel that the
proposals in section 17 for interim supervision requirements
provide an appropriate additional option to a Children's Hearing
when they are unable to dispose of a case?
Our understanding is that the interim supervision
requirement would take the place of a warrant in some circumstances
and allow the child to remain at home or with a relevant person
until the Hearing was able to dispose of a case. We would support
this measure on that basis.
Q14. In relation to section 18, it is intended
that any agency which is taking, or is expected to take, action
in accordance with a supervision requirement should have a duty
to take such action. It is also intended that a Children's Hearing
may impose specific duties on an agency. A formal enforcement
process will apply to breach of duties, as is currently the
case in relation to duties imposed on a local authority. The
provisions in relation to duties set out in section 18, together
with existing duties of a local authority, are intended to adequately
and appropriately provide for duties to act in relation to a
child subject to a supervision requirement. Do you think that
they do so?
UNISON Scotland believes the provisions are clear
in their intention to ensure that a required service is provided.
However, this needs to be seen in the light of the resources
being available to respond to unmet need. Current financial
arrangements do not facilitate this. Subsection (8) makes it
clear that no allowance will be made for the means available
to the provider. This is unrealistic within the current funding
regimes and could have a significant effect on the voluntary
sector in particular.
It also runs the risk of forcing agencies to
prioritise workloads on the basis of preventing enforcement
rather than on the basis of their knowledge of competing priorities.
This may well result in agencies diverting resources from the
other care and protection cases or from the preventative multi-agency
early intervention approach which the Bill purports to promote.
These provisions could also lead to the unintended
result of reducing available services. Potential providers may
be unwilling to involve themselves in some existing services
for children because of the risk that they may have to provide
something they do not have the means to provide.
We believe that the intention is good in terms
of improving the effectiveness of the Children's Hearing System,
which as was stated, has suffered from a lack of availability
of all kinds of resources, but that the full implications of
these provisions have not been properly considered. Unfortunately,
unless additional resources are made available, these aspects
of the Bill may well have the opposite effect to that intended.
Q15. In relation to section 20 on warrants,
it is intended that section 66 will apply where there is an
application to the sheriff under section 65. It is intended
that section 69 will apply where the situational condition is
accepted/established (and there is no current section 65 application).
Section 45 and section 63 will continue to apply in their own
particular circumstances. Further refinement to ensure this
effect is intended. In your opinion or in the opinion of your
organisation, will such an approach simplify warrant procedures?
We are unable to understand the implications of
this question and are, therefore, unable to comment on it.
Part 2: Issues for consideration
Q16. The consultation document sets out
a number of proposed changes to the Children (Scotland) Act
1995 arising from the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004.
Are you content with these proposals?
Q17. For the small group of young people
who continue to pose a risk to themselves or others, and who
cannot or will not engage with services who are working to change
their behaviour, we wish to explore further options to compel
them to change their behaviour. To secure continued support
and intervention for young people involved in offending we would
like to hear your opinions on:
• How we can best ensure that children's
services continue to support young people who offend to cease
offending and make a successful transition into positive adulthood?
• How we could formalise systems to ensure
that this happens?
• How we might respond to the concerns of
our communities in the best way to deal with the problem of
persistent offending by young people?
• What, if any, legislative requirements
do you believe would be required to deliver this?
UNISON Scotland believes that the use of existing
measures is often affected by the availability of resources,
particularly in the case of 16-18 year olds. We would contend
that it is possible to combine the criminal justice system and
the children's hearing system through imaginative projects.
There will always be situations where, for whatever reason,
it is not possible to engage a young person and the criminal
justice system will be the only option.
However, most of the inability to respond flexibly
and intensively with this group of young people is due to restrictions
on resources. Intensive projects are costly but tend to have
reasonable success rates. They currently exist and the necessary
funds should be made available for them before considering further
legislation. UNISON believes is not the absence of legislation
that is inhibiting progress in this area, it is the lack of
Q18. The Scottish Executive is committed
to promoting and supporting the rights of children and to reflecting
the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
in the development of policy and legislation. To ensure that
we are effectively promoting and supporting the rights of children
we would like your views on the following:
• The Bill as drafted is intended to improve
children's rights in Scotland. Do you feel it will do so effectively?
• Should we also consider a general duty
on agencies working to meet the needs of children to also promote
and support the rights of children?
In many areas the Bill does improve children's
rights to well-being and to access to services they may require.
Many aspects of the Bill have a rights focus which should promote
and support the rights of children if it is properly applied.
This particularly includes the focus on the needs and well-being
of children and the clear requirement to seek, record and take
into account the child's views.
We believe the Bill should include the child's
right to independent support and advocacy at each stage of the
process of meeting a child's needs, and that additional resources
should be committed to this, as we know that this can be key
in ensuring the child's full participation.
However, we have concerns (as outlined above)
about the possibility of current rights to a court hearing being
removed which could undermine the ability to exercise the right
to have a third party contest the situational grounds for referral
on their behalf.
UNISON Scotland believes there should be a general
duty on agencies to promote and support the rights of children.
Q20. We would be grateful for views on what
further legislative provision for information sharing beyond
that proposed in the Protection for Vulnerable Groups (Scotland)
Bill may be necessary to deliver the Getting it right for every
Our comments above regarding information sharing
also apply to this question. The issue of information sharing
is constantly over-simplified and the implications for data
protection and personal privacy and confidentiality have never
been fully explored. The main inhibitor in sharing information
is the apparent conflict in legislation or in the interpretation
of that legislation. Professionals are very often unclear about
what they can or should share and often have to juggle conflicting
guidelines and ethical standards.
For those reasons, clear legal guidance with clear
criteria for sharing information would benefit all those working
with children. Within that, thresholds for sharing information
would have to be specific and transparent and there would need
to be definitive statements on the effect on other legislation
(e.g. data protection, human rights etc). Such guidelines are
also essential for the public to ensure they are aware of how
and when personal information is shared and the limits of confidentiality
in such situations.
Q21. Would amending the definition of a
child ‘in need' in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 be helpful
to the aims of Getting it right for every child without causing
See response to Q1 above.
Q22. We would be grateful for informed comment
on any or all of the matters discussed in the partial Regulatory
Impact Assessment including views on any matters arising from
the draft Bill which may (in your view) have cost implications
UNISON Scotland believes that the delivery of
the principles of the Bill will require significant additional
resources. The biggest single reason for not meeting children's
needs at the time when it would be most effective is a lack
of resources. Considerable investment in early intervention
at the care stage is widely acknowledged to be key in reducing
referrals on protection and offence grounds. To merely legislate
and not address the evidenced resource gap will not deliver
on the principles of the Bill.
For further information please contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141 331 1203