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Child protection consultation launched in Scotland

The Scottish Government is calling for evidence to update The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland.

The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland is designed to underpin local multi-agency child protection procedures, guidance and training. The current version, which was published in 2014, sets out the responsibilities and expectations of everyone who works with children, young people and their families in Scotland, outlining how agencies should work together with children, young people, parents, families, and communities to protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The National Guidance is structured in sections that are intended to be stand alone, to be accessible to practitioners who seek advice on particular aspects of practice, such that the relevant issues or themes can be accessed without the guidance having to be read in its entirety.

Those working with children, young people, and their families are being asked for feedback on new and significant aspects of the guidance, and whether there are any areas which are missing or which have not been adequately addressed. Views shared will inform the final content of the revised guidance, and future developments in child protection improvement work more generally.

The broad objectives of this revision are to:

• Ensure children’s rights and voices are central to child protection.

• Underline the need to engage with families to offer support and reduce risk of harm.

• Support consistency in understanding about key processes when agencies must work together to prevent and respond to significant harm.

• Integrate essential changes in legislation and national guidance.

• Reference key developments and sources in relation to policy, research and practice.

The intended outcomes of this revision are to:

• Support a reduction in the incidence of significant harm to children and of child death in Scotland.

• Improve professional inter-agency practice, supervision, management, training and development.

• Promote a shared, rights-based inter-agency ethos and philosophy of care and protection, as experienced by children, families and communities.

The revision is being carried out as recommended by the Child Protection Improvement Programme published in 2016 and aims to ensure the guidance is consistent with the legislative and policy framework and current practice developments.

The consultation runs until 17 January 2021, with the final revised version expected to be published in the spring.

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