The Children

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 also incorporates the three key principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish Law:-

• Protection from discrimination
• Ensuring that child welfare is a primary concern
• Listening to children’s views.

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In relation to children’s protection matters of confidentiality, sharing of information and disclosure of sensitive information The Data Protection Act 1998 ensures all key principles are adhered to by staff ensuring the children’s wellbeing and protection is not jeopardised.

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 was introduced to replace the former system of Disclosure to ensure that all those who have regular contact with vulnerable groups within the workplace do not have a history of abusive behaviour. The Act will create a fair and consistent system that is quick and easy for people to use. The scheme will stop people who are unsuitable from working with children and protected adults either paid or unpaid and detect those who become unsuitable while in the work place through its vigorous vetting and barring scheme. The Act also gives guidance to employers about their own responsibilities.

Scotland’s Children’s Hearings System was initiated by the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 and is now regulated by the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011. One of the strengths of the Children’s Hearings System is that it has been able to adapt to changing social and political climates. The fundamental principles on which it is based have been maintained but processes have been changed in light of international conventions. These include the specific rights for children contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the general human rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. In an emergency the Police have the specific power under the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) 2011 Act to ensure the immediate protection of children believed to be suffering from or at risk of significant harm.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is another significant piece of legislation about children’s rights supporting Children Protection guidelines. Building on the aims of the Early Years Framework, this act aims to put children and young people at the heart of planning and services to make sure their rights are respected across the public sector. Its focus was on the early years of a child’s life and towards early intervention whenever help was required by the child or family encouraging preventative measures rather than crises’ responses. Included in this Act is the statutory operation of the Named Person and Child’s Plan underpinned by the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) approach. The GIRFEC principles which all services and multi-agencies follow is the national holistic approach to improving the wellbeing of children to ensure they develop to their full potential. By implementing common frameworks for planning assessment and action all agencies can work together to identify needs and risks addressing them appropriately. To ensure concerns are responded to early and effectively shared practice should be consistent and of high quality.

Although some legislations have more significance within Children Protection than others there are a numerous legislations which have an equally important role in how safeguarding concerns are dealt with i.e. Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, Local Government in Scotland 2003, Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) 2004 and 2009, Human Rights Act 1998, Digital Economy Act 2017 and Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017.

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