May 27, 2016 2:00 pm
The press have reported the case regarding Adam Johnson the footballer and his trial and the difficulties that Sunderland Football Club have faced about what they knew and what they did to safeguard the children that Adam Johnson came into contact with.
Initially Sunderland’s view was that they’d done everything they possibly could and they released a statement saying that they did not know that he was going to plead guilty. However, this week has come to light that the CEO of Sunderland knew that Adam Johnson admitted kissing the child and that’s put a whole new spin on what Sunderland have done and what they perhaps should have done in light of this knowledge.
In this 5 minute masterclass we will take a very quick look at sharing information because this is something we all need to do when working with children. In addition, there are child protection concerns, but it’s something that many of us are concerned about how we do. We’re worried about passing information on that perhaps we shouldn’t do, or that passing information on will cause problems for the people that were working with and may be this will upset the relationship we have with our colleagues and the children concerned.
The primary concern is that you need to consider is what is the ultimate outcome going to be?
Is the information that you hold going to be needed by another agency in order to protect the child/ren? If you consider that the information is going to be needed by another agency, then very careful consideration needs to be given as to what information is shared and when a decision is made to share information, it should be done in a timely manner. There is nothing worse than having information come through from a third party agency, perhaps a nursery or a GP that says six months ago they had concerns about the parenting that the child was having, or that the child wasn’t getting nourishment or there were other issues and by that time, it’s too late to do anything urgently.
You may remember an earlier masterclass where we looked at how to accurately and appropriately record information. We talked about the need to record information and how that is stored.
There are outside agencies or third party agencies such as Local Authorities or perhaps the Police, where that record of the disclosure is really crucial because that’s the first bit of information that they get that there is something wrong or that there are concerns or issues around this child and that this child’s welfare needs are not being met.
There are first two things I want you to take away from this masterclass and that is, that any information you have that needs to be shared, do share it in a timely manner, make sure that it’s shared as soon as you possibly can, so that any action that needs to be taken can be taken swiftly. Also, to ensure that information you have recorded is recorded accurately and appropriately, that it isn’t done on a scrap of paper; that it’s done in a formal document that can be used by other professionals. Please remember that it’s a record of the initial disclosure and it could be a crucial document later down the line when Local Authorities or Police or other agencies are working with the family to try and safeguard this child or children.
The last thing I want to share with you is that Child Protection in most cases take priority over any other issues. I hear worries such as ‘Oh but the Data Protection Act means we can’t share this information with you,’ or ‘we didn’t think we could share that with you because we’re not meant to give you that information are we?’
Ultimately, there are mechanisms and procedures in place for information to be shared. Every authority and every area has a local Safeguarding Children’s Board. That board will have policies and procedures about how this information is to be shared appropriately. There will be multi-agency teams that meet on a regular basis, to which most of your organisations will be able to get in touch with. Their contact details are on various websites, the generic ‘gov.uk’ is usually a good place to start.
Remember, if you have any concerns, contact your local Safeguarding Children’s Board first about sharing the information but do not sit on it thinking that you can’t be sharing it because there is another piece of legislation that says you can’t. Remember, any disclosure, do share the information in a timely manner; ensure they’re recorded properly. In a lot of cases, child protection issues will take priority over other legislation, so make sure that you’ve checked out that you are not hindering an investigation by keeping hold of information.