IICSA update on recommendations

On the 25 February IICSA issued further updates on institutional responses to recommendations it made as part of its investigations into and reports on the following:

  • Nottinghamshire Councils
  • Accountability and Reparations
  • Children Outside the UK Phase 2
  • Internet
  • Westminster
  • Anglican Church

The monitoring of responses to recommendations made by IICSA is a formal process and IICSA expect institutions to set out how they plan to respond to the recommendations made within six months of the recommendations being published.

I have outlined these responses below – the second half of the responses will be covered in a blog tomorrow.

Nottinghamshire Councils

IICSA recommended that both Councils should assess the potential risks posed by foster carers and residential care staff. It also recommended that Nottingham City Council should commission an independent, external evaluation of its practices concerning harmful sexual behaviour.

Nottingham City Council plans to use a risk-based methodology to review the HR cases to assess the risks posed by current and former carers and in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, it has written to all the agencies who they have placed a child with since 2013 and those on the East Midlands Commissioning Framework. The completion of this task has been delayed by the pandemic. The City Council commissioned the NSPCC to carry out the independent review in November 2019 and while the outcome of that review was also delayed due to COVID-19 a video conference was held with the NSPCC on 23 June to discuss findings and agree how best to disseminate learning and recommendations to the safeguarding partnership.

Nottinghamshire County Council reports that external consultants have reviewed they work that they have already undertaken in relations to its fostering services. They have also progressed their work with the independent fostering agencies and a formal report will be sent to the Safeguarding Partnership in both the city and the county outlining the findings and impact of this work.

Accountability and Reparations

Please see below details of the recommendations made by IICSA in this investigation that have been progressed:-

  • The Ministry of Justice should revise the Victim’s Code to make clear what exact information victims and survivors of child abuse must be advised of by the Police – Following consultation the UK Government published a revised version of the Victims Code on the 18 November, 2020, it was been laid before Parliament and will come into force on the 1st April, 2021. You can access the revised version of the Victim’s Code here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936239/victims-code-2020.pdf
  • The Local Government Association and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) should each produce a code of practice for responding to civil claims of child sexual abuse – The ABI’s work on this code of practice is ongoing and is expected by the end of this year. The Local Government Association’s work in also ongoing but they are not yet in a position to provide details of an expected completion date.
  • The government should revise the Compensation Act, 2006 to clarify that section 2 facilitates apologies etc. by institutions that may be vicariously liable for the actions or omissions of other persons including the perpetrators – The MoJ will explore further whether it would be helpful to amend the 2006 Act or take alternative action to clarify the position vis-à-vis apologies and vicarious liability.
  • The Dept. of Work and Pension (DWP) should work with the ABI to introduce a national register of public liability insurance policies – Discussions are ongoing with the MoJ and the ABI on the feasibility of establishing a public liability register.
  • Revision of Guidelines for the assessment of general Damages in Personal Injury Cass to include a standalone section on damages that may be appropriate in case s of child sexual abuse – The Judicial College believes that such guidelines would be of assistance to all and hope to include this category for victims of child abuse in the next edition of the guidelines which are due to be published in Autumn 2021.
  • The MoJ should consult with relevant bodies in order to increase the use of criminal compensation order, where appropriate in cases involving child sexual abuse – The MoJ reports that its work on this consultation has been stalled due to the pandemic, but is keeping the matter under review and hopes to start this by the Spring of 2021.

Children Outside the UK Phase 2

Please see below details of the recommendations made by IICSA in this investigation that have been progressed:-

  • The Home Office should coordinate and develop a national plan of action addressing child sexual abuse overseas – The Home Office has confirmed that it will implement this recommendation as part of the UK Government’s Tackling Child Abuse strategy.
  • The Home Office should use foreign travel restrictions to restrict travel to high risk countries – The Home Office have also confirmed that it will bring forward the necessary legislation to give effect to this recommendation when parliamentary time allows. In the meantime they have commissioned the National Crime Agency to produce a list of countries where children overseas are considered to be at high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation from UK nationals and residents
  • The extension of DBS enhanced certificates to work outside of the UK – The Home Office reports that individuals applying to work in a school or organisation outside of the UK where they will be in regular contact with children can apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC), this covers the same information that is required for an enhanced DBS and is simpler and easier for foreign employers to apply for in practice. The Home Office will work to publicise the existence of the ICPC and help to improve employers understanding of it and when it can be used.
  • Mandatory DBS certificates for UK nationals and residents of England and Wales working with children overseas – The Home Office notes that this recommendation will require foreign partners to undertake checks as if they were in England and Wales and would require extraterritorial legislation, which would be difficult to monitor and enforce. The Home Office will continue to publicise the existence of the ICPC to workers and employers to improve safeguarding standards across the aid sector.
  • Guidance on the disclosure and barring scheme for work and volunteering outside the UK – The Home Office confirmed in January 2021 that DBS currently signposts applicants to ICPC if their work abroad makes them ineligible for DBS certificates.

Written by Sharon Moohan at BLM sharon.moohan@blmlaw.com

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