As a result of the recent inquiry into sexual harassment in the House of Commons, which urged the Government to review the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment claims, the Women and Equalities Committee was tasked with carrying out an inquiry to look at the widespread use of NDAs in cases where any form of harassment or other discrimination is alleged.
On 11 June, 2019 the Women and Equalities Committee published its report on the use of NDA’s in discrimination and harassment cases.
Bob Higgins, the former youth football coach, who was recently found guilty of 46 charges of indecently assaulting 24 boys, mostly involving trainees at Southampton and Peterborough United between 1971 and 1996, has now been sentenced to 24 years and three months in jail.
Southampton FC has published a formal apology on its website to all victims and survivors of the abuse by Higgins, stating that it “recognises that some of the boys under our care suffered exposure to abuse when they should have received protection from any form of harm. For this, the club is deeply sorry.”
CN & GN v Poole BC  UKSC 25
At long last the awaited decision from the Supreme Court in the case of CN & GN v Poole Borough Council was handed down on 6 June.
All have sympathy with the family’s experience of abuse from neighbours. The issue before the court was whether Poole BC as the local authority with the child care function should be held responsible for the actions of third parties.
The hearing before the Supreme Court took place on 16 and 17 July 2018 and the judgment has been eagerly anticipated by all those involved in litigation against local authorities for alleged negligence in the context of their conduct of child protection statutory duties and powers and whether there is a common law duty of care.
D-Day for failure to remove cases
The long-awaited decision of the Supreme Court in the CN & GN v Poole Borough Council litigation will be handed down at 9.45am on 6 June 2019. This decision will consider the nature and scope of the duties owed by local authorities to children living in their areas, more specifically whether social workers owe a duty to protect children from harm caused by third parties.
On the 1 April 2019 the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme, which has been operational since the 1 January 2018, reported on its progress.
The scheme had received 1,115 applications by mid-March this year. Applications have in the main been from England, though applications have also been received from the USA, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth council leader, said:
“As the new leader of this council I am committed to our pledge to survivors that this council will not be like previous administrations and will continue to face up to the past.
“This scheme is incredibly important as it acknowledges how very badly our former children’s home residents were let down. We know that many former children’s homes residents will never be able to forgive the council for their childhood experiences.
“But we are determined to do all we can to deliver swift and compassionate redress to those who have waited so long to even have acknowledgement of the suffering they experienced. I want to apologise to abuse survivors of behalf of the council.”
The first report published by IICSA in March 2018 related to child migration and it included a recommendation that HM Government establish a redress scheme for surviving former child migrants providing an equal award to every applicant on the basis they were all exposed to the risk of sexual abuse. This concept of being at risk of abuse even if abuse did not occur echoes the harm’s way payments included in the Lambeth Council Scheme and proposed in the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme.
On 2 December, 2018 the Department for Education (DfE) launched an open consultation the aim of which is to write a draft code of practice on safeguarding in out-of-school settings with accompanying guidance for parents.