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National Legislation

This section brings together the national legislation that informs how we jointly deliver a service to children and families in Gloucestershire. These are the non-negotiable Acts of Parliament that drive the work we do and hold us to a standard.

“Nothing is more important than children’s welfare. Children who need help and protection deserve high quality and effective support as soon as a need is identified”

(Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board Revised Guidance - Working Together to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children in England. July 2018)

The documents in this section affect the national response to working with children and families and are support the development of delivery at a local level.

Children and Families Act

The Children and Families Act 2014 made a number of changes to give better protection to vulnerable children and better support for all families. These changes include family justice measures such as mediation requirements and introducing a 26-week time limit for completing care and supervision proceedings.

The Act also seeks to improve the home life balance of families, by allowing parents to share parental leave and giving adoptive parents the same leave entitlements as birth parents. 

Within the Act are a range of measures to protect the welfare of children and young people, including:

  • Giving children in care the choice to stay with their foster carers until the age of 21;
  • Clarifying parents’ rights to support from local councils;
  • Requiring all state-funded schools and academies to provide free lunches on request for all pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2;
  • Amending the law in relation to smoking in a car with children present;
  • Applying a new duty to schools to support children with medical conditions.

When supporting children, young people and their families, we must ensure that the information we give them is clear and explains the support they will receive, by whom and when. Multi agency working is key to ensuring that effective communication, support and services focus on the child’s needs, in a joined up and holistic manner.

To access the Children and Families Act (2014) document, please click HERE.

Data Protection Act

Many families and professionals will have become aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of GDPR, setting out key data protection principles and putting the responsibility for following these principles on individuals. All professionals working with children, young people and their families must follow these key principles, making sure that the information they use and store is:

  • used fairly, lawfully and transparently;
  • used for specified, explicit purposes;
  • used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary;
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
  • kept for no longer than is necessary;
  • handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage.

These principles mean that when we support a child or young person and their family, we are open and clear about what information we collect, how it is stored and who it is shared with. We need to ensure that records kept are correct, updated and destroyed securely as soon as they are no longer needed (in line with statutory guidance on how long documents should be kept for).

The 2018 Data Protection Act gives individuals clearer rights in relation to their data. They can request access to their data, to have their data updated if it is incorrect and to have their data erased. When supporting children, young people and their families, we need to ensure that they understand what information is being collected and check that it is accurate. We need to ensure that if we are informed of information changing, we update records as soon as we can. Subject Access Requests are actioned within 30 calendar days wherever possible.

To access the Data Protection Act (2018) document, please click HERE.

Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework

The EYFS Statutory Framework (EYFS) 2017 outlines expectations of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years. All Early Years settings must follow the framework and it is used in Ofsted inspections. There are three sections to the framework:

  • Section 1: The learning and development requirements;
  • Section 2: Assessment;
  • Section 3: The safeguarding and welfare requirements.

Section 1 of the EYFS framework outlines the seven areas of learning (communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world and expressive arts and design) and what Early Years practitioners should do to ensure that the children in their settings develop well and meet the Early Learning Goals.

Section 2 outlines the Early Learning Goals which are a series of statements that explain the expected achievements of children by the end of the EYFS, e.g. children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. By having a good working knowledge of the EYFS framework and Early Learning Goals, we are able to identify children and families who might require support. This links closely with effective assessment of children as they move through the EYFS, so that any support needs can be identified as early as possible.

Section 3 of the EYFS framework states that “Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.” This section clearly outlines the safeguarding expectations for Early Years settings. Section 3 clarifies staff to child ratios across the different types of setting, managing children’s health needs and safety in general.

When supporting children and their families, we need to ensure that they are aware of what to expect from their Early Years setting and how their child is developing. Where needed, professionals signpost to other support services, to make sure that the correct support is given in order to meet the child’s needs.

To access the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021) document, please click HERE.

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 merged together over one hundred separate pieces of legislation into one Act, making the legislation simpler. The Act outlines nine protected characteristics, aiming to protect from discrimination on the grounds of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Under the Equality Act 2010, children, young people and their families have a legal right to protection from harassment and discrimination. This means that when we are working with children, young people and families we need to ensure they have fair and equal access to services and support. We must also challenge stereotypes and discrimination.

To access the Equality Act (2010) document, please click HERE.

Keeping Children Safe in Education

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) 2021 is statutory guidance for all schools and colleges in England and is set out in five parts, as follows:

  • Part one: Safeguarding information for all staff;
  • Part two: The management of safeguarding;
  • Part three: Safer recruitment;
  • Part four: Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff;
  • Part five: Child on Child Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment.

KCSiE should be read in conjunction with Working Together to Safeguard Children and makes it clear that a child-centred and co-ordinated approach, where all staff members take responsibility for safeguarding is the most effective way to safeguard children and young people. All staff must be prepared to identify children who might require support and know how to refer concerns about a child or young person’s welfare.

The child’s welfare and wellbeing is paramount, which is why we always capture the voice of the child when working with children, young people and their families. By understanding the child’s views and experiences, we can better tailor support to the child’s needs.

To access the Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021) document, please click HERE.

SEND Code of Practice

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years is statutory guidance bringing with it a stronger focus on high aspirations and on improving outcomes for children and young people. Under the SEND Code of Practice 2015, there is a clear focus on the importance of children, young people and their parents participating in decision-making.

The SEND Code of Practice states that educational settings must not discriminate (directly or indirectly) against children or young people because of their disability and must make reasonable adjustments to ensure that children and young people with SEND are not at a “substantial disadvantage” compared to their peers.

Within the SEND Code of Practice there are three key principles, stating that local authorities must have regard to:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person, and the child’s parents;
  • the importance of the child or young person, and the child’s parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions;
  • the need to support the child or young person, and the child’s parents, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood.

Some of the work that educational settings must complete is anticipatory, meaning that they must identify ways in which children and young people will require support before that support is needed. This can be achieved through effective collaboration between early years providers, schools, colleges, health and social care services and children, young people and their families.

To access the SEND Code of Practice (2015) document, please click HERE.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1992 lists 54 articles that outline rights that children worldwide are entitled to. The UNCRC details how adults and governments must ensure that all children can enjoy these rights. The rights in the UNCRC apply to all children, regardless of their gender, age, religion, ethnicity or any other status.

The articles in the convention have equal importance and weighting, with no right being more important than another. There are four articles known as the “General Principles” and these articles can be used to help us to understand the other articles and to plan the support we give to children, young people and their families. These four articles are:

  • Article 2: Non-discrimination: The Convention applies to every child without discrimination, whatever their ethnicity, sex, religion, language, abilities or any other status, whatever they think or say, whatever their family background.
  • Article 3: Best interest of the child: The best interests of the child must be a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect children.
  • Article 8: Right to life survival and development: Every child has the right to an identity. Governments must respect and protect that right, and prevent the child’s name, nationality or family relationships from being changed unlawfully.
  • Article 12: Right to be heard: Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.

To access the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992) document, please click HERE.

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Working Together to Safeguard Children was last updated in February 2019 and should be read in conjunction with Keeping Children Safe in Education. Working Together highlights the importance of effective communication, maintaining a child-centred approach and the child or young person’s needs being paramount. Within the document there is clear guidance on:

  • Assessing need and providing help;
  • Organisational responsibilities;
  • Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements;
  • Improving child protection and safeguarding practice;
  • Child death reviews.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, as Working Together explains, and it is vital that everyone who works with children and young people understands their role. Any and all staff who have a concern about a child or young person’s welfare must be prepared to raise this concern. Safeguarding takes priority over data protection, so worries about sharing information shouldn’t stop anyone from raising a concern according to their setting’s policies and procedures.

To access the Working Together to Safeguard Children (2019) document, please click HERE.

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