Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter provides information for Kirklees social work practitioners on how to carry out an assessment of a person who may pose a risk to children (PPR); this person may or may not have been convicted of an offence related to the potential risk.
This chapter should be read in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Children Procedure Risks Posed by People with Convictions against Children.This guidance was added to the procedures in March 2018.
A Home Office Review of Schedule 1 in 2004 identified that the term Schedule 1 Offender was ill defined and to a certain extent unhelpful since it defines people by their offending history rather than any risks they may pose.
The Home Office therefore concluded the term Schedule 1 Offender should be replaced with the term 'Risk to Children' (RTC). This clearly indicates that the person has been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children.
For convenience they are referred to here as PPRtC (Person Posing Risk/Potential Risk to children)
2. When is an Assessment Required?
An assessment must be carried out on any PPR who may or may not be convicted of an offence relating to the area of risk when a decision needs to be made about whether it is safe for them to have contact with or to live in a household with children.
A PPRtC Assessment should be carried out whenever a social work practitioner becomes aware of such an individual who is:
- Living in a household with children;
- Having contact with a household with children; or
- Where the individual is seeking contact or residence (or for another relevant reason).
3. The Single Assessment
The Team Manager will need to decide whether an up to date Single Assessment is required because of significant information on an open case.The Single Assessment should be carried out as a separate piece of work to the PPRtC Assessment but relevant information gained through the Single Assessment should inform the PPRtC Assessment and vice versa.
4. The Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment
The Social Worker should use the assessment as a framework for discussion with the PPR and other members of the household (it is not just as a form to be completed).
The information to inform the assessment is obtained by a series of planned interviews, by associated observation of the household interaction, and by information from other agencies.
The task is to assess the degree of risk and consider whether it is acceptable / manageable in the light of other factors. However, Social Workers and Team Managers must bear in mind the PPRtC assessment can take several weeks. Team Managers are responsible for deciding whether there is an evident high risk requiring immediate action to safeguard children, in addition to, or instead of, the commissioning of the PPRtC assessment.
When planning the PPRtC assessment, the Team Manager should consider whether the worker conducting the assessment should be independent, i.e. not already directly involved in working with the family in question.
The PPRtC assessment should be conducted openly with the individual concerned, the main care giver, the children, and all the other members of the household. As the risk assessment will normally require a series of discussions over a period of weeks, an assessment plan should be drawn up and shared with the PPR.
It is important for those undertaking PPRtC assessments to bear in mind the importance of the following factors:
- Consulting other professionals and practitioners who know the family;
- Obtaining clear information about offences, cautions, allegations, and findings of fact;
- Awareness of the process of the assessment – the development of relationships with the interviewer, attitude to authority;
- Observations of family interactions;
- Any changes in attitude/response depending on who is present at interviews; and
- Cultural factors.
5. Decision Making and Recording the Assessment and Plan
Once the assessment has been completed, the Social Worker should discuss the findings and the proposed plan with their Team Manager; then approval should be sought from the Service Manager.
When the report is completed, the PPR is entitled to receive a copy of the sections that refer to them.
Once the assessment and plan are agreed and signed off, the documents should be uploaded to the Liquid Logic record for the individual in question.
An alert flag should be added to the Liquid Logic record to advise that a PPRtC assessment has been carried out. Equally, if it has been established that an individual should not have contact or live in the same household with the children, this should also be stated.
If the person is known to Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), the alert flag could also advise contacting the MAPPA coordinator for confidential information about the person.In addition, the assessment should be uploaded to the Liquid Logic record of any of the children in question.