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3. Policy Context

There have been a number of significant policy initiatives related to child protection in Scotland since 2000. The most important of these are: It’s Everyone’s Job to Make Sure I’m Alright (Scottish Executive, 2002), a national audit of child protection which found that some children remained at risk of significant harm despite being known to agencies, and that many children and adults had little confidence in the child protection system. This audit’s recommendations were followed up in The Child Protection Reform Programme, a set of initiatives promoted by the Scottish Executive 2003. These included:

  • A Children’s Charter setting out what children wanted from services and a Framework for Standards which re-cast this charter into eight standards for child protection professionals.
  • Initiatives to raise public awareness about child protection.
  • Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) (Scottish Executive, 2005a) which developed a universal, multidisciplinary, approach to assessing and meeting the needs of children. GIRFEC developed a new assessment model, the ‘My World Triangle’. In most local authorities the model has been operationalised through the introduction of the Integrated Assessment Framework as the standard assessment framework for use with children by all professionals across children’s services.

Finally, new child protection guidance was issued by the Scottish Government in December 2010, replacing previous guidance from 1998. The new guidance includes advice on information sharing about potential risks, new national timescales for holding child protection case conferences within 21 days, and the removal of the requirement for local authorities to identify a category of registration when a child is placed on the Child Protection Register. However, key risks must be recorded and information on the register is to be shared with the child and their carers (Scottish Government, 2010a).