Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 2B: Approach to multi-agency assessment in child protection 74 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Introduction 2.218 Part 2B provides a bridge and preface to the following sections by outlining common elements in multi-agency assessment of children and families. Cross-cutting expectations and themes are identified. The section concludes with signposts to improvement that are relevant to all services. Part 3 then describes in detail steps in child protection processes. Part 4 provides guidance in relation to specific support needs and concerns. 2.219 Purpose of multi-agency assessments. Assessments may have a specific focus and legal basis. The general purposes of a child protection assessment are (a) to gather, share and analyse such information about a child, family and relevant context as may be necessary for the purpose of determining harm, or risk of harm, and (b) to inform planning of action and support necessary to ensure a child’s safety and wellbeing. 2.220 Local assessment protocols should define how assessment and planning operates within local structures. It is beyond the scope of this Guidance to provide a comprehensive manual for all relevant forms of assessment. Whatever the specific focus, stage and format, there should be a focus on the journey for the child, and a shared understanding with those people the child needs alongside them. 2.221 Guiding considerations. Whatever the nature of concerns, all practitioners will ensure that child protection processes are underpinned by consideration of rights, relationships and resilience, as indicated below. 2.222 Rights. Child protection is integral to protection of human rights. 2.223 UNCRC u nderpins the Getting it right for every child approach. The child’s best interests, right to non-discrimination, and appropriate involvement in decision-making are key requirements. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 s upports implementation of key aspects of the UNCRC. The findings of the Independent Care Review further strengthen these expectations. 2.224 The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) provides an international framework for human rights. It was given domestic legal effect in the UK through the Human Rights Act 1998 w hich places a duty on public authorities (which includes the Scottish Ministers) not to act incompatibly with certain articles (known as ‘Convention rights’). There are also specific legal requirements relating to Convention rights in the Scotland Act 1998. The Equality Act 2010 places duties on public authorities, which include the requirement to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited under that Act. 2.225 Relationships. Protecting children involves listening to families, being clear and honest about concerns, giving choices and seeking co‑operation, especially when compulsory measures are needed. (“All children must be supported to continue relationships that are important to them, where it is safe to do so.” Independent Care Review (2020)). 2.226 Resilience. Practitioners protect children by considering the holistic wellbeing needs of each child, and by building on those strengths and potentials in the child and in their world that will help them move through phases of stress and adversity.