National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 3 Version 1.0 September 2021 Introduction 8. ‘Partnership’ may not be attainable in a timescale that protects the child. However, even when urgent action is needed, this Guidance stresses the need for proactive and persistent effort to understand and achieve a shared understanding of concerns, and a shared approach to addressing them. The Guidance references collaborative, strength-based approaches to assessment and engagement in protective action. 9. Recognising the context of risk and need entails recognition of the influence of structural inequalities, such as poverty. Effective protection addresses the interaction between early adverse experiences, poverty, ill health and neglect. A disproportionate intensity of child protection interventions occur in the most materially deprived neighbourhoods. This indicates a need, not only to ‘think family’ but to think beyond the family, addressing patterns of concern and supporting positive opportunities in communities. 10. In rural and island areas, access to assessment and support services may be reduced. Child protection structures may require tailored adaptation in every area. This Guidance clarifies shared responsibilities and standards across diverse structures. 11. The interaction of risks and needs for each child in the context of their family and their community increasingly involves appreciation of the role of media and internet in each situation, especially in teenage years. Every child has the right to safety and support online. 12. Guidance, procedures and assessment frameworks may promote broad consistency. However, effective communication and partnership is a matter of relationship. This begins with listening and seeking shared understanding. Intuition, analysis, consultation and professional judgement all play a part in deciding when and how to intervene in each situation. Inter-agency training and predictable supervision are key to safe, principled and competent practice. 13. Child protection provokes constant developmental challenges for every individual and for every team. Safe practice is more likely to arise from a culture of leadership that has an evaluative focus on outcomes and promotes systematic learning from mistakes and good practice. Engagement with children in child protection 14. Voices of children and young people shaped the Children’s Charter in 2004. Expectations of children and young people are represented in the wheel diagram (Figure 1). Those voices are echoed and strengthened by the voices of those who, 15 years later, contributed to consultation on the National Practice Model for Advocacy in the Children’s Hearings System (revised 2020). 15. The Independent Care Review (2020) listened to over 5,500 individuals. More than half of whom had had experience of the ‘care system’. This Review emphasised the need to listen to children’s voices. The significance of sibling relationships must also be recognised in assessment and decision-making as now required by the Children Scotland Act (2020). Engagement with families in child protection 16. Families have a range of distinct yet connected expectations. Strong themes arose from parents, support groups, advocacy and support services during the revision of this Guidance. These are reflected in Figure 2. ‘Parents’ here refers to parents and any other carers with parental responsibility for the child.