Child Protection

– in the Scottish Parliament on 26th September 2013.

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Photo of Paul Martin Paul Martin Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to improve child protection services. (S4O-02436)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that fast and effective protection is in place for children at risk of abuse and neglect. To that end, we have introduced new and strengthened guidance to ensure that all practitioners working with children are equipped to protect children who are at risk.

We have also twice overseen the inspection of child protection services in every part of Scotland. The second round showed significant improvements overall, with 94 per cent receiving a positive report. Also, on 17 April 2012, we introduced the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill to Parliament. The bill is central to our aim of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up in.

Photo of Paul Martin Paul Martin Labour

I have here a copy of the serious case review in respect of Daniel Pelka. Has the minister had the chance to read the review? What action is the Government taking to put in place every possible safeguard to ensure that, in Scotland, we minimise the risk of another case similar to that of Daniel Pelka?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

I respect the way in which Paul Martin has raised the matter. The death of Daniel Pelka is an absolute tragedy. A significant amount of work has been done on the issue over the past couple of years, particularly in the past seven or eight months. In November last year, we published the “National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People”. On 28 November last year, we published the “National Framework for Child Protection learning and development in Scotland 2012”. We have refreshed and revised the pink book for health professionals, and we republished “Getting Our Priorities Right” in April this year for professionals specifically working with children and families for whom substance misuse is a factor. As I said, we have also published the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, which will strengthen the support that is available for vulnerable families.

It is worth reminding ourselves that, in the words of Tam Baillie, the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland,

“no place in the world can give a 100 per cent guarantee on the safety of all its children.”

Nevertheless, the Scottish Government is very much committed to ensuring that every child is protected and safe from harm. Of course, we will never be complacent but will learn the lessons from what has happened in England in relation to the case that the member mentioned.