§ Mrs. Fyfe
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many private advice organisations specialising in investigating child abuse and training such investigators are operating;
(2) what is the current system of regulation or accountability to public authority for private agencies specialising in advising on child abuse; and what plans she has for changes;
(3) what guidance she issues on the minimum qualifications necessary to practise as an advice agency to children who are being abused or adults who were abused in childhood;
(4) whether she will make it her policy to establish a national register of private agencies that carry out investigations of child abuse, training for investigators, or advice to persons who have been abused;
(5) if she will bring forward proposals to set up a general social services council with the responsibility of setting standards for private agencies offering advice or training in areas such as child abuse, and with powers similar to other professional bodies to suspend or expel members who fail to maintain acceptable professional standards.
§ Mr. Yeo
It is for the local authority, which has a duty to investigate under section 47 of the Children Act 1989, or for the National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children when authorised to act on behalf of the local authority under that provision, to satisfy itself that any person it employs to investigate allegations of child abuse, train investigators, or give advice to persons who have been abused, is appropriately qualified and trained.
There is no additional need for a separate system of regulation or national registration for private agencies involved in such activities. Information is not available centrally on the number of these agencies.