HC Deb 02 May 2001 vol 367 c655W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how compliance with the "Working Together" guidelines for child protection is monitored and inspected; which agencies are monitored; and which inspectorates discharge this function. [158888]

Mr. Hutton

The social services inspectorate social care regions and inspection groups and the SSI/Audit Commission joint review team all contribute to the assessment of the performance of each local council with social services responsibilities. Their work is informed by the performance information collected by the local council, through the performance assessment framework. Some inspections cover broad areas of services, such as children's services. Others focus on more specific tasks, such as monitoring the performance of authorities which are subject to special measures.

The SSI social care regions monitor the progress made by all councils in implementing the "Government's Objectives for Children's Social Services", progress on major initiatives such as "Quality Protects", and action plans to address the recommendations of inspections and joint reviews.

Many agencies beyond social services departments have child protection responsibilities. These responsibilities are set out in detail in "Working Together to Safeguard Children". For the first time ever, beginning later this year, there will be a programme of children's safeguards inspections. These inspections will focus on the working of area child protection committees in their implementation of "Working Together to Safeguard Children", and the inter-agency arrangements to assess and address the risks posed by dangerous adults. They will be undertaken by a team of inspectors drawn from each of the inspectorates for the range of agencies with regular contact with children, and will be led by the SSI. It will therefore include inspectors from Ofsted, the Commission for Health Improvement, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, HMI Prisons, and will be supported by the Magistrates Courts Service Inspectorate and the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.