HC Deb 24 February 2003 vol 400 cc355-6W
Mr. Peter Duncan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his role in maintaining accurate child protection records. [98758]

Jacqui Smith

In December 1999, the Secretary of State published Working Together to Safeguard Children, a guide to interagency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, using his powers under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970.

"Working Together to Safeguard Children" includes guidance to agencies and professionals in relation to record keeping. It makes clear that good record keeping is an important part of the accountability of professionals to those who use their services, and that well kept records provide an essential underpinning to good child protection practice.

Records should be accessible and comprehensive, with judgments made, and actions and decisions taken being carefully recorded. They should use clear, straightforward language, should be concise, and should be accurate not only in fact, but also in differentiating between opinion, judgements and hypothesis.

The Social Services inspectorate performance monitors the implementation of the Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance (and other relevant Government guidance) through its programme of inspections of children's services.

Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to improve joint working between Multi-Agency Public Protection Panels and Area Child Protection Committees to safeguard children. [96063]

Jacqui Smith

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on Monday 10 February 2003,Official Report, column 587–88W.

Mr. Peter Duncan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many allegations in terms of the Children's Act 1989 were made by health trusts in respect of child protection issues in each of the last five years. [98343]

Jacqui Smith

The information requested is not held centrally.

Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with(a) representatives of the NSPCC on child protection and (b) the Fostering Network on care of children. [98487]

Jacqui Smith

The Department works closely with voluntary organisations which have an interest in safeguarding children.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has had no recent discussions. However, I meet with relevant voluntary organisations to discuss these issues.

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