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1.2.6 Requests for Information from West Yorkshire Police: Advice and Guidance to Field work Practitioners

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Emergency Situations - Section 47 Enquiries
  3. Routine Social Work Practice
  4. Approval of Carers

    Appendix 1: Requests for Information from West Yorkshire Police: Flowchart Summary

    Appendix 2: Emergency Written Agreement Proforma

    Appendix 3: Application for Police Check on an Individual Proforma


1. Introduction

During the course of Social Work Intervention with children and families it may be necessary to undertake enquiries of the Police, in relation to the information they hold which could be used to inform decision making. There are broadly three different scenarios and approaches which are relevant in this respect.

This document sets out to identify these three scenarios and to give clarity regarding the legal framework for requests and responses to information. It also provides practitioners with contact details in Children’s Social Care and West Yorkshire Police.


2. Emergency Situations - Section 47 Enquiries

The 1989 Children Act requires the Local Authority to conduct Section 47 Enquiries where it is suspected that a child has suffered, or is likely to have suffered, Significant Harm. It requires partner agencies to co-operate with these enquiries.

This is the only circumstance where local Police colleagues can, legislatively and legally, provide information to assist the Local Authority’s decision making. For example, decision about whether to place a child, in an emergency, with extended family/friends when a Section 47 Enquiry has commenced.

The Strategy Discussion which triggers the Section 47 should be led by either a Team Manager or Practice Supervisor/Advanced Practitioner (Laming requirement). In emergencies these will usually take place via telephone with a Detective Sergeant at the Safeguarding Unit, Halifax. 

The Safeguarding Unit will provide information to facilitate decision making where they have been involved in a Strategy Discussion which has triggered a Section 47 Enquiry.

The contact details for such requests are:

Email: fa.safeguarding@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
Fax: 01422 337275
Telephone: 01422 337199

The designated personnel who can make a decision to release this information within the Safeguarding Unit are:

Detective Inspector
Detective Sergeants.

In cases where a Section 47 is triggered out of normal office hours the Emergency Duty Team should liaise with the Duty Sergeant at Halifax Police Station.

In these circumstances, the Emergency Written Agreement (see Appendix 2: Emergency Written Agreement Proforma) should be used with the child’s parent/carers and those with whom the child is to be placed temporarily. The details of the information provided should be recorded in a case note on the child’s case record in the Child's Electronic Record.


3. Routine Social Work Practice 

In the following situations the pro-forma Application for Police Check on an Individual (see Appendix 3: Application for Police Check on an Individual Proforma) should be completed.

  • Proposed placement with friends and family;
  • Pre-birth assessment;
  • Court Report;
  • Child with Child Protection Plan - Adult with contact;
  • Contact with Child Looked After;
  • Other (e.g. Private Fostering).

The Police are permitted to provide the Local Authority with information to inform decision making. The information provided is much fuller than what can be disclosed via a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. For example, it will detail domestic violence and abuse attendances and other ‘intelligence’.

A request to the Force Disclosure Unit via the application form will only be progressed if it has been authorised by the Local Authority’s Single Point of Contact (SPOC). This is to ensure consistency and quality. The designated personnel able to authorise these are the Services Managers from Children’s Social Care.

Practitioners should complete the application with as much information as possible and send through to their Team Manager for authorising. Upon approving the application, the Team Manager should forward to the Service Manager’s Personal Assistant who will bring it to the attention of the available SPOC. If the application is approved by the SPOC it will then be emailed and a hard copy posted to the Force Disclosure Unit.

It is important to note that once the information is received (usually between 2 - 4 weeks) it should not be used for direct Court use or given to partners involved as it may contain sensitive third party information. The information received should be recorded in the Child's Electronic Record. The document can be scanned into the stored documents. A case note should be produced which summarises the information and designates next steps. 

A discussion should take place with the individual(s) concerned regarding the information received. 


4. Approval of Carers

The Local Authority’s approval of Connected Persons, Foster Carers and prospective adopters is governed by the 1989 Children Act and the Guidance and Regulations. These require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to be undertaken.

The prospective carers should be asked by the worker undertaking the assessment to complete and sign the application form. They should then send this to the Council’s Human Resources Department who will check that these have been completed appropriately. The completed and approved document will then be sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service in the usual way. They will be returned within the service level agreement. 


Appendix 1: Requests for Information from West Yorkshire Police: Flowchart Summary

Click here to view Requests for Information from West Yorkshire Police: Flowchart Summary


Appendix 2: Emergency Written Agreement Proforma

Click here to access the Emergency Written Agreement Proforma


Appendix 3: Application for Police Check on an Individual Proforma

Click here to access the Application for Police Check on an Individual Proforma

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