Plans to allow Ofsted to share the names and addresses of children’s homes with the police and other bodies have been launched today.
Children’s minister Edward Timpson published consultation proposals to allow Ofsted to share the names and addresses of children’s homes on their register with the police, the Department for Education and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
Outlining the plans the minister said:
There’s a clear need for the police, local authorities and Ofsted to work in a different, ‘smarter’ way to tackle the ever changing challenge of protecting our most vulnerable children.
Local police forces have argued for many years that in order to best serve and protect these children they need to know where they live. Our proposals simply reflect a common sense approach.
Ofsted already share their register of the names and addresses of children’s homes with local authorities on a monthly basis but the current rules do not allow them to share this register on a regular basis with the police.
The plans will allow local polices forces to:
- work more proactively to protect the welfare of children living in children’s homes in their area;
- prevent offenders targeting children living in children’s homes; and
- help police to protect children missing from care from harm.
ACPO lead for missing persons, Deputy Chief Constable Patrick Geenty, said:
These developments are very encouraging and will further enhance the working relationships between agencies.
This will ensure more effective and efficient safeguarding measures can be put in place for responding to incidents involving children’s homes.
It is essential that we ensure that children’s data is fully protected. To support this, a joint protocol will be developed with Ofsted, the Association of Chief Police Officers, CEOP and others setting out the rules around how information will be shared, by whom, and when. Details of this will be outlined in due course.
Notes to editors
The Proposed Changes to Regulation 7 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (Registration) (England) Regulations 2010 is available on the Department for Education’s website.
On 3 July 2012 Ministers laid a written ministerial statement making a commitment to change the regulations to allow Ofsted to share the information on the location of children’s homes with the police and other specified bodies.
The consultation will be open from 29 November and end on the 10 January 2013. The 6-week consultation will to give respondents as much opportunity as possible to participate in the consultation. This information will be used by the Department for Education for statistical purposes.
The functions of the Children’s Rights Director (CRD) will shortly be moved to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC). These proposals allow the OCC to have access to the same information that the CRD currently has access to.