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1.2.10 Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter provides information for Leeds social work practitioners on how to carry out an assessment of a person who may pose a risk to children; this person may or may not be convicted of an offence related to the potential risk.

This chapter should be read in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Children Procedure Risks Posed by People with Convictions against Children.

Relevant assessment tools can be found in the Resources and Forms Library.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed and updated in line with local guidance in August 2022.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. When to carry out a Person Posing a Risk to Children assessment
  3. The Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment
  4. Decision Making and Recording the Assessment and Plan


1. Introduction

A Home Office Review of Schedule 1 in 2004 identified that the term Schedule 1 Offender was ill defined and to a certain extent unhelpful since it defines people by their offending history rather than a comprehensive assessment of historical and current risks and the way those risks might be managed.

The Home Office therefore concluded the term Schedule 1 Offender should be replaced with the term ‘Risk to Children’ (RTC). This clearly indicates that the person has been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children.

For convenience they are referred to here as PPRtC (Person Posing Risk/Potential Risk to children).

The Leeds Practice Principles must be considered when undertaking a PPRtC assessment, particularly a focus on working with families, building respectful relationships and devising evidence based plans.  


2. When to carry out a Person Posing a Risk to Children (PPRtC) assessment?

A PPRtC is a risk assessment for an individual that presents a clear and ongoing risk to children by virtue of their offending or behaviour history. If a person has been cautioned about or convicted of an offence against a child, this should lead to an assessment of that individual.

If the individual has been convicted of any of these offences, a PPRtC must be carried out:

  1. Murder;
  2. Manslaughter;
  3. Infanticide;
  4. Kidnapping;
  5. False Imprisonment;
  6. Assault or Battery;
  7. Indecent Exposure;
  8. Child abuse;
  9. Abandonment of children under the age of two;
  10. Possession of indecent photographs of children;
  11. Child Stealing.

Other factors that can go towards identifying a person posing a risk to children include:

  1. Individuals who have been cautioned/warned/reprimanded in relation to an offence against children;
  2. Individuals against whom there is a previous finding in civil proceedings;
  3. Those about whom there has been a previous Section 47 Enquiry which came to the conclusion that there had been abuse;
  4. An individual who has admitted past abuse of a child;
  5. Others whose past or present behaviour gives rise to a reason to suspect that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm e.g. a history of domestic violence and other serious assaults;
  6. Offenders against adults who are notified to the local authority, because the prison or probation services are concerned about the possible risk to children;
  7. Offenders who come to the attention of the MAPPA (multi- agency public protection arrangements);
  8. A person convicted of or cautioned about Cyber-enabled crime, including offences that specifically target individuals, child sexual offences and indecent images of children, and child exploitation.

An assessment must be carried out on any PPR who may or may not be convicted of an offence relating to the area of risk when a decision needs to be made about whether it is safe for them to have contact with or to live in a household with children.

A PPRtC Assessment should be carried out whenever a social work practitioner becomes aware of such an individual who is:

  • Living in a household with children;
  • Having contact with a household with children; or
  • Where the individual is seeking contact or residence (or for another relevant reason).

The Team Manager will need to decide whether an up to date Child and Family Assessment (CFA) is required because of significant information on an open case.

The CFA should be carried out as a separate piece of work to the PPRtC assessment but relevant information gained through the CFA should inform the PPRtC Assessment and vice versa.


3. The Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment

The framework for the assessment is set out in the Person Posing a Risk to Children (PPRtC) Assessment Framework Workflow, which can be found in the Resources and Forms Library.

The social worker should use the PPRtC assessment as a framework for discussion with the PPR and other members of the household.

The information for the assessment is obtained from a series of planned interviews, by associated observation of the household interaction, and by information from other agencies.

The task is to assess the degree of risk and consider whether it is acceptable / manageable in the light of other factors. However, Social Workers and Team Managers must bear in mind the PPRtC assessment can take several weeks. Team Managers are responsible for deciding whether there is an evident high risk requiring immediate action to safeguard children, in addition to, or instead of, the commissioning of the PPRtC assessment.

When planning the PPRtC assessment, the Team Manager should consider whether the worker conducting the assessment should be independent, i.e. not already directly involved in working with the family in question.

The PPRtC assessment should be conducted openly with the individual concerned, the main care giver, the children, and all the other members of the household. As the risk assessment will normally require a series of discussions over a period of weeks, an assessment plan should be drawn up and shared with the PPR. When the report is completed, the PPR is entitled to receive a copy of the sections that refer to them.

It is important for those undertaking PPRtC assessments to bear in mind the importance of the following factors:

  • Consulting other professionals and practitioners who know the family;
  • Obtaining clear information about offences, cautions, allegations, and findings of fact;
  • Awareness of the process of the assessment – the development of relationships with the interviewer, attitude to authority;
  • Observations of family interactions;
  • Any changes in attitude/response depending on who is present at interviews;
  • Cultural factors.


4. Decision Making and Recording the Assessment and Plan

Once the assessment has been completed, the Social Worker should discuss the findings and the proposed plan with their Team Manager; then approval should be sought from the Service Delivery Manager.

When the report is completed, the PPR is entitled to receive a copy of the sections that refer to them.

Once the assessment and plan is agreed and signed off, the document should be uploaded to the Mosaic record of the individual in question.

An alert flag should be added to the Personal Details screen of the Mosaic record to advise that a PPRtC assessment has been carried out. Equally, if it has been established that an individual should not have contact or live in the same household with the children, this should also be stated.

If the person is known to Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), the alert flag could also advise contacting the MAPPA coordinator for confidential information about the person.

In addition, the assessment should be uploaded to the Mosaic record of any of the children in question.

For information about adding alert flags, see the practice guidance for adding warning markers on MOSAIC. See Resources and Forms Library.

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