On 5 March 2018, the government response to their consultation on reporting child abuse and neglect was finally published and NAHT is pleased that their decisions reflect the views we expressed in our submission (attached below).
The consultation was originally published in July 2016 and sought views on proposals to introduce additional legal duties for professionals, including teachers and school leaders, and organisations working to protect young people. These proposed changes to the law included mandatory reporting of any concern relating to child abuse, and a duty to act, whereby individuals could face professional or criminal sanctions for failing to take appropriate action where child abuse was known or suspected.
NAHT argued that planned reforms, along with other actions, were needed to strengthen the current systems and increase the capacity of social care. These were likely to have a more significant impact on outcomes for children than the introduction of mandatory reporting where the evidence is not clear either way.
As a result of the consultation, which received over 760 responses, the government has concluded that the case for the introduction of a mandatory reporting duty or a duty to act has not been made. Neither of these proposals will be taken forward.
As highlighted by NAHT in our response, the government found that the evidence did not demonstrate that either of the proposals would sufficiently improve outcomes for children and that these additional measures could risk creating unnecessary burdens and divert attention from the most serious cases.
The government will instead focus on taking action to address some of the key issues raised by respondents to the consultation, in addition to implementing their existing programme of reforms.
You can read the government's response in full here.
Members must be logged in to read our response to the consultation.