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Heads welcome plans to drop mandatory reporting

Head teachers welcome government’s announcement that it will not introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse for professionals working with children

Published on 6th March 2018

Head teachers have welcomed the government’s announcement that it has abandoned plans to introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse for professionals.

The government revealed last week that it will not be introducing mandatory reporting of child abuse or a ‘duty to act’ to professionals including teachers and social workers after most of the respondents to the consultation said it would not be beneficial to protecting children.

Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the social workers and other professionals who support the most vulnerable in our society, especially those who have been victims of abuse.

“The response to this consultation shows the strength of feeling among the sector on this extremely important issue, and it’s vital that we work directly with people on the ground, supporting them to carry out their work sensitively and efficiently.

“Decisions we make as a government should be with the ambition of improving outcomes for as many in society as possible, which is why we must listen to the views and experience of the sector as we progress further with our reform agenda,” he added.

The National Association of Head-Teachers responded to the government’s consultation on mandatory reporting and 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.

The government received more than 760 responses to the consultation. Nearly 70% felt mandatory reporting could have an adverse impact on the child protection system while 85% said it would not in itself lead to appropriate action being taken to protect children. Just 25 per cent agreed with mandatory reporting and only 12 per cent agreed with introducing a ‘duty to act’.

A statement from NAHT said: “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,” it added.

 

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