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Current Legislation


Current Legislation

Children Acts

Current legislation can be found in The Children Acts of 1989, 2004, & 2014 & 2017. They address such issues as:

  • The upholding of the fundamental rights of children. That children have the right to be able to live free from abuse and neglect. 
  • The responsibilities placed on all agencies in the protection and the promotion of the wellbeing of all children and young people.
  • Essential principles of safeguarding and in promoting welfare.

The Acts of particular importance in children’s safeguarding are:

  • 1989 Children Act

  • 2004 Children Act

  • 2014 Children and Families Act

    • addresses adoption processes and also introduced a single assessment and Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans for children with Special Educational Needs and disabilities
    • The text of the act can be found here
  • 2017 Children and Social Work Act

    • introduces significant changes to safeguarding and to social work practice, it also replaced Local Safeguarding Children Boards with new multiagency partnerships, changing the processes for Serious Case Reviews and other learning reviews. Also, making changes to relationships, sex and PSHE in schools and introducing changes for care leavers and children who are in the care of the local authority
    • The text of the act can be found here

Background Checking of Staff and Volunteers

  • Protection of Children Act 1999

    • Introduced the responsibility for the Secretary of State to maintain a list of people considered to be unsuitable to work with children and young people. This Act led to the establishment of the previous CRB checking system.
    • The text of the act can be found here
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

    • Established the Independent Barring Board to manage the list of people barred from working with children and with adults. It also clearly defined regulated activity in relation to both children and vulnerable adults.
    • The text of the act can be found here
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

    • addresses the balance between the need to gather and retain information for the purpose of the rule of law and the protection of vulnerable people on one side of the equation with the need to protect the privacy of individuals on the other side of the equation.  It pared back the scale of DBS checking. 
    • The text of the act can be found here
  • The Childcare Disqualification Regulations 2009

    • applies to providers of childcare to early years and children under 8 and require the employee to disclose if a member of their immediate household is on the barred list or has committed certain offences and that the employing organisation has the responsibility to enquire whether this is the case (NB – these regulations must be applied with care as they only apply to a narrow group of people; see national guidance that can be found here or seek advice.).
Education Acts

Education Acts, focus on the responsibilities that educational institutions have in regards to safeguarding. It is also focussed on the outcomes affecting children. While Education acts may not be directly relevant to our work as churches, they do however,  provide an indication as to the expectations of universal services as they have an important role in safeguarding children but are not part of the Child Protection provision of the Local Authority.

Sexual Offences Act

This act defines sexual offences against children and so provides protection for those children.  It also addresses the abuse of a position of trust. The text of the act can be found here.

Prevent Duty current legislation 

Prevent is part of the counter-terrorism strategy. The aim of this strategy is to prevent individuals from being drawn into violent extremism and so to prevent radicalisation.  We see much media focus on Islamic radicalisation but the strategy much broader than this. It covers any form of violent extremism, whether religious, including atheism, ideological, ethnic, nationalistic etc. The strategy works to prevent any and all forms of violent extremism and to promote “Fundamental British Values” which in this context are:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

The Prevent Duty requires those in “specified authorities”  to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.  While churches are not specified authorities, there is nothing to prevent a church from reporting and making its concerns known to the Local Authority if they have concerns about radicalisation and we would also argue that there is a moral duty on us to do so.  

The Prevent Duty Guidance can be found here.

FGM Duty : Current legislation on Female Genital Mutilation; sometimes referred to as female circumcision

As with the Prevent Duty, churches don’t fall within the scope of the FGM Duty. But this shouldn’t prevent churches from raising concerns and there is a general expectation that we would do so.  The duty places a requirement those in Health, Social Care and also Educational settings to report where a girl who is under 18 years of age discloses that she has been a victim of FGM or where the worker observes physical signs that may indicate that FGM has occurred.  The FGM duty doesn’t extend beyond the 18th birthday, even if the procedure was carried out even before the victim turned 18  and does not apply in relation to risk or suspected cases.  That said, it is  the expectation that churches will report relevant information and that risk would be reported, not under the FGM Duty, but under the requirement to prevent significant harm.

The FGM Duty Guidance can be found here.

Human Rights and the United Nations