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Review date:

__________________________ (on behalf of G5RG)



__________________________ Table of Contents


1. Introduction

P. 3

2. Background

P. 3

3. Definition

P. 4

4. Scope


5. Principles

P. 4

6. Procedures for Emergency Suitability Checks

P. 5

7. Extenuating Circumstances



P. 6

List of Contacts

P. 7

Appendix A – Blank Emergency Suitability Record Form






This protocol is designed to facilitate emergency suitability checks against named persons on behalf of social work staff who require to find suitable accommodation for a child in cases of emergency. This protocol is not designed to replace existing arrangements through the Disclosure Scotland Request processes however is an enhancement to enable early and necessary placements.


Social Work staff regularly come into contact with adults in respect of whom they have a high level of concerns. These adults may either live in or join the household of a child, or alternatively, staff may have to place a child with an adult at very short notice on an emergency basis in order to keep them safe. In such emergency circumstances reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that full suitability checks of those adults have been undertaken in order to protect and promote the welfare of the child. It is usually in the child’s best interests to place them with relatives or adults that they know and trust. However, staff require to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and welfare of the child, by undertaking appropriate checks of those adults prior to placing the child, or as soon as is reasonably practical thereafter. Professional judgement and discretion may be required depending on individual circumstances.


Previously this information has been provided to Social Work Services on an ad-hoc basis by Central Scotland Police through the Control Room or by local attending police officers. There has been no control of this, little consistency and no audit-trail.


With more time available, the information can be provided by Disclosure Scotland however this process would not be appropriate in an emergency situation.


A recent HMIE inspection recommended improvement were made to ensure the robustness of checks in this area.


All agencies have a shared responsibility to ensure the safety of children is not compromised by being placed with an individual who could be a risk to them.




As a result of the HMIe recommendations Stirling Council and Central Scotland Police took part in an ‘Emergency Disclosure Pilot’ for a six month period. This involved requests being sent electronically by social work to the force Disclosure Unit where relevant checks were conducted on individuals and negative responses responded to directly. Checks resulting in information being found were allocated to the Public Protection Unit (PPU) who made an


assessment of the information and a decision on what should be disclosed to Social Work. 2.2

A review of the pilot identified that although there were a number of benefits, there were two main difficulties precluding it being rolled out across Forth Valley in it’s present format. • •

There were additional resourcing demands both within the Police Disclosure Unit and the PPU The process was primarily only available during officer hours and did not accommodate for a true ‘emergency’ situation.

The review and possible implications of the pilot were carefully considered and the decision taken not to proceed with the current pilot. A more simplified procedure was required to ensure that in emergency situations checks could be readily undertaken to ensure the safety of children.




The following definitions apply to this protocol – Child: A child or young person who has not attained the age of 16 years, or a child over the age of 16 year who has not attained the age of 18 years and in respect of whom a supervision requirement is in force.



4. 1

This protocol is designed for: All children living in the boundaries of Forth Valley, or who are Looked After and Accommodated by any of the three Local Authorities of Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Councils.




This protocol should be read as guidance and cannot anticipate every situation. Agencies working with children in a professional capacity should use their judgement to take whatever action is deemed necessary to ensure the safety and protection of the child.


It is recognised that Social Work hold significant records on individuals and checks of their systems may preclude an individual from caring for a child. With this in mind checks of Social Work systems should be conducted in the first instances which may negate the need for an ‘Emergency Suitability Check’.


Our joint aim is to reduce the risk of children being placed with individuals in an emergency situation who may pose a risk to them.



By carrying out emergency suitability checks of systems we will minimise the potential risk of placing children within unsuitable adults.


Should a child continue to be placed with person(s) subject of an emergency suitability check then a full Disclosure Scotland Request, or Protection of Vulnerable Group Request, as appropriate, should be submitted through normal channels.


Procedures for Emergency Suitability Checks


Situations will arise where Social Work staff will require to carry out an emergency assessment of the suitability of a person to be in the same household, or have regular care/contact with children. It is anticipated that this will primarily be as a result of them having concerns about an adult who joins a household of a child, or where a child requires to be placed at short notice with other adults, who can often be other family members. Where this ‘emergency’ situation arises and the information is required on an urgent basis to make an informed decision on an individual’s suitability then the procedures outlined in this Protocol should be followed.


Social Work staff should complete PART A of the Request Form (Appendix A), providing – Details of the child Details of all individuals that require checked Reason and circumstances for the requirement Applicants/Supervisors Details, including e mail addresses & telephone numbers.

• • • •

Social Work staff should thereafter telephone Central Scotland Police on 01786 456000 and ask for the Force Intelligence Unit (FIB) Ext.2497 to alert them that the request will be sent by e mail to FIB is generally staffed between 0800 and 0200hrs. Outwith these hours, or when no contact can be made then the Force Communications and Control Centre (FCCC) should be alerted and the form sent by secure e mail to 6.3

On receipt of the Request Form, the FIB or FCCC will complete the following process. Dependent upon duty hours, the FIB or FCCC staff should then complete PART B of the Request Form – • • •

Checking four police systems (CHS, PNC, VPR and SID) Recording if no information is held or alternatively detailing what information is held on the individual(s) Operators Details


Again, dependent upon duty hours, the FIB or FCCC will notify the on duty Detective Inspector at the Public Protection Unit or Force Response Inspector of the request by Airwave and e mail the form, including information held to them for their consideration. 6.4

The Detective Inspector, Public Protection Unit or Force Response Inspector, on receipt of the Request Form should then make an assessment of the police information held on the suitability of a child being placed with the individual(s). Each case should be based on judgement in relation the information held. The Detective Inspector, Public Protection Unit or Force Response Inspector, should then complete PART C of the Request Form• •

Selecting either number one or number two, indicating if concerns are present or not Their details The Inspector should then contact the named Social Worker or their Supervisor to pass the result of the Emergency Suitability Check and record their details on the form. A copy of the completed Request Form should be retained by the Public Protection Unit to whom all paperwork should be forwarded.


Extenuating Circumstances It is recognised that in some emergency situations Social Workers, and in particular Emergency Duty Team (EDT) staff will be in attendance at an address where a situation has arisen that requires an emergency suitability check to be conducted. The dynamics of the situation may prevent them returning to an office to complete and electronically send the Request Form. It is anticipated that in these situations operational police officers will also be in attendance and in order to authenticate the emergency checks it would be appropriate for the request to be routed through the officer to pass this information directly to FCCC staff who could thereafter complete both PART A and B, before sending the form on to the Force Response Inspector/Detective Inspector to make the normal assessment and pass the result.


Health Assessment When assessing an individuals suitability to care for a child and fully identify all of the potential risks present the Social Worker requesting an Emergency Suitability Check should also make contact with NHS Forth Valley Child Protection Department on the telephone number listed below, at the earliest opportunity. During office hours NHS FV Child Protection Department will be able to provide information which will aid in a full assessment of the risks an individual may pose to the child, eg substance abuse, mental health issues or other medical condition which may be worthy of note.


This process will be reviewed initially after three months and thereafter annually by the agencies involved and may be subject to interim amendment dependent on any issues identified.

Legislation Sharing of personal information is being carried out under the Forth Valley Information Sharing Protocol and in accordance with the following legislation: Children Scotland Act 1995 The Data Protection Act 1998 Common Law Powers of Disclosure and The Human Rights Act 1998 ARTICLE 8 RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE 1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.



Central Scotland Police

Social Work Services – Children & Families


Police Headquarters 01786 456000 Force Intelligence Bureau, Ext 2497 Clackmannanshire Services to People, Social Services Lime Tree House, Castle Street, Alloa, FK10 1EX Telephone: 01259 225000 FAX: 01259 225004 Email:

Falkirk Social Work Services, Falkirk Council Denny Town House, Glasgow Road, Denny, FK6 5DL Telephone: 01324 506400 Fax: 01324 506401 Email:

Stirling Social Work Services, Drummond House, Stirling, FK8 2EG Telephone: 01786 471177 Fax: 01786 443600

Out of Hours (EDT) 01786 470500 NHS Forth Valley

NHS Forth Valley Child Protection department. 01786 434770


APPENDIX A RESTRICTED (WHEN COMPLETE) CHILD PROTECTION – EMERGENCY SUITABILITY CHECKS Alert Police on Tel 01786 45600 and then email completed form to (0800-0200hrs) (outwith the above) Note: The default GPMS marking for this form is RESTRICTED once completed, however the GPMS marking must reflect the content of the request for information being made. If a higher GPMS marking is required then the requester must change the marking as appropriate.

Part A: Request for Information. (to be completed by Social Work) Subject Details I am requesting personal information or sensitive personal information under the Data Protection Act 1998 about the following person(s). SWIFT/SWIS Reference No (PID) – if available Surname All previous surnames Also known as Forenames Place of birth Full Present Address

Date of birth

Post Code Previous address (if known)

Post Code Child or Young Person being protected I confirm that the personal or sensitive information is required for the protection of a child or young person, and that failure to provide such information will result in a risk to the safety and/or wellbeing of that child or young person. The child or young person is as follows: Full Name: Date of Birth: Address:


RESTRICTED (WHEN COMPLETE) Requirement for information I confirm that this information is required urgently, and that the timescales involved prohibit a request for information through Disclosure Scotland. I confirm that the information is required due to: Delete as appropriate: [X] [X] [X]

Requirement code: To facilitate emergency child placements Where newly identified family members are in regular child contact Where concerns are identified over a third party with child contact

Circumstances Provide details regarding the circumstances that have caused concern: [INSERT TEXT HERE]

Applicant details Full Name: Designation: Date / Time requested: Contact Telephone Number: Email address: Supervisors details: Full Name: Designation: Date / Time authorised: Alert Central Scotland Police by telephone and submit form by email to OR (Part B & C left blank)



RESTRICTED (WHEN COMPLETE) Part B: Search for Information (to be completed by Police FIB/FCCC) Checks on the following electronic systems: The following systems have been checked for information based on the details provided. A Negative indicates that no information has been found on that system, whilst a Positive indicates that information has been found Database




Results of Check (delete as appropriate): [A] All Checks are Negative. No information has been identified or [B] Information has been identified and is included. Date Checked: Time Checked: Checked by:

Part B Cont: Summary of Information (include all POSITIVE results) (to be completed by Police FIB/FCCC)

WHEN COMPLETE NOT TO BE DISTRIBUTED OUTSIDE POLICE The following information or intelligence has been identified by the FIB/FCCC: Database CHS

Details of information found (include reference numbers)

PNC VPR SID Any additional comments; eg intelligence identified that is particularly sensitive.

Contact Force Response Inspector by Airwave, or Detective Inspector PPU and advise them of request, thereafter e mail form (Parts A & B completed, Part C Left Blank)




Part C: Disclosure of Information (to be completed by Force Response Inspector/Detective Inspector PPU) The following information has been disclosed by Central Scotland Police to Social Work on the understanding that such information is necessary for the protection of a child or young person, and that failure to provide such information would result in a risk to the safety and/or wellbeing of that child or young person. Details of information disclosed: (This information will be disclosed directly to Social Work Department either in person or by telephone) Please select as appropriate – 1. Central Scotland Police have checked CHS, PNC, VPR and SID systems and there is nothing recorded which would highlight concerns about a child being placed with this/these individuals(s). 2. Central Scotland Police have checked CHS, PNC, VPR and SID systems and there is information recorded which would highlight concerns about a child being placed with this/these individual(s).

In making this disclosure Force Response Inspectors/Detective Inspectors must consider - Is the infringement of someone’s right to privacy justifiable on the grounds of proportionality and necessity? In other words, is the disclosure proportionate to the objective sought to be achieved by the proposed action? To that end, the objective must also have a legitimate aim such as public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Officer Assessing information for disclosure (Force Response/Detective Inspector): Name Rank / Title Date of assessment: Information disclosed to Social Work contact: Name Designation Date of disclosure: Form to be retained by PPU (please send copy of any forms to Family Unit mailbox)



Child Protection - Forth Valley protocol on emergency suitability checks  

Child Protection - Forth Valley protocol on emergency suitability checks