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PAN MANCHESTER MISSING FROM CARE PROTOCOL

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					                                  PAN MANCHESTER MISSING FROM CARE PROTOCOL

                                                     CONSULTATION RESULTS



Background

On Tuesday 09 Nov 10, Greater Manchester Police hosted a consultation workshop with a host of representatives from partner agencies,
including Children’s Services, Private and Local Authority Children’s Home providers and staff, Social Workers and independent agencies such
as Safe In The City and Barnados.

Between Dec 10 and Feb 11, consultations were conducted in Manchester, Salford, Rochdale and Stockport by Safe In The City, Children In
Care Councils and Youth Services with children aged between 13 and 18 years. Most of the young people consulted live in Residential Care
Homes, although some are living in Foster Care and several of the young people had experience of living in both settings.

These consultations would not have been possible without the support of all partner agencies, and in particular the work and support of Pamela
Taylor and Marie Richardson (GMPA), Kate Wood (GM Safeguarding Partnership), and Elise Noblett and Mari Gibson (Safe In The City) is
most gratefully acknowledged.

Pan Manchester Missing From Care Protocol Working Group

A Working Group will now be established to review the results of all consultations, the key points of which are contained herein. Such details
must be reviewed in parallel within the ever changing scope of “Missing Persons” brought about by the current requirements to reduce
bureaucracy whilst getting value for money and maintaining corporate responsibilities to the children and young people concerned and the
greater population of Greater Manchester,
Ser    Consultation Issues                            Comments and Recommendations                                                    Additional Comments
                                             (P – Partnership) (C+YP – Children + Young people)
(a)               (b)                                                (c)                                                                         (d)
1     Prevention and Intervention /   P - Discussions with Ofsted should be developed, to ensure standardisation of          Comments were made regarding the length of
      reasons for “running”           messages, and establish their requirements of partners prior to Inspections etc.       time it takes to complete checks on other
                                                                                                                             addresses at which the young person wishes to
                                      P – Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Divisional MFH SPOCs and/or Police                   stay.
                                      Community Support Officers (PCSOs) should be encouraged to develop more of a
                                      relationship with the care homes, care staff and their residents within their local
                                      areas

                                      C+YP – Some children / young people indicated they go missing as they just
                                      wanted to do “normal” things but were unable to due to policies within the care
                                      home, this resulted in “missing” reports.

                                      C+YP – Young people also reported the following as reasons for leaving the care
                                      establishment:
                                              Being unhappy, having an argument or experiencing bullying or serious
                                               problems
                                              Wanting to be somewhere else, such as with mum and dad or at
                                               boyfriend/girlfriends address
                                              Feeling rebellious or experiencing peer pressure.


2     Planning / Consequences         P – Local police should become involved in care placement discussions /                No consequences for child / young person,
                                      decisions, and should challenge the placement of children / young people in            therefore no deterrent.
                                      particular homes when necessary

                                      C+YP – Consequences - Some young people suggested that luxury items could be
                                      removed, whilst others were very clear that Care Staff could not deprive individuals
                                      of their personal items. Another option was a reduction in their free time.

                                      C + YP – Many felt that the child / young person should be involved in agreeing the
                                      likely consequences of being reported missing PRIOR to them being reported.
3   Unauthorised   Absence   /   P – Care providers, the Local Authority, and social workers are responsible for any     A new multi-force trial, based on work being
    Curfew times                 limits on agreed periods of Unauthorised absence – the police will take no part in      carried out by Sussex police may address some
                                 any such discussions.                                                                   of these considerations, and alter current
                                                                                                                         practices.
                                 P – There should be an agreed process for extending periods of unauthorised
                                 absence when the location of the individual is known, or is believed to be known        There was recognition from C&YP that everyone
                                                                                                                         is different so for some people you would need to
                                 P and C+YP – The child or young person themselves should be included in                 alert Police earlier than for others if you hadn’t
                                 discussions regarding MFH procedures, and the circumstances which may trigger           heard from them or they were late.
                                 a period of unauthorised absence / missing.

                                 C+YP – Young people felt that if a carer knew where they were, they should not be
                                 considered “missing”

                                 C+YP – If a young person is late home or goes out when they weren’t meant to,
                                 they are not automatically missing. Steps should be followed and a certain amount
                                 of time waited before reporting them.

                                 C+YP – Some young people suggested that if regular contact was established,
                                 even if the actual location of the child or young person was not known, then that
                                 person was not “missing”. Others suggested that they should be reported after a
                                 certain amount of time, ie after 24 hrs.

                                 C+YP – most young people indicated that they do not get a say in their curfew time
                                 and that there was no flexibility. Some felt that their curfew was fair whilst others
                                 didn’t and most groups indicated a wide variation of times between different
                                 homes, with some exercising weekend extensions and others not.

                                 C+YP – Some young people with experience of Foster care felt that the process
                                 there was more personal, and the young person was involved in the process


4   Reporting Procedures and     P – There is an expectation that care providers should complete a series of tasks       All care homes taking part in the Electronic
    Processes                    designed at locating the individual prior to them being reported to the police.         transfer of data process have been given a list of
                                                                                                                         Police expectations – homes may be challenged
                                                                                                                         to ensure these have been completed before a
                                                                                                                         report is taken.
                                    P – Training Issues
                                            “No real MFH training within care homes”
                                            “No training, staff gain experience through shadowing and following flow      Young People also confirmed the benefits of
                                             charts – care plans tend to direct actions                                    building a relationship with the same officer


                                    C+YP – Many young people stated that a common reason they would not disclose
                                    where they were, or why care providers didn’t have details of friends was that the
                                    young people themselves did not want their friends to know they were in care, and
                                    they had concerns that the police would turn up to make enquiries, thereby
                                    notifying the friend that they were in care.

                                            “Police could text young people first and if they don’t get a response they
                                             should call and then come looking”


5   Information Sharing             P – “Safety of children is paramount – data protection concerns should never be an
                                    issue.”

                                    P – “Difficulty communicating with Police – trying to get police to attend strategy
                                    meetings – will exchange / offer info to Police via SPOC – but not always clear –
                                    no cover / deputy”


6   Police Safe     and      Well   P – SWC should not be conducted by Response Officers                                   The issue of building relationships with the same
    Checks (SWC)                                                                                                           officers was again mentioned by the young
                                    P – SWC should not be conducted during silent hours unless the attendance of a         people
    Return Interviews               police officer is specifically requested by the child / youn person, or their care
                                    provider, to address a particular issue, allegation or complaint.                      “There is a mixed response by Police Officers
    Independent Interviews                                                                                                 towards the MFH”
                                    P – SWC should be conducted by care staff at the residence unless the child /
                                    young person specifically requests the attendance of a police officer.                 “ response officers sometimes not displaying the
                                                                                                                           correct attitude possibly because of their lack of
                                    P – Divisions should be encouraged to use the same officers to conduct checks          knowledge of public protection.”
                                    with returned Looked After Children, thus continuing to build upon existing
                                    relationships to gather information and intelligence from which further prevention
                                    and intervention strategies may be developed.
                                                                                                                   “SWCs should not be carried out in the early
                           C+YP – Many young people stated that the SWC could be completed by care staff           hours – day time visits if appropriate –
                           and the police could be fed back the results.                                           appointments could be made so the care home
                                                                                                                   and young person know the date/time and
                           C+YP – Most young people agreed that if someone they trusted could complete             location of the SWC”
                           the SWC and report back to the police, this would be best. This should be
                           someone nominated by the young person.                                                  “ Kids do not want to speak with the police “

                           C+YP – Many young people did not feel that their social worker had been involved        “Always carried out by a Police Officer – but
                           much in past incidents of going missing. It was suggested that young people             better trained – same officer / team or unit to
                           should be given the choice to speak to the Social Worker who should then visit and      carry out SWCs”
                           speak to them as soon as possible, especially if they have not been able to speak
                           to a trusted person outside of the home environment. But many young people
                           didn’t see the need for their social worker to be involved automatically every time.

                           C+YP – Reported that the option to speak to an independent interviewing agency
                           very much depended upon the area they were missing from, and not all missing
                           young people were offered this service.


7   Responsibilities       P – Responsibility for the well being of the child / young person remains with the
                           Care Provider / Local authority at all times, and is not transferred to the police by
                           means of a missing from home report.

                           C+Y – Some young people recognised that they themselves have a responsibility
                           to maintain contact with the care home, and even if they were not intending going
                           home, they should at least ring the home (or police) to say they were OK and
                           where they were.

                           C+Y – Comments made by young people regarding the responsibilities of Care
                           providers mirrored those mentioned by the Partnership Groups , namely - there is
                           an expectation that care providers should complete a series of tasks designed at
                           locating the individual prior to them being reported to the police.


8   Miscellaneous Issues   P – Policy documents – Differences in policies and procedures between local             Standard approach is required – hence the need
                           authorities, private care homes owned by the same company within different local        for a Pan Manchester Protocol.
                           authority areas, and differing police approaches across the different divisions.
      “Blue Light Taxi”       C+Y – Some young people noted that one positive aspect of being reported was
                              that they could get a lift home (By Police) if they were far away.




Next steps

Now consultations have been completed, and recommendations identified above, a communication strategy needs to be established, and a
working group needs to be convened in order to produce a Missing From Care Protocol which sits alongside the 10 LSCB Missing From Home
and Care policies across Greater Manchester.

				
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