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BASW England urges government to withdraw statutory instrument which ‘risks the welfare and rights of children’

The welfare and safeguarding of children is undermined by The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

Commenting on The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which came into force 24 April 2020, Maris Stratulis National Director of BASW England said:

“BASW is extremely concerned about the lack of due democratic parliamentary process and the formal enactment of this statutory instrument, which risks removing fundamental protections for children.

“Many of the regulatory amendments wholly undermine children’s rights and do not put the welfare, best interests and rights of the child at the heart of these changes.

“BASW was not consulted on the statutory instrument and our members have not reported being directly involved in any online, virtual or other digital consultation events. 

“The role of social workers in a pandemic is to continue to be the defenders of social justice, to promote human rights and to ensure there is parity of equity for children, young people, adults, and families. 

“Social workers are working in unprecedented times, the government and employers need to ensure social workers are given the tools, including Personal Protective Equipment to undertake their roles safely, including visiting and having direct contact with vulnerable children in line with former statutory and regulatory requirements. 

“The easing of regulations contained in this instrument raises significant concerns especially around the welfare and safeguarding of vulnerable children, children in need, children looked after and children on protection plans.

“We urge the government to withdraw this instrument and consult the sector and parliamentarians.”

 

BASW England will continue to lobby on this important issue and have set out our actions below, which we will continue to update:

BASW England have issued open letters to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education and Tulip Siddiq, Shadow Minister for Children and Families to express deep concern of the implications of the statutory instrument, including examples of ‘statutory visits’ and independent reviews, which are put in place to protect the most vulnerable children and families. 

The letters also set out the unacceptable lack of consultation before being issued and lack of vital checks around implementation.

BASW England submitted a response to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, on The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.  The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee considers the policy effects of statutory instruments and other types of secondary legislation subject to procedure. (04 May 2020)  

Issued Human rights statement

BASW issued a statement on Upholding Human Rights during Covid-19 on 27 April 2020 which outlines BASW demands, including:

  •  There are no unnecessary or avoidable changes to rights and entitlements
  • People with lived experience and the social work profession are fully involved in any decisions about changes to rights and to services
  • Any changes are a last resort and national redistribution of resource prevents postcode lotteries emerging
  • Any changes have a full impact assessment
  • Any changes are the minimum necessary and for the minimum period necessary
  • Any changes have clear accountability, democratic oversight and review
  • People who are affected have access to advocacy, legal support, and redress through complaints and challenges

Join with coalition of partners

BASW England has joined a coalition of partners led by Article 39 that oppose the enactment of The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which calls for:

  • The withdrawal of Statutory Instrument 445 -  The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020  which came into force on 24 April 2020. 

  • Any proposed changes to the law affecting children genuinely connected to COVID-19 to be transparent about the reasons why and subject to open consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. We understand that timescales may have to be tighter than usual for these democratic processes during the current health crisis. 

Policy brief

Issued a policy brief on The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.  Published 24 April 2020

Updated 07 May 2020

Further information