1.3.10 Person Posing a Risk to Children (PPR) Guidance
Staff should also read the Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership Procedures Manual.
Where a person who may pose an ongoing risk to a child due to having an offence against a child is identified this should lead to an assessment of that individual.
This chapter gives guidance and includes links to the Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in October 2020. Information was added in to Section 3, Recording the PPR Assessment in line with local practice.
1. When to Carry out a Person Posing a Risk to Children Assessment
Home Office Circular 16/2005 clarifies how to identify 'a person identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children':
Home Office Circular 16/2005
Schedule One to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 provides a list of offences against children amended by subsequent legislation. It is considered to be a useful tool to help professionals focus on those individuals who may pose a risk to children.
However the term 'Schedule One Offender' is ill defined and unhelpful since it defines people by their offending history rather than the ongoing risk they pose. Offending history is an important factor in assessing risk but it is not the only one and therefore a more appropriate term is a Person Posing a Risk to Children (PPR).
Many practitioners are unsure of which offences are included in Schedule One, and whether there are other offences, not included in Schedule One, which may indicate that a person poses a risk to children. To provide some clarity on this matter a consolidated list of offences was compiled.
This list was updated in June 2016.
When using the list of offences, practitioners need to exercise their professional judgement in all instances. It should be remembered that:
- This is not an exhaustive list;
- New offences may be created by new legislation;
- Some offences may only indicate a risk to children in certain circumstances;
- Not all convicted or cautioned individuals will necessarily pose a continued risk to children;
- There will also be cases where a person without a conviction or caution may pose a risk to children. Examples of these cases could include involvement with gang activity or discussion at MAPPA. In these situations consideration needs to be given as to whether the risk can be assessed in the social care single assessment, a separate risk assessment or a PPR assessment.
(The updated list can be found at Sheffield Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual, List of Offences).
A Person Posing Risk to Children assessment should therefore be undertaken:
- If a person has been convicted or cautioned for an offence against a child (see the list of offences;
- Has been found to pose a risk to children due to a Finding of Fact in a Civil Court;
- The person is aged 18 and over (see final paragraph for concerns about children and young people under 18); And
- If the individual, who may pose a risk to children, is having contact with specific children whether s/he is living in the same household or not.
Where a person who may pose an ongoing risk to a child due to having an offence against a child is identified this should lead to an assessment of that individual. This should be a Person Posing Risk to Children Assessment and follow the template in ICS.
The focus in any assessment process should always be on the children in a family and the risks posed to them. In the majority of cases the assessment of risk to a child will be managed within the Single Assessment process.
A Single Assessment would be undertaken where there is no history of convictions but there is a history of:
- Domestic violence allegations against the person that can be verified by the police but where no formal action has been taken;
- Allegations having been made in the past by the child concerned or another child that were withdrawn;
- A documented past incident or offence that may or may not have been verified regarding the abuse of a child.
A single assessment should therefore be used where the Police are investigating allegations, but the individual has not yet been charged.
2. Undertaking PPR Assessment
The template is intended for use as a framework for discussion with the PPR and other members of the household, when social workers become aware of such an individual living in a household with children, or having contact with a household with children. There may be parts of the assessment framework that do not apply to individual cases.
The information is obtained by a series of planned interviews, by associated observation of the household interaction, and by information from other agencies. The bullet points in the framework are intended as a checklist guide to the areas to be covered.
The task is to assess the degree of risk and consider whether it is acceptable / manageable in the light of other factors. However, Senior Fieldwork Managers and Service Managers must bear in mind the PPR assessment takes several weeks. They are responsible for deciding whether there is an evident high risk requiring immediate action to safeguard children, in addition to, or instead of, the commissioning of such an assessment.
When planning the PPR assessment, Senior Fieldwork Managers should consider whether the worker conducting the assessment should be independent - i.e. not directly involved in working with the family in question.
The PPR assessment should be conducted openly with the individual concerned, the children, and all the other members of the household. As the risk assessment will normally require a series of discussions over a period of weeks, an assessment plan, (using the form on ICS) should be drawn up and shared with the PPR. When the report is completed, the PPR is entitled to receive a copy of the sections that refer to them. The person also needs to be advised that a copy of the assessment will be kept on their file, the child's file and logged with the Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership.
On completion of the information gathering, interviews and observations, the written assessment is then compiled for submission to the Senior Fieldwork Manager and Service Manager, who will decide whether the children are sufficiently safeguarded for the plan to be endorsed.
It is important for those undertaking PPR assessments to bear in mind the importance of the following factors:
- Consulting other professionals who know the family;
- Obtaining clear information about offences, cautions, allegations, and findings of fact;
- Awareness of the process of the assessment – the development of relationships with the interviewer, attitude to authority;
- Observations of family interactions;
- Any changes in attitude / response depending on who is present at interviews;
- Cultural factors.
The child/ren will be allocated to the Social Worker by the Senior Fieldwork Manager. An action plan will be written indicating what form of assessment to undertake. The relevant practice standards, depending on the status of the child need to be followed.
For a child defined as a Child in Need a child in need meeting should take place within 10 days of allocation. Subsequent Child in need meetings should be arranged every 40 working days. The child should be seen every 20 working days.
For a child who is the subject of a child protection plan, the child should be seen every 10 working days and a Core Group meeting held every 20 working days.For a child who is a Looked After Child they should be seen every six weeks and the plan should be updated every 12 weeks following either the Looked after Review or the LAC core group meeting.
3. Recording the PPR Assessment
Whereas the Single Assessment process and subsequent assessment documentation are focussed on the child and form part of their social care record, the PPR assessment is focused on a particular adult. All PPR assessments should be recorded using the ICS form titled "PPR Assessment". Where a PPR assessment is completed it should always be forwarded to the relevant Senior Fieldwork Manager and Service Manager for endorsement. When the form has been agreed by the Service Manager, an alert will be sent to CPET (Child Protection Enquiry Team) to review the PPR assessment and to add it to the Adult social care record. The allocated Children and Families Social Worker will ensure that a copy is filed on the child's record.
4. For Children and Young People Under 18
Concerns about a person under eighteen where there are concerns that they are exhibited behaviours of a PPR nature will be assessed using the Social Care Single Assessment. Where a young person under the age of 18 is showing behaviour of a harmful sexual behaviour nature and has been screened in by the Safeguarding hub as needing an assessment this should be recorded on the Social Care Single Assessment.
Where the young person's behaviour is of a sexual nature and this has been assessed using the Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool as needing an assessment, the young person or child, after the single assessment has been completed, should be referred to the Harmful Sexual Behaviour panel, using the Youth Justice email: firstname.lastname@example.org with a recommendation of the most appropriate intervention.
Serious consideration needs to be given, depending on the level of concern, as to whether an AIM2 assessment (a holistic assessment of young people who display sexually harmful behaviour) would be appropriate. AIM2 is a specialist assessment that should not be attempted without the requisite training. A representative from the Harmful Sexual Behaviour panel may be able to offer advice.
See also: Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures, Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse by Children and Young People of other Children and Vulnerable Adults Procedure.