Chair’s Blog (January 2016)

Dear Members,

As we hurtle head first in the Christmas bonanza, I want to first wish you the very best over the Christmas period. I took valuable advice on when I should do this as the tree in my household often goes up in November. However, over the years I have learned to restrain my excitement and respect the 1st December marker…. Happy Christmas !!

During the National Committee meeting last week one area of great concern was brought to our attention by one of our co-opted members Bernard Allen. The concern was focused on a recent court decision involving a 14 year old boy with ADHD and the ruling that he was not allowed to have his liberty deprived without ‘proper legal authority’. This has been an area of concern for the National Committee for some time as it is becoming increasingly unclear what the guidelines are for schools, care staff and other professional organisations. We hope to be able to continue to press the question to Ofsted and DfE to enable us to get a better level of guidance as it would seem that following this decision of The  Supreme Court if you simply stand in the way of a vulnerable child, without official legal permission to do so, you could be seen to be unlawfully depriving that child of liberty ? Of course if you freely let the child leave your ‘safe’ environment and he comes to any harm we are potentially liable under a lack of duty of care ? This does not appear to be a situation where we can accurately and safely construct workable policies to help our staff.

Please be reassured that we will continue to ask for guidance on this issue but in the meantime Bernard has designed a very brief but useful guide to the recent judgement with some key suggested actions for us to consider. Emailed to members.

Rightly and without question Bernard includes in his guidance that we should not cease to put the welfare of our young people first. I feel confident that as an organisation we can support each other to continue to do this even if the guidelines are not yet clear.

See you in 2016.

Toni Bailey

Chair