Summary of meeting
1. Welcome and Introductions
Attendees were welcomed to the meeting.
2. Minutes and actions of previous meeting
The minutes of the last meeting of 25 February 2020 were agreed.
3. Out Of Court Disposals Task and Finish Group (OOCD)
An update on the work of the OOCD T & F Group was provided. The OOCD T&F Group had met on 2 December and considered options for diversion.
4. Communications update
An update was provided on plans to raise awareness of the change in the law. The public awareness campaign for the Children Wales Act was officially paused whilst all Welsh Government communications focused on the response to the Covid-19 crisis. The awareness raising campaign will include a targeted multi-media campaign incorporating engagement with stakeholders and specific audiences as well as a range of advertising and PR. The aim is to ensure the general public in Wales will, as far as is possible, be aware of the change in the law. The Welsh Government will work with specific groups, communities and organisations to inform them of the change in the law and consider whether extra support, advice and information may be needed. The current focus in this phase is on stakeholder engagement, including providing introductory presentations to a wide range of stakeholders through a PR agency (details in newsletter). In this period a range of resources for the campaign will also be developed, including a one-page briefing note on the legislation
The group discussed the safeguarding process in relation to the Children Wales Act. In general the two processes safeguarding, with criminal justice process alongside it, will not change. Organisations will continue to follow the Wales Safeguarding Procedures (WSP) (safeguarding), and Code for Crown Prosecutors/ charging standard (criminal justice).
The (WSP) provide common standards to guide child protection work of all professionals who work with children and families.
The police follow the WSP safeguarding process, but also the criminal justice process where the Code for Crown Prosecutors (full code test) and Offences Against the Person Charging Standard are relevant. The CPS have responsibility for updating the Code for Crown Prosecutors and Charging Standard. The Code for Crown Prosecutors has already been updated with the general principle “Where the law differs in England and Wales prosecutors must apply the Code and have regard to any relevant policy, guidance or charging standard”.
There was also a discussion around what guidance and training may be needed for the workforce