Date lodged: 20 December 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it has had with the UK Government regarding any deficiencies in legislation regarding the cross-border recognition of orders relating to the custody and care of children in Scotland and those in England and Wales.
Answered by: Mark McDonald 13 January 2017
The placing of children from England in Scottish secure units under orders from an English court is essentially a matter for local authorities in England and for the Scottish secure care providers.
However, following the 12 September 2016 High Court judgment impacting on those discrete arrangements, Scottish Government officials have worked alongside UK colleagues with a view to stabilising the current and forward positions for vulnerable young people from England and for the Scottish secure care providers.
Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, wrote to me on 27 October 2016 seeking our ‘in principle’ agreement to progress a Legislative Consent Motion on an amendment to the current UK Children and Social Work Bill. That amendment will address a gap in law relating to the placement of young people from England and Wales in Scottish secure accommodation.
On 2 November 2016 I responded, giving our agreement in principle to progress the Legislative Consent Motion. That agreement stems from our concern for the welfare of the young people affected and from our interest in supporting the work of the secure care providers in Scotland. Our agreement is also contingent on the right safeguards being put in place for Scottish young people and Scottish secure care providers.
Scottish Government officials have since continued to work closely with UK counterparts to progress the proposed amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill.
Final consent of the Scottish Parliament will be required, and the Legislative Consent Motion is now being considered by the Education and Skills Committee.