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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11649: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 28 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken regarding calls for an independent investigation into the death of Madison Horn in 2013.

Answered by: Mark McDonald 18 October 2017

The report of the Significant Case Review carried out following the tragic death of Madison Horn in 2014 was published in 2016. The SCR following Madison's death made six national recommendations. These recommendations were:

1) The Scottish Government should consider amending Section 245D (4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, in relation to Restriction of Liberty Orders, and review guidance on community orders to enable effective information sharing;

2) Home Assessment Reports should be written reports;

3) The Scottish Government should consider publicising on an annual basis, themed recommendations from SCRs across Scotland and the UK;

4) The Scottish Government should consider introducing Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference as a statutory provision, and Police Scotland and partner agencies should consider the development of a shared electronic system linking Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and Multi Agency Tasking and Coordinating (MATAC);

5) The Scottish Government is asked to review the Child Protection Guidance 2014 and the National Risk Framework 2012; and,

6) The Scottish Government is asked to look into how retained information by the contracted electronic monitoring company can be used more effectively in combining antecedent with current data.

In line with these recommendations, the Scottish Government is working with partners to take forward the following action:

1) Scottish Ministers are exploring amending relevant legislation in relation to the recommendation of the serious case review. It is intended these amendments will be taken forward as part of wider legislative changes recommend by the Electronic Monitoring Working Group. In addition to amending legislation, Justice Officials have worked with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to implement some interim measures, not requiring primary legislation, to improve information sharing practices. The Scottish Government will also review parts of the Restriction of Liberty and Community Payback Order guidance in the context of future legislation.

2) The most recent Scottish Government guidance already makes clear that every Home Assessment Report must be a written report. The Scottish Government is working with partners to ensure that this guidance is implemented and the relevant legislation is currently being reviewed to assess whether it can be strengthened.


3) All Significant Case Reviews relating to children have, since 2015, been shared with the Care Inspectorate. It carries out an analysis of the findings of the reviews and publishes national learning from those Case Reviews every three years in order to reflect a national picture. The next report publication is expected later this year.

4) As part of Equally Safe, the Scottish Government’s strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, we are working with partners to improve the capability, capacity and consistency of Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) and we are taking forward discussions with stakeholders on what is required to ensure that MARACs operate as effectively as possible, including considering if they should be placed on a statutory footing, how to ensure consistent national application of standards and how to improve data sharing between agencies.

Police Scotland are working towards developing a performance framework which will enable measurement of the outcomes of the Multi Agency Tasking and Coordinating (MATAC) process and a consistent approach towards MATACs across Scotland.

5) The Scottish Government updated the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland in 2014 to ensure that professionals working with children can identify and act on any concerns to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child concerned. The Child Protection Improvement Programme will drive another revision of the National Guidance to reflect changes in legislation in relation to domestic abuse and the minimum age of criminal responsibility, and to capture specific recommendations from individual SCRs.

6) The Scottish Government is currently considering data management in the context of the proposed electronic monitoring provisions in the Management of Offenders Bill and are working with partners to consider where improvements on date sharing can be made.
We continue to have contact with Fife Council to be assured that progress continues to be made with the implementation of local recommendations from this significant case review. Our focus therefore is fully on ensuring that where improvements need to be made to national and local practice, as part of the learning from the Significant Case Review, these are being taken forward.