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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-02921: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 16 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to develop a system of collecting disaggregated data on the use of restraint and other restrictive interventions on children, in light of the recent report, UK Concluding Observations, by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Answered by: John Swinney 27 September 2016

We have committed to incorporating guidance on restraint in school settings in our refreshed guidance ‘Included, Engaged and Involved Part two: A Positive Approach to Preventing and Managing School Exclusions’. It will be clear that any incident where a decision is made to physically restrain a child or young person must be recorded and monitored. Details on how this should be undertaken should be included in a local authority’s policy on de-escalation, physical intervention and restraint.

The recording and monitoring of such incidents will help local authorities to monitor the effectiveness of their policy and practice and enable them to review and improve, where appropriate, their policy and also help identify professional learning needs.

This refreshed guidance will be published 2016-17. It will be clear that the use of physical intervention and physical restraint should be seen within the context of early intervention, positive relationships and behaviour and used only as a last resort, in line with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommendations.

In other non-school settings further work has been done and is being undertaken in relation to restraint:

Scottish Government Guidance ‘Holding Safely’ on the use of restraint in residential settings (which is applicable in schools and other establishments) was updated in 2013.

Scottish Government has asked the Care Inspectorate to gather information regarding restraint practice in secure care during 2016-17 to inform improvement.

Scottish Government also published additional guidance for child protection for disabled children (2014). This applies to all settings, and states that inappropriate restraint, sanctions, humiliation, intimidation, verbal abuse, and having needs ignored; depending on the circumstances, may also be criminal offences, acts of gross misconduct and reportable to Police Scotland and relevant professional regulatory bodies.