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Putting the Children Act independent person procedure under the spotlight

Bridge, Gillian (1999) Putting the Children Act independent person procedure under the spotlight. Social Policy and Administration, 33 (2). pp. 197-213. ISSN 0144-5596

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9515.00143


The Children Act 1989 required local authorities to appoint independent people to participate in their complaints procedures. The Department of Health has concentrated largely on monitoring these newly established procedures. In contrast, very little guidance has been given about the role of independent people. Nor has there been much published research in this area. This paper is based on a study of the response of two neighbouring local authorities. The aims were to discover how these authorities had interpreted the imprecise guidance from the Department of Health, and thereby to analyse the application of principles of independence within complaints procedures. The findings showed how a "pool" of independent people had been selected, trained and employed to participate in Children Act complaints procedures. Analysis of this system raises fundamental questions about the potential of this system to provide the kind of objective representation intended to be helpful to complainants. It also contributes to the debate about the most effective ways of safeguarding the welfare of children and young people by providing them with an accessible complaints procedure. The study identifies areas for future research, including the nature of complaints and the "practice wisdom" being acquired by independent people.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1999 Blackwell Publishers Ltd.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2010 14:30
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 03:25

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