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Child Protection

POCA Act 1999

Safeguarding Children from Harm

As a childcare organization, BSF Midlands strictly complies with the legislation of the Protection of Children Act (POCA), which was enacted in October 1999. POCA aims to identify individuals deemed unsuitable to work with children, maintaining a list for reference. Regulated childcare organizations, including ourselves and entities like sporting clubs, are mandated to submit names to the Secretary of State for potential inclusion in the POCA list.

Every childcare organization is obligated to conduct checks on the names of prospective employees against the POCA list through the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Any individual found on the POCA list is automatically deemed ineligible for employment. Additionally, adhering to the "Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2010" guidelines—a government-legislated framework—BSF Midlands collaborates with all childcare agencies to ensure professionals cooperate in promoting children's welfare and safeguarding them from abuse and neglect. These guidelines apply to individuals in health and education services who may interact with children and are relevant across statutory, voluntary, and independent sectors.

The Legislation at a Glance

The Protection of Children Act 1999 (POCA) is a crucial piece of legislation in the United Kingdom aimed at safeguarding children from harm.

Enacted in 1999, it introduced several key measures to protect children from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Here's a breakdown of the main aspects of POCA:

1. The Protection of Children Act List (PoCA List):

  • POCA established the PoCA List, which records individuals deemed unsuitable to work with children due to their risk of causing harm.
  • Inclusion in the list can occur through various means, such as disciplinary action, convictions for relevant offenses, or findings of certain inquiries.
  • Being on the list restricts individuals from working in regulated positions involving children, like childcare, education, and healthcare.

2. Safeguarding Procedures:

  • POCA emphasizes inter-agency cooperation in safeguarding children. It requires various organizations, including schools, social services, and the police, to share information and work together to identify and address risks to children.
  • The Act also mandates local authorities to develop safeguarding procedures, ensuring consistent and effective child protection across the country.

3. Powers of Intervention:

  • POCA empowers authorities to take various measures to protect children at risk, including issuing care orders, emergency protection orders, and barring orders.
  • These orders allow for children to be removed from harmful situations and placed in safe care while restricting contact with individuals posing a threat.

4. Support for Children:

  • POCA recognizes the importance of supporting children who have experienced abuse or neglect. It mandates the provision of services like counseling, advocacy, and practical assistance to help them recover and move forward.

Impact of POCA:

  • POCA has played a significant role in strengthening child protection measures in the UK. The establishment of the PoCA List and improved inter-agency cooperation have contributed to a decline in child abuse cases.
  • However, ongoing challenges remain, such as ensuring adequate resources for effective safeguarding practices and addressing emerging forms of child exploitation.

Overall, the Protection of Children Act 1999 stands as a vital piece of legislation in safeguarding children in the UK. Its focus on prevention, intervention, and support continues to guide child protection efforts across the country.

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:


The Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults and Care Standards Tribunal (Review of Inclusion in the PoCA List and Review of Section 142 Directions) Regulations 2007