New Clause 43 - Independent Child Trafficking Guardians

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 4 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

‘(1) The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is amended as follows.

(2) For section 48 substitute—

“48 Independent Child Trafficking Guardians

(1) The Secretary of State must make arrangements to enable persons (“independent guardians”) to be available to represent and support children to whom this section applies.

(2) This section applies to a child if—

(a) a reference relating to that child has been, or is about to be, made to a competent authority for a determination for the purposes of Article 10 of the Trafficking Convention as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking; and

(b) there has not been a conclusive determination that the child is not such a victim; and for the purposes of this subsection a determination which has been challenged by way of proceedings for judicial review shall not be treated as conclusive until those proceedings are finally determined.

(3) This section also applies to a child who appears to the Secretary of State to be a separated child.

(4) The independent guardians’ appointment shall continue to be provided to a child as determined in this section until the age of 25 to the extent their welfare and best interests require such an appointment.

(5) In making arrangements under subsection (1) the Secretary of State must have regard to the principle that a child should be represented and supported by someone who is independent of any of any public authority (as defined in section 6 the Human Rights Act 1998) other than a court or tribunal.

(6) The arrangements may include provision for payments to be made to, or in relation to, persons carrying out functions in accordance with the arrangements.

(7) A person appointed as an independent guardian for a child must promote the child‘s well-being and act in the child‘s best interests.”

(3) After section 48 insert—

“48A Independent Child Trafficking Guardians: functions

(1) This section defines the functions and duties of person appointed as an independent guardian under section 48.

(2) The functions of an independent guardian shall be to—

(a) ascertain and communicate the views of the child in relation to matters affecting the child;

(b) consult regularly with the child and keeping the child informed of legal and other proceedings affecting the child and any other matters affecting the child;

(c) contribute to a plan to safeguard and promote the future welfare of the child based on an individual assessment of that child’s best interests.

(3) In the discharge of their functions, the independent guardian must at all times act in the best interests of the child.

(4) The advocate will assist the child to obtain legal or other advice, assistance and representation, including by appointing and instructing legal representatives to act on the child‘s behalf.

(5) The Secretary of State must make regulations about independent child trafficking advocates, and the regulations must in particular make provision—

(a) about the circumstances in which, and any conditions subject to which, a person may act as an independent guardian;

(b) for the appointment of a person as an independent guardian to be subject to approval in accordance with the regulations;

(c) requiring an independent guardian to be appointed for a child as soon as reasonably practicable;

(d) about the functions of independent guardians;

(e) requiring public authorities which provide services or take decisions in relation to a child for whom an independent guardian has been appointed to—

(i) recognise, and pay due regard to, the guardian’s functions, and

(ii) provide the guardian with access to such information relating to the child as will enable the advocate to carry out those functions effectively (so far as the authority may do so without contravening a restriction on disclosure of the information).

(6) Before issuing regulations under this section, the Secretary of State must lay a draft of the regulations before Parliament.

(7) The Secretary of State shall not launch the regulations unless the draft has been approved by a resolution of each House.

(8) Whenever any other provision of the regulations is altered, the Secretary of State shall lay a statement of the altered provision before Parliament.

(9) If any statement laid before either House of Parliament under subsection (8) is disapproved by a resolution of that House passed before the end of the period of 40 days beginning with the date on which the statement was laid, the Secretary of State shall—

(a) make such alterations in the regulations as appear to be required in the circumstances; and

(b) before the end of the period of 40 days beginning with the date on which the resolution was made, lay a statement of those alterations before Parliament.

(10) For the purposes of this Act—

“separated child” means a child who—

(a) is not ordinarily resident in England and Wales; and

(b) is separated from all persons who—

(i) have parental responsibility for the child; or