Elizabeth Coe, NACCC CEO heads up the staff team at NACCC

Welcome to our newsletter. Again, this is a bumper issue packed with lots of information for you. Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed. Do let us know what you think and please do share as widely as you can, to your staff and volunteers, management committee and supporters. We want to spread the message far and wide…

At NACCC we try to promote and raise awareness of Contact Centres.  That is why in the last few months I have written to and visited a number of MPs to tell them about centres in their area and encourage them to visit, many who have already done so.  You can invite your local MP to your centre as well.  Also as a result of my visits I have been asked to produce an information sheet containing links on services that would help children, parents and grandparents to help resolve difficulties and make arrangements for contact.  This has been circulated to all MPs nationwide, and can be downloaded from our website for you to give to parents and grandparents – this is a work in progress and you might wish to add your local services and other organisations to this list.

In addition one of the MPs, Chris Leslie and one of our Vice-Presidents Baroness Anne McIntosh have set up an All Party Parliamentary Group to look at the journey for children and families post separation.  This had its inaugural meeting on the 29th January.  NACCC will keep you posted on the progress of this group and its achievements. 

I want to thank members for the improved picture regarding statistics.  It is very useful to have reliable statistics when talking to government departments and MPs as it gives an accurate picture of the work you are all doing with the number of families and children you help.  I know it can sometimes feel that we are putting pressure on you for a variety of things, but believe me when I say that the more information I have the stronger our arguments for continuing support both by Cafcass and the government for both centres and the Association. 

Finally, we have had imposed upon us all the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).  These are to be implemented by May of this year.  It is the law to comply with these regulations.  NACCC is providing all centres with an opportunity to hear from a specialist about the implications of this for centres, and what needs to be done to ensure compliance.  There are two opportunities for this, one session to be held in the South on a Saturday, and one in the Midlands on a Wednesday hoping that by choosing both weekday and a weekend day we can maximise the opportunity for attendance by as many centres as possible.  I would urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.

John Douglas, (the trainer from Information Age who will be delivering the GDPR sessions) has recommended that centres check if they need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) saying “The ICO is planning to charge ‘up to £55’ data registration fee for any small organisation acting as Data Controller of personal data under the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2017.”  John says that he will keep NACCC up to date on what micro organisations are required to pay and will, if required, arrange registration.  It may be the Micro organisations will be exempt from the fee, but the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have not yet provided details.

Are you making use of NACCC’s secure online Safe Referral System for your referrals? This is a free service that NACCC offers to any accredited member offering supported contact and will be undergoing further development to ensure it is GDPR compliant. This system enables you to process referrals and communicate with parents and NACCC securely regarding these referrals.

Each centre will need to pay a fee to a recognised organisation to receive their licence.  I understand this will be a fairly small amount, but to receive information from organisations such as Cafcass, the Local Authority, or NACCC, centres will have to confirm they have a licence.  I am sorry if this is daunting for some, we will do the best we can to assist you with any queries you might have.

“We want to safeguard your centre and the information that you hold about families” It’s the law!!

In preparation of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation coming into force in May this year, NACCC is holding a proactive stance in supporting its accredited centres in achieving compliance.

How do you carry out your pre-visits?

We explore the three functions of the mandatory pre-visit and explore how these are essential to enable the risk assessment to be completed; to prepare children and parents as much as possible and to offer additional support to family members trying to cope with the impact of separation.

Why does Mental Health matter to all those involved in Contact?

Divorce and separation are a major challenge to mental health – a situation where perceptions of self, others and systems are all questioned. Contact helps preserve relationships and these are vital to mental well-being. Family breakdown is estimated to cost the UK £46 billion per annum and over one million children have no contact with one of their parents after separation. In the last three years Childline had 8,849 counselling sessions specifically relating to parental divorce and separation. It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults have a common mental disorder at any one time and 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health condition.

Dr Kaplan (Director of the Transformation Programme at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust and NACCC trustee) spoke at NACCC’s conference in November 2017 on the mental health needs of children affected by family breakdown and how awareness of child development theories can be helpful in understanding the needs of these children. Volunteers and staff attending the conference found Dr Kaplan’s speech very helpful and we have great pleasure in sharing this article based on the content of her speech.

Training update

We are currently revising the following modules which form part of our volunteer training programme: ‘Volunteer induction’, ‘Safeguarding and child protection’, ‘Responding to conflict and reluctant family members within a child contact centre’ and a new module ‘Understanding and managing children’s behaviour’. These will hopefully be available to download from the members’ area of the website in the next few weeks.

Our training update has further information on the following:

  • Supervised training modules under development
  • GDPR training
  • Training modules updated

We have some great spotlight features this issue:

Benny the dog helping children feel welcome at Barnet Family Resource Centre… “there have been many occasions when Benny has been used to affect a positive outcome to contact”

“Buzz my feeling” sensory boxes developed in partnership to help children express their feelings

“Children’s needs are always put first…” Buzz Child Contact Centre supporting children and parents who haven’t met for a while

“The most amazing group of volunteers ever!” Do-it website comes up trumps for Bingley

“Seeing the children’s happiness and parents feeling hope for the first time utterly melts your heart. Mothers and fathers may not get on but they are happy to set their troubles aside…” (Pudsey volunteer shares her experience)

Fareshare donations helping local separated families in Pontypridd

Coffee shop

Check out the latest discussions in the coffee shop forum for members

61. Effective fundraising methods

62. Parents not mentioning holidays in court

63. Reassuring parents concerned re possible abduction

64. Liability insurance too low?

65.  Supervised referral/session/report charges

66. Conflict of interest for referrers wanting to volunteer

Campaign and policy update: Catch up on the latest news

Mary is remembered

Mary Lower (NACCC’s founder who sadly passed away last year) was remembered at our AGM and conference last year. As a mark of respect contact centre volunteers and staff, NACCC trustees and staff joined NACCC’s Chair Hazel Hedley in a resounding round of applause for Mary. 

We now have a lovely photo of her in our training room at the NACCC office. The photo shows Mary with her MBE (awarded in 1995 for ‘services to children’ through her work for NACCC and child contact centres). It was Mary’s kind request that any donations at her funeral should be split between NACCC and the church which runs and hosts Nottingham Child Contact Centre (the centre which Mary also founded). £500 was raised which has funded this lovely picture and will also be used to improve the facilities in our training room.

Has your centre registered with the HSSF Mark?

NACCC has recently been awarded (for the third time) the Help and Support for Separated Families (HSSF) Mark by HM Government which is valid for the next two years. The HSSF Mark demonstrates services are committed to help and support separating and separated parents to work together to resolve their disputes, helping them to focus on the interests of their children. Any centre accredited by NACCC is automatically eligible to register for the HSSF Mark

 ->  see members news for more details

Again we hope that this newsletter is helpful. Do share it as widely as you can.

Elizabeth Coe, NACCC Chief Executive Officer

Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the NACCC and publication does not imply endorsement. © NACCC 2018 (NACCC member centres exempt)

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