Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

6.1.8 Foster Carers - Firearms, Shotguns and Ammunition

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter concerns the proper ownership, storage and use of firearms and ammunition by Foster Carers. It aims to provide procedural instructions to assessing / supervising social workers on the satisfactory assessment of prospective and approved foster carers and to ensure that fostering service staff and foster carers are aware of this assessment process.

Legislative Summary

The Children's Act 1989, section 22 (3a) dictates that it is the responsibility of the local authority to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of all children looked after by them.

The Children's Act 1989, section 67 places responsibility on the local authority to ensure the welfare of all children privately fostered in their area has been satisfactory safeguarded.

National Minimum Standards (NMS), standard 6.1 requires that foster carers provide a safe environment.

NMS, standard 6.6 states that the home is free from avoidable hazards that might expose a child to risk of harm or injury.


Contents

  1. Key Policy Objectives
  2. Key Actions
  3. Definitions
  4. Responsibility of the Fostering Service
  5. Firearms Certificate Exemptions


1. Key Policy Objectives

To ensure carers with firearms and/or shotguns are identified.

To ensure the proper and safe storage of firearms, shotguns, and ammunition.

To review or assess as part of the Annual Health and Safety Checklist.

To identify the steps to be taken when completing a carer firearm/shotgun assessment, and to ensure that those involved in the process are aware of their involvement, and what this involvement entails.


2. Key Actions

The Fostering Service will confirm firearm and/or shotgun ownership of prospective and approved carers at the assessment and review stages, respectively. If necessary the storage of firearms, shotguns, and ammunition will be checked at these stages.

The Fostering Service will verify whether the type(s) of firearm and/or shotgun owned by prospective or approved carers require a firearms and/or shotgun certificate. A copy of the current firearm and/or shotgun certificate must be held on file at all times.


3. Definitions

'Firearms': A lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or missile can be discharged

'Shotgun': A smooth-bore gun (not an air gun), which

  • has a barrel not less then 24 inches in length and a bore not exceeding 2 inches in diameter,
  • either has no magazine, or has a non-detachable magazine incapable of holding more that two cartridges
  • is not a revolver gun


4. Responsibility of the Fostering Service

At the point of a Single Assessment, foster carer applicants must be asked whether they hold or have access to firearms and/or shotguns, or intend to hold or gain access to firearms and/or shotguns within the next 12 months. The holding of firearms and/or shotguns must be recorded in the assessment report reviewed at panel and the Foster Carer Review report.

Where applicants / carers confirm that they hold firearms and/or shotguns, and a certificate is required, a current certificate must be seen and a copy placed on the applicant's file.

The assessing / supervising social worker must see where all firearms, shotguns, and ammunition are stored. Checks must be made to ensure firearms and/or shotguns, are securely stored in a locked cabinet in such a way that they are out of view, and inaccessible to children or young people. Ammunition must be stored separately to firearms and/or shotguns in a locked container in such a way that it is out of view, and inaccessible to children or young people. Assessing social workers should inform applicants that the inspection of firearm, shotguns, and ammunition storage could form part of any unannounced visits.

As part of the foster carer's annual review, the security of firearms, shotguns, ammunition, and the ownership of an up to date certificate must be verified.

It is the responsibility of the supervising social worker to inform the social worker of the child(ren) placed, that firearms and/or shotguns are held by the foster carer.

Where carers have firearms or replica guns that are not required to have a certificate, firearms must be stored in a locked cabinet in such a way that they are out of view, and inaccessible to children and young people. Any ammunition for these arms must be stored separately in a locked container in such a way that it is out of view and is inaccessible to children and young people.

Assessing / supervising social workers must be confident that applicants / carers are fully aware of the risks of firearms and/or shotguns and use them in a responsible manner.

Foster carers must not involve children or young people in their care in any use of firearms or shotguns, including 'beating' on a shoot. Representation from the young people, who wish to participant in firearm or shot gun activities, can be made to the Service manager of Childcare.

No child or young person should be placed with applicants where guns are being held in an unsafe way, or where there is no current firearms and/or shotgun certificate.

The Police should be notified where applicants are found to have firearms and/or shotguns with no certificate.

Any concerns about firearms or shotguns held must be immediately reported to the Fostering Team Manager and the Service Manager.


5. Firearms Certificate Exemptions

Shotguns that may be held on a Shotgun Certificate

Shotgun cartridges containing five or more shots, none of which exceeds 0.36 inch in diameter, which can only be purchased on production of a Shotgun Certificate.

Blank cartridges not more than one inch in diameter.

Air weapons with a muzzle energy limit falling below 12ft lbs for rifles and 6ft lbs for pistols.

Ammunition for an air gun, air rifle or air pistol.

End