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HaltonChildren's Services Online Procedures

Amendments

January 2019

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Children's Services Policies, Values and Principles

A new Section 2, Corporate Parenting has been added in response to the DfE, Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers – Statutory Guidance (Feb 2018).

Assessments

Section 4, Communication has been to include reference best practice to following when completing assessments for parents with learning disabilities.

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to provide additional emphasis on parents who lack capacity. Links has been added to the President of the Family Division, Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability note, and Practice Direction 3AA - Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence (see case management in Section 4 Documentation).

Death of or Serious Injury to a Child (Child in Care and Child in Need)

This chapter has been amended to reflect that, since 29 June 2018, local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This has been reviewed in response to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Case Records and Retention

Section 1, The Case Record has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which permits the transfer of a copy of the child's case record (or part of that record) to another adoption agency when the local authority considers this to be in the interests of the child.

Access to Records / Subject Access Requests

This guidance has been revised throughout to reflect the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Confidentiality Policy

This policy has been reviewed following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations

This guidance has been revised to reflect the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Relinquished Children

Section 5, Consent and Competency has been updated to include additional information on parental capacity to consent, in line with High Court case-law.

Decision to Place a Child in Care and Care Planning

Additional information has been added into to Section 1.3, Section 20 Accommodation, in line with recent case-law which considered the use of Section 20 Accommodation by local authorities These cases were clear that:

  • A local authority failing to permit a parent to remove a child in circumstances within section 20(8) acts unlawfully; and

  • The relevant information that a parent would need to be able to understand, retain and weigh up in order to have competency to consent to the accommodation of a child is as follows:

    • That the child will be staying with someone chosen by the local authority, probably a foster carer;

    • That the parent can change their mind about the arrangements, and request the child back from accommodation at any time;

    • That the parent will be able to see the child.

Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds

This procedure has been updated to reflect revised DfE guidance 'Secure children's homes: how to place a child aged under 13 (July 2018)' (see Section 6, Placements of Children under the age of 13 Years for full details).

Children in Care Reviews

Section 9, The Role of the Children in Care Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child has been amended to reflect the outcome of a High Court Judgement in respect of children who were subject to Section 20 and where there were concerns of significant delays in their planning for permanence. The court noted the Independent Reviewing Manager's recognition and action over a number of reviews but acknowledged that a more robust response had been needed.

Leaving Care and Transition

This guidance has been revised throughout to reflect the provisions of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 which require local authorities to offer Personal Adviser support to all care leavers up to the age of 25; to publish their Local Offer for care leavers; and to have regard to seven 'Corporate Parenting Principles'.

Adoption Case Records

Section 3, Security Retention and Sharing of Records has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency's functions as an adoption agency. Further information has also been added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.

Life Story Books Guidance

This guidance has been reviewed and updated throughout to reflect best practice in Life Story Work.

Later Life Letters

This guidance has been reviewed and updated throughout to reflect best practice in Life Story Work.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This procedure has been updated to reflect good practice points identified in the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman publication 'Firm Foundations: Complaints about Council Support and Advice for Special Guardians (Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman) (May 2018)'.

Next Update: July 2019

Archive

2018 Amendments

2017 Amendments

2016 Amendments