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6.1.9 Out of Authority Placements for SBC Children

RELATED CHAPTER

Notifications from Other Local Authorities/Placing Providers Procedure

Local Authority's Sufficiency Duty - Accommodation for Looked After Children Procedure

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.

See Also

The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations - Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review, June 2015

Children’s homes regulations amendments 2014

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially updated in June 2015 when the level of approval needed for different placements was specified  and additional information on Placement Planning and Notification of out of area placements added.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Placements to which this Procedure Applies
  3. Approval of Out of Area Placement
  4. Emergency Placements
  5. Placement Planning
  6. Notifications of Out of Area Placements
  7. Notifications from Other Local Authorities

    Appendix 1: Notification of Placement of Looked After Child in another Local Authority


1. Introduction

‘Every out of authority placement will require effective planning, engagement and information sharing with services likely to be responsible for meeting the child’s needs. The responsible authority will need to be confident about the support that the child can expect within the area of placement. In particular the responsible authority should confirm how the child will be effectively safeguarded and how they will access the services they need. The requirement for local authorities to consult with children’s services in the area of placement (“the area authority”) will assist the responsible authority in deciding whether a placement is appropriate and provides the child with the necessary support from local services, including from education and health services.’1 Out of authority placement of looked after children: supplement to The Children Act 1989 Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review guidance July 2014 DfE”)


2. Placements to which this Procedure Applies

This procedure applies to any placement of a Looked After child outside the area of the local authority, EXCEPT WHERE the placement is with a Connected Person, or a local authority foster carer approved by the placing authority.


3. Approval of Out of Area Placement

The decision to place the child out of area, in a foster, potential adoptive or residential placement, must be approved by a Nominated Officer (Service Manager or Head of Service), unless it is a Placement at a Distance, (i.e. outside the area of the local authority and not within the area of any adjoining local authority), in which case the approval of the Director of Children’s Services is required (regulation 11 (1)(a) or (b)). This responsibility will be delegated to the Head of Services for Children, Families and Community Health in the first instance as she has the best knowledge of individual cases and resources. The Director of Children’s Services will be provided with details of distance placements on a regular basis.

The Nominated Officer/ Head of Service /Director of Children’s Services must be satisfied of the following:

  • That the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • That the placement is the most appropriate placement available for the child and consistent with the Care Plan;
  • That the child will be able to access both universal and specialist services to meet their individual needs;
  • That relatives have been consulted where appropriate;
  • That information in the home’s Statement of Purpose has been taken into account if it is  a residential placement;
  • The proposed ‘move on’ or permanency plan for the child;
  • That the area authority has been notified or, for a Placement at a Distance, the area authority have been consulted and have been provided with a copy of the child’s Care Plan (see Section 6, Notifications of Out of Area Placements);
  • That the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) has been consulted before any final decision is made; to enable the IRO to discuss the proposed arrangements with the child.


4. Emergency Placements

In the case of a placement needing to be made in an emergency, that is, when a placement is necessary without any forewarning, the approval of a Nominated Officer must still be obtained. In such circumstances, it will not be possible to complete all the actions set out under Section 2 above, however as a minimum, the nominated officer or director of Children’s Services, must be satisfied of the following before approving a decision:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings must have been ascertained and given due consideration (regulation 9(1)(b)(i); and
  • The placement is the most appropriate placement available consistent with the care plan (regulation 11 (2)(c) and (d)).
The remaining requirements to notify and consult with the area authority, and providing them with the child’s care plan and consult with relatives and inform the IRO must be undertaken within five working days.


5. Placement Planning

The child’s social worker will request agreement for an out of area placement from the Head of Service for Children, Families and Community Health (delegated from the Director of Children’s Services) or other Nominated Officer, using the Child’s Plan and Placement Request/Matching Assessment front cover (a request for an out of area placement can only be made if all internal resource options have been exhausted or it is not safe for a child or young person to remain in the borough).

The Child’s Plan and Placement Request/Matching Assessment front cover will be sent to the Commissioning Team who will send the anonymised information to independent providers. Once a potential match has been identified, checks by the brokerage/commissioning team will be undertaken to assess the arrangements that will need to be put into place for the child to access health care, school provision and support, and any specialist provision to meet the individual needs of the child or young person. ‘For children vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, children’s services in the area authority will be an important source of intelligence and information about local arrangements for safeguarding children.’ (See The Children Act 1989 Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review guidance June 2015). Once this information has been obtained it will be shared with the allocated social worker or their line manager to ensure that any identified potential placement will adequately match the assessed needs of the child as identified within their Care Plan.

Where a placement in a children’s home is being planned, the brokerage/commissioning team need to obtain information form the home’s Statement of Purpose as well as asking for a copy of the home’s location assessment which should include details of the home’s safeguarding arrangements including any measures taken by the home to manage safeguarding concerns arising from the neighbourhood where the home is located. [2]

Once obtained from the area authority, information will need to be shared with the child’s social worker in good time to enable a thorough assessment of appropriateness [3] and so that the best possible matched placement can be made.

The child’s named Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO) must be consulted before any final decision is made about making an out of authority placement, whether distant or not, to enable the IRO to discuss the proposed arrangements with the child or young person. The child’s wishes and feelings should be taken into account and where appropriate parents and/ or relatives must be consulted.

[2] Children’s Homes Regulations – 31 (1A) and (1B)
[3] The Children’s Homes and Looked After Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013 – Part 3


6. Notifications of Out of Area Placements

The child's social worker will update the child's electronic record with the details of the placement.

Notification of the placement will be sent by the child's social worker to the local Children and Families Services, Designated Nurse for LAC, the relevant person in the education service, usually the Virtual Head Teacher and the child's GP.

The Local Authority in which the child or young person is placed must be notified by the social worker and a copy of the Child's Care Plan needs to be sent to the area authority and to any other relevant professional within that area authority providing services.

The child's social worker will notify all family members consulted and involved in the decision-making process of the placement, as well as all those involved in the day to day arrangements for the child, including school and any health professional or YOT worker actively involved with the child.

The child's social worker must also notify the allocated Independent Reviewing Officers.

These notifications must be made in writing, advising of the placement decision and the name and address of where the child is to be placed.

The notifications should be before the start of the placement when it is a planned placement or within 5 working days in an emergency situation, as noted above.

When child moves out of the placement the Social Worker needs to inform LA that child has moved.


7. Notifications from Other Local Authorities

Any local authority placing a child within Swindon Borough Council must consult with key agencies within Swindon and notify Children’s Service of any placement made by e-mailing: PlacementNotifications@swindon.gcsx.gov.uk


Appendix 1: Notification of Placement of Looked After Child in another Local Authority

Click here to view Appendix 1: Notification of Placement of Looked After Child in another Local Authority

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