Out of Authority Placements for SBC Children


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 Memorandum of understanding for the provision of Local Authority accommodation for Children & Young People (10-17 years) following Police bail or being denied bail.

See also:

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review

Children's homes regulations amendments 2014


This chapter was updated in throughout March 2018 and should be re-read.

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 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review DfE").

2. Placements to which this Procedure Applies

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


Out of Area Placements

An out of area placement is a placement in an adjoining authority to Swindon (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire).

Placements at a Distance

A Placement at a Distance, is a placement outside Swindon Borough Council but not within the area of any adjoining local authority identified above.

3. Approval of Out of Swindon Borough Council Placements

The decision to place a child out of Borough, in a foster, potential adoptive or residential placement, must be approved by a Nominated Officer.

Out of Area Placements should be approved by the Head of Service.

For at a distance placements the approval of the Director of Children's Services is required (regulation 11 (1)(a) or (b)).

The Head of Service /Director of Children's Services must be satisfied of the following:

  • 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 information in the home's Statement of Purpose and Ofsted Inspection reports has been taken into account if it is a residential placement;
  • The proposed 'move on' or permanency plan for the child;
  • That the authority in which the child is placed 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 Borough Placements) See Appendix 1: Annex 4 of the Care Planning Regulations: Suggested Information for Discussion between Authorities when Planning Distant 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;
  • That relatives have been consulted where appropriate.

The decision should be notified in writing to the child, the child's parents (if appropriate), the child's carers any one with sufficient interest in the child. The notification should include reference to the representations procedures to make representations /complaints.

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, Placements to which this Procedure Applies, however as a minimum, the Service Manager, Head of Service 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 Finding

For all out of Borough placements The child's social worker will request agreement for the placement from the Head of Service for Children, Families and Community Health or other Nominated Officer, using the Permission to Place a Looked After Child in Another Local Authority form (see Appendix 2: Permission to Place a Looked After Child in Another Local Authority).

(N.B. a request for an out of borough 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).

When permission is given to place a child out of the Borough the Matching Assessment will be sent to the Placement Team who will send the anonymised information to independent providers. Once a potential match has been identified, checks by the Placement 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.

The Placement team can access local services for children and young people via the ADCS website Local Offer at: '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 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review). 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.

If the child's needs are more complex and more detail of local resources to meet the child's needs is required then the child's social worker should undertake this task.

Where a placement in a children's home is being planned, the Placement team need to obtain information form the home's Statement of Purpose and Ofsted Inspection Reports 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 Borough placement, whether out of area or at a distance, 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 Borough Placements

The child's social worker will update the child's electronic record with the details of the placement and also confirm that the notification form has been sent to the authority in which the child is placed.

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. A copy of the Notification Form should also be sent to the police in the Swindon MASH via secure email and the Swindon Virtual Head, the Swindon CLA Nurse and where relevant SENAT.

See Appendix 3: Notification of Placement of Looked After Child in another Local Authority - Both Out of Area and at a Distance Placements and Appendix 4: Process of Notifications to other Local Authorities of Children Looked After Placed by Swindon Borough Council.

If the placement identified is at a distance a copy of the Child's Care Plan must be sent to the authority in which the child is placed by the child's social worker.

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 should take place prior to placement especially if the child has any specific education or health requirements so that we can commence the planning for these services to ensure the host authority is able to provide for the specific needs.

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.

7. Termination of the Child's Placement

If consideration is being given to terminating a child's placement a case review should take place. This could take place in various forms including a case discussion with relevant parties, a supervision discussion and/or a formal meeting such as a Disruption meeting especially if this was the child's agreed permanent/long term placement. This is to ensure that there has been reflective time given to consider future plans to meet the child's needs.

The views of the child, the child's parents where appropriate, the child's carers and other people who were notified of the placement should be ascertained.

The case review should also consider,appropriate,support that could be provided to avoid terminating the placement and if not what would be the most appropriate placement to meet the child's needs.

When the child moves out of the placement the Social Worker needs to inform the local authority in which the child was placed that the child has moved. The social worker should also update the child's ICS record with the child's new address: PlacementNotifications@swindon.gov.uk.

If the child moves to another placement out of Swindon Borough Council the appropriate notification and consultation should take place as identified.

8. Notification Contact Details for Local Authorities and Local Offers

The link for out of Borough placement notification contact details is via the ADCS website.

This website also gives details of Local Authority services available through the Local Offer.