Government document tells councils they can bypass legal obligations

A document recently published by the Department for Education tells councils what they are allowed to do in respect of the care and protection of children and young people. It is published on the Children’s Social Care Innovation site.

As we wait for responses to our freedom of information (FOI) requests – see below – we have produced a table showing what’s wrong with the document:

What’s wrong with the ‘myth busting’ document Nov 2018

As can be seen, the ‘myth busting’ document claims to be focused on statutory guidance, though it also concerns primary and secondary legislation.

Acts of Parliament are primary legislation. Secondary legislation is also approved by Parliament though with much less scrutiny and debate. Other terms for secondary legislation are regulations and statutory instruments.

Both primary and secondary legislation must be followed.

In addition to complying with the law, local authorities must follow statutory guidance (issued by government departments) unless there is very good reason not to.

Through a series of so-called ‘myth busting’ questions, the Department for Education document claims to summarise the obligations in statutory guidance and then proceeds to set out what the guidance allows. The document states “all of the responses [that is, the ‘what does the guidance allow’ content] have been agreed by the Department for Education and their lawyers in consultation with Ofsted”.

Action to date
Article 39 co-ordinated a letter (with 50 signatories) to the Children’s Minister setting out the legal inaccuracies in the ‘myth busting’ document. We asked him to withdraw the parts of the document which are inaccurate. Six days later we received a response from the Minister. Very regrettably, the Minister did not agree to withdraw the inaccurate content.

Minister's response to joint letter of concern 10 September 2018

After seeking further legal advice, and convening a meeting of concerned organisations, Article 39 submitted the following FOI questions to the Department for Education and Ofsted. Answers to these FOI questions are due tomorrow (16 November).

Our questions to the Department for Education
1) Please provide a copy of the equality impact assessment completed in respect of the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document published by the Department for Education (attached with this request).
2) Please provide copies of correspondence between local authorities and the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, and any other officials within the Department for Education, in connection with the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document published by the Department for Education.
3) Please state the date of publication of the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document.
4) Please state the date or dates agreement from Department for Education lawyers was sought on the content of the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document, and by whom.
5) Please state the date or dates agreement was provided by Department for Education lawyers on the content of the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document.

Our questions to Ofsted
1) Please provide copies of correspondence between Ofsted and the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, and any other officials within the Department for Education, in connection with the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document (attached with this request).
2) Please state the date or dates Ofsted was asked to agree the responses to the ‘myth buster’ questions contained within the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document.
3) Please state the date or dates Ofsted gave its agreement to the responses to the ‘myth buster’ questions contained within the Children’s Social Care statutory guidance myth busting document.

Royal Assent given to first restraint Act of Parliament

Article 39 is delighted that Royal Assent has been given to the UK’s first Act of Parliament dedicated to protecting children and adults from abusive restraint.

The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 is known as Seni’s Law, after 23 year-old Seni Lewis who died after being restrained by 11 police officers called to the Bethlem Royal hospital in London on 31 October 2010. Seni, an IT graduate, had been admitted to the hospital as a voluntary patient.

  • Last year, 9,296 people were subject to physical restraint in a mental health, learning disabilities or autism service in England; the total number of physical restraints was 53,188 – giving an average of 6 restraints per person.
  • There were 19,078 incidents of physical restraint among 1,198 children and young people (under the age of 20 years) – giving an average of 16 restraints per child and young person. This is nearly three times the overall average.
  • Prone restraint is when a person is held face down onto a surface. There were 3,405 incidents of prone restraint on children and young people (under 20 years old) in England in 2016/17. For all ages, the figure was 10,071, meaning that 34% of face-down restraint were used on children and young people.

With YoungMinds, INQUEST and others, we have been working on the legislation as it made its journey through Parliament.

Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, states:

“This Act of Parliament will massively strengthen child protection within mental health units. Children in these settings are, by definition, extremely poorly and vulnerable, and restraint continues to be used much too frequently and not as a last resort. We offer our utmost respect to the family of Seni Lewis whose courageous fight for justice has ensured child and adult patients have legal rights to dignified, respectful and safe care.” 

Three provisions in the legislation which Article 39 specifically pushed for:

  • Section 5(2)(i) requires that staff training relating to the use of force includes the impact of restraint on a patient’s development. We would have preferred the wording ‘child’s development’ but the meaning is the same – training must specifically include the effects of use of force on children’s development.
  • Section 6(5)(m) requires a description of the outcome of the use of force to be recorded – this means that any injuries and/or psychological harm suffered by children (and adults) will be noted.
  • Section 6(5)(p) requires that records about the use of force indicate whether parents (or others in a patient’s care plan) were notified after each use of force. This is a vital safeguard for vulnerable children who may not tell their parents (or the local authority if they are in care) if they have been restrained. This duty will also benefit adult patients.

Article 39 wanted more protections to be included in the primary legislation but we are very reassured that the Department of Health has agreed that the statutory guidance will specifically – and separately – address the rights and needs of children in mental health units.

We look forward to working on the guidance over the next 12 months, and hope the Government will commence the legislation at the earliest opportunity. (Once an Act of Parliament gains Royal Assent, unless it states otherwise, it is up to Ministers to decide when it will come into force).



In a letter this week to Shadow Children’s Minister Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Justice Minister Edward Argar MP announced that Charlie Taylor has been appointed to lead a review of the authorisation of pain-inducing restraint on children detained in young offender institutions and secure training centres, and during escort to these prisons and secure children’s homes.

The announcement comes days after we lodged our judicial review application with the High Court challenging the Government’s decision to allow escort officers working for the private contractor GEOAmey to inflict pain on children during their journeys to and from secure children’s homes. Staff working within secure children’s homes are prohibited from using such techniques, which Department for Education statutory guidance states can never be proportionate.

Article 39 is also challenging the lack of legal protection for children from being physically restrained simply to follow orders when they are under the control of escort officers, including when they attend hospital appointments or family funerals. The Court of Appeal has declared restraint for good order and discipline within secure training centres a breach of children’s right to protection from inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

Argar’s letter says the Chair of the Youth Justice Board “will bring excellent knowledge and experience after leading the Government’s comprehensive review of youth justice in 2016, and spending much of his career in various educational and behaviour management roles”.

Article 39’s Director, Carolyne Willow, states:

We are naturally delighted that there is a possibility that pain-inducing restraint of children could be removed from all custodial settings. Deliberately causing children mental and physical suffering has no professional place in education, health and social care environments, and we have consistently argued that children should have the same protection from violence wherever they are placed.

“Charlie Taylor leads an organisation which has historically stood isolated on this issue in not opposing pain-inducing restraint. From the appalling death of 14 year-old Adam Rickwood, who hanged himself after he was inflicted with a sharp blow to the nose – which was then an authorised restraint technique – onwards, the Youth Justice Board has traditionally failed to put its weight behind complete cultural change in custodial institutions. The YJB like many of those working within and around the penal estate have hitherto shown themselves incapable of seeing that children can be looked after without recourse to severe violence as a form of restraint. However, the organisation seems to be changing under Taylor’s leadership. His background in education could prove pivotal during this review since the culture and practice of schools working with children who have similar needs to those who end up in custody is markedly different from prisons. It would be fantastic for Taylor’s review to finally bring an end to the pain-inducing restraint of children.

“We don’t yet know the scope and timeframe of this review. It is over 14 years since Adam left behind a note saying he had asked officers what gave them the right to hit a child in the nose, and they said it was restraint. I have long given up on this being treated with any sense of urgency though, of course, every day that Ministers allow officers to deliberately hurt children is a day too long.”

In 2009, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment recommended the UK stop the use of pain-compliant restraint techniques in child prisons. The same recommendation has been made by the UN Torture Committee, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UK’s four Children’s Commissioners. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, the Association of Directors of Children, the NSPCC and parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights have similarly opposed the use of deliberate pain during the restraint of children.

Article 39 is represented by Dan Squires QC and Tamara Jaber from Matrix Chambers and Mark Scott from Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. Its legal challenge was only made possible through a crowdfunding appeal, which elicited nearly 200 donations.

Article 39 to set up national advocates network

In July 2018, Article 39 conducted an online survey of independent advocates in England. The findings give insight into their experiences, their workload and challenges, the groups of children they work with and what would help advocates give the best help to children and young people.

Article 39’s Assistant Director, Helen Donohoe, said:

“This survey reinforces our previous concerns that the provision of independent advocacy for vulnerable children and young people in England is inconsistent and disjointed. The results also show unequivocal support for a form of training from Article 39 and greater peer-to-peer connection and support. In response to that we will launch a nationwide advocates network in early 2019.”

Read the survey report here: Article 39 The 2018 survey of independent advocates.

Article 39 and others urge withdrawal of ‘myth busting’ guidance on care system

Article 39 has joined forces with 49 other organisations and social work experts to urge the withdrawal of sections of a new ‘myth busting’ guide published on the Children’s Social Care Innovation site.

The full text of the joint letter to the Minister for Children and Families is below.

Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, said:

“This so-called ‘myth busting’ guide is yet another attempt at weakening the legal framework underpinning children’s social care, particularly the care system. Safeguards that have evolved over many decades, often in response to terrible harms suffered by children in care and care leavers, should not be treated so frivolously as to be framed as ‘myths’.

“If Ministers wish to remove or change existing local authority duties in primary or secondary legislation, and accompanying statutory guidance, they should follow normal procedures and put their plans out to consultation. Then we can see what benefits the changes are intended to bring for children, young people and their families.

“It is notable that not one of the questions posed about the care system seeks to give children and young people more time, resources or support than what is already set out in the statutory framework. With local authorities struggling financially to meet their legal duties, it’s hard not to conclude that this agenda is about cutting costs and reducing the role of councils.”

Open letter to Nadhim Zahawi MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families
Department for Education

4 September 2018

Dear Minister


We write to express our deep concern about the ‘myth busting’ guide, which was recently published on your Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme microsite.

Several parts of the document incorrectly describe the statutory framework for England’s care system. Following legal advice, we ask that these sections be immediately withdrawn to avoid the risk of confusion and to prevent any harmful effects on vulnerable children and young people, and those caring for them.

It is of utmost importance that legal certainty be maintained when it comes to the care and protection of vulnerable children and young people looked after by local authorities. To frame as ‘myths’ a series of questions about the care system’s statutory framework is unhelpful. This is because it gives the impression that key parts of current social work knowledge and understanding are untruths.

This ‘myth busting’ guide is available online, it carries your Department’s logo and contains the statement that “all of the responses below have been agreed by the Department for Education and their lawyers in consultation with Ofsted”. It is a reasonable assumption that those reading the guide will view it as having official approval and being intended to widely impact social work practice.

Although the so-called myths are not always clearly expressed, there are statements in the document which undoubtedly run counter to the current statutory framework. Whether intended or not, this could be construed as an encouragement to local authorities to act in contravention of the statutory framework.

Should amendments to regulations and statutory guidance be seen to be necessary, we ask that proposed changes be subject to proper consultation. If the reason for clarification and/or changes to the statutory framework is because of widespread misunderstanding, we would ask that the Department clearly set out: the myths which are believed to currently exist; who is said to believe these myths; and why they are, indeed, myths.

Below we set out our principal concerns. We have sought to confine our comments to interpretations of the current statutory framework, rather than providing justification for the law as it stands. 

Can we have one social worker for children and foster carers when a child is in a stable, long term placement?

The guide states “The current framework does not prevent such flexibility”. We contend that this is not a correct interpretation of the statutory framework.

Children Act 1989 statutory guidance on fostering services distinguishes between foster carers’ supervising social worker and the child’s social worker, and explains:

Every foster carer should be allocated an appropriately qualified social worker from the fostering service (the supervising social worker) who is responsible for overseeing the support they receive. It is the supervising social worker’s role to supervise the foster carer’s work, to ensure that they are meeting the child’s needs, and to offer support and a framework to assess the foster carer’s performance and develop their skills. They must make regular visits to the foster carer, including at least one unannounced visit a year.[1]

Separate care planning statutory guidance describes the safeguarding role of visits to the child by the child’s social worker:

As part of their arrangements for supervising the child’s welfare the responsible authority has a duty to appoint a representative to visit the child wherever he or she is living [regulations 28 to 31]. Visits form part of a broader framework for supervising the child’s placement and ensuring that his/her welfare continues to be safeguarded and promoted. Visits therefore have a number of purposes, including to:

  • support the development of a good relationship between the child and the social worker which will enable the child to share his/her experiences, both positive and negative, within the placement;
  • provide an opportunity to talk to the child and to offer reassurance if s/he feels isolated and vulnerable while away from family and friends;
  • evaluate and monitor the achievement of actions and outcomes identified in the care and placement plan and to contribute to the review of the plan;
  • identify any difficulties which the child or carer may be experiencing, to provide advice on appropriately responding to the child’s behaviour and identify where additional supports and services are needed; and
  • monitor contact arrangements, to identify how the child is responding to them and to identify any additional supports carers may need to support positive contact arrangements.[2]

As acknowledged in the guide, the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards[3] also distinguish between the child’s social worker and the supervising social worker.

Separate regulations deal with the approval, supervision and support given to foster carers, and the actions required by local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of individual children living in foster care.

Care planning regulations set out the frequency of social worker visits to children[4] and require that the child is seen in private, unless s/he has sufficient understanding and refuses this.[5] Dispensing with the child’s social worker could significantly undermine the statutory purpose of this ‘seeing the child alone’ duty. There is a very real danger that children will perceive the single social worker as working for ‘the adults’ and attached to the particular placement, rather than being there for them. The social worker themselves may additionally feel professionally conflicted, especially when there are concerns about a placement.

The Department’s own data shows that children were moved from a foster care placement 360 times in England in 2016/17 because of standard of care concerns, and 430 times because of a child protection allegation.[6] We do not believe that these figures are mirrored by the number of times action has been taken to deregister foster carers, indicating that the current system of separate support seeks to ensure that children are properly protected, while making certain foster carers are fairly assessed and managed.

Where, following a visit to the child, the local authority has concerns about the child’s welfare, a review of the child’s case must be arranged.[7] This will ensure scrutiny by the child’s independent reviewing officer. Allowing fostering providers to effectively supervise themselves inevitably undermines the present statutory framework.

Although regulations (as amended in 2015) state that ‘long term’ means the child is intended to stay with their present foster carers until they cease to be looked after[8], the guide gives no indication as to how long a child should have been in a placement before their own social worker can be removed. Similarly, no definition of ‘stable’ is provided. It is also not clear whether a single (supervising) social worker could be expected to take on the statutory responsibilities of more than one child in a placement. None of this appears in existing statutory guidance and regulations because it is not current law or policy.

There are very strong child-centred reasons for the current statutory framework. It cannot be assumed that the interests of foster carers and child/ren will be the same, or will be possible for a single social worker to navigate. For example, it is not unknown for foster carers to take on a second child inappropriately and contrary to the wishes and needs of a child already settled with them because they are ‘approved’ for two children and their finances are based on this. Then there is the important role the child’s social worker has in eliciting and responding to the child’s wishes and feelings about seeing parents, siblings and other family members (or former carers). These are not fixed, and often change as a child gets older. In the current, established model, the child’s social worker may be the social worker for separated children in sibling groups or for the family where siblings are still living. The work involved in helping children preserve relationships which are extremely important to them cannot be underestimated.

It is pertinent that the 2013 DfE consultation which led, in 2015, to a more flexible model of social work support for children in long term foster care did not propose a merger of the roles of the supervising social worker and the child’s social worker. Indeed, this explained:

It is important that each member of the team – the foster carer or residential worker, supervising social worker and child’s social worker – understands and is able to perform their own role and that they also understand and respect the roles of the other members of the team.[9]

Revisions to care planning regulations introduced in 2015, as a consequence of the 2013 consultation, similarly did not lead to a merger of the two social workers. The Explanatory Memorandum explicitly refers to the child’s social worker:

4.14 As part of the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare, an officer of the authority must visit the child in their placement at a specified minimum frequency. For the most part these visits will be carried out by the child’s social worker…[10]

Can a Personal Adviser take on the role of the supervising social worker for foster carers, where the young person is staying put?

The guide states that, although they have “some reservations”, the DfE and Ofsted “would welcome details of any proposed new ways of working” that would allow Personal Advisers to take on the role of a supervising social worker. The guide states this would be where a young person is in a Staying Put arrangement, but no other children are fostered within the family.

The absence of (other) foster children in a Staying Put arrangement does not diminish the local authority’s statutory duties in respect of monitoring and supporting the Staying Put arrangement.[11] It also does not change the statutory function of Personal Advisers, which are set out in leaving care regulations:

a) to provide advice (including practical advice) and support;
(b) where applicable, to participate in his assessment and the preparation of his pathway plan;
(c) to participate in reviews of the pathway plan;
(d) to liaise with the responsible authority in the implementation of the pathway plan;
(e) to co-ordinate the provision of services, and to take reasonable steps to ensure that he makes use of such services;
(f) to keep informed about his progress and wellbeing; and
(g) to keep a written record of contacts with him
.[12] [Emphasis added]

Statutory guidance explains: “Monitoring the ‘staying put’ arrangement will form an important part of the support package. The pathway planning process should review the arrangement on an on-going basis and progress should be recorded as part of that process”.[13]

Case law is clear that Personal Advisers cannot take on the role of social workers or the local authority in preparing or reviewing Pathway Plans.[14] It is difficult, therefore, to see how the Personal Adviser could take on the role of a supervising social worker within the current statutory framework. Munby J (as he was then) in Caerphilly explained:

Part of the personal adviser’s role is, in a sense, to be the advocate or representative of the child in the course of the child’s dealings with the local authority. As the Children Leaving Care Act Guidance puts it, the personal adviser plays a ‘negotiating role on behalf of the child’. He is, in a sense, a ‘go-between’ between the child and the local authority. His vital role and function are apt to be compromised if he is, at one and the same time, both the author of the local authority’s pathway plan and the person charged with important duties owed to the child in respect of its preparation and implementation.[15] [Emphasis added] 

Can supervising social workers visit less frequently in stable and long term placements?

This section of the guide concludes with, “A judgement should be made on a case by case basis as to the suitability of the frequency of visit and if the foster carer has the capacity to meet the child’s needs with the minimum frequency of a visit once a year”.  As it earlier states, one visit a year is the minimum number of unannounced visits.

Statutory guidance in respect of fostering services requires that supervising social workers “must make regular visits to the foster carer, including at least one unannounced visit a year” and “The fostering service should also provide support to the sons and daughters of foster carers and other people living in the foster carer’s household who play an important part in supporting children in placement”.[16] Fostering services providers, whether local authorities or independent, “must provide foster parents with such training, advice, information and support, including support outside office hours, as appears necessary in the interests of children placed with them”.[17] To suggest that one visit a year to a foster family would meet the current statutory framework is an incorrect interpretation of the current statutory framework. As with the above question on the removal of separate social workers for children and foster carers, the guide notably omits to specify what is meant by “stable and long term”. This imprecision could put children at risk.

Can social workers visit less frequently than the normal six weekly basis in stable and long term placements?

Care planning regulations (as revised in 2015) state that children in long-term foster placements – where the child will live until they cease to be looked after[18] – can be visited as little as twice a year when they have been in that placement for at least one year but only if the child has sufficient understanding and agrees.[19] This is a very important caveat that is not mentioned in the guide. It effectively means that the fewer number of visits cannot be applied to babies, young children and others who do not have the capacity to understand the implications of reducing local authority oversight.

Do we always have to conduct an independent return home interview?

This part of the guide contains three interpretations of the statutory framework which are incorrect.

First, it states that children should always be offered a return interview. This differs from the children who run away or go missing statutory guidance, quoted in the guide, which states children must be offered a return interview.[20]

Second, the guide states if the child does not want to be interviewed, then the interview does not have to take place. The statutory guidance does not say this (though there is reference to children refusing) and we believe this statement risks undermining the clear expectation that professionals will do their utmost to encourage children to speak with an independent person about why they went missing. The guide’s advice that “The offer must be genuine and the young person encouraged to accept” is weakened by the “but” that follows. “Refusal” is not the same as “does not want”. The former reflects an informed choice. The latter is an emotional response, which may or may not be based on an understanding of what is involved or the importance of the process. A child may not want to be interviewed but, when given an explanation as to why return home interviews are undertaken, and what they entail, may agree to do something that s/he would rather not do because the benefits outweigh the concerns s/he has.

Third, the guide states the child can choose who they want to conduct the interview, if they do not want an independent interviewer. The statutory guidance does not say this in respect of children generally. It says the return home interview “is normally best carried out by an independent person (ie, someone not involved in caring for the child) who is trained to carry out these interviews and is able to follow-up any actions that emerge”.

For looked after children, the expectation in the statutory guidance is that the return home interview “should usually” be conducted by someone “independent of the child’s placement and of the responsible local authority”. However, an “exception” to this is permitted when a looked after child “has a strong relationship with a carer or social worker and has expressed a preference to talk to them, rather than an independent person, about the reasons they went missing”. But the statutory guidance adds: “The child should be offered the option of speaking to an independent representative or advocate”.[21]

The guide omits to reference the provision in existing statutory guidance that parents or carers “should be offered the opportunity to provide any relevant information and intelligence of which they may be aware” when a child “refuses to engage with the independent interviewer”.[22]

Although the guide states “We would expect good practice to be that the reasons for [the child’s refusal] are noted and recorded”, no advice is given in the guide as to the need to be aware that children may be under duress to decline an interview, or under pressure to ‘choose’ a particular individual to conduct the interview (who could be the very person they have run away from). We fear this recording refusals advice dilutes the strong message of the statutory guidance that return home interviews are a crucial safeguard.

Can we integrate the Youth Offending Team assessments within a looked after child remand assessment?

The guide states “A single practitioner of either discipline could lead the combined assessment, but aspects of safeguarding and welfare must be completed by a social worker”. We believe this aspect of the guide undermines the statutory purpose of granting looked after status – and protections – to all remanded children.[23]

Statutory care planning guidance encourages partnership working but does not absolve local authorities of their duties relating to care assessments, reviews and visits. It states:

When undertaking assessments, reviews and visits, it is essential to understand the differing roles of the various partner services. The designated authority should work with other services e.g. YOTs. This may include combining meetings and regularly sharing information to support effective practice, in order to ensure the child’s needs are met and to minimise burdensome requirements on the child to participate in multiple assessments”.[24] [Emphasis added]

Given the centrality of the child’s welfare and safeguarding (which includes their future care and education outside of any criminal justice sanctions) in the statutory framework, and this being the very reason remanded children were granted looked after status, it is regrettable the guide suggests this form only “aspects of” the child’s assessment.

Does an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) have to chair Child Protection conferences where their looked after children’s situation is being assessed?

The ‘myth busting’ guide omits the crucial two preceding paragraphs of the statutory guidance, which are more favourable to the IRO chairing a child protection conference where their looked after child’s situation is being assessed:

Where a looked after child remains the subject of a child protection plan it is expected that there will be a single planning and reviewing process, led by the IRO.

 The systems and processes for reviewing child protection plans and plans for looked after children should be carefully evaluated by the local authority and consideration given to how best to ensure the child protection aspects of the care plan are reviewed as part of the overall reviewing process leading to the development of a single plan. Given that a review is a process and not a single meeting, both reviewing systems should be aligned in an unbureaucratic way to enable the full range of the child’s needs to be considered in the looked after child’s care planning and reviewing processes.[25] [Emphasis added]


Given the degree of inconsistency with established law, we have been advised the guide exposes local authorities to more judicial review cases. However, the vulnerabilities of looked after children and young people inevitably mean that many will be unaware that their corporate parents – in following this guide – are not acting consistently with the statutory framework.

As Minister with responsibility for the care system, we urge you to rectify this situation by withdrawing the above sections of the guide and ensuring that any further guidance is published following proper consultation, and that it has a clear status.

We remain fully committed to working in partnership with you and the Department in the interests of children, young people and families, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

All good wishes

The Aire Centre
Article 39
Association of Independent Visitors and Consultants to Child Care Services
Association of Lawyers for Children
Association of Professors of Social Work
Association of Youth Offending Team Managers
British Association of Social Workers England
The Care Leavers’ Association
Children England
Child Rights International Network
Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Coram Voice
Family Action
The Fostering Network
Howard League for Penal Reform
Independent Children’s Homes Association
Just for Kids Law
The MAC Project (Central England Law Centre and the Astraea Project)
Nagalro, Professional Association of Children’s Guardians, Family Court Advisers and Independent Social Workers
National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
National Association for Youth Justice
National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers
National IRO Managers Partnership
NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service)
Parents Of Traumatised Adopted Teens Organisation (The Potato Group)
Refugee Council
Social Workers Union
Social Workers Without Borders
Southwark Law Centre

Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England 2010-2015
Sir Al Aynsley-Green, first Children’s Commissioner for England 2005-10; now visiting Professor of Advocacy for Children and Childhood, Nottingham Trent University
Wendy Bannerman, Director of Right Resolution CIC
Jay Barlow, Napo National Vice-Chair
Liz Davies Emeritus Professor of Social Work, London Metropolitan University
Anna Gupta, Professor of Social Work, Royal Holloway University of London
Pam Hibbert OBE
Ray Jones, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London
John Kemmis, former Chief Executive Voice, NAIRO Patron and Article 39 Expert Panel member
Dr Mark Kerr, Managing Partner, The Centre for Outcomes of Care
Jenny Molloy, Author, Adviser and Trainer
David Palmer, Lecturer in Criminal Justice Services, University of Northampton
Peter Saunders, Founder NAPAC
Mike Stein, Emeritus Professor, University of York
June Thoburn CBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of East Anglia
Dr Nigel Thomas, Professor Emeritus of Childhood and Youth, University of Central Lancashire
Judith Timms OBE, Founder and Trustee of the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) and a Vice President of the Family Mediators Association
Jane Tunstill, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, Royal Holloway, London University

Copied to:
Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families
Yvette Stanley, National Director for Social Care, Ofsted
Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation

[1] HM Government (2011) The Children Act 1989 Guidance and regulations. Volume 4: fostering services, paragraph 5.67.

[2] Department for Education (2015) The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. Volume 2:

care planning, placement and case review, paragraph 3.230.

[3] Issued under the Care Standards Act 2000.

[4] The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

[5] Regulation 29 The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

[6] Department for Education (2017) Children looked after in England including adoption: 2016 to 2017. Table B3: Reason for placement change for children who moved placements in the year.

[7] Regulation 30 The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

[8] Regulation 2(1) The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015.

[9] Department for Education (2013) Improving permanence for looked after children. Consultation, paragraph 8.2.

[10] Explanatory Memorandum to The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015.

[11] Section 23CZA(3) Children Act 1989.

[12] Regulation 12 The Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001.

[13] Department for Education (January 2015) The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. Volume 3: planning transition to adulthood for care leavers, paragraph 7.42.

[14] R (J) v Caerphilly County Borough Council [2005] EWHC 586; R (Deeming) v Birmingham City Council [2006] EWHC 3719; R (A) v London Borough of Lambeth [2010] EWHC 1652.

[15] R (J) v Caerphilly County Borough Council [2005] EWHC 586 [30]

[16] HM Government (2011) The Children Act 1989 Guidance and regulations. Volume 4: fostering services, paragraphs 5.67 and 5.68.

[17] Regulation 17(1) The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011.

[18] Regulation 2(1) The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015.

[19] Regulation 28(3A) The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015:
(3A) Where—
(a) C is in a long term foster placement and has been in that placement for at least one year, and
(b) C, being of sufficient age and understanding, agrees to be visited less frequently than required by paragraph (2)(c),
the responsible authority must ensure that R visits C at intervals of no more than 6 months.

[20] Department for Education (2014) Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care, paragraph 31.

[21] Department for Education (2014) Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care, paragraphs 32 and 69.

[22] Department for Education (2014) Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care, paragraph 38.

[23] Section 104 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

[24] Department for Education (2015) The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review, para 8.33.

[25] Department for Education (2015) The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. Volume 2: care planning, placements and case review, paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12.