Notification by Other Local Authorities of Cared For Children Placed in Torbay
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter addresses the action to be taken on receipt of a notification from another local authority that a Looked After child has been placed at an address in this authority.
This chapter was extensively refreshed throughout in May 2021.
There is a summary of legislation and statutory guidance in Appendix 2: Legal Framework which outlines the legal basis for this procedure.
Local authorities are required to consult and share information before placing children in distant placements (out of authority / out of borough) and the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) must approve these placements.
The general duties of local authorities towards cared for children under Section 22 of the Children Act apply to all placements, including those that are out of authority. There are however a number of specific factors that must be taken into account when decisions are made to place the child out of the area of the responsible authority, but still within England and Wales [regulations 11 and 12].
This procedure looks at the process for placing a cared for child from another local authority in Torbay.
The Local Authority where the child is placed must maintain a register of the cared for children for whom it is responsible and cared for children placed in its area, including those children who are the responsibility of another local authority.
The Designated Manager (Notifications) is responsible for maintaining the register of Looked After children. The Register should include the following information in relation to each child:
- The name, gender and date of birth of the child;
- The name and address of the person with whom the child is placed and, if different, the name and address of the child's parents and all those with parental responsibility;
- The name of the placing authority;
- Whether the child has a child protection plan;
- Whether the child is disabled;
- The date on which the placement was made and the date when it terminated including the reason for the termination;
- The child's legal status;
- Where arrangements have been made by the host local Children's Social Care Services to undertake the duties of the placing local authority; what those arrangements are and the name of the person within the placing authority with whom they were agreed.
2. Planning to Place a Looked After Children in Torbay
If a responsible authority is planning to place a child in Torbay as the host local authority, consultation is vital to ensure effective planning and information sharing is carried out with services likely to be responsible for meeting the child’s needs. In making a judgement about the suitability of an out of authority or distant placement for a child, the responsible authority should assess the arrangements which it will need to put in place to enable the child to access services such as primary and secondary health care and appropriate educational provision.
Local authorities have a common interest in supporting high standards of corporate parenting for all cared for children. When approached for consultation about potential placements, local authorities should be able to offer a professional view about the benefits / difficulties of a planned placement in their area, the benefits / difficulties of living in the neighbourhood where the placement is located and the potential for local services to respond appropriately to the needs of the child concerned.
Local authorities could also advise about other sources of information to assist social workers and commissioners in determining whether a distant out of authority placement is the most appropriate for the child concerned (e.g. the Virtual School Head or the Designated Nurse for cared for children).
This process will be followed by the responsible authority who wishes to place a child they are responsible for in Torbay.
Please direct your consultation to the following person:
- Head of Service for Safeguarding Tel: 01803 208638 | Mobile: 07901515965 | Email: Ceri.Woszczyk@torbay.gov.uk
- Torbay has a Cared For Placement Process Offer Letter which outlines the process for consultation and services which may be available in Torbay. Contact the Head of Service for Safeguarding to request this.
3. Notification of Placement
The following is taken from: The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).
This is the suggested information for discussion between authorities when planning distant placements.
When the decision about the most appropriate placement has been made but before the child is placed, notification should be sent to a range of specified people and agencies. The aim of notification primarily is to ensure that those involved in the decision-making process have an opportunity to make any necessary arrangements to respond to the child’s needs but will also provide an opportunity for views to be represented to the responsible authority.
This information should be summarised in a written format, using the form in Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Cared For Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form within the area of another Local Authority [Regulation 13].
Basic information about the child
- Name, gender and date of birth;
- Legal status - subject of a care order (s.31 Children Act); voluntarily accommodated (s.20) remanded (s. 21);
- Details of previous placements – outline reasons for child leaving earlier placements;
- Plans for the child’s care;
- Details of the assessment of the child’s needs, with information about the child’s wishes and feelings, with reasons the planned placement is suitable;
- Duration of placement (emergency/short-term/long-term/permanent). If it is not possible to assess the intended duration of placement – reasons for this and when this information will be available.
Arrangements for contact
- Details of who will be responsible for implementing plans for the child’s day to day care (the ‘placement plan’) including details of arrangements for delegating responsibilities to the child’s carer(s);
- Details of any plans to offer the child care leaving support (as an ‘eligible child’) during the anticipated duration of the placement;
- Contingency arrangements if the plan to support the child in the current placement does not succeed.
Services to support the child
- Details of plans to meet the child’s educational needs – information about the school the child is expected to attend; details of plans for supporting the child if a school has not been identified;
- Information about plans to meet the child’s health needs, e.g. whether the child requires secondary health care (including metal health and other specialist health care), including details about the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) acting as “responsible commissioner.”;
- Details of any youth offending orders / intervention that would need to be overseen by youth offending services in Torbay;
- Details of any other services that are required. The form will then be sent securely to the Safeguarding and Reviewing team in Torbay (SARS) and to the Nominated Point of Contact for Health (LAC Nurses) for Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (host health authority) prior to the placement. For more information about the health processes see Section 5, Notification to Health Providers.
The form should be sent to the following secure email addresses in each local authority using a SECURE email address:
Torbay Council: email@example.com
The Children in Care Health Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Administrative Process
The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in the Torbay Safeguarding and Reviewing Team (as host authority) will enter the details of the child on to the electronic case management system and inform the Nominated Point of Contact for Health to alert them to contact their equivalent in the Responsible authority if they have not been already notified.
The Torbay Safeguarding and Reviewing Team will forward the completed form to the Exploitation team (if required) for assessment of risk and follow up with the Responsible authority to negotiate that plans are in place to address the risk and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child, and that copies of all relevant documentation is included. All of this information will be entered on to the electronic case management system.
The Torbay Safeguarding and Reviewing Team will forward the form to the Youth Offending Team if relevant. Where the child is of school age, the form will also be sent to the Virtual Head (Education).
If the child is at risk of going missing from the placement, a “Misper Trigger Plan” should be completed by the responsible authority and included in the information. The “Misper Trigger Plan” should be forwarded to the Devon and Cornwall Missing Person’s Investigator
Where a Responsible authority wishes to request that certain functions are carried out on their behalf by the host local authority (e.g. supervision of the placement), then a direct request should be made to the host local authority. For more information about this, see Section 8, Placements where the Responsible Authority Requests the Host Local Authority Carry Out Certain Functions on their Behalf.
5. Notification to Health Providers
In keeping with the Statutory Guidance for Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children (DfE March 2015) and Department of Health and Social Care Guidance “Who Pays? Establishing the Responsible Commissioner” (2013) the responsible local authority has a duty to inform health providers of its intention to place a child out of its area.
When a cared for child is placed out of area the “responsible health provider” remains the responsible health provider for secondary healthcare services. This applies even where the child changes their GP practice.
To ensure that processes satisfy these requirements, the Responsible Local Authority for the child will notify their NHS Providers prior to the move, or within 7 days of a child or young person in care being transferred in or out of area. The original NHS provider will notify the Children in Care Health Team in Torbay as above. Information about the transfer of looked after children and young people will:
- Enable NHS Providers to make necessary arrangements to ensure the continuity of healthcare and the objective of providing high quality, timely care for the individual child or young person;
- Contribute to the safeguarding of cared for children and young people as partnership working will promote multi-agency decision making;
- Assist Commissioners in planning for the needs of cared for children and young people, and provide local data sets to contribute to performance reporting;
- Assist when a cared for child moves placements so arrangements can be made to fast track GP held records;
- Ensure that when a cared for child moves placement the child suffers no disadvantage when moving NHS waiting lists between hospitals. The NHS has a commitment to a start of consultant led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral;
- Ensure continuity of care.
6. Process Undertaken if No Notification has been made by the Responsible Authority
If the responsible authority places a child in Torbay without notifying the host local authority, the placement should be notified by the independent children’s home or independent fostering agency in the host area if they are placed there. However, for kinship carers this may not happen. In addition, some young people may “go missing” across boundaries without the permission of their Responsible authority.
In all cases, it is the duty of all partner agency practitioners to be aware of cared for children they come across in their day to day business. For example, a GP, youth worker, school nurse, teacher, or police officer may become aware that a child is cared for. Further enquiries may show that the child is from another area and that Torbay (host local authority) has not been notified of the placement. It is the duty of all practitioners in Torbay to inform the Safeguarding and Reviewing Team (email@example.com)of the child and their placement so that Safeguarding and Reviewing Team can check to see if they have been notified. If the host local authority has not been notified, the Safeguarding and Reviewing Team will record the details as known and contact the responsible authority to request the form be completed and sent as soon as possible. See the Appendix 3: Flowchart for Notification of Transfer of a Cared For Child for more information.
7. Change in Circumstances or End of Placement
All changes in circumstances should also be notified to Torbay as host local authority and to the Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust Children in Care Health Team as host health provider of cared for children’s services. The original completed form (Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Cared For Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form) must be updated with the changes by the Responsible authority and sent to Torbay as the host local authority.
Information about changes includes:
- A change of placement, address or details within Torbay;
- When a child or young person’s placement in Torbay comes to an end and the reason why:
- If the child is no longer cared for because they have turned 18 years;
- If the child is made subject to an Adoption Order;
- If the child is moved to a new placement outside the host authority.
- When new information about risk to the child or by the child comes to light (e.g. CSE intelligence).
Torbay Council maintains a list of all the notifications of cared for children placed in the area of the authority in order to be able to fulfil its statutory functions under the 1989 Act. It may be necessary at times to conduct Data Cleansing activities and the Nominated Point of Contact for each local authority is expected to co-operate with any such requests.
Notifications must be made within ten working days of the termination of the placement.
8. Placements where the Responsible Authority Requests the Host Local Authority Carry Out Certain Functions on their Behalf
Where a child is placed by a Responsible authority with Torbay as the host local authority, it is possible to negotiate for Torbay as the host local authority to undertake some functions on their behalf. This is more likely to apply where the child is placed with foster carers and will usually extend to the host local authority supervising the placement on behalf of the Responsible authority.
For example, Torbay as host authority could undertake to:
- Supervise the placement and be satisfied that the welfare of the child continues to be suitably provided for;
- Visit the placement regularly in line with ordinary expectation for cared for;
- Where the child is to be placed in another form of placement (e.g. Registered Children's Home; Voluntary Home; or Small Unregistered Children's Home), specific reference should be made to the Children's Homes Regulations 2015, before considering whether to agree to a request that the host local authority supervise the placement on behalf of the Responsible authority.
Any undertaking should be recorded on the child’s record and details of the functions signed by both authorities. Costs and expenses should be clearly detailed in the agreement.
Where it is agreed at a Planning Meeting that Torbay as host local authority will supervise a placement on behalf of the Responsible authority, the child should be allocated to a Social Worker. The Responsible authority should also supply sufficient additional information to enable the Social Worker to competently supervise the placement on their behalf.
Agreement to supervise the placement should be detailed in writing and sent by the Relevant Head of Service to the Responsible authority.
It would never be appropriate to agree to a request for another Authority to supervise the placement of a child cared forby another local authority and placed in secure accommodation and/or subject to Detention under Section 92 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.
9. Health Assessments for Cared For Children Placed from Out of Area
Requests for Initial (IHA) and Review Health Assessments (RHA) for cared for children and young people placed out of area will be sent from the Responsible authority to the original NHS Provider who will forward the request to the relevant receiving NHS Provider or in some areas this will be sent via the responsible CCG. The information should go to the Children in Care Health Team.
If the receiving NHS Providers do not return a completed health assessment within the appropriate time frames for the Initial and Review Health Assessment the original Health Provider will send a reminder. This process will be repeated 28 days later if there is still a non-return. If, following these reminders there is no response or exception report available, the original Health Provider will send a letter to the social worker, Independent Reviewing Officer and Commissioner informing them of the situation.
10. Service Provision and Significant Incidents Arising in Placement
If a child placed in Torbay as the host local authority is in circumstances that require emergency action, Torbay as host authority is responsible for taking that action. Torbay Children’s Services will consult the Responsible authority responsible for the child. Only when Torbay Children’s Services explicitly accepts responsibility is the Responsible authority relieved of its responsibility to take emergency action. Such acceptance should be confirmed subsequently in writing.
The responsibility for undertaking Section 47 Enquiries lies with Torbay as host local authority, even if the child is ordinarily resident in another local authority’s area.
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
Where there is reasonable cause to believe that a person who works with children in Torbay as host local authority has harmed, or poses a risk, to a child, this will be dealt with under the Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers Procedure.
Child Sexual Exploitation and Children who have been trafficked
Where the child may be at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) or trafficking, a specific referral to the Exploitation Team may be necessary. The responsible authority should enquire about this when notifying the host authority of the intended placement.
If the responsible authority wants Torbay as host authority to manage the risk to the child, this needs to be negotiated as soon as possible. Information should be shared about particular risks and police involvement where appropriate.
Missing From Care
When a child goes missing from Care, Torbay will use the Torbay Safeguarding Children’s Board Children Missing from Care, Home and Education Procedure and Devon and Cornwall Police will make every effort to find the child and ensure their safety. The MASH or Out of Hours Team will liaise with the responsible authority to gather information about the missing child, use the information from the High risk missing nominal victim profile/support plan, risk assessment and trigger plan where appropriate. If a “Misper Trigger Plan” has not been completed, this will be requested from the responsible authority.
The Virtual Head Teacher/Virtual School in Torbay can provide advice to ensure that any children placed in the host authority have access to education provision that meets their needs. This can include guidance and support regarding admissions, exclusions etc. The team can also provide advice on accessing specialist support.
The Virtual Head Teacher/Virtual School must be notified when a child is placed in a host area. This information should be gathered when the notification of placement is being made.
Youth Offending Services
If a child is subject to ongoing intervention by the responsible authority Youth Offending Service (YOS), the Torbay Youth Offending Team should be informed and arrangements made to transfer any orders or outstanding work as per the Youth Offending Team arrangements for transfer.