Skip to main content

Amendments

October 2020

Caption: October 2020
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been updated throughout to reflect local guidance.
New Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Capacity and Consent This chapter has been added to the manual.

Next Update: April 2021

April 2020

Caption: April 2020
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Single Assessment This chapter has been updated in line with the new digital referral system for reporting potential victims of Modern Slavery.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been updated to take account of the new NRM digital referral form to report Modern Slavery.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities An update has been made in Section 1, Principles to draw attention to OFSTED's advice that Local Authorities should exercise due diligence in ensuring schools for pupils with SEN are registered with the DFE. The same diligence should be exercised on behalf of pupils with SEN.
Notification of Significant Events This procedure has been updated to reflect revised guidance issued by Ofsted to Children's Homes Providers in August 2019. The revised guidance sought to clarify what is meant by a 'serious event' in relation to a child living in a Children's Homes with the aim of reducing the overall number of notifications made to Ofsted, and in particular reducing the number of repeat notifications made as a result of submitting additional / updated information.
Allegations Against Foster Carers This chapter has been reviewed and refreshed, and terminology was updated where required.
Recording Policy and Guidelines This chapter has been amended to reflect the Ofsted Twitter Blog of 24/7/19 by Yvette Stanley, Ofsted's National Director for Social Care. The Blog highlights feedback from a number of inspections and explores what good recording should look like. (Ofsted: developments in children's social care – What makes an effective case record?).

November 2019

Caption: November 2019
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to reference and note the Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship (Family Justice Council, May 2019). (See Section 1, Introduction).
Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child in Need) This chapter has been updated throughout to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children and the process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System.
Placements with Parents This chapter has been updated in to note that this procedure does not apply to children subject to Interim Care Orders where the placement is required by the court under Section 38(6) Children Act 1989 for the purposes of assessment (see Scope of this Chapter).
Notification of Significant Events This chapter has been reviewed and updated throughout and should be re-read.
Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews This chapter has been reviewed and updated. The requirement for clear separation of reviews (for clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met, and the child's looked after review) has been emphasised. Clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met must come before a LAC review so the decision can inform the LAC review and they must be chaired by different individuals.
Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children This chapter has been updated. It incorporates changes introduced by the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018). A new section has been added with regard to Unaccompanied Migrant Children, and the role of the Virtual School Head in relation to Previously Looked After children is emphasised.
Adoption Agency Statement of Purpose The Statement of Purpose has been updated for 2019/20.
Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: Information Sheets. See Section 10, Representations / Independent Review Procedure
Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: Information Sheets. See Section 3.2, Adoption Orders made on or after 30 December 2005.
Applications for Special Guardianship Orders This chapter has been updated to reference and reflect the Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship (Family Justice Council, May 2019) (see new Section 6.2, Special Guardianship Applications in Care Proceedings).
Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance This chapter has been updated to note the Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship (Family Justice Council, May 2019). See Section 3, Special Guardianship - Matters to be Dealt with in Report for the Court, initial note, points 11 and 12.
Private Fostering This chapter has been amended. It confirms in Section 14, After the Private Fostering Arrangement Ends that any request for support by the young person should be made to the local authority in which they are resident or where the education and training is being provided.
Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: Information Sheets. See Section 9, Representations / Independent Review Procedure.
Supervision and Support of Foster Carers This chapter has been updated to reflect in more detail the foster carer's role and responsibilities with respect to Fostering National Minimum Standards - Notification of Significant Events (see Section 1, Introduction) and relevant aspects of Schedule 6 The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 (see Section 2, Planned Supervision Visits).
Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: Information Sheets. See Section 6, Representations / Review Procedure.
Transfer Protocol - Children's Services A new updated version of the Transfer Protocol has been added.
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers These details have been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Placing and Visiting Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or Health Conditions in Long-Term Residential Settings This chapter has been added as new. This chapter reflects statutory guidance in relation to children who are placed by health authorities or local authorities for more than 3 months in residential establishments for educational purposes and children placed in care homes or independent hospitals (including hospices) by health authorities or local authorities (Sections 85 and 86 of the Children Act 1989).

July 2019

Caption: July 2019
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Prevention of Homelessness and Provision of Accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds who may be Homeless and/or require Accommodation; and Duty to Refer This chapter has been substantially updated and should be re-read in its entirety.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been updated, a new Section 6, Suitable Placements has been added. Details of the National Transfer Scheme Protocol for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Version 2.0 March 2018 have been added into Section 1, Introduction and Definitions.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been amended to reflect changes from 'Practice Direction 27a - Family Proceedings: Court Bundles (Universal Practice to be Applied in the High Court and Family Court)', in relation to the required maximum length of certain court documents, (unless otherwise specifically directed by the court). In addition, a new subsection of Section 4.1, Local Authority Documentation - 'Final Care Plan' provides further detail on the importance of recording information on the Care Plan which will help the child, parent or the child's carer understand why decisions have been or are being made.

It has also been amended to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018)). (See Section 9, Good Local Authority Practice During Proceedings).

A link has also been added in Related Guidance to Research in Practice supporting information and guidance on the Social Work Evidence template (SWET).
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to previously Looked After Children.

A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.
Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child in Need) This chapter has been amended. From 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.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been amended to reflect Section 3 of the Care Planning and Care Leavers (Amendment) Regulations 2014. The Care Plan must identify whether there is reason to believe the child has been trafficked or is an unaccompanied asylum seeker (see Section 2.1, The Care Plan - Contents).
Family and Friends Care Policy This chapter has been updated with a link added to Looking After Someone Else's Child (GOV.UK)
Ceasing to Look After a Child

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously Looked After Children'. A Previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Previously Looked After Children are entitled to support from their school through the Designated Teacher (see Section 2.5, Children Who Move into Permanency). 
Permanence Planning Guidance

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously looked after children'. A previously Looked After Child  is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Children subject to a Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order are entitled to support from their school, through the designated teacher.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 2.3, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.
Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds This chapter has been updated to fully reflect the updated 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)
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 7.7, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children This chapter has been amended to include a link to the Leaving Care and Transition Procedure in relation to Personal Adviser visits to 'Relevant' or 'Former Relevant' young people.
Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

This chapter has been updated to reflect amendments made by the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously looked after children' i.e. a previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales. The chapter includes a new Section 16, Mental Health and a new Section 8, Safeguarding the Looked After Child at School. A link has been added to the National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2.

In addition the chapter reflects the statutory guidance Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) 2018, as it relates to Looked After Children and guidance regarding Data protection and safeguarding as set out in Data protection: a toolkit for schools (Open Beta: Version1.0) (August 2018).
Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters References to the Adoption Register have been amended following the suspension of the national Adoption Register.
Placement for Adoption References to the Adoption Register have been amended following the suspension of the national Adoption Register.
Adoption Support

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, to offer support to previously looked after children.

A previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales).
Adoption Reviews In Section 5, The Conduct of Adoption Reviews, bullet point 1.f has been amended to reflect the status of adopted children as being 'previously looked after' when considering their educational needs. A link to DfE guidance on Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After children has also been added.
Life Story Books Guidance This chapter has been reviewed.
Later Life Letters This chapter has been fully reviewed.
Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to previously Looked After Children.

A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are  the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

It has also been amended to reflect the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman good practice points to follow when working with Special Guardians. A link to the full report 'Firm Foundations: Complaints about Council Support and Advice for Special Guardians (Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman) (May 2018)' has been added into the Relevant National Guidance and Information section of this chapter.
Leaving Care and Transition

This chapter has been updated. Amendments have been made in:

  • Section 1, Leaving Care Assessment of Need - in relation to children who are victims of trafficking or unaccompanied asylum seeking children;
  • Section 3, Reviews of Pathway Plans - in relation to Relevant/Former Relevant young people moving to 'unregulated' accommodation; and
  • Section 4, Personal Advisers - in relation to frequency of visits by Personal Advisers.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody

This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 3.8, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.

Recording Policy and Guidelines This chapter has been amended to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018).
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Early Help Strategy 2018 - 2021 This chapter has been updated.

January 2019

Caption: 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). It includes the seven corporate parenting principles set out in the guidance.
Confidentiality Policy This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Single Assessment Section 6, Communication has been updated to include reference to parents with learning disabilities.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been reviewed and should be re-read.
Child in Need Plans and Reviews A new Section 4, Children in Need Moving to Another Authority - Principles has been added. Information and communication is important between the respective local authorities to ensure appropriate services continue for the child and family and, where relevant, any risk of harm is recognised and identified with the receiving local authority. It should be noted that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been substantially updated it also includes additional information added in to Section 1.3, Section 20 Accommodation, in line with recent case-law.
Family and Friends Care This chapter has been revised and should be re-read.
Permanence Planning Guidance Section 5, Assessing and Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan (under s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Placements with Parents This chapter has been updated to reflect that the DBS has no eligibility for a standard or enhanced check for birth parents or other adults living in the household. However, the Local Authority has a requirement under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England Regulations) 2010 to obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions before placing a child back with parents (see Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement).
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Section 2, Exceptions has been revised to set out more clearly the circumstances where visiting requirements differ from those set out in Section 1, Normal Frequency.
Looked After Reviews Section 9, The Role of the Looked After 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 IROs' recognition and action over a number of reviews but acknowledged that a more robust response had been needed.
Contact with Parents / Adults and Siblings Section 2, Different Types of Contact has been updated to take account of the use of mobile communication with regards to contact.
Health Care Assessments and Plans A new Section 3.5, Consent to Health Care Assessments has been added.
Adoption Panel This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Inter Country Adoption Section 8, Home Study has been updated to include a link to GOV.UK Benefits.
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 been added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.
Recording Policy and Guidelines This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Case Records for Looked After Children (including 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 This chapter has been extensively updated in line with General Data Protection Act 2018.
Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers These details have been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Participation and Engagement Strategy This strategy has been added to the manual.
Permanency Planning Meetings This procedure has been added to the manual.

April 2018

Caption: April 2018
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Quality Assurance and Learning Framework This chapter has been updated and should be re-read throughout.
Family Group Conference Service This document has been updated and should be re-read throughout.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Section 2, Age Assessment has been updated with regards to in advance of undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities was added. The statutory guidance was updated to link to the Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Modern Slavery – Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (2017). A link has also been added to information from the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens in the Related Guidance and Information section in relation to the responsibilities that local authorities have to ensure that children in their care have effective access to specialist legal advice so their citizenship or any entitlement to citizenship is secured.
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds A link has been added to information from the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens in the Related Guidance and Information section in relation to the responsibilities that local authorities have to ensure that children in their care have effective access to specialist legal advice so their citizenship or any entitlement to citizenship is secured.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline Section 4.2, Case Analysis has been updated to reflect the 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan added by s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 (amending section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning Section 2.1, The Care Plan – Contents has been amended to reflect the additional 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan (s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Permanence Planning Guidance Section 5, Assessing and Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan (under s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

Section 1, Normal Frequency has been amended to include further detail with regards to the Care Planning and Fostering (miscellaneous amendments) (England) Regulations 2015 which state in regulation 28 (3A):

  • Where a child is in a designated long-term foster placement and has been in that placement for at least one year, and the child is of sufficient age and understanding and agrees to be visited less frequently than required by paragraph (2)(c) visits after the first year may take place at intervals of not more than six months. Any decision to extend the frequency of visits as previously outlined must be agreed by the IRO at a LAC Review.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015) with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive (see Section 2, Frequency of Looked After Reviews).
Change of Name of a Looked After Child This chapter has been extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.
Adoption Panel Minor changes have been made to this chapter including at Section 2.2, Confidentiality: Panel members are expected to keep any electronic device supplied to them safe and unavailable to any other person.
Placement for Adoption This chapter has been amended to emphasise 'procedural fairness' as a key aspect of the adoption planning process in respect of ensuring parents are provided with information throughout, including the dates of placement/proposed changes of a child's Status, etc. This follows the outcome of a judicial review ([2017] EWHC 1041 (Admin)). (See new Section 4.2, Procedural Fairness).
Section 1, Planning for Permanence has also been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by s.9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 1(4)(f) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002) into the list of considerations that whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Section 4.1, Duty to Consider Fostering for Adoption Placement has been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by s.9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 into the list of considerations whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.
Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers Section 8, After the Panel Recommendation has been updated to clarify the decision as to the suitability of the applicant must be made within 7 working days of receipt of the panel's recommendation and final set of panel minutes – The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 4: 5.39 and Standard 14 (14.9) Fostering panels and the fostering service's decision-maker.
Access to Records This chapter has been extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers These details have been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Deprivations of Liberty This chapter has been added to the manual.
Mental Capacity Act This link has been added to the manual.
Removed Chapters
  • Induction, Information and Welcome Pack;
  • Children's Consultation and Participation.

November 2017

Caption: November 2017
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Children's Consultation and Participation This chapter has been extensively updated. It replaces the previous chapter entitled Consultation Policy and should be read throughout.
Supervision Policy This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Children Who Run Away or Go Missing/Absent From Home or Care Section 2, Responding to Missing Children Reports has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Young Carers This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Legal Planning Meetings This chapter has been updated to reflect the refreshed internal procedures for Legal Planning Meetings in Bedford Borough Children's Services.
Short Breaks A link has been added to Friendship For All (The Children's Society) in the Relevant Legislation and Guidance section.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a court judgement on Ordinary Residence that was included in DoH, Care and support statutory guidance (December 2016) (see Section 12, Funding Issues – Ordinary Residence). A link has been added into Further Information to guidance on SEND: 19 to 25 year olds' entitlement to EHC plans (DfE 2017).
Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child in Need) This chapter has been updated in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been amended to reflect the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing (2017) with respect to 'consent'. The court recognised that the term 'consent' itself was not used in Section 20. However, it described previous court observations as 'good practice guidance', emphasising its judgment should not alter the content or effect of these (see Section 1.3.1, Obtaining Parental Consent).
Family and Friends Care A link has been added in the Relevant Legislation and Guidance Section to Family Rights Group - Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A Good Practice Guide. This guide sets out best practice as to how viability assessments should be conducted.
Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Placements with Parents Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement has been updated to include consideration should be given as to whether the home environment is safe for the child including where relevant, the need for a risk assessment of any pets and the environment in which they are kept.
Advocacy and Independent Visitors This chapter has been updated to add a link to the Children's Society 'Advocacy services for children and young people – a guide for commissioners'. This guide outlines the legislative requirements of local authorities in the provision of advocacy support to children in need and looked after children.
Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officer This chapter has been updated in relation to the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer in line with the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015). In particular, the IRO being sensitive to the close and active involvement of parents of a child looked after in a series of Short Breaks and problem-solving where there might be difficulties or issues.
Case Escalation Process This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Social Visits (Including Overnight Stays) This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Health Care Assessments and Plans A link has been added to Children's Attachment: Attachment in Children and Young People who are Adopted from Care, in Care or at High Risk of Going into Care - NICE Guidelines (NG26) in the Relevant Legislation and Guidance section. This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters Section 5.3, Assessments has been updated to include where the applicants have pets, a risk assessment should be conducted and any associated risks should be taken into account with regard to the pet itself and where the pet is kept. Where necessary, an independent assessment should be undertaken by a vet to establish whether the dog falls within the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Placement for Adoption A link has been added to Research in Practice – Contact After Adoption. This contains practical resources which bring together knowledge from research and practice to support professionals to be reflective and explore their own assumptions, attitudes and values when developing contact plans.
Inter Country Adoption Section 3, Initial Meeting has been updated. The DfE have published Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements which set out the minimum requirements, however entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances. In Section 4, Formal Approval a link has been added to Intercountry adoption: means test form which contains information on how to apply for a fee reduction for people who wish to adopt a child from overseas and who earn £45,000 per year or less. In Section 12, After Approval information has been added on the Intercountry Adoption Forms: checklist for adoption which details the paperwork adoption agencies must include in the intercountry adoption applications they submit to DfE.
Applications for Special Guardianship Orders This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Private Fostering This chapter has been amended to add clarity to the definition of private fostering with regards to the legislation and children under 16 who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school.
Placements with Connected Persons Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept. A link has also been added in the Relevant Guidance Section to Family Rights Group, Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A Good Practice Guide. This guide sets out best practice as to how viability assessments should be conducted.
Supervision and Support of Foster Carers Section 5, Support Provided by the Supervising Social Worker (During Placement) has been updated to reflect that the Safer Caring Plan, any changes in household circumstances along with any health and safety issues including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept should be reviewed as required.
Recording Policy and Guidelines Section 2, Responding to Missing Children Reports has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Case Records for Looked After Children (including Retention) This chapter has been reviewed to note the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry (see Section 2, Retention and Confidentiality of Records).
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers This chapter has been updated.

April 2017

Caption: April 2017
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation Section 1, Introduction has been updated to take account of the change of definition in: Child sexual exploitation Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation, Department for Education, February 2017.
Children Who Run Away or Go Missing/Absent From Home or Care Section 2, Responding to Missing Children Reports has been extensively updated and should be read throughout. Section 4, Children Missing Flowchart has been also updated.
Single Assessment This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted 'good practice steps' to undertaking assessments and issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth, including the assessment process.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted what were thought to be 'good practice steps' to issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth (see Section 3.1, Pre-birth Planning and Proceedings).
Legal Planning Meetings This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge set out what were thought to be 'basic and good practice steps' (see Section 2, Considerations). Appendix 1: LPM Flowchart and Appendix 2: LPM2 Process have been added.
Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Section 1, Placement Panning Meeting has been updated to reflect that the Team Manager will chair the first Placement Panning Meeting and a Placement Planning Meeting is required when a decision is made about matching, and the decision to progress to matching must be clearly recorded in the minutes. The Team Manager must be present at a Placement Planning Meeting where matching is being decided.
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been amended to acknowledge the President of the High Court's judgement regarding applications in English courts for Secure Accommodation placements in Scotland (see Section 4.1, Placement Request, Identification and Approval).
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been amended to note The Law Society guidance 'Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings' and their Code of Conduct where the child or family who attend reviews are supported by a legal representative (see Section 8, Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities).
Applications for Special Guardianship Orders This chapter has been updated to clarify the level of parental responsibility extended to the Special Guardian. Further detail has been added to Section 2, Who may Apply? with regard to who may apply for Special Guardianship.
Staying Put Supported and Staying Put Lodgings Carers A link has been added to Staying Put: What does it mean for you? (Catch 22 National Care Advisory Service). This is a booklet for care leavers, regarding staying with their foster carer after the age of 18, and the duties of the local authority to provide support.
Case Records for Looked After Children (including Retention) A note with regards to the Goddard Inquiry and retention of records has been added.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Complex Strategy Meetings - Practice Guide This Practice Guide has been added.
Strategy Meetings - Practice Guide The purpose of this Practice Guide is to emphasise some key approaches from the BBSCB Procedures to undertaking a Strategy Meeting. This should be read alongside the full BBSCB Child Protection Enquires Procedure.
Transfer Protocol - A Protocol for the Transfer of Cases between Teams within the Children's Social Care Service This guidance outlines the transfer process for all cases from the point of referral.

October 2016

Caption: October 2016
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Children Who Run Away or Go Missing/Absent From Home or Care This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Single Assessment Section 2, Timescales has been updated to reflect that the child's assessment should consider any issues that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery.

NOTE

; if there is a concern with regards to exploitation or trafficking, a referral into the National Referral Mechanism should be made.
Child in Need This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Section 2, Age Assessment has been updated with information from the ADCS Asylum Task Force who has worked with the Home Office to provide a set of jointly agreed "good practice documents". These documents are offered as practice guidance, by way of assistance to local authorities and their partners. The use of the proforma and consent form is voluntary. The content does not, nor does it seek to, be binding on local authorities. It is simply a recommended approach.
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds Section 2, Role of the Local Authority has been updated to reflect that the child's assessment should consider any issues that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery.
Quick Guide to BAP/ MAP & Children's Placements Team This chapter has been updated.
Legal Planning Meetings Section 1, Purpose of Legal Planning Meetings has been updated to reflect that where children are already Section 20 Accommodated there should be no delay in issuing proceedings where this is required.
Direct Payments This chapter has been updated including the addition of a new Section 7, Hospital Stays.
Short Breaks This chapter has been fully updated to bring it in line with the Children and Families Act 2014, DfE, Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years Statutory Guidance for Organisations who work with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (2015) and DfE, The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Links have been added to National Framework for Children and Young People's Continuing Care and 0-25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals. Advice for clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities in the Related Guidance section.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Family and Friends Care Section 4.4, Child Arrangements Order has been updated to reflect that these payments are subject to a 'means test' as well as being discretionary.
Placements in Residential Care Section 2.2, Identification and Approval of Placement has been updated to reflect that the placement provider should be able to provide evidence that supports the appropriateness and effectiveness of any therapeutic approach or model of care they intend to use. Also any placement made outside the local authority area should be able to meet the child's physical and mental health / emotional needs, particularly where on-going treatment is being undertaken or is assessed as required.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Notification of Significant Events This chapter has been slightly updated.
Advocacy and Independent Visitors This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Case Escalation Process This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Contact with Parents / Adults and Siblings This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Education of Looked After Children A link has been added to Mental Health Behaviour in Schools Guidance (DfE 2016) in the Related Guidance section.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Section 4, Fostering for Adoption has been amended to reflect that if, at any point during the planning of a Fostering for Adoption placement or if the child is already in such a placement, there is any change to the circumstances of prospective carers, including relatives, a planning meeting with the Fostering for Adoption carers and all professionals involved should take place to consider the new information at the earliest opportunity, so that the carers can make an informed choice about their position. Similarly, this also allows the local authority to consider their position in light of the change in circumstances.
Applications for Special Guardianship Orders Section 5, Planning Meeting, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance Section 3, Special Guardianship – Matters to be Dealt with in Report to Court, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016 as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Placements with Connected Persons Section 1, Introduction has been amended to reflect that as with any placement the responsible Authority must be satisfied that the placement is the most suitable means to safeguard and promote the child's welfare, not withstanding the Connected Person is not yet approved as a foster carer. The Authority must be satisfied that it is necessary for the child to be placed with the Connected Person before the Connected Person's suitability to be a foster carer has been assessed in accordance with the Regulations. These provisions are to be used only in exceptional circumstances and where there are clearly defined reasons why a full foster carer assessment cannot be undertaken before a placement is made. There is a risk that if a child is placed before the full approval of the carer as a local authority foster carer they may not be approved at the end of the process resulting in a further move for the child.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Recording Policy and Guidelines This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Access to Records A link has been added to the Information Commissioners Office – Guide to Data Protection in the Related Guidance section.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Participation Strategy for Children and Young People 2016 - 2017 This chapter details Bedford Borough Council's commitment along with communities and partners to improve local quality of life and to give children a brighter future through seeking people's views to develop the services it offers.
Joint Protocol on Supervision Orders (The East of England Children's Services) The purpose of this joint working protocol is to establish a common approach to issues that may arise when a child who is, or who may be about to become, the subject of a Supervision Order moves from an address in one local authority area to an address in another local authority area, within the East of England Region.
Guidance on Child Protection Visiting This chapter details the purpose and procedure for Child Protection visiting.
Long Term Foster Care This chapter details the options, criteria and panel process with regards to Long Term Fostering.
A Guide for Staff working with Looked After Children under the provisions of LASPO in Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service and Bedford Borough/Central Bedfordshire Children's Services. This guidance aims to provide staff with a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities for LAC under the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).
Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation (YDA) and Remand to Local Authority Accommodation (LAA) guidance for Court Officers This protocol aims to ensure that there is continuous/standardised supervision.
Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations This chapter deals with recording of meetings/conversations by individual service-users, in their capacity as private individuals. Note that the employees of the local authority, acting in their professional capacity, are subject to different legislative requirements, e.g. under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is a developing area, and legal advice must be sought as necessary.
Caseload Policy This chapter has been added to the manual.
Removed Chapters
  • Open Case Recording Policy.

May 2016

Caption: May 2016
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Children's Services Policies, Values and Principles This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Confidentiality Policy A link has been added to Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers in the Related Guidance section.
Section 47 Enquiries This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds This chapter has been updated with regards to the Care Act 2014.
Short Breaks Section 7, Short Break Settings, revised links to new Quality Standards for Children's Homes and Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Decision to Look After and Care Planning

New appendices have been added:

  • Appendix 1: Checklist - Actions and Paperwork for Children Becoming Looked After;
  • Appendix 2: Decision Making to Look After Children;
  • Appendix 3: Newly Accommodated LAC.
Placements in Secure Accommodation A link has been added to Department for Education Guidance - Secure Children's Homes: How to Place a Child aged under 13 in the Related Guidance section.
Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters This chapter has been amended to add further detail in respect of Section 3.5, References, applicants will be asked to provide the names of four personal referees, who are adults have known the applicant for at least two years who will give personal references on the prospective adopter. For a couple, a reference from each applicant's extended family should be sought.
Placement for Adoption Section 2, Obtaining Agency Approval to Adoption Plan has been updated to reflect those parts of the report that contain factual information about the birth family should be shared with the relevant family members to enable them to confirm their accuracy and agree to it being passed on to a child in due course. Any such agreement should be clearly recorded on the child's case record. Each of the child's parents should be shown those parts of the report which set out their views and wishes, and given the opportunity, if they so wish, to express these in their own words.
Adoption Support A new Section 9.8, Remuneration for Adopters has been added.
Adoption Reviews This chapter has been reviewed and a small amendment has been made in the reviewing of the placement – recognising that for some children, attachment is a long term issue, but acknowledging that parental responsibility is an area that should be considered within the context of the review (see Section 5, The Conduct of Adoption Reviews).
Intermediary Services

Section 6.1, No Obligation to Proceed if not Appropriate has been amended to include where the Agency ascertains someone who is the subject of an application is under the age of 18, it must not proceed further with the application.

Section 7.7, Offences has been added in line with the Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 to indicate it is an offence to contravene the Regulations.
Staying Put Supported and Staying Put Lodgings Carers This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout. It replaces the former chapter entitled Staying Put Policy.
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Supervision Policy The purpose of this document is to ensure a consistent approach to supervision throughout Children's Services, which supports and motivates staff, encourages reflective practice and monitors performance and targets set at appraisal, thereby linking with Council aims and objectives and in doing so enhance the quality of staff performance in providing services to our customers.
Ceasing to Look After a Child This chapter reflects the statutory guidance 'Ceasing to look after a child' in 'Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (2015)' as amended by the 'Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2015' together with Working Together to Safeguard Children.

October 2015

Caption: October 2015
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
A Child Centred System - Understanding Thresholds This document has been updated.
Permanence Planning Guidance This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Placements in Foster Care Section 9, Long-Term Foster Placement has been added.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

Section 1, Normal Frequency has been amended to include where a child is in a designated long-term foster placement visits after the first year may take place at intervals of not more than six months. where the child, being of sufficient age and understanding, has agreed to be visited at this minimum frequency.

In general, the frequency of visits should always be determined by the circumstances of the case and visits should be made whenever reasonably requested by the child or foster carer regardless of the status of the placement.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Case Escalation Process This chapter has been slightly amended including the addition of a link to Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board Escalation Procedures.
Health Care Assessments and Plans This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Restrictive Physical Intervention This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Early Help Strategy 2015 - 2018 The strategy sets out a vision and principles that we hope all services working with families in Bedford Borough will commit to.
Children Who Run Away or Go Missing/Absent From Home or Care This chapter applies to the Bedford Borough Council internal procedures for children who run away or go missing from home or care.
Pre-birth Child Protection Procedure This chapter deals with the recognition, referral and response where there are concerns that prospective parents may need support services to care for their baby.
Young Carers The Local Authority is expected to take 'reasonable steps' to identify which children in their area are young carers, and if they have the need for support.
MAPPA - Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements This chapter details the arrangements with regards to MAPPA and associated meetings.
Notification of Significant Events This chapter sets out who must be notified of specified events in relation to Looked After Children placed in foster care or residential care.
List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers This chapter has been added to the manual.
Removed Chapters
  • Initial Enquiries;
  • Section 47 Enquiries.

June 2015

Caption: June 2015
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Applications for Emergency Protection Orders This chapter has been updated throughout in line with revised guidance as set out above, the revised family justice and courts system, and a new Section 6, on Powers to Assist in Discovery of Children Who May Be In Need Of Emergency Protection has been added.
Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation Section 8, Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme has been added.
Access to Records This chapter has been updated in line with Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised January 2015). A new Section 8, Applications by Care Leavers has been added.
Direct Payments This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014 Part 3 (children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities) and the Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014. The chapter should be re-read.
Permanence Planning Guidance This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014, and the overall aim of speeding up the adoption process. The chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read. The main changes are in relation to adoption, specifically Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read in its entirety.
Out of Area Placements This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read in its entirety.
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been slightly updated, links have been added to the Related Guidance and Related Chapter sections.
Placements with Parents Additional information has been added into Section 1.7, Ending of Placement, to take account of recent case-law.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read in its entirety.
Education of Looked After Children This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.
Leaving Care and Transition This chapter has been updated in line with The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (Revised May 2014). Information has been added in relation to the Higher Education Bursary (Section 5, The 16-19 Bursary Fund And Higher Education Bursary), Young People Resuming Education or Training After 21 (new Section 6, Young People Resuming Education or Training After 21) and Access to Records (new Section 10, Access to Records).
Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the overall aim of speeding up the adoption process. The chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read. Information has been added in relation to:

  • Fostering for Adoption (Section 1, Recruitment and Responding to Initial Enquiries and Section 5.4, Fostering for Adoption);
  • Adoption Register (Section 9, After the Panel Recommendation);
  • Duty to provide information on adoption support services (Section 1, Recruitment and Responding to Initial Enquiries and Section 2, Registration of Interest in Adoption);
  • Ethnicity (Section 15.3, Ethnicity).
Placement for Adoption

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014, and the overall aim of speeding up the adoption process. The chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read. The main changes are in relation to:

  • The duty to consider Fostering for Adoption placements;
  • The removal of the requirement to give due consideration to a child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background when matching a child and prospective adopters;
  • Post-adoption contact;
  • Placing of siblings.
Adoption Support This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014. A new Section 2, Duty to Provide Information Concerning Adoption Support, has been added.
Intermediary Services This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read in its entirety.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter replaces previous separate chapters regarding Court Proceedings and the Public Law Outline.
Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Safeguarding Children Boards: Safeguarding Children and Young People who Run Away and go Missing from Home and Care A link to this has been added.
Bedford Borough Short Breaks Services Statement A link to this has been added.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities This procedure sets out the specific provision under the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to children and young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs or disabilities and their carers'.
Case Escalation Process This protocol has been developed to ensure that Bedford County Council has a robust escalation process through which issues or concerns might be raised and resolved involving care plans for children looked after, or children subject to a child protection plan. It aims to encourage that issues are addressed and resolved at the earliest point possible; to prevent drift and delay for children; to promote more consistency across the service and to improve practice in Children's Social Care.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters This procedure deals with placement of a child with carers who are dually approved, i.e. approved both as prospective adopters and as local authority foster carers.