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4.3 Children Moving Across Local Authority Boundaries

If a worker from any agency discovers that a child who is the subject of a child protection plan is planning to move, or has moved out of/into the area (s)he should inform the Lead Social Worker/Children's Services immediately, and confirm this information in writing, whenever practicable on the same day.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions and Key Issues
  3. Universal Services and Indicators of Risk
  4. Best Practice for Information Collation and Transmission
  5. Co-parenting Arrangements when there are More than One Responsible Authority
  6. Co-parenting Arrangements when a Child in Receipt of Services Moves Across LA Boundaries
  7. Responsibilities for Child Protection Enquiries (Section 47 Actions)
  8. Role of Officers Responsible for Placements where a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan Moves between Local Authorities
  9. Child Subject of Public Law Outline (PLO) Moves Local Authority Area
  10. Child Accommodated by Originating Authority
  11. Requests to Accept Supervision Orders (SO) or Care Orders (CO) from Originating (Other) Local Authorities
  12. Transfer of Supervision Orders (SO) or Care Orders (CO) to Receiving (Other) Local Authorities
  13. Child Subject to Statutory Order in Originating Local Authority
  14. Hospital In-Patients


1. Introduction

Children must be provided with safe, reliable and consistent delivery of services if they are moving or being moved across local authority boundaries. Universal services (Health and Children's Services (Education)) are the responsibility of the area in which a child is living. The responsibilities of Children's Services (Social Care) are more complex, and described below. Effective transfer of information between services in different geographical areas and agencies is always critical.


2. Definitions and Key Issues

'Originating authority' is the authority in which the child previously lived; and 'Receiving authority' the authority to which (s) he has moved.

Issues to consider are:

  • Indicators of risk for children moving across boundaries;
  • Best practice for information transmission;
  • Attribution of Children's Services case responsibility and transfer of information;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when a child subject to a Child Protection or Child in Need Plan moves between local authorities;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when a Local Authority has reached a decision that the threshold for commencing care proceedings has been reached, but the child moves to the area of another local authority before these are commenced;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when an accommodated child moves to another local authority;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when a child subject to a statutory order in an originating authority moves to another;
  • Attribution of responsibility for child protection enquiries;
  • Procedures for hospital in-patients;
  • A child arriving in Hertfordshire from overseas, his or her identity and who has parental responsibility.


3. Universal Services and Indicators of Risk

When families move frequently, it is more difficult for agencies to monitor a child's welfare and identify any risks.

The following circumstances associated with children and families moving across local authority boundaries are a cause for concern:

  • A family not being registered with a GP;
  • Children missing from a school roll or persistently not attending;
  • Homelessness, in so far as it impacts on the welfare of the child;
  • Information 'patch worked' across a network of agencies with no single agency holding the whole picture of a family history;
  • A&E departments offering treatment to a child who appears not to be engaged with primary health groups;
  • A partner fleeing domestic violence.

Without regard to his or her own specific role, staff in all agencies must be alert to the possibility that a child or family who comes to their attention may not be in receipt of universal services.

All agencies in contact with families who have moved, must establish basic information i.e. full names, dates of birth, previous address, registration with doctor and enrolment in school. The relevant agency must be notified if a child is not appropriately registered / enrolled.


4. Best Practice for Information Collation and Transmission

All agencies in contact with those moving across boundaries will carefully collect accurate information on any child in need and share this with other agencies with due reference to Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure.

  • Ensure all forenames and surnames used by the family are provided, and clarification obtained about the correct spelling, and consider obtaining evidence of identity;
  • Ensure accurate dates of birth for all (if possible) household members and any adult with parental responsibility;
  • Obtain full addresses (when possible with dates) within the last 2 years, including anywhere the child has lived abroad;
  • Clarifying relationships between the child and other household members, if possible with documentary evidence;
  • Asking child / family with which statutory or voluntary organisations they are in contact;
  • Asking for details of any siblings or half siblings not living with the child.

All attendance of children at A&E departments, minor injury units and NHS walk-in centres should be communicated to community based staff via paediatric liaison services, or alternative systems.


5. Co-parenting Arrangements when there are More than One Responsible Authority

Children Services will consider that if there is more than one 'Responsible Authority' involved in a child’s case management, it is important that both 'Responsible Authorities' fully understand the implications of that child spending time in and between both locations.

It is therefore recommended that:

  • When there is a co-parenting arrangement (however imbalanced) across different areas, the two areas jointly plan for the children's safety;
  • Children for whom there is a Child Protection Plan who spend time with separated parents/carers are safeguarded in both areas;
  • Children for whom there is a Child Protection Plan or a Child in Need Plan, who spend time with separated parents/carers, have their needs addressed in both locations;
  • Both parents are assessed, as the national picture of Serious Case Reviews indicates that the focus of attention is mainly on the mothers, with little consideration of the role and parenting capacity of fathers.


6. Co-parenting Arrangements when a Child in Receipt of Services Moves Across LA Boundaries

This addresses the responsibilities of Hertfordshire Children's Services (HCS) when a child, who is an open 'child in need' case, moves to another local authority area and the process that HCS should follow in making and responding to requests for case transfer of a child moving into Hertfordshire from another Local Authority.

See relevant sections for children in the following categories:

6.1 Responsibilities and Procedures for Moving out

When a child, who has been identified as a ‘child in need‘ and has an open case record with Children’s Services, moves out of Hertfordshire to live on a temporary or permanent basis in another local authority, the following actions will be taken:

  • The child's social worker will notify the receiving authority. Notification may be initially by phone, but must be confirmed in writing within seven days and written notification must include a summary of what action HCC consider is necessary, what action is agreed and by whom;
  • The notification should indicate whether parental consent has been obtained to share the information in question. Such consent is not required if the referral or any assessment includes child protection concerns.

Any relevant assessments e.g. C&F, Early Help, Family First, whether partially or fully completed including any information about domestic abuse, reviews and reports must also be sent with the initial letter, this will include a closing summary, which details what action has been taken and who has agreed to take case responsibility, which must be all recorded on LCS.

6.2 Responsibilities and Procedures for Moving In

When HCS is notified by another Local Authority that a child in need has moved into Hertfordshire, the child is referred to the Assessment Team, Children Services. The Team Manager will:

  • Ensure that details of the incoming family members are provided;
  • Obtain full details of any previous assessments undertaken, including any financial responsibility exercised by the originating authority; and
  • Seek written confirmation of the request for case transfer from the originating authority, including a summary of what action is said to be needed;
  • Within fifteen days of first being notified of the move, inform the originating authority in writing, what action is proposed;
  • Ensure that HCS complete a full Child and Family Assessment, as with any other referral, and determine the issues of residence in Hertfordshire.

The following conditions apply:

  • HCS does not accept case responsibility if the move is a temporary and short term arrangement lasting for fewer than six weeks - but staff are expected to provide interim support if agreed with the originating authority as in the child's best interest;
  • HCS does not accept financial responsibility where the move is a temporary one as described above; and
  • Any acceptance of financial responsibility by HCS must be confirmed in writing by a Team Manager;
  • Ongoing involvement with the originating Local Authority may mean that HCS will not take on case responsibility and any uncertainty should be discussed with the Assessment Service Manager and Child Litigation Unit. An example is where children are placed with grandparents, rather than be accommodated under S 20, and where one parent with parental responsibility remains in the originating Local Authority.

6.3 Disputed Arrangements

If there are any disputes about the acceptance or transfer of cases, these should be urgently escalated to Service Managers or Head of Service. Procedures cannot cover all eventualities and decisions about case responsibility must ultimately be based on children's needs. In some cases e.g. where children of the same family may be living separately, discussion between managers should clarify which authority will take overall case responsibility, based on the long-term needs of the children concerned.


7. Responsibilities for Child Protection Enquiries (Section 47 Actions)

7.1 Arrangements for Child Protection Enquiries

HCS will agree to undertake Section 47 actions in the immediate safeguarding of a child from whose social care is the responsibility of another Local Authority, and address any Child Protection issues. The Assessment Team will gather enough information about the context of the Child Protection issue and history to make HCS’s own risk assessment and consider any possible implications, as well as taking the originating Local Authority’s views into account. Any concerns should be urgently escalated to senior managers.

A local authority has a lawful responsibility to conduct Section 47 Enquiries regarding suspected or actual significant harm to a child who lives, or is found in its area.

The term 'home authority' refers to the authority that has responsibility, or if the child is not known to HCS, the authority where the child is living (this could be either an 'originating' or 'receiving' authority).

The term 'host authority' refers to the authority where a child may be found, is visiting for a short break or in receipt of specified services e.g. education (this could be either a receiving authority without responsibility or an entirely different authority).

In situations where the child is found, staying in or receiving a service from a 'host' authority other than her/his 'home' authority where (s)he usually lives, the responsibility for protecting the child and conducting enquiries lies with the host authority, unless the home authority agrees to conduct such enquiries and undertake the necessary child protective actions.

The following are examples of these circumstances:

  • A child found in one authority but subject to a Child Protection Plan in another authority;
  • A child looked after in another local authority;
  • A child attending a boarding school in another area;
  • A family currently receiving services from another local authority;
  • A child staying temporarily in the area but whose family remain in the 'home' authority;
  • A family who have moved into the area, but where another authority retains case responsibility temporarily;
  • A child suspected of being abused - e.g. by a person identified as presenting a risk in the host authority.

Any complexities should be escalated to Service Managers, and advice may be required from the Child Litigation Unit if the social worker and team manager are unclear of which local authority holds responsibility.

7.2 Attribution of Responsibility for Enquiries

When more than one authority is involved with a child, HCS’ responsibility for child protection enquiries will depend on whether the allegations or concerns arise in relation to the child's circumstances within her/his 'home' or within the 'host' authority.

7.3 Principles

The following principles must be applied:

  • Negotiation about responsibility must not cause delay in urgent situations;
  • There must be immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both host and home authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries;
  • Case responsibility for the child lies with the home authority;
  • Any emergency action required should be taken by the host authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the home authority to take alternative action - e.g. if geographically close;
  • When allegations arise in relation to the child's home circumstances, the home Police Joint Child Protection Investigation Team (JCPIT) and Children's Services should lead the enquiry, involving the host authority where the child is placed;
  • When allegations arise in relation to the child's circumstances within the host local authority - e.g. abuse in school or placement, the host Children's Services and Police Joint Child Protection Investigation Team (JCPIT) have responsibility to lead the enquiry liaising closely with the home authority and its Police Joint Child Protection Investigation Team (JCPIT) (it may be agreed, if in the child's interest's, for the home authority and /or Joint Child Protection Investigation Team (JCPIT) to undertake the enquiry);
  • When emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the host authority, responsibility for the child will usually revert to the home authority, following negotiations.

7.4 Procedure

There must be immediate contact between home and host authorities, initiated by the authority that receives the referral and the home and host authority should agree initially:

  • Any need for urgent action;
  • Responsibility for any urgent action and enquiries in accordance with the above principles;
  • Responsibility and plans for a Strategy Discussion;
  • Responsibility for liaison with other agencies.

The following must be told, and sent written confirmation, of the referral (subject to the information sharing and confidentiality procedures set out in Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure):

  • The social worker for the child(ren) or the relevant manager where there is no allocated social worker;
  • The Heads of Child Protection for both home and host authorities;
  • (Where relevant) the placement officers of both authorities;
  • Other local authorities using the service or placement;
  • (Where relevant) the regulatory authority;
  • The local authority where an alleged abuser lives and/or works.

If agreement cannot be reached within the working day, Children's Services where the child is found has the responsibility to undertake the enquiry and take any protective action necessary (See Complex (Organised or Multiple) Abuse Procedure and Managing Allegations Against Adults who work with Children and Young People Procedure).

7.5 Strategy Discussions

Strategy Discussions must be held within usual time scales and be convened, administered and chaired by the responsible Children's Services as defined above. See Strategy Discussion and Meetings Procedure.

Attendance at the discussion must include:

  • (If relevant) a managerial representative of the service provider (unless suspected of involvement in the child protection concerns);
  • Home authority Children's Services responsible for the child(ren);
  • Host authority Children's Services;
  • Representatives of other agencies and authorities as decided by the responsible Children's Services (in consultation with the other authority).

Information provided to the Strategy Discussion will depend on the source of the concern, but must include basic details of the child(ren) and family as well as relevant information about:

  • Family and (where applicable) placement history of the child;
  • Basic details about alleged abuser (where applicable) employment history for staff member/ foster carer/ volunteer etc.;
  • Registration history for the establishment or service.

Notes of the Strategy Discussion must include decisions, actions, and responsibility for actions, time scales and review and closure process.

7.6 Outcome of enquiries

The outcome must be conveyed in writing by the social worker to:

  • All local authorities with children affected;
  • All local authorities using the same service or placement;
  • All agencies involved;
  • The child(ren) where appropriate;
  • Parents, carers and any others with parental responsibility;
  • The employee, foster carer, volunteer or other worker involved in the concerns;
  • The appropriate regulatory authority;
  • Ofsted or DfE as appropriate.

7.7 Families moving whilst Section 47 Enquiries being conducted

In the event a family moves whilst Section 47 Enquiries are being made - e.g. to a refuge in another authority, the originating authority should convene a strategy discussion within 72 hours which includes the receiving authority.

The originating authority retains responsibility until the completion of enquiries unless an alternative is agreed. If a conference is required it should be convened in the receiving authority.

Children Services should not, without full joint recorded consideration of risk, transfer a case to another Local Authority when it has established that the thresholds for care proceedings have been met if the family remained within their local authority.  The receiving local authority should specifically ask this question of the ‘transferring out local authority’, before accepting the transfer. The respective Local Authorities should ensure that all relevant information is available for full consideration at the time of the request to transfer.

7.8 Role of officers responsible for placements

If allegations or concerns about a placement are subject of enquiries, officers responsible for placements in host and home authorities must:

  • Consider the implications for other children and must pass relevant information to other placing social workers;
  • Halt new placements until enquiries are concluded and outcomes evaluated;
  • Inform the regulatory authority (Ofsted) of the placement;
  • Having considered the outcome of the enquiry, decide implications for future placement and confirm in writing to establishment / carer the outcome and implications for future use of the placement;
  • Follow up any other matters as appropriate in relation to the establishment or its management, staffing or registration.


8. Role of Officers Responsible for Placements where a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan Moves between Local Authorities

8.1 Responsibilities when Hertfordshire is the Originating Authority

Any worker from any agency who discovers that a child who is the subject of a child protection plan is planning to move, or has moved out of/into the area (s)he should inform the Lead Social Worker / Children's Services immediately, and confirm this information in writing, whenever practicable on the same day.

The Lead Social Worker will:

  • Inform all other professionals involved in the case and the receiving local authority of any temporary or permanent move immediately;
  • Ascertain if the move is temporary or permanent i.e. if the family is now ordinarily resident in the new area. If the child is staying with a family member, with or without a parent, or the mother and children are placed in a Refuge this may be more complex. If the family has resided in another Local Authority for more than 6 weeks active consideration should be given to a Transfer In Conference. HCS Social Work Team should seek legal advice if it is unclear;
  • inform those with parental responsibility and the father, that information will be shared by HCS with the receiving authority;
  • Send a formal request to the receiving Local Authority for a ‘Transfer In’ conference to be held.

If there are significant concerns about a child, the transfer to another authority should not deter HCS from the initiation of care proceedings. If HCS has agreed that the threshold for Care Proceedings has been reached then HCS will not transfer case responsibility to the receiving authority.

The greater the distance between the other local authority and Hertfordshire, the more quickly a resolution should be reached as the ability for the allocated worker to ensure all parts of the Child Protection Plan.

HCS’ Lead Social Worker will inform the Service Manager, Child Protection in Hertfordshire (by e-mail) of the move, and (s)he in turn, must initiate a written request to the receiving authority to convene a transfer-in child protection conference within fifteen working days.

It is the responsibility of each agency in Hertfordshire to try to ascertain that the:

  • Reciprocal agency in the receiving authority receives detailed information and is made aware of the need to fulfil its role in the protection plan;
  • Lead Social Worker is informed of the name and details of staff in the receiving area;
  • Lead Social Worker is notified of any factors affecting the Child Protection Plan.

HCS's Lead Social Worker must:

  • Provide relevant documentation, including previous conference reports;
  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being provided satisfies the requirements of the Child Protection Plan;
  • Discuss any difficulties with her/his supervisor;
  • Initiate use of any of the local authority's statutory powers made necessary by the move;
  • Provide a report for, and attend the Transfer In Conference.

When case responsibility is to be transferred, the Lead Social Worker must inform all agencies in Hertfordshire of the arrangements, so that staff can transfer records, attend the conference and/or provide information to the receiving authority's transfer Child Protection Conference.

HCS’ Team Manager will attend the Transfer In Conference if the Lead Social Worker is unable.

8.2 Responsibilities when Hertfordshire is the Receiving Authority

Each of the receiving local agencies must ensure that the Transfer In Conference has all the relevant information required to make fully informed decisions to develop the Child Protection Plan, including information from the originating authority's agencies.

Another Local Authority that is the originating Local Authority should send a formal referral for an Initial (transfer In) Child Protection Conference to Hertfordshire. This will be assessed and an Initial (transfer) Child Protection Case Conference arranged within 15 working days. If required the relevant Hertfordshire Children Services Safeguarding, Family Safeguarding and Family Support Team (SL&FS) will do so. If the originating authority is Hertfordshire the notification should be to the relevant Director of Children Services. (See ADCS Leading Children’s Services website) The Team Manager and Service Manager will ensure/arrange:

  • Ascertain that the originating authority are invited (in writing) to attend to and will attend the Transfer In Conference, along with any other significant contributors to the Child Protection Plan;
  • The allocated Social Worker will visit, if possible with the Lead Social Worker from the originating authority and assess the child’s needs and circumstances before the Transfer In conference and a transfer of Child Protection responsibilities;
  • Determine whether this is a temporary or permanent move (see above) and assure themselves that the child is now a resident in Hertfordshire;
  • That the proposed plan is at the appropriate level to manage identified risk;
  • That the originating authority has not reached a decision that the threshold for that authority to commence care proceedings has already been reached;
  • The allocated social worker will provide a report to the Child Protection Chair at least 48 hours prior to the Transfer In Conference;
  • All relevant parties, for example the local GP, should be invited to the initial transfer-in conference and receive a record of that conference.

The Team Manager and Service Manager will seek legal advice if required regarding any concerns about accepting the Transfer-In, and raise, for a decision, with the Head of Service, SL&FS and the Head of the Child Protection and Statutory Review Service.

If all the background information is not received prior to the Transfer In Conference, the conference should be cancelled at the discretion of the Child Protection Chair, in consultation with the Service Manager, Child Protection and Statutory Review Service, and the originating authority retain responsibility. The Service Manager, Child Protection and Statutory Review Service will write to her/his counterpoint in the originating authority to state that case responsibility has not transferred, provide a new conference date and formally request the background documents.

See Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Types of Conference Transfer Conferences.

8.3 Joint Work

In all cases joint 'handover' visits should have occurred or be arranged at the conference. The Transfer In Child Protection Conference may recommend that although case responsibility is transferred to Hertfordshire, joint work continues for a time limited period with staff from agencies in the originating authority.

The greater the distance between the other local authority and Hertfordshire, the more quickly a resolution should be reached as the ability for the allocated worker to ensure all parts of the Child Protection Plan are being progressed and to address the assessed risks to the child is significantly reduced.

8.4 Exceptional Retention of Child Protection Responsibilities by Originating Authority

When the Child Protection Plan specifies a move out of an authority for a defined and time limited period, the originating authority should retain case responsibility, but may require the assistance of the receiving authority to carry out the Child Protection Plan.

Examples of these circumstances are where a:

  • Child temporarily stays with friends/ family in another authority;
  • Mother together with baby is provided with a time limited placement in a mother and baby unit / residential drug rehabilitation in another authority;
  • Parent will be supported for a time limited period to live with a specified person - e.g. relative or friend in another authority;
  • Temporary move into bed & breakfast / homeless accommodation is made.

Another exception, which may justify individual arrangements, is when a family constantly moves and no one authority is able to adequately monitor the welfare of the child.

Whenever any of the above circumstances apply, the Lead Social Worker will:

  • Agree with her/his Children's Services Service Manager that the originating authority should, in the best interests of the child, retain case responsibility;
  • Inform the Service Manager/Heads of Child Protection of both authorities and ask that the child is placed on the database of the receiving authority as being subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • Provide the receiving authority with written information about the child and the Child Protection Plan and the level of participation required of the receiving Children's Services in implementing the plan;
  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being/to be provided satisfies the requirements of the Child Protection Plan protection.

Both Children's Services Team Managers must:

  • Confirm in writing their agreement to case responsibility being retained by the originating authority for a specified period;
  • Ensure arrangements satisfy requirements of the protection plan.

The Head of Child Protection in the receiving authority should place the child's name on the authority's database as being subject to a Child Protection Plan.

If Children's Services Team Managers are unable to immediately agree case responsibility, they must refer to their respective Heads of Child Protection who should determine case responsibility. If those officers are unable to reach agreement, the receiving authority has case responsibility fifteen days following notification of the move and must convene a transfer conference.

8.5 Managing the Transfer: Case Responsibility

The responsibility for the child subject to a Child Protection Plan remains with the originating authority until the receiving authority's Transfer In Conference.

When Hertfordshire is the receiving authority the Service Manager, Child Protection in Children Services should place the child on its database as subject of a Child Protection Plan from the actual move, or when informed of it (if this is later). When the receiving authority is another local authority the Director of Children Services (DCS) will have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that this occurs in that area and the Hertfordshire social Worker must notify the relevant DCS (see ADCS Leading Children’s Services website).

Responsibility for the management of the case up to the transfer Child Protection Conference should be negotiated between HCSs’ Team Manager and the Team Manager of the receiving Local Authority and confirmed in writing. Where the receiving authority is some distance away from Hertfordshire, it can be asked to agree to implement the Child Protection Plan, on behalf of the HCS, from the date of the move. Any arrangement for another local authority to monitor a child for whom there is a Child Protection Plan must be confirmed in writing and recorded on the child’s ICS case record. A transfer Child Protection Conference should be convened by the receiving authority within fifteen working days of notification of a child subject to a Child Protection Plan elsewhere having moved to its area (see Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Types of Conference Transfer Conferences).

The child must remain subject to a Child Protection Plan in Hertfordshire until confirmation is received a Transfer In Conference has taken place and that the receiving authority has accepted case responsibility.

The child protection manager of the receiving authority should be asked to inform her/his equivalent in HCS in writing of the result of the conference and written confirmation of acceptance of case responsibility must be obtained and included on the ICS case record. The Social Worker will then close to HCS as the child is no longer the responsibility of HCS and the family, and all relevant professionals both within Hertfordshire and within the receiving Local Authority will be informed of this in writing.


9. Child Subject of Public Law Outline (PLO) Moves Local Authority Area

When a family leaves Hertfordshire and move to live in another area, the PLO process ceases. All assessments should be terminated, and the receiving Local Authority informed of the children and the progress of the case to date. Clear safeguarding concerns should be shared with the receiving Local Authority, and the family should be made aware in writing that the PLO process has only ceased in HCC due to their relocation. The new LA may wish to continue the PLO, but will need to make their own assessment of the child’s situation. Children Services should share all of our assessments and information to date to support the LA with making that determination, and it is likely that this will also involve a Transferring In Conference, which the allocated worker must attend. It is important, however, to remember that HCC no longer has jurisdiction over the child, and must transfer responsibilities to the new LA.

There must be discussion between the allocated social worker and Service Manager, and legal advice may be sought from the allocated CLU lawyer, in respect of the point at which assessments are terminated, and the outcomes of assessments that can be shared with the receiving Local Authority. For example, if an assessment has been undertaken, but the report itself has not yet been written, HCC may agree to complete that task to share with the receiving Local Authority. If an assessment has been undertaken during the PLO process, of an extended member of the family, consent would need to be sought from that family member before their assessment is shared.

If the PLO process with HCC is near conclusion, and a decision has been made to issue care proceedings, then this must be communicated to the receiving Local Authority, and all relevant information must be available for their full consideration at the time of the request to transfer.


10. Child Accommodated by Originating Authority

Attribution of Children's Services responsibility

An 'accommodated' child remains the responsibility of the originating authority until:

  • (S)he is discharged from accommodation; or
  • Agreement is reached, and confirmed in writing by its Children's Services Team Manager, that the receiving authority will accommodate child(ren).

Responsibility to provide / obtain information

The social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child's move (and in addition to informing relevant agencies in the originating authority), inform the receiving authority's Children's Services of the child's placement and ensure that relevant agencies in the receiving authority are aware of the child's needs.

It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the originating authority, prior to the child's move, to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority.

Where this has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies to request the information.


11. Requests to Accept Supervision Orders (SO) or Care Orders (CO) from Originating (Other) Local Authorities

All requests to accept SOs or COs (the latter is much rarer, but does happen on occasion) need to be considered urgently, as timescales are frequently very short in these cases. The receiving HCS Team Manager will alert the Service Manager and immediately request papers from the other Local Authority.

HCS will consider:

  • Whether a case should come under our jurisdiction; and
  • Whether HCS agrees with the overall plan i.e. that the child will be safe under these proposed arrangements; and that it will be possible to effect meaningful supervision of the case. If there are any concerns in respect of the latter, the Team Manager will immediately raise these with the Service Manager and request that a solicitor is allocated to the case. Depending on timescale, it may be possible to convene a full Legal Planning Meeting (LPM).This should happen if at all possible which will consider the court assessments and any other HCS held information to reach determination about whether to accept the SO or CO.

Any concerns or difficulties should be escalated at the earliest opportunity. Timescales should not deflect Team Managers or Service Managers from expressing significant concerns, and, if necessary, representations will need to be made to the court about gaining additional time to consider this very serious decision. If a SO is made at all, it means that the threshold for significant harm has been met and accepted by the Court, and that these are, therefore, our most vulnerable children.

11.1 Care Order

As a general rule, HCS would resist the making of COs to HCC and there would need to be a compelling case before any consideration of accepting the CO. The matter will be considered at the Legal Planning Meeting.

If HCS plan to oppose or accept the CO, the Team Manager will be required to:

  • Write a statement, which must be authorised by the Service Manager;
  • Inform the Head of Service, and obtain agreement to accepting the Care Order;
  • Attend court, represented by HCC Child Litigation Unit.

If HCS plan is to accept the CO, the Team Manager will additionally be required to:

  • Hold transfer meeting with the Originating Authority to hand the case over;
  • Team Manager will check all agencies in Hertfordshire have been notified of the child's arrival in the County and schedule a CLA Review within 4 weeks of the making of the CO.

11.2 Supervision Order

Before a decision to accept a Supervision Order is confirmed HCS staff will:

  • Discuss with the originating Authority:
    • The purpose of the Supervision Order;
    • The outline of the Child in Need plan they expect to accompany the SO in writing.
  • Consider why a SO order is needed at all and whether, if only general support is needed, a Family Assistance Order (duration 6 months) would suffice.

If HCS are minded to accept the SO HCS staff will convene a meeting with the originating Authority and proposed carer, SO to ensure that there is:

  • Agreement to the SO terms from the proposed carer;
  • A signed written agreement from the proposed carer, before HCC confirm acceptance of the order;
  • Obtain agreement from the Service Manager;
  • Attend court for making of SO, as best practice;
  • Hold transfer meeting with the Originating Authority to hand the case over;
  • Team Manager will check all agencies in Hertfordshire have been notified of the child's arrival in the County and schedule a CIN meeting within 4 weeks of the making of the SO.

If HCS plan to oppose the SO, the Team Manager will be required to:

  • Write a statement, which must be authorised by the Service Manager;
  • Inform the Head of Service;
  • Attend court, represented by HCC Child Litigation Unit.

See East of England Region Joint Protocol.


12. Transfer of Supervision Orders (SO) or Care Orders (CO) to Receiving (Other) Local Authorities

Dependent on the stage of the case and any directions of the court, if it becomes apparent that a child currently subject to proceedings in HCC may go to live in another LA area, it is important to make contact with that LA as soon as possible. The case should be fully discussed:

  • Between social care colleagues; and
  • Between LA Legal Departments.

Whatever HCS’ proposed Care Plan, the receiving LA must have an opportunity to consider and contribute to it, to enable the Court to reach an informed decision. The court may wish to make a different disposal than that proposed in HCS’ Care Plan. It may be that both LAs will oppose the Court’s plan; it may also be that the receiving LA will accept the proposed SO or CO, but it will give them time to consider the child’s needs and develop an appropriate support plan.

The main issue is to remain child focused and ensure an appropriate handover of responsibilities.

In all circumstances, if there is any concern or lack of clarity of action, cases should be escalated to senior management and the Legal Department where appropriate. It is important to keep the child in the centre of all our practice in Hertfordshire and it is equally important to try and ensure that all other Local Authorities do the same.

See East of England Region Joint Protocol.


13. Child Subject to Statutory Order in Originating Local Authority

Attribution of HCS responsibility

Children subject to a full or an interim Care Order remain the responsibility of the originating authority until the order is discharged or expires.

Where a Care Order is in force, the receiving authority may, (and this must be confirmed in writing by its Team Manager or above) agree to provide required services on behalf of the originating authority, but the legal responsibility remains with the originating authority.

Responsibility to provide / obtain information

In cases where Children's Services is aware in advance of a child's move, the social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child's move inform relevant agencies within the originating authority and the receiving authority's Children's Services of the child's placement.

The social worker and the originating authority must also ensure that appropriate agencies in the receiving authority are aware of the child's needs.

It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the originating authority, prior to the child's move, to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority.

If this information has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies (once they become aware of the child's arrival) to request the information.


14. Hospital In-Patients

Hospital admissions (including rehabilitation / mother and baby units) should not be regarded as a 'move of home'.

The responsible authority remains that within which the patient's home is located except with regard to arrangements for child protection enquiries see Section 7.1, Arrangements for Child Protection Enquiries.

Where the patient no longer has a home address e.g. if the family was homeless or gave up a tenancy at the time of, or since admission, the responsible authority becomes that within which the hospital is located.

End