SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter addresses the action to be taken on receipt of a notification from another local authority that a Looked After child has been placed at an address in this authority.
Where a Looked After child is placed by a local authority in the area of another local authority, notification must be made by the placing authority to the local authority's Children's Social Care Services where the child's placement is located.
The Education Service and the relevant Health Trust for the area in which the Looked After child is placed must also be notified.
The notification will include the address where the child is placed.
The Local Authority where the child is placed must maintain a register of Looked After children for whom it is responsible and all looked after children placed in its area, including those children who are the responsibility of another local authority.
Under the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013, the Manager of a Children's home must notify without delay the area local authority (if different from the placing authority) of the admission to/discharge from the Home of any child.
The notification must state:
- The child's name and date of birth;
- Whether the child is Accommodated under Section 20 or subject to a Care Order or Supervision Order;
- The contact details for:
- The child's placing authority; and
- The child's Independent Reviewing Officer;
- Whether the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, if so, details of the local authority which maintains the Plan.
1.1 The Register of Looked After Children
The Register should include the following information in relation to each child:
- The name, gender and date of birth of the child;
- The name and address of the person with whom the child is placed and, if different, the name and address of the child's parents and all those with Parental Responsibility;
- The name of the placing authority;
- Whether the child has a Child Protection Plan;
- Whether the child is disabled;
- The date on which the placement was made and the date when it terminated including the reason for the termination;
- The child's legal status;
- Where arrangements have been made by the host local Children's Social Care Services to undertake the duties of the placing local authority; what those arrangements are and the name of the person within the placing authority with whom they were agreed.
2. Procedure on Receipt of Notifications in Relation to a Looked After Child
2.1 Responsibilities of the Children's Social Care teams
Any notification received from another local authority that a Looked After child has been placed in the authority should be passed to the Designated Manager (Notifications).
The Designated Manager (Notifications) will ensure, through communication with the placing local authority where necessary, that the information required in Section 1.1, The Register, is provided and recorded.
The Designated Manager will also arrange for a check to be carried out of the address on the data management system (e.g. ICS) to establish whether there is any information recorded in relation to the address. If so, this information must be communicated to the allocated social worker in the local authority with responsibility for the child.
Where the placing local authority requests that the authority carry out certain functions in relation to the child on its behalf e.g. supervision of the placement, the Referral and Assessment Team Manager will arrange for this request to be discussed at a formal planning meeting involving representatives of the placing local authority. The Referral and Assessment Team will take responsibility for chairing the meeting.
In these circumstances, the authority may agree to undertake the following:
- Supervise the placement in order to be satisfied that the welfare of the child continues to be suitably provided for; and/or
- Visit the placement on a regular basis.
It would never be appropriate for the authority to agree to a request to supervise a child placed in secure accommodation and/or subject to Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
Where it is agreed at a planning meeting that the authority will undertake supervision of a placement on behalf of a placing authority, a social worker will be allocated. The placing local authority should be requested to provide sufficient information about the child and the placement to enable the social worker to supervise the placement competently, including the following:
- Care Plan;
- Placement Information Record;
- The most recent Review of Arrangements Form.
The agreement to supervise the placement should be detailed in writing and signed by Designated Manager (Notifications) and a relevant Senior Manager in from the Placing Authority. It should include an expectation that the allocated social worker in the authority will be invited to contribute to the child's Looked After Review.
Where a significant incident arises in the placement whilst the child is placed, the authority where the child is placed will be expected to respond to the presenting needs. However, except in an absolute emergency (e.g. where it is not possible to contact the child's social worker or their Team Manager, or if out of hours the placing local authority's Emergency Duty Team), the authority should not take any significant action or remove the child, without consultation with placing local authority.
The authority should never take action on the basis of the placing authority's verbal authority, but must be certain that required actions are as a result of a written request.
At all times case management responsibility remains with the placing authority.
In the event that the authority where the child is placed has to have an involvement in an emergency situation where the child is at risk of Significant Harm and the placing authority cannot be contacted, any action should be on the basis of the requirements of local Safeguarding Children Procedures.
2.2 Maintaining the Register
The Designated Manager (Notifications) is responsible for maintaining the register of Looked After children (see Section 1, Introduction).
This register must include:
- Children looked after by the authority;
- Children looked after by another local authority but placed within the authority, where there has been agreement that the authority will carry out some of the responsibilities of the placing local authority;
- Children looked after by another local authority but placed within the authority, where the placing local authority continues to carry out all the functions in relation to the child.
The Designated Manager (Notifications) will ensure that the following teams /agencies are notified:
- The Health Service;
- The Education Welfare Service;
- The Looked After Children Education Team.