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6.1.8 Out of Authority Placements: Approval, Consultation and Notification Process

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This practice guidance summarises the processes to be followed when securing approval for an Out of Authority Placement for a Child in Care. It also sets out the procedure for consulting with and notifying the authority in which the planned placement  is located.

RELATED GUIDANCE

The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review June 2015

AMENDMENT

In November 2015, this guidance was reviewed locally and re written to ensure compliance with current regulations and statutory guidance. It should be read in full by all staff involved in planning placements for Children in Care.


Contents

  1. Introduction and Background
  2. Definition of Key Terms
  3. Who should approve an Out of Area Placement?
  4. What should be considered when deciding upon approval for an Out of Area Placement (Regulation 11(2))?
  5. Consultation and Notification to host Local Authority (Regulation 13(4))


1. Introduction and Background

Amendments to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 came into force on 27 January 2014. These were supplemented, in July 2014, by new statutory guidance detailing the new requirements for local authorities when placing a child or young person outside of their geographical area.

From 27 January 2014, a placing Local Authority is required to:

  1. Secure approval for placement; and
  2. Consult and notify the local authority where the planned placement is located.

This Guidance summarises the key practice issues resulting from the changes to the statutory regulations to ensure compliance by City of York Children’s Social Care.

It should be read in conjunction with the Quick Reference Guide: Out of Area Placements (June 2015), and refers to the Record of Decision for an Out of Area Placement and the Notification to another Local Authority pro forma. All can be found on the Children’s Social Care Procedures Forms Library.


2. Definition of Key Terms

Host Local Authority - The Local Authority for the area in which the child is placed or is to be placed where this is different from the responsible authority

Connected person - Regulation 24 of the Care Planning Regulations defines a connected person as a relative, friend or other person connected with the child.

Distant placement - Regulation 11(5) defines a distant placement as meaning “a placement outside the area of the responsible authority and not within the area of any adjoining local authority”. Distant placements must be approved by the responsible authority’s DCS.

Nominated Officer – A senior officer of the responsible authority, nominated in writing by the DCS, for the purposes of approving placement decisions made under the Care Planning Regulations.

Out of Area Placement – A placement out of the authority’s area is one that is located outside the boundary of the responsible authority. An out of authority placement may be in an adjoining local authority’s area or it may be a ‘distant placement’.

Responsible authority – The local authority which looks after the child and makes the placement


3. Who should approve an Out of Area Placement?

Under the amended regulations, a decision to place a child or young person Looked After by City of York Council outside of the geographical area of the City of York and into a host Local Authority area must be approved, unless the placement is with:

  1. A parent;
  2. A City of York approved Foster Carer; or
  3. A Connected Person.

In these circumstances, the requirement for approval does not apply (CPPCR 2010 Reg 11(4)).

Where the placement identified is outside of the City of York but within the geographical area for which either East Riding Council or North Yorkshire County Council is host Local Authority, a Nominated Officer (Head of Service (Safeguarding) or Head of Service (Resources) or Assistant Director Children’s Specialist Services) must approve the proposed placement. The Nominated Officer will use the Record for the Decision of an Out of Area Placement to record and communicate the decision. This is to be saved to the child or young person’s case record.

Where the placement identified is outside of the City of York Council and also outside the adjoining Local Authorities of East Riding Council and North Yorkshire County Council, the Director of Children’s Services, Education and Skills must approve the proposed placement (Regulation 11(5)).

Where the approval of the Director is required, the Head of Service (Safeguarding) must be notified of the need and the Head of Service (Safeguarding) will facilitate the Director’s consideration for approval of the out of area placement. The Director will use the Record for the Decision of an Out of Area Placement to record and communicate the decision. This is to be saved to the child or young person’s case record.


4. What should be considered when deciding upon approval for an Out of Area Placement (Regulation 11(2))?

When the Director or Nominated Officer considers the approval of a placement out of area, and the placement is planned, they must satisfy themselves that:

  1. The child’s wishes and feelings have been ascertained;
  2. The placement is the most appropriate placement available for the child and consistent with the child’s care plan (if the placement is to be a children’s home, consideration should be given to the home’s Statement of Purpose and Location Assessment);
  3. That the child’s parents and relatives have been consulted, where appropriate;
  4. The Local Authority of the proposed placement has been consulted in good time and has been/will be notified; and
  5. The IRO has been consulted prior to a decision to place (to enable the IRO to discuss the proposed arrangements with the child).

Where an out of authority placement is required in an emergency to protect a child, for example, those made by the Emergency Duty Team, where a placement is required due to immediate placement breakdown or where a placement out of area has resulted from remand into Youth Custody, full consideration of the placement by the Director or Nominated Officer may not be possible. In these circumstances, the minimum necessary consideration in determining whether to provide approval must include:

  1. The child’s wishes and feelings have been ascertained; and
  2. The placement is the most appropriate placement available consistent with the care plan.
The remaining requirements to notify/consult the Local Authority of the placement and consult the child’s parents, relatives and the IRO must be undertaken within five working days of the placement.


5. Consultation and Notification to host Local Authority (Regulation 13(4))

When a decision that the most appropriate placement for a child or young person is a placement out of area and approval has been given by the Nominated Officer or the Director of Children’s Services, Education and Skills, the proposed host Local Authority should be notified. The aim of notification is primarily to ensure that the host Local Authority is aware of the planned placement and is provided with an understanding of the reasons why the placement is considered the most suitable for the child or young person. It can also provide an opportunity for the host Local Authority to make representations to City of York Council about the proposed placement. The host Local Authority cannot however veto York’s placement decision.

The City of York Council must give written notification to the host Local Authority before the placement is made or, if the placement is made in an emergency, within five working days of the start of the placement unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so (Regulation 13(4)(a)).

The City of York Council uses a Pro Forma – the Notification to another Local Authority (available from the Forms Library) – to notify a host Local Authority of a placement. The Notification will be sent to the e-mail address provided for this purpose by all Local Authorities at ADCS Leading Children's Services

The Duty Social Worker in the Fostering Team is responsible for the notification process.

Any response from a host Local Authority to the consultation and notification process should be forwarded for the immediate attention of the Head of Service (Safeguarding).

End