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BexleyChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Amendments

April 2019

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Assessments

This chapter has been revised to reflect updated guidance on Assessment in Working Together to Safeguard Children. In addition a new section on Contextual Safeguarding has been added (see Section 17, Contextual Safeguarding).

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

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)) (see Section 9, Good Local Authority Practice During Proceedings);

  • To update Pre-Proceedings and Issue letters together with a new Social Work Consent Checklist (see Appendices);

  • In Related Guidance a link has been added to Research in Practice supporting information and guidance on the Social Work Evidence template (SWET);

  • Amendments have also been made to reflect changes in '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.

Please re-reference.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This chapter has been amended in April 2019 to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018).

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.

Statutory Guidance on Provision of Accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds who may be Homeless and/or Require Accommodation and Duty to Refer

This chapter already links to statutory guidance:

  • Prevention of Homelessness and Provision of accommodation for 16 and 17 year old young people who may be homeless and/or require accommodation (2018): this guidance is solely concerned with the functions of children's services and housing services when young people seek help from, or are referred to, local authorities because of homelessness or being threatened with homelessness. It incorporates judgements made in the House of Lords over several years around the duties of local authorities under Section 20 (Children Act 1989) and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. The guidance also reflects the duties introduced under the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017);

And now includes a link to:

  • Homelessness - Duty to Refer: the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) places a duty on specified public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authority homelessness/housing options teams.

The guidance provides helpful information and detail on the referral process which is brought out in additional links.

Please re-reference.

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.

Placements with Parents

This chapter has been updated 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).

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).
Please re-reference.

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.

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 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. The chapter includes a new Section 15, 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).

Policy to Promote the Welfare of Young Adults Leaving Care

This chapter has been updated and includes a section on 'Understanding My Life and Care Experiences' (access to records) and an additional Appendix G 'Consent to Share information Agreement'.
Please re-reference.

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.

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.

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

Section 5.1.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.

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 updated 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 section of this chapter.

New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details

Signs of Safety Practice Framework and Expectations

This substantial chapter highlights in the Introduction by the Deputy Director, that the 'document has been developed collaboratively with practitioners and managers, with the underlying philosophy that those closest to the front line are in the most unique position to inform the organisation about what works'. It contains tables covering each significant area of work from the MASH through Looked After Children to Fostering and Adoption, noting the Signs of Safety Principles, Bexley values and practice expectations and bottom lines; it has a Framework Reflective Tool and guidance on using 'Signs of Safety' alongside statutory guidance.
Please fully reference.

Signs of Safety Direct Work Resources

This chapter links to the Knowledge Bank that supports the Signs of Safety process in a practical sense. This chapter should be regularly referenced.

Modern Day Slavery - Bexley Strategy and Toolkit

This substantial chapter provides the legal policy and framework for action and gives information on the signs of modern day slavery; the National Referral Mechanism together with making referrals for adults and children. The chapter also identifies the actions and next steps for the authority and relevant and a list of useful resources and contacts. Please fully reference.

Children Missing from Home

The chapter establishes the protocol for the Children's Services to deal with children who are missing from home or care. It provides relevant definitions and establishes the processes of notifications or referrals via MASH. The chapter also deals with the 'Return interview' highlighting that children should be offered an independent person or their practitioner.

Nevertheless, a missing child is at risk and this needs to be assessed and monitored, which the chapter fully covers. It also provides a range of recommended support services and a flow chart to identify the pathway for this procedure.

Please fully read.

Next Update: October 2019

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2018 Amendments

2017 Amendments