Code of Practice and guidance on the exercise of social services functions and partnership arrangements in relation to Part 6 (looked after and accommodated children) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. (The Act), including children and young people who are leaving or who have left care.
The Act provides the statutory framework to deliver the Welsh Government’s commitment to integrate social services to support people of all ages, and support people as part of families and communities. It will transform the way social services are delivered, primarily through promoting people’s independence to give them stronger voice and control. Integration and simplification of the law will also provide greater consistency and clarity to people who use social services, their carers, local authority staff and their partner organisations, the courts and the judiciary. The Act promotes equality, improvements in the quality of services and the provision of information people receive, and a shared focus on prevention and early intervention.
In the main, Parts 2 and 6 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Act replace Part 3 of, and Schedule 2 to, the Children Act 1989. Section 17 of the Children Act (children in need) is not replicated in Part 6, as the assessment of children in need and their families, and the delivery of any services to meet those needs, is covered under the provisions on assessing and meeting the needs of individuals under Parts 3 and 4 of the Act.
Implementation of this code will need to be consistent with the code of practice relating to Part 2 of the Act, which sets out the Outcomes Framework for care and support. There will also need to be consistency with the duties under Part 11 relating to children and young people in youth detention accommodation or prison, to ensure that children and young people in these setttings who were looked after immediately prior to being sentenced to custody continue to have their needs assessed and met whilst in the secure estate. Children who are remanded to custody in the secure estate will become looked after (and come within the scope of Part 6) until they are either freed or sentenced to custody in the secure estate.
The overall purpose of Part 6 is to safeguard and promote the well-being of looked after and accommodated children and care leavers, and to enable each child or young person to achieve recovery and healing from past harm. It also aims to promote resilience and achievement of personal well-being outcomes.
Reference: Welsh Assembly Government. (2018). Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014: Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked After and Accommodated Children) (Version 2 - 2018). (publication number WG34698)
This guidance refers (inter-alia) to the legislation below - all links are to the original source .gov.uk and are reproduced under the OGL.
Part 6 – Looked After and Accommodated Children
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) and Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2016
These Regulations are made as a result of the commencement of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”).
The 2014 Act replaces, in relation to Wales, the provision formerly made by Part 3 of and Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 (“the 1989 Act”).
The powers within the 2014 Act have been exercised (in the main using the powers within Part 6 of that Act (looked after and accommodated children)) to make the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”). The 2015 Regulations make provision about care planning and associated matters for looked after children, that is, for children who are looked after by a local authority (whether or not they are in the care of that authority by virtue of a care order under section 31 of the 1989 Act).
These Regulations make consequential and incidental amendments to secondary legislation required as a consequence of the commencement of the 2014 Act and the making of the 2015 Regulations in exercise of the powers within Part 6 of the 2014 Act. The secondary legislation which is amended by these Regulations makes provision (in the main) about care planning, placement decisions and the review of cases of certain children (those looked after by a local authority, accommodated by voluntary organisations, or placed in a private children’s home).
The effect of the amendments made in these Regulations is that the earlier secondary legislation, which makes provision about care planning and associated matters for children, will apply only in relation to children who are provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation and to children who are placed in private children’s homes and will make reference to the appropriate provision made by the 2014 Act.
The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (came into force 2 April 2018)
These Regulations amend the Care Wales Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”).
Part 3 of the 2015 Regulations contains general provisions about the placement of a looked after child, with regulation 12 making specific provision in relation to out of area placements.
Regulation 2 of these Regulations adds to the information which must be notified by the responsible authority to the out of area local authority or the local authority in England in whose area the child has been placed under regulation 12(8) of the 2015 Regulations, and which must be supplied not later than 24 hours after the placement is made.
These Regulations are made under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the Act”) and they come into force on 1 April 2016. They revoke, and in part, replace, the Children (Leaving Care) (Wales) Regulations 2001.
The Regulations make provision about the support to be provided to certain young persons who are no longer looked after by a local authority, that is, category 2 young persons (as defined by section 104(2) of the Act and regulation 3) and to category 3 and category 4 young persons (as defined in section 104(2) of the Act).
They re-enact (with some changes) provisions in the 2001 Regulations (other than those relating to young persons who are referred to in those Regulations as “eligible” children, who are now defined as category 1 young persons in accordance with section 104(2) of the Act, which are now contained in the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015).
These Regulations make provision about the way in which the responsible local authority must carry out an assessment of the needs of category 2, category 3 and category 4 young persons (regulation 5) and about the preparation and review of pathway plans, which are plans setting out the advice and other support the responsible local authority, and where appropriate other persons, intend to provide (regulations 6, 7 and Schedules 1 and 2).
They prescribe the functions of personal advisers appointed for category 2, category 3 and category 4 young persons (regulation 8) and make provision about other support and the suitability of accommodation (regulation 9 and Schedule 3). They provide for the establishment and keeping of records in relation to assessments and pathway plans (regulation 10).
These Regulations impose requirements in relation to the placement of children in secure accommodation.
Regulation 2 sets the maximum period which a local authority can hold a child in secure accommodation without authorisation from a court. Regulation 3 imposes procedural requirements on the local authority in relation to such arrangements.
Regulation 4 imposes restrictions on who may apply to a court for authorisation to hold a child in secure accommodation. Regulation 5 requires local authorities to notify certain people when making such an application and regulations 6 and 7 set the maximum periods which a court may authorise.
Regulation 8 prevents a local authority from placing a child in secure accommodation anywhere other than a children’s home registered for that purpose. Regulations 9, 10 and 11 deal with the requirements for notification of such a placement and the requirements local authorities to make arrangements to review secure placements. The persons reviewing a placement must make a recommendation to the local authority about whether the placement should continue. Regulation 12 sets out the records which must be maintained in relation to secure placements.
Regulations 13 to 16 deal with how section 119 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the Act”) applies to particular groups of children. Regulation 13 requires local authorities to have the approval of the Welsh Ministers before placing a child under the age of 13 in secure accommodation. Regulation 14 identifies certain categories of children to whom section 119 of the Act does not apply and section 15 identifies certain children in relation to whom the test set out in section 119 is modified. Section 16 provides for persons other than local authorities who are looking after children to make applications to hold a child in secure accommodation and for modification of the provisions of section 119 to fit those circumstances.
Regulations 17, 18 and 19 deal with consequential and incidental amendments to regulations which have application in relation to Wales prior to the coming into force of these Regulations.
These Regulations amend the Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the Principal Regulations”) and come into force at the same time on 6 April 2016.
The amendments to regulations 1, 2, 9 and 12 of the Principal Regulations make changes to ensure that the requirements imposed on Welsh local authorities in relation to placements in secure accommodation apply regardless of whether they place children in Wales or in England. The amendments to regulation 1 amend the definition of “secure accommodation” so that where the words are used they refer to accommodation whether in Wales or England unless the contrary is indicated. The amendments to regulations 2, 9 and 12 insert words to make clear that in those regulations the references to “secure accommodation” are limited to Wales.
The effect of the amendment to regulation 7 is to ensure that a child who is remanded to local authority accommodation and who is placed in secure accommodation cannot be placed for longer than 28 days without reverting to the court.
The amendment to regulation 14 removes the prohibition on local authorities applying to court for authority to place 16 and 17 year olds in secure accommodation where the 16 and 17 year olds are accommodated under section 76 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The amendment to regulation 15 is made to reflect an amendment made to the effect of section 38 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 so that the obligation on a custody officer in section 38(6) to move arrested juveniles to local authority accommodation has now been extended to children under 18 years of age. This amendment therefore aligns the provisions of regulation 15 of the Principal Regulations accordingly so that the lower threshold applies to all such children.
The amendment to regulation 16 corrects an erroneous cross reference.
The Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (came into force 2 April 2018)
These Regulations make amendments to the Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (“the Secure Accommodation Regulations”).
The amendment to the definition of “secure accommodation” in regulation 1 of the Secure Accommodation Regulations to include secure accommodation in Scotland has effect so that placement of a child by a Welsh local authority in secure accommodation in Scotland is subject to the same safeguards which apply to placements in England and Wales. These amendments are consequential on the amendments made to section 25 of the Children Act 1989 by section 10 of, and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 to, the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
The amendment to paragraph (5) of regulation 1 is consequential on the coming into force of Part 1 of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”). Secure accommodation services in Wales are regulated under the 2016 Act from 2 April 2018.
The amendment to regulation 4 makes clear who is able to apply for a secure accommodation order in cases which do not involve looked after children as provided for by regulation 16.
The amendments to regulations 6 and 7 clarify that the maximum periods set in those two regulations apply to an order of the court made in relation to secure accommodation in Wales.
The amendment to regulation 8 is consequential on the amendment to the definition of “secure accommodation” in regulation 1 and clarifies that the restriction applies in relation to placement of looked after children.
Regulations 9 and 12 are made under the power conferred by section 27 of 2016 Act.
The amendment to regulation 15 clarifies how the provision works for placements by English local authorities to secure accommodation in Wales.
These Regulations make provision about visiting requirements for specified children who, having been convicted of an offence by a court, are detained in youth detention accommodation or in prison, or are required to reside in approved premises.
Regulation 3 specifies, for the purposes of section 97(1)(b) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”), the circumstances that lead to a child ceasing to be looked after by a local authority (which will bring such children within the scope of the duty set out in section 97(3) of the 2014 Act and these Regulations).
Section 97(3) of the 2014 Act imposes a duty upon the responsible local authority to visit, have contact with and to provide advice and other support for such a child.
The circumstances specified by regulation 3 are that a child who was looked after by a local authority but who has ceased to be looked after because, having been convicted of an offence by a court, they are detained in youth detention accommodation or in prison, or required to reside in approved premises.
Children who, having been convicted of an offence by a court, lose their looked after status as a result of their being detained or required to reside in approved premises will fall within a description set out in paragraph (a) or (b) below—
(a) a child, who immediately before being detained, was looked after by virtue of the local authority providing them with accommodation under section 76 of the 2014 Act; or
(b) a child who is ordinarily resident in Wales and who was treated as looked after in accordance with section 104 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“the 2012 Act”) (by virtue of having been remanded to local authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation in accordance with section 92 of the 2012 Act).
Regulation 4 specifies, for the purposes of section 97(1)(c) of the 2014 Act, two categories of children in respect of whom a local authority (specified in accordance with section 97(2)) will have duties under section 97(3) of the 2014 Act and under these Regulations. The application of regulation 4 is subject to exceptions, which are set out in regulation 2(2).
The children who are excepted from the categories specified in regulation 4 because they fall within a description set out in sub-paragraphs (a) to (e) of regulation 2(2) will be visited and supported by the local authority (or local authority in England) responsible for meeting their needs in accordance with other statutory requirements.
Subject to the provision made by regulation 2(2), the categories of children specified in regulation 4 will fall within a description set out in paragraph (a) or (b) below—
(a) the first category is a child who is ordinarily resident in Wales who, having been convicted of an offence by a court, is detained in youth detention accommodation or prison, or is required to reside in approved premises,
(b) the second category is a child who, having been convicted of an offence by a court, is detained in youth accommodation or in prison or required to reside in approved premises that are situate in Wales.
Regulation 5 specifies, for the purposes of section 97(2) of the 2014 Act, which local authority must discharge the duties imposed under section 97 and under these Regulations in relation to a child who falls within a category specified in regulation 4.
Regulation 6 makes provision about the frequency of visits; the responsible local authority must arrange for its representative to visit the child within 10 working days of the child first being detained or required to reside in approve premises and thereafter whenever reasonably requested to do so by specified persons, for example, the child, the child’s parents, or in line with the recommendations made by the representative.
Regulation 7 provides that during each visit, the representative must speak to the child in private unless it is not appropriate to do so or the child refuses.
Regulation 8 places a duty on the representative to provide a report of each visit and sets out what must be included in that report. It also provides that a copy of the report must be given to the child, unless it would be inappropriate to do so, and to certain other persons.
Regulation 9 makes provision in relation to the responsible local authority’s duty under section 97(3)(b) of the 2014 Act to arrange for advice and support to be available to the child.
The Children And Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Reviewed Case Referral) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (came into force 12 February 2018)
The amendments in these Regulations are in the same terms as the amendments made to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Reviewed Case Referral) Regulations 2004 (“the 2004 Regulations”) by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Reviewed Case Referral) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 (“the 2005 Regulations”) as a consequence of the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh family proceedings officers having functions in Wales previously discharged by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (“Cafcass”). The amendments made by the 2005 Regulations were revoked as an unintended consequence of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislations) Regulations 2016 (S.I. 2016/211 (W. 84)) but are now restored by the amendments made by these Regulations. References in the 2004 Regulations to Cafcass and officers of the Service are amended to cover the Welsh Ministers so far as they are exercising their functions under section 35 of the Children Act 2004 and Welsh family proceedings officers.
[ Guidance: Code of Practice on the exercise of social services functions in relation to special guardianship orders ]
These Regulations make provision in respect of special guardianship. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 inserted provisions about special guardianship into the Children Act 1989 (“the Act”).
Part 2 of the Regulations prescribe the matters which a local authority must deal with in a report to the court prepared pursuant to section 14A(8) of the Act when the authority receives notice of a person’s application for a special guardianship order under section 14A(3) or (6) of the Act, or has been requested by a court to conduct an investigation and prepare a report pursuant to section 14A(9) of the Act.
Part 3 of these Regulations makes provision for special guardianship support services. Special guardianship support services are defined by section 14F(1) of the Act as counselling, advice and information and such other services as are prescribed by regulations, in relation to special guardianship. Such services are prescribed in regulation 3 of these Regulations. Regulation 4 specifies the circumstances in which special guardianship support services in the form of financial support may be paid.
Regulation 5 specifies the persons who are entitled to an assessment of their needs for special guardianship support services. Regulation 6 specifies the procedure for an assessment and regulation 7 provides for the determination of the amount of financial support.
After carrying out an assessment, the local authority must give notice under regulation 8 as to any special guardianship support services they propose to provide and as to the period within which representations may be made about the proposal. Regulation 9 makes provision for the local authority to make a decision as to whether any special guardianship support services are to be provided and for the notification of that decision. Regulation 10 makes provision about the supply of information and the giving of notices.
Where special guardianship support services are to be provided to a person, regulation 11 provides for the local authority to prepare a plan in accordance with which the services are to be provided. Regulation 12 makes provision for the review of special guardianship support services and for the revision of the plan.
Regulation 13 makes provision in connection with advice and assistance for persons who used to be subject to special guardianship and regulation 14 makes provision in connection with representations (including complaints) about special guardianship support services.
The Special Guardianship (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (came into force 2nd July 2018)
These Regulations amend the Special Guardianship (Wales) Regulations 2005 (“the 2005 Regulations”).
The main changes are—
(1) amendments to the Schedule which lists the matters which the local authority must deal with in their report for the court for the purposes of section 14A(8)(b) of the Children Act 1989;
(2) provision under section 14F (special guardianship support services) to prescribe circumstances in which section 14F applies to a local authority in respect of persons who are outside that local authority’s area;
(3) provision for the local authority providing special guardianship support services to persons outside their local authority area to—
(a) review the special guardianship support services provided to that person;
(b) notify the local authority where that person lives of any continuing need for support services; and
(c) refer that person to relevant local services.
The Fostering Panels (Establishment and Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2018 (came into force 29 April 2019)
Section 94A of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”) provides that regulations may make provision about the exercise by local authorities of functions conferred on them by section 87 (regulations about looked after children) of that Act. Regulations made under section 87 of the 2014 Act may make further provision about children looked after by local authorities, including regulations providing for the approval of local authority foster parents by local authority fostering services providers or other specified persons (section 93).
Part 1 of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) introduced a new concept of a “regulated service” which is defined in section 2 of that Act. Section 2(1)(e) of the 2016 Act provides that a fostering service is a regulated service, which is defined in paragraph 5 of Schedule 1 to that Act as meaning any service provided in Wales by a person other than a local authority which consists of or includes the placement of children with foster parents or exercising functions in connection with such placement, and which is referred to in these Regulations as “a regulated fostering service”.
These Regulations specify regulated fostering services providers as specified persons who may approve local authority foster parents for the purposes of section 93(1)(a) of the 2014 Act.
These Regulations impose requirements in relation to the establishment and functions of fostering panels on local authority fostering services providers and on regulated fostering services providers, which together are referred to as “fostering services providers”, replacing the requirements set out in Part 4 of the Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/237 (W. 35)).
Regulation 3 makes provision for the establishment of a central list of people who are considered suitable to sit on a fostering panel, from which fostering panel members may be drawn under regulation 4.
Regulation 5 sets out the functions of fostering panels, in particular, to consider applications for the approval of foster parents and make recommendations as to whether a person is suitable to act as a foster parent. Fostering panels also make recommendations as to whether a person remains suitable to act as a foster parent whenever a review is carried out under regulation 9.
Regulation 6 prescribes minimum attendance requirements for foster panel meetings, and requires each panel to make a written record of its proceedings and the reasons for the recommendations made.
Regulation 7 sets out the requirements for the assessment of prospective foster parents. Under regulation 7(3), the fostering services provider may notify a person that they are not suitable to become a foster parent. If no such notification is given, the fostering services provider must continue to assess the person’s suitability to be a foster parent under regulation 7(5).
Regulation 8 deals with the approval or otherwise of a person to be a foster parent, and sets out the process to be followed where the fostering services provider considers a person to be unsuitable. Regulation 9 provides that a person who is informed they are unlikely to be approved has the right to (a) submit representations to the fostering services provider or (b) have their case reviewed by the independent review panel. Regulation 10 lists the information which the fostering services provider must send to the independent review panel.
The fostering services provider must maintain case records in relation to each foster parent (regulation 11) and a list of each foster parent it has approved and not approved (regulation 12). Regulation 13 sets out the retention periods for the records which must be kept, and requires the records to be stored securely.
Referencing: Regulations (statutory instruments) enable provisions contained within Acts of Parliament to be brought into force without the need for a new Act. The SI abbreviation (in most of the cases on this page; WSI) indicating Welsh statutory instrument and a corresponding number are used when referencing them. eg. The Care Leavers (Wales) Regulations 2015. WSI 2015/1820 (W.262) would be the entry in the reference list with (The Care Leavers (Wales) Regulations 2015) in the text. Visit the links above to find out the WSI number. Welsh statutory instruments are available in the medium of Welsh and so the reference in Welsh for the current example is Rheoliadau Ymadawyr Gofal (Cymru) 2015. WSI 2015/1820 (Cy.262)
Guidance and regulations are updated as the Acts of parliament upon which they are based are amended (revised) or new legislation is enacted. The links we provide are to the official and therefore latest source at the time of construction of this page. We advise that for any legal purposes the reader consults professional advice and the .gov.uk resource. E&EO. Print copies are available on the .gov.uk website - follow the links and select print options.
Code of Practice on the exercise of social services functions in relation to special guardianship orders
Children and Social Work Act 2017 (in part applicable to Wales)
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