AlphabiolabsIQ Legal TrainingHousing Law WeekBerkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy Services

Welsh Government launches consultation on cross-border secure accommodation placements

Consultation focuses on local authorities’ duties

The Welsh Government is consulting on changes to local authorities' duties in relation to cross-border placements in secure accommodation, and other out of area placements for looked after children.  The changes would cover secure placements in Scotland and notification of emergency out of area placements.

The changes proposed to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 concern the arrangements for notifying a local authority when a looked after child from another county is placed in its area (either in foster care or in a children's home) in an emergency.

Currently, when a child is placed out of county in an emergency, the placing authority must notify the area authority (in Wales or, in the case of a cross-border placement, in England) not later than five working days of the placement being made. The proposed amendment would require the placing authority to notify the area authority within 24 hours of an emergency placement being made. Notified in this case means that the local authority placing the child must provide the following information:

The requirement to provide the full assessment details and care and support plan within five working days would remain, as would the requirement to refer the placement to panel as soon as practicable after the placement, and in any event not later than 25 working days after the placement is made.

These changes would also need to be reflected in the Part 6 Code of Practice on Looked After and Accommodated Children which would be amended accordingly.

Draft amendments to the Secure Accommodation (Wales) Regulations 2015 are consequential upon changes to section 25 of the Children Act 1989 relating to placements of children from Wales in secure accommodation in Scotland. These changes were introduced by the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

The proposed amendment to the regulations changes the definition of 'secure accommodation' to also include secure accommodation in Scotland, so that when a Welsh local authorities places a child in secure accommodation in Scotland it will be subject to the same safeguards which apply to placements in England and Wales. There are also some technical amendments to ensure the cross-border functionality of the regulations.

The consultation is due to close on 27 November 2017.

For the consultation and related documents, click here.