It covers a local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote a child’s welfare and make such services available for children as are reasonable, specifically in relation to placing the child in suitable accommodation and preparing a care plan. N.B. 6.55 The local authority must supervise a welfare guardian and your supervision will take the form of regular meetings, reporting arrangements, and visits both with and without warning to yourself and the adult. However, the local authority also has a responsibility at any time to give you advice and guidance on the exercise of your welfare powers. When you are living away from home the local authority has a duty to promote contact between you and your parents and other members of your family like siblings and grandparents, so long as this is consistent with your welfare. Conserving biodiversity can include restoring or enhancing a population or habitat. April 7, 2020 / in Family Law, Frontpage Article, News / by Liberty Crawford. These duties placed on the local authority can only be discharged with the full co-operation of other partners , many of whom have individual duties when carrying out their functions under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (see chapter 2). E+W (1) Where a child is in the care of a local authority, the authority shall (subject to the provisions of this section) [F1 and their duty under section 22(3)(a)] [F2 or, where the local authority is in Wales, under section 78(1)(a) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014] allow the child reasonable contact with— § 2635.705 (see Subpart G - Misuse of Position; Use of official time) Return to Top Building capacity with partners to promote … Local Authority’s duty to promote contact between a child in their care and relevant parties under section 34 of the Children Act 1989: Covid-19 Guidance. As a public authority in England you have a dutyto have regard to conserving biodiversity as part of your policy or decision making. The local authority is under a legal duty to assess you if: you're an adult, and; it appears that you may have a need for care and support. Local Authority Social Services have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk. any person who had care of the child under wardship immediately before the Care Order was made. When a child has … Whilst guidance has been issued concerning private law cases and children moving between households, that guidance does not assist in this instance. An analysis of the Court of Appeal decision in RE W (CHILDREN) (2012) [2012] EWCA Civ 999 I have written about intractable and long-running contact disputes before on this blog, and no doubt I will again. 7. 4. The key new duty for local authorities will be to take appropriate steps to improve the health of their population. NHS Trust 5. utility company 6. body carrying out functions of a public character un… Whether these arrangements can continue in the current health crisis will depend on many factors including the current and underlying health of children, parents and carers, their ages, and also depending which local authority has the Care Order. Any accommodation provided must safeguard and promote … At no point in recent history has there been a comprehensive list of legal duties placed on local authorities. Legislation and guidance. Local Authority’s duty to promote contact between a child in their care and relevant parties under section 34 of the Children Act 1989: Covid-19 Guidance. To support Scottish public authorities in meeting their equality duties, the Commission has produced non-statutory guidance which is available on our Scotland pages.The guides provide an overview of the public sector equality duty, including the general equality duty, the specific duties and who they apply to. When must the local authority assess me? The local authority is under a legal duty to assess you if: you're an adult, and; it appears that you may have a need for care and support. All parties should refrain from unnecessary exposure where possible. Due to the lack of clarity surrounding the Local Authority’s duty to promote and facilitate contact, the Local Authority could consider contacting the relevant Government Minister directly to seek clarification as to whether Government envisages that face-to-face contact can take place under the current circumstances. S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the help of the services by the local Authority 2. 1 Local authorities’ statutory public health responsibilities 3 1.1 Duty to improve public health 3 1.2 Regulations on the exercise of local authority public health functions 4 1.3 Charges for local authority public health functions 5 1.4 Duties of directors of public health 5 The Local Authority may also refuse to allow contact under section 34(4) CA 1989, whereby on an application, the Court may make an order authorising the Authority to refuse to allow contact between the child in care and any person mentioned in section 34(1)(a – d) and named in the order.  However, Thorpe J expressed in the case of Re S (Care: Parental Contact) [2005] 1 FLR 469, CA at [11], ‘a section 34(4) order should not be made… merely against the possibility that circumstances may change in such a way to make termination of contact desirable’. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority's statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 under the current circumstances. Generally, personal activities should not be conducted during duty hours. Given the recent guidance provided by the Government in response to Covid-19, consideration should be given to the safety of the child in care and the safety of the relevant parties. If the child in care, relevant parties, or any other individual living within the same household is symptomatic or has been in contact with another individual showing symptoms of the virus or the child is sick with something that might be the virus, then face to face contact should not take place. Care plans and looked after child reviews The Local Authority and the social worker would need to use their professional judgement to decide if they can safely facilitate contact in this way. Local authorities also have a Road Safety Officer to promote the safe use of roads in the local area. Part 3, Regulation 9, provides for a local authority to charge for certain actions in its health improvement duty. Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007 - This legislation places health promotion at the heart of a school's activities and details a number of duties on local authorities such as to promote school meals and consider sustainable development guidance when providing food and drink. For example, our Map of Gaps enforcement work which focused on local authority service provision for women who have suffered violence under the previous gender equality duty. 3. This new duty complements much of the local authority’s existing core business, and its strategic responsibility for stewardship of place. The Local Authority’s duty towards its supervising staff and foster carers means that exposing them to numerous families contact sessions is unlikely to be safe. 34 Parental contact etc. Due to the very real threat that Covid-19 poses on the public, it is arguable that the circumstances have already changed from what was the status-quo in England, before the virus was classed a ‘pandemic’. If social workers believe they can effectively supervise contact from a distance, so as to ensure the parties are not ‘gathering’, there is a small possibility that open air contact could be carried out as the parent and child’s daily exercise. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parent’s homes.[10]. S/h… [This is very rare.] The Local Authority also has a responsibility to its staff, foster carers and to the wider public.  There are also resource implications at a time when many workers may be self-isolating and working from home, or absent through sickness. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority's statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 … Care and Support functions undertaken and decisions made in this situation are unlawful and subject to legal challenge. Section 34 and paragraph 15(1) [Schedule 2] CA 1989 states only that the Local Authority must ‘endeavour to promote contact’ and ‘allow reasonable contact’. ‘Proportionality’ is the key concept to understanding how family law operates. 3. Provision of services for children in need, their families and others Section 17(1) states that it shall be the general duty of every local authority: For further information and discussion about the sc… For further updates from the judiciary visit judiciary.uk. A public authority, which is under no statutory obligation to exercise a power, generally owes no common law du… The local authority might think that you may have a need for care and support if: You tell them about it yourself. If any of the relevant parties are required to travel for contact, public transport should be avoided as this may increase the risk of exposure. Local Authority’s duty to promote contact between a child in their care and relevant parties under section 34 of the Children Act 1989: Covid-19 Guidance. Under section 17(1) Children’s Act 1989, a child is considered to be a child in need if: 1. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority’s statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 … In keeping in line with current Government guidance, a distance of at least two metres should be kept between the parties for any in-person meeting. 1. Therefore, the Local Authority will not be in breach of the duty to promote contact if they are unwilling to facilitate in-person contact due to fears of Covid-19. 14. As a councillor you will automatically have access to the full range of services that we provide. If the Local Authority is concerned that the child in their care would be at risk of coming into contact with a carrier of the virus, it would be arguable that such contact would not be consistent with the child’s welfare. preventative services arranged by local authorities. If the parents either continue to refuse to co-operate, or having attempted to facilitate contact using alternative processes they have not been effective, the Local Authority will need to make an application to the Court under section 34(4) or apply s34(6) CA 1989 to suspend contact. The charging regulations mean that Any decisions to make a section 34(4) application should be carefully considered by the Local Authority. Staffordshire County Council do not have a blanket policy.  Each case will be considered separately.  Indirect contact by social media video calls will be preferred to direct contact where it is appropriate.  Obviously direct contact will not take place when either the parent, child or someone in their household has a diagnosis or suspected symptoms of Covid-19.  Similarly direct contact is unlikely if they fall into a vulnerable category and are self-isolating for 12 weeks.  This will cause particular issues as over 30% of Staffordshire foster carers are aged 65 or over. This would be likely to result in parents and/or ‘connected persons’[3] of the child in care making an application to the Court under section 34(3) of the CA 1989 to allow contact to be re-engaged. If direct contact cannot take place, there should be indirect contact by whatever means is suitable, and parents should be kept informed how their child is.  Social Services and also solicitors’ offices are running on skeleton staff and may be closed to the public.  It may take longer than usual for your queries to be answered. of local government The LGA works with councils in England and Wales to support, promote and improve local government. Local authorities, when exercising their social services functions, must act in accordance with the requirements contained in this code. A local authority may refuse contact to a child 'in care’ for a maximum of seven days, without a section 34 [4] order if it is necessary to do so to safeguard or promote a child’s welfare. The amended s 34(1) now reads: Without that supervision, contact is likely to be rendered unsafe for other underlying reasons, which resulted in the child being in care. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority’s statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 under the current circumstances. It will normally be appropriate for a Cabinet Member to take the lead among If one party in unable to travel, consider if it is possible to arrange with the other party to travel for contact instead, if they are able to do so safely. This means that the duty to refer applies when the local authority is the employer of staff in regulated activity. Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area. in parks, is to be advised against in light of the Government’s restrictions limiting public gatherings to a minimum of two people. The local authority has a duty to ascertain a child in need's wishes and feelings regarding the accommodation and to give consideration to them. This comes fromArticle 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). Local authority social services. The Local Authority will need to review whether contact that has been previously facilitated at Contact Centres should continue and whether the risk posed to contact centre supervisors can be safeguarded against. E+W (1) It shall be the general duty of every local authority (in addition to the other duties imposed on them by this Part)— (a) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and (b) so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families, We are politically led and cross-party, working with and on behalf of councils to give local government a S22C(9)Duty to place within the local authority’s area Reg. The local authority has a duty to promote contact between a looked-after child and their parents, relatives and friends. Derby City Council reached a decision yesterday (24th March 2020) to suspend all direct contact.  Contact will be by Skype/Facetime/Zoom/Whatsapp or similar where possible and if not then by telephone.  This is, of course, much more suitable for teenagers than for babies. Therefore, if the suspension of contact is based on the Local Authority’s fears of Covid-19, it is not advisable to rely on s34(6). Local Authorities can refuse to allow contact without making an application to the Court under section 34(6) CA 1989. Due to the increasing risk that Covid-19 poses on the safe facilitation of contact, Local Authorities may consider suspending contact arrangements. There is no express wording within section 34 that states that the Local Authority must promote contact through face-to-face meetings. (9) Where a local authority are conducting enquiries under this section, it shall be the duty of any person mentioned in subsection (11) to assist them with those enquiries (in particular by providing relevant information and advice) if called upon by the authority to do so. Using the equality duty to challenge the priorities of public bodies. The Local Authority has a duty to ensure independent advocacy is available and it is breach of this duty if advocacy is not available when needed. [5]. Thus, the practicality of arranging face to face contact poses significant problems particularly as there is no caveat within the current rules for parents to leave their home to travel to contact, placing them in breach of the current rules. In all cases the Local Authority must carry out a risk assessment and attempt to balance the safety considerations and welfare of the child and others against the benefits of contact for the children and parents.  Parents may not agree with the Local Authority’s decisions but I think the Court will be very unlikely to interfere with a decision on contact in these circumstances unless the Local Authority can be shown to have acted in a way which is clearly unreasonable.  At the current time the Court is unlikely to list an application for a contested hearing on contact. The local highway authority, which is usually the council, has a duty of care to maintain the safety and usability of roads that are kept at public expense. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill[1] and corresponding Guidance[2] is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority’s statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 under the current circumstances. Where a child is in the care of the Local Authority, section 34(1)(a-e) and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 of the CA 1989 outlines the individuals that the Authority shall endeavour to promote contact with and allow the child reasonable contact with.Â. The CMA has a statutory duty to “promote competition, both within and outside the UK, for the benefit of consumers”. Open air contact, e.g. Care plans and looked after child reviews Such  an order may not be suitable where none of the relevant parties are showing any signs of Covid-19 symptoms and have not had contact with any other person who is symptomatic. Fire services Local authorities operate fire services with the Department of Housing, Planning and Government playing an advisory and policy-making role. The way in which we fulfil this duty is by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children's assessed needs (Section 17, Children Act 1989). Video-calling presents the most efficient way to provide contact between the parties without putting any individual at risk of exposure. However, the risk is that there is a level of uncertainty. This is a rapidly changing situation based on emerging and changing government and health guidelines, particularly social distancing and the need to stay at home except for specified reasons. Recent developments have not led to a legal change in a Local Authority’s duty to safeguard and promote welfare and allow reasonable contact. Key sections: Duties of the local authority; Maintained. Seeking care and support services from a local authority may not pose problems, but … When placement for adoption has been authorised for that child, the legal duty to promote contact under section 34 CA 1989 will not apply. This practice note explains these consequences and deals with the main issue arising out of statutory creations; the ultra vires doctrine. Section 1 creates a general duty on local authorities exercising community care functions to promote the well-being of the individual. If any individual contracts the virus in a household of several people, other individuals must remain in isolation for 14 days[7]. There is no further clarification of the definition of ‘contact’ within section 34, as such, there is room for interpretation as to what can amount to sufficient contact. 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