View Working Together View Working Together

2.3.5 Notification by Other Local Authorities of Looked After Children Placed in Rotherham


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Planning to Place a Looked After Children in Rotherham
  4. Notification of Placement
  5. Administrative Process
  6. Notification to Health Providers
  7. Process Undertaken if No Notification has been made by the Responsible Authority
  8. Change in Circumstances or End of Placement
  9. Placements where the Responsible Authority Requests the Host Local Authority Carry Out Certain Functions on their Behalf
  10. Health Assessments for Children in Care Placed from Out of Area
  11. Service Provision and Significant Incidents Arising in Placement

    Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Looked After Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form

    Appendix 2: Legal Framework

    Appendix 3: Flowchart for Notification of LAC Transfer


1. Introduction

There is a summary of legislation and statutory guidance in Appendix 2: Legal Framework which outlines the legal basis for this procedure.

Local authorities are required to consult and share information before placing children in distant placements (out of authority / out of borough) and the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) must approve these placements.

The general duties of local authorities towards looked after children under Section 22 of the Children Act apply to all placements, including those that are out of authority. There are however a number of specific factors that must be taken into account when decisions are made to place the child out of the area of the responsible authority, but still within England and Wales [regulations 11 and 12].

This procedure looks at the process for placing a looked after child from another local authority in Rotherham.


2. Definitions

The following definitions apply:

  • 'Responsible authority' is the local authority (LA) where the child or young person previously lived or still usually resides and who is responsible for them;
  • 'Host local authority’ is the local authority to which the child or young person has been placed, has recently moved to or where the child actually is at the time an incident occurs.

A ‘distant placement’ - regulation 11(5) as amended by the Children’s Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013 defines a distant placement as:

“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 Director of Children’s Services.

The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) person – is the administrative business support person employed by Rotherham MBC who is responsible for receiving the information from other local authorities who are considering, or who have placed a looked after child in Rotherham.

The Nominated Point of Contact (NPOC) person – is the Senior Manager in Rotherham MBC responsible for responding to other local authorities about the Rotherham “Local Offer” or assessment.

The Nominated Point of Contact for Health (LAC Nurses) person – is employed by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) as the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children and is responsible for ensuring looked after children from Rotherham have access to timely and appropriate health services wherever they are living; and that Looked after children from other areas can access local health services as appropriate.


3. Planning to Place a Looked After Children in Rotherham

If a responsible authority is planning to place a child in Rotherham as the host local authority, consultation is vital to ensure effective planning and information sharing is carried out with services likely to be responsible for meeting the child’s needs. In making a judgement about the suitability of an out of authority or distant placement for a child, the responsible authority should assess the arrangements which it will need to put in place to enable the child to access services such as primary and secondary health care and appropriate educational provision.

Local authorities have a common interest in supporting high standards of corporate parenting for all looked after children. When approached for consultation about potential placements, local authorities should be able to offer a professional view about the benefits / difficulties of a planned placement in their area, the benefits / difficulties of living in the neighbourhood where the placement is located and the potential for local services to respond appropriately to the needs of the child concerned.

Local authorities could also advise about other sources of information to assist social workers and commissioners in determining whether a distant out of authority placement is the most appropriate for the child concerned (e.g. the Virtual School Head or the Designated Nurse for looked after children).

This process will be followed by the responsible authority who wishes to place a child they are responsible for in Rotherham.

Please direct your consultation to the following person:

  • Operations Manager, Independent Reviewing Service, on 01709 822588;
  • Rotherham has a LAC Placement Process Offer Letter which outlines the process for consultation and services which may be available in Rotherham. Contact the Operations Manager to request this.


4. Notification of Placement

The following is taken from: The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).

This is the suggested information for discussion between authorities when planning distant placements.

When the decision about the most appropriate placement has been made but before the child is placed, notification should be sent to a range of specified people and agencies. The aim of notification primarily is to ensure that those involved in the decision-making process have an opportunity to make any necessary arrangements to respond to the child’s needs but will also provide an opportunity for views to be represented to the responsible authority.

This information should be summarised in a written format, using the form in Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Looked After Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form within the area of another Local Authority [Regulation 13].

Basic information about the child

  • Name, gender and date of birth;
  • Legal status - subject of a care order (s.31 Children Act); voluntarily accommodated (s.20) remanded (s. 21);
  • Details of previous placements – outline reasons for child leaving earlier placements;
  • Plans for the child’s care;
  • Details of the assessment of the child’s needs, with information about the child’s wishes and feelings, with reasons the planned placement is suitable;
  • Duration of placement (emergency/short-term/long-term/permanent). If it is not possible to assess the intended duration of placement – reasons for this and when this information will be available.

Arrangements for contact

  • Details of who will be responsible for implementing plans for the child’s day to day care (the ‘placement plan’) including details of arrangements for delegating responsibilities to the child’s carer(s);
  • Details of any plans to offer the child care leaving support (as an ‘eligible child’) during the anticipated duration of the placement;
  • Contingency arrangements if the plan to support the child in the current placement does not succeed.

Services to support the child

  • Details of plans to meet the child’s educational needs – information about the school the child is expected to attend; details of plans for supporting the child if a school has not been identified;
  • Information about plans to meet the child’s health needs, e.g. whether the child requires secondary health care (including metal health and other specialist health care), including details about the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) acting as “responsible commissioner.”;
  • Details of any youth offending orders / intervention that would need to be overseen by youth offending services in Rotherham;
  • Details of any other services that are required, for example, Return Home Interviews which can be negotiated on a case by case basis.

The form will then be sent securely to the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for Rotherham and to the Nominated Point of Contact for Health (LAC Nurses) for The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (host health authority) prior to the placement. For more information about the health processes see Section 6, Notification to Health Providers.

The form should be sent to the following secure email addresses in each local authority using a SECURE email address:

Local Authority

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council: cyps-admin-boroughwide@rotherham.gcsx.gov.uk

LAC Nurse

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT): lookedafterchildren.team@nhs.net.


5. Administrative Process

The Single Point of Contact (SPOC) person for Rotherham (as host authority) will enter the details of the child on to the electronic case management system and inform the Nominated Point of Contact for Health to alert them to contact their equivalent in the Responsible authority if they have not been already notified.

The SPOC will forward the completed form to the Safeguarding Unit for assessment of risk and follow up with the Responsible authority to negotiate that plans are in place to address the risk and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child, and that copies of all relevant documentation is included. All of this information will be entered on to the electronic case management system.

The Nominated Point of Contact person will forward the form to the Youth Offending Service if relevant. Where the child is of school age, the form will also be sent to the Virtual Head (Education).

If the child is at risk of going missing from the placement, a “Misper Trigger Plan” should be completed by the responsible authority and included in the information. The “Misper Trigger Plan” should be forwarded to the South Yorkshire Police Missing Persons Officer / Investigator.

Where a Responsible authority wishes to request that certain functions are carried out on their behalf by the host local authority (e.g. supervision of the placement), then a direct request should be made to the host local authority. For more information about this, see Section 9, Placements where the Responsible Authority Requests the Host Local Authority Carry Out Certain Functions on their Behalf.


6. Notification to Health Providers

In keeping with the Statutory Guidance for Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children (DfE March 2015) and Department of Health Guidance “Who Pays? Establishing the Responsible Commissioner” (2013) the responsible local authority has a duty to inform health providers of its intention to place a child out of its area.

When a looked after child is placed out of area the “responsible health provider” remains the responsible health provider for secondary healthcare services. This applies even where the child changes their GP practice.

To ensure that processes satisfy these requirements, the Responsible Local Authority for the child will notify their NHS Providers prior to the move, or within 7 days of a child or young person in care being transferred in or out of area. The original NHS provider will notify the Nominated Point of Contact for Health (LAC Nurses) in Rotherham as above.

Information about the transfer of looked after children and young people will:

  • Enable NHS Providers to make necessary arrangements to ensure the continuity of healthcare and the objective of providing high quality, timely care for the individual child or young person;
  • Contribute to the safeguarding of children and young people in care as partnership working will promote multi-agency decision making;
  • Assist Commissioners in planning for the needs of looked after children and young people, and provide local data sets to contribute to performance reporting;
  • Assist when a Looked After Child moves placements so arrangements can be made to fast track GP held records;
  • Ensure that when a Looked After Child moves placement the child suffers no disadvantage when moving NHS waiting lists between hospitals. The NHS has a commitment to a start of consultant led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral;
  • Ensure continuity of care.


7. Process Undertaken if No Notification has been made by the Responsible Authority

If the responsible authority places a child in Rotherham without notifying the host local authority, the placement should be notified by the independent children’s home or independent fostering agency in the host area if they are placed there. However, for kinship carers this may not happen. In addition, some young people may choose to “go missing” across boundaries without the permission of their Responsible authority.

In all cases, it is the duty of all partner agency practitioners to be aware of looked after children they come across in their day to day business. For example, a GP, youth worker, school nurse, teacher, or police officer may become aware that a child is looked after. Further enquiries may show that the child is from another area and that Rotherham (host local authority) has not been notified of the placement. It is the duty of all practitioners in the Rotherham to inform the MASH team (see Key and Local Contacts) of the child and their placement so that the duty social worker can check to see if they have been notified. If the host local authority has not been notified, the duty team will record the details as known and ask the Single Point of Contact person to contact the responsible authority to request the form be completed and sent as soon as possible. See the Appendix 3: Flowchart for Notification of LAC Transfer for more information.


8. Change in Circumstances or End of Placement

All changes in circumstances should also be notified to Rotherham as host local authority and to the Rotherham Foundation NHS Trust (TRFT) as host health provider of Looked After Children (LAC) services. The original completed form (Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Looked After Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form) must be updated with the changes by the Responsible authority and sent to Rotherham as the host local authority.

Information about changes includes:

  • A change of placement, address or details within Rotherham;
  • When a child or young person’s placement in Rotherham comes to an end and the reason why:
    • If the child is no longer looked after because they have turned 18 years;
    • If the child is made subject to an Adoption Order;
    • If the child is moved to a new placement outside the host authority.
  • When new information about risk to the child or by the child comes to light (e.g. CSE intelligence).

Rotherham MBC maintains a list of all the notifications of looked after children placed in the area of the authority in order to be able to fulfil its statutory functions under the 1989 Act. It may be necessary at times to conduct Data Cleansing activities and the Nominated Point of Contact for each local authority is expected to co-operate with any such requests.

Notifications must be made within ten working days of the termination of the placement.


9. Placements where the Responsible Authority Requests the Host Local Authority Carry Out Certain Functions on their Behalf

Where a child is placed by a Responsible authority with Rotherham as the host local authority, it is possible to negotiate for Rotherham as the host local authority to undertake some functions on their behalf. This is more likely to apply where the child is placed with foster carers and will usually extend to the host local authority supervising the placement on behalf of the Responsible authority.

For example, Rotherham as host authority could undertake to:

  • Supervise the placement and be satisfied that the welfare of the child continues to be suitably provided for;
  • Visit the placement regularly in line with ordinary expectation for Looked After Children;
  • Where the child is to be placed in another form of placement (e.g. Registered Children's Home; Voluntary Home; or Small Unregistered Children's Home), specific reference should be made to the Children's Homes Regulations 2015, before considering whether to agree to a request that the host local authority supervise the placement on behalf of the Responsible authority;
  • Conduct Return Home Interviews within 72 hours when a child has been reported missing and has returned to the placement.

Any undertaking should be recorded on the child’s record and details of the functions signed by both authorities. Costs and expenses should be clearly detailed in the agreement.

Where it is agreed at a Planning Meeting that Rotherham as host local authority will supervise a placement on behalf of the Responsible authority, the case should be allocated to a Social Worker. The Responsible authority should also supply sufficient additional information to enable the Social Worker to competently supervise the placement on their behalf.

Agreement to supervise the placement should be detailed in writing and sent by the Relevant Head of Service to the Responsible authority.

It would never be appropriate to agree to a request for another Authority to supervise the placement of a child looked after by another local authority and placed in secure accommodation and/or subject to Detention under Section 92 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.


10. Health Assessments for Children in Care Placed from Out of Area

Requests for Initial (IHA) and Review Health Assessments (RHA) for children and young people in care placed out of area will be sent from the Responsible authority to the original NHS Provider who will forward the request to the relevant receiving NHS Provider or in some areas this will be sent via the responsible CCG. The information should go to the Rotherham Nominated Point of Contact for Health (LAC Nurses).

If the receiving NHS Providers do not return a completed health assessment within the appropriate time frames for the Initial and Review Health Assessment the original Health Provider will send a reminder. This process will be repeated 28 days later if there is still a non-return. If, following these reminders there is no response or exception report available, the original Health Provider will send a letter to the social worker, Independent Reviewing Officer and Commissioner informing them of the situation.


11. Service Provision and Significant Incidents Arising in Placement

Child Protection

If a child placed in Rotherham as the host local authority is in circumstances that require emergency action, Rotherham as host authority is responsible for taking that action. Rotherham CYPS will consult the Responsible authority responsible for the child. Only when Rotherham CYPS explicitly accepts responsibility is the Responsible authority relieved of its responsibility to take emergency action. Such acceptance should be confirmed subsequently in writing.

The responsibility for undertaking Section 47 Enquiries lies with Rotherham as host local authority, even if the child is ordinarily resident in another local authority’s area.

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

Where there is reasonable cause to believe that a person who works with children in the Rotherham as host local authority has harmed, or poses a risk, to a child, this will be dealt with under the Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure.

Child Sexual Exploitation and Children who have been trafficked

Where the child may be at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) or trafficking, a specific referral to the Rotherham CSE team (EVOLVE) may be necessary. The responsible authority should enquire about this when notifying the host authority of the intended placement.

If the responsible authority wants Rotherham as host authority to manage the risk to the child, this needs to be negotiated as soon as possible. Information should be shared about particular risks and police involvement where appropriate.

Missing From Care

When a child goes missing from Care, the Rotherham will use the South Yorkshire Missing from Home and Care protocol 2017 and South Yorkshire Police will make every effort to find the child and ensure their safety. The MASH or Out of Hours Team (see Key and Local Contacts) will liaise with the responsible authority to gather information about the missing child, use the information from the “Misper Trigger Plan” where appropriate. If a “Misper Trigger Plan” has not been completed, this will be requested from the responsible authority. For more information see The responsibility for conducting Return Home Interviews will be negotiated on a case by case basis.

Education

The Virtual Head Teacher/Virtual School in Rotherham can provide advice to ensure that any children placed in the host authority have access to education provision that meets their needs. This can include guidance and support regarding admissions, exclusions etc. The team can also provide advice on accessing specialist support.

The Virtual Head Teacher/Virtual School must be notified when a child is placed in a host area. This information should be gathered when the notification of placement is being made.

Youth Offending Services

If a child is subject to ongoing intervention by the responsible authority Youth Offending Service (YOS) (see Key and Local Contacts), the Rotherham YOS should be informed and arrangements made to transfer any orders or outstanding work as per the YOS arrangements for transfer.


Appendices

Appendix 1: Notification of Placement or Change of Placement of Looked After Children within the Area of Another Local Authority Form

Appendix 2: Legal Framework

Appendix 3: Flowchart for Notification of LAC Transfer

End