Chapter 7 - Recommendations by the Local Authority to the Principal Reporter
Relevant Regulation: 7
In this chapter:
2. Requirements to outline the options considered
3. Emergency Placements
4. Residential Placements
Section 56(2) and (7) of the 1995 Act is the main provision for requests from the Principal Reporter for local authority reports, for investigative purposes and for hearings when these have been arranged. The local authority have a duty to provide that report, including all information they consider relevant. While the Principal Reporter and the local authority are two separate bodies with their own specific responsibilities, the expectation is that all key information should be shared fully and honestly.
Regulation 7 makes specific provision for the part of the local authority report with the placement recommendation for the child, including living at home. There is a list of the different options the local authority may recommend for where the child should live when subject to a supervision requirement:
(a) live with a parent or someone else who has parental responsibilities or rights; or
(b) placement with a kinship carer who has been approved under regulation 10 and entered into a kinship carer agreement under regulation 12; or
(c) placement with a foster carer who has been approved under regulation 22 and entered into a foster carer agreement under regulation 24; or
(d) placement with someone who is not a "12. Relevant persons " and where the requirements of regulation 36 are met; or
(e) placement in a residential establishment.
However, in practice, a recommendation may also be made for a child to live with a "relevant person" who does not have parental responsibilities or rights, although this option is not provided for in regulation 7 (2).
When the local authority are recommending a supervision requirement for the child to live anywhere except with a relevant person, the report also has to meet the requirements of rule 6 of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Rules 1996, SI 1996/3261. The report must therefore cover the needs of the child and the suitability of the placement recommended and the person(s) who will be providing care.
2. Requirement to outline the options considered
The local authority should provide information about the placement options considered and why they think the recommended one is in the best interests of the child. This should include, where appropriate, the views of the child on the recommendation(s). Information should cover the efforts made to identify a suitable placement for the child within his or her kinship network, and where this is not the recommended option, the reasons for this.
Where the placement recommended is with a kinship carer already known and has been assessed and approved under Part V of the regulations, the report to the Children's Hearing should summarise a range of matters:
- why this particular member of the child's network is considered best placed to meet the child's needs;
- his or her ability to keep the child safe and care for them appropriately;
- the benefits to the child of remaining within the kinship network; and
- any acknowledged areas of vulnerability where the local authority will offer support.
Where placement with an approved foster carer is recommended, the reasons for this should be stated. While it may not be possible in an emergency placement for details of the foster placement to be provided immediately, when a supervision order is being considered, the specific foster placement being recommended will be known.
The recommendation should include information about the foster placement identified and its appropriateness in meeting the needs of the child. This should be done through a summary of the foster placement, including confirmation that the proposed carer has been approved as a foster carer and the terms of the approval. However, it is not necessary to provide the Children's Hearing with the full assessment report which led to the approval of the foster carer.
Where the local authority is recommending placement with someone who is not a "12. Relevant persons " and where the requirements of regulation 36 (Emergency placement with carer) are met, the report to the Children's Hearing should explain how those requirements are met.
3. Emergency Placements
Regulation 36 is about emergency placements, but regulation 7 cross-refers to its requirements, basically as a minimum to be met when making this type of recommendation. The report has to indicate how the person was identified and how the pre-existing relationship with the child was established and evaluated. The person has to be someone who is known to the child and has a pre-existing relationship with him or her.
The report also needs to confirm: that the person has signed a written agreement to carry out the duties in regulation 36(3); that such a placement would not be contrary to any existing supervision requirement, order, warrant, etc or return the child to a place from where he or she had been removed under an order, etc, regulation 36(4); and that they have provided the person with the information listed in regulation 36(5).
This option allows a recommendation for a child to be subject to a supervision requirement and live with someone whom they know or to whom they are related, but who is not a parent or a relevant person or an approved kinship or foster carer.
4. Residential Placements
Where placement in a residential establishment is recommended, the reasons for this should be stated. The recommendation should include information about the residential establishment identified and its appropriateness in meeting the needs of the child.
See also Chapter 4 Section 5 of this guidance.