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04/02/2011
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Ministry of Justice

Care proceedings reform

Family

We are committed to reducing unnecessary delay in care proceedings, bringing together all the agencies involved in the care proceedings system with local accountability.



Local performance improvement groups

A new system-wide approach to reducing delay in care proceedings came into force on 1 April 2010. An element to this approach has been the establishment of local performance improvement groups bringing together local decision makers from all the agencies across the care proceedings system to develop local solutions to local problems. This approach is in line with the government’s shift towards local accountability.


Practice direction public law proceedings guide to case management: April 2010

The Judiciary for England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice have issued a new case management Practice Direction, which comes into force on 6 April 2010, and replaces the Public Law Outline Practice Direction (April 2008).

New court forms

To support the new Public Law Practice Direction (April 2010), we have introduced a new application form C110 for care and supervision orders. The form C1 has also been revised to reflect these changes.

Others new forms for Standard Directions are the PLO 8 and the PLO 9.

Preparing for care and supervision proceedings

A best practice guide for professionals working in child care and supervision proceedings.

The guide is for use by all professionals involved with childen and their families before proceedings and in preparation for applications made under section 31 of the Children Act 1989.

The guide has been produced by the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Judiciary of England and Wales.

Revised statutory guidance for local authorities

The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Welsh Assembly Government have issued revised statutory guidance to assist local authorities.

This sets out all the steps local authorities need to take before they apply to court for a care or supervision order. The revised guidance came into force in both England and Wales on 1 April 2008.


Parent’s Pack – information for parents about care proceedings

This is a booklet for parents who may be about to be taken to court by a local authority because of concerns over the safety and welfare of their child. It gives parents information in a clear and straightforward manner about what is involved in court proceedings and the various stages in the process. It is intended that parents should receive this information from local authorities at the stage at which a Letter before Proceedings is issued.

Public Law Outline

The Judiciary for England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice have issued a new case management practice direction, the Public Law Outline.

The Public Law Outline streamlines the court process and requires that the case timetable is focused around the needs of the individual child involved.

The Public Law Outline replaced the Public Law Protocol and came into force on 1 April 2008.

Evaluation of the Public Law Outline

Early research on the impact of implementing the Public Law Outline and the level of compliance with the new procedures was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, DCSF and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The research involved a small sample of cases as well as a range of practitioner perspectives, and was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (Natcen), in partnership with Dr Julia Brophy (Centre for Family Law and Policy, University of Oxford).

Experts practice direction

The President of the Family Division issued a new practice direction on the use of experts to replace the guidance in the Public Law Protocol. The new experts practice direction came into effect on 1 April 2008.

Pre-proceedings legal advice

The Legal Services Commission provides non-means and non-merit publicly funded legal advice for parents and those with parental responsibility. Access to this service is triggered when the local authority gives written notice of the potential to issue care proceedings.

The aim of the service is to work with the family to help resolve issues or avoid the need for court proceedings, if the necessary improvements can be agreed.

Full details about Family Help (Lower) Level 2 are in section 20 of the LSC Funding Code: Decision Making Guidance - Family.

Lord Laming's report

Lord Laming was commissioned to prepare an independent report on the arrangements to safeguard children in England. His report was published on 12 March 2009, with a total of 58 recommendations. The government responded immediately and accepted all the recommendations in full, followed by a detailed action plan on 6 May 2009.

Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children

The government has appointed Sir Roger Singleton to be its Chief Adviser on child safety in England. Sir Roger will play a key role in ensuring that the government delivers the pledges made in the government's action plan.