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14.2.1 Special Guardianship

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter describes Special Guardianship Orders (SGO’s) and the process that should be followed where an application for a SGO is received.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Sections 14 A - F of the Children Act 1989 (inserted by Section 115(1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002)

Special Guardianship Regulations 2005

Special guardianship guidance - Statutory guidance for local authorities on the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 (as amended by the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016

Adoption Support Fund

RELATED CHAPTERS

Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure

AMENDMENT

The chapter was updated in July 2017, the DfE has updated the Special Guardianship Guidance to include details of the Adoption Support Fund as the Fund now covers therapeutic support for children, living in England, who were previously in care immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order – Section 9, Assessment for Support Services has been updated accordingly.


Contents

  1. Introduction  
  2. Features of Special Guardianship
  3. Who can Apply to Become a Special Guardian?
  4. Responding to a Notification
  5. Welfare Rights Assessment
  6. Process to be Followed on Framework  
  7. Court Reports: Process and Responsibilities
  8. Special Guardianship Support Services
  9. Assessment for Support Services
  10. Provision of Support Services
  11. Reviewing the Plan


1. Introduction 

1.1 First introduced in the Prime Minister’s Review of Adoption (July 2000), the aim of special guardianship was to provide “an alternative legal status for children that offers greater security than long term fostering but without the absolute legal severance from the birth family that stems from an adoption order.”
1.2 The White Paper Adoption: a new approach (Dec 2000) committed the Government to legislating to create the new legal status of special guardianship to provide legal permanence for those children for whom adoption is not appropriate.
1.3

Section 115(1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 inserts new sections 14A - F into the Children Act 1989. These provide for:

  • Who may apply for a Special Guardianship Order;
  • The circumstances in which a Special Guardianship Order may be made;
  • The nature and effect of Special Guardianship Orders;
  • Support services for those affected by Special Guardianship.
1.4  The legislation is primarily aimed at increasing the range of permanence options for children who are looked after long term. However, other children who are not looked after, and their potential special guardians, are also eligible to apply for Special Guardianship Orders.
1.5 It was anticipated that the provision would be used mainly for older children who did not want to make the absolute legal break with their birth family that is associated with adoption. It was also seen as a potential option for children from minority ethnic communities which have cultural or religious difficulties with adoption, or for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who retain strong attachments to their family abroad.
1.6

For a full statement of the law in relation to special guardianship the following should be consulted:

  • Children Act 1989 s.14A-F;
  • Special Guardianship Regulations 2005;
  • Special Guardianship Guidance.
1.7 This chapter should be read alongside Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure.


2. Features of Special Guardianship

2.1 A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) offers another option for permanence, primarily for looked after children. In terms of its effect it lies somewhere between a Child Arrangement order and an adoption order.
2.2

SGO's are not placement options for the Local Authority as they can only be made:

  • On the application of an appropriate person (see Section 3, Who can Apply to Become a Special Guardian? below); or
  • By the Court of its own volition in the context of any family proceedings (including adoption) if it considers an order should be made. The welfare of the child is the Court’s paramount consideration and the welfare checklist (CA1989 s.1) applies.

A child cannot be placed with previously unknown carers with a Care Plan of an SGO.

2.3 An SGO gives parental responsibility to the special guardian, and allows them to exercise this to the exclusion of all others with Parental Responsibility, except another Special Guardian. All day-to-day decisions about the child and his or her upbringing rest with the special guardian.
2.4 Birth parents retain their Parental Responsibility, but their ability to exercise this is limited. They retain the right to consent or not to the child’s adoption or placement for adoption
2.5 While an SGO is in force the written consent of all parties who have Parental Responsibility for the child or the leave of the court must be given to be able to change the child’s name, or remove the child from the United Kingdom for more than three months.
2.6

SGO's can be varied or discharged, but the threshold for discharge is higher than with a Child Arrangement Order as leave must be sought from the court to make such an application. Applications for variation or discharge can be made by:

  • The Special Guardian;
  • The Local Authority in whose name a Care Order was in force with respect to the child before the SGO was made;
  • Anyone with a Child Arrangement Order in respect of the child before the SGO was made;
  • With the leave of the court:
    • The child’s parents or guardians;
    • Any step-parent who has Parental Responsibility;
    • Anyone who had Parental Responsibility immediately before the SGO was made;
    • The child (if the court is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding).

Where the applicant is not the child and the leave of the court is required, the court may only grant leave if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the SGO was made.

2.7 The Court can vary or discharge an SGO of its own volition if in the course of any family proceedings a question arises about the welfare of a child who is subject to an SGO.
2.8 The Local Authority is required to provide a range of Special Guardianship Support Services, to undertake assessments of need for support (including financial support) and to plan and review support services when provided.
2.9 Where an application for an SGO is made, the Local Authority is responsible for supplying the court with a report on the suitability of the proposed application.
2.10 Children who become subject to Special Guardianship Order after being looked after will qualify for Aftercare support from the Local Authority on reaching 16 (if the SGO is still in place), no matter what age they were when they ceased to be Looked After.


3. Who can Apply to Become a Special Guardian?

3.1

Applications can be made by an individual or jointly by two or more people. Joint applicants do not have to be married. Special Guardians must be aged 18 or over. The parents of a child may not become that child’s Special Guardian.

Those able to apply are:

  • Any Guardian of the child;
  • A Local Authority foster carer with whom the child has lived for one year immediately preceding the application;[1]
  • Anyone who is named in a Child Arrangement order as a person with whom the child is to live;
  • Anyone with whom the child has lived for three out of the last five years;
  • Where the child is in the care of the Local Authority, any person who has the consent of the Local Authority;
  • Anyone who has the consent of all those with Parental Responsibility for the child;
[1] A person who is, or was at any time within the last 6 months, a local authority foster parent of a child may not apply for leave to apply for an SGO unless (s)he has the consent of the local authority, or (s) he is a relative of the child or the child has lived with him for at least one year preceding the application.
3.2 The applicants must give the Local Authority three months written notice of their intention to apply. This allows for a court report to be prepared. (See Section 5, Welfare Rights Assessment below).
3.3 The only exception to this is where a person has been given leave by the court to make a competing application for an SGO where an application for an adoption order has already been made.
3.4 If a court is considering making an SGO of its own volition in the context of other family proceedings, the Local Authority is required to provide a report on the suitability of the potential Special Guardian. The format for a report in these circumstances is the same as that in paragraph 3.2.

In all cases there will need to be:

  • An assessment of the current and likely future needs of the child (including any harm the child has suffered and any risk of future harm posed by the child’s parents, relatives or any other person the local authority considers relevant);
  • An assessment of the prospective Special Guardian's parenting capacity including:
    1. Their understanding of, and ability to meet the child’s current and likely future needs, particularly, any needs the child may have arising from harm that the child has suffered;
    2. Their understanding of, and ability to protect the child from any current or future risk of harm posed by the child’s parents, relatives or any other person the local authority consider relevant, particularly in relation to contact between any such person and the child;
    3. Their ability and suitability to bring up the child until the child reaches the age of eighteen.

The proposed contact arrangements and the support needs (See Section 11, Assessment for Support) of the child, parents and the prospective special guardian.


4. Responding to a Notification

Please note - if the applicant is a person who requires the leave of the court to make an application, no work should begin until the court has given that leave.

4.1

For Children not known to the Department

4.1.1

The applicant should be advised to write to the relevant Fostering Team Manager giving 3 months notice of their intention to apply for a Special Guardianship Order. The letter must contain the following information:

  • The applicant’s full names, address and contact details;
  • The child’s name, date of birth and address;
  • The applicant’s relationship to the child (if any);
  • The full name and address of both the child’s parents;
  • Whether the applicant is applying to become a Special Guardian with the permission of one or both parents;
  • Names and dates of birth of any other people in the household over the age of 16.

If any of this information is not contained within the initial notification letter, the Fostering Team admin worker should write back asking for the missing information.

4.1.2 Applicants will be responsible for the full cost of making an application for a Special Guardianship Order (i.e. DBS check, letter from GP, any legal costs, including the fee for lodging the application at Court). In exceptional circumstances consideration may be given to providing some financial assistance. This is entirely at the discretion of the Children and Young People’s Department on receiving such a request in writing.

4.2

For Children who are Open Cases, but who are not Looked After

4.2.1 Many of these will be children in need; some will be in care proceedings, but not subject to Care Orders or Interim Care Orders; others may be involved in private law applications under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.
4.2.2

The applicant should write to the Locality Children’s Service Manager stating their wish to apply to become special guardians to the child. This letter may also serve as the notice of their intent to apply for a Special Guardianship Order, providing they do not require the leave of the court to do so.

The applicant may include a request to be assessed for Special Guardianship Support Services and identify what kind of services they wish to be assessed for.

4.2.3 If the Local Authority supports the application, it will meet the costs of obtaining DBS checks, letters from a GP and the fee for lodging the application at Court. It will not cover the costs of legal representation for applicants in court proceedings unless it is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

4.3

For Children who are Looked After and a Person other than their current Carer is Applying

The process as outlined above in 4.2.2 and 4.2.3 will apply.

4.4

For Children who have been Looked After for 12 Months by a Carer who is Applying

4.4.1

A foster carer does not need the permission of the Department to make an application for a Special Guardianship Order if they have cared for the child for at least 12 months. However, they should seek the support of the Department by writing to the Locality Children’s Service Manager stating their wish to apply to become Special Guardians to the child. This letter will also serve as the notice of their intent to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.

Foster carers may include a request to be assessed for Special Guardianship Support Services and identify what kind of services they wish to be assessed for.

4.4.2 The Children’s Service Manager will then convene a meeting which will include the child’s social worker and Team Manager, the supervising social worker and Fostering Team Manager. The meeting will decide whether it is in the best interests of the child for the request to be recommended. A letter giving the outcome of the meeting should be sent to the foster carers.
4.4.3 If the plan is recommended, the change to the Care Plan must be considered at a looked after review which should be convened as soon as possible. The process can start once a review has formally endorsed Special Guardianship as the child’s care plan. A timetable for the application process should be agreed by the social worker, Supervising social worker and applicants.
4.4.4 If the Local Authority supports the application, it will meet all the costs of making an application for a Special Guardianship Order (i.e. DBS checks, letters from GP and legal costs, including the fee for lodging the application at Court and any legal representation needed during the proceedings).


5. Welfare Rights Assessment

5.1

All applicants will receive a Welfare Rights Assessment, which aims to maximise their entitlement to benefits and/or tax credits. This is not the same as a financial assessment.

The difference between the two types of assessment can be summarised as follows:

Welfare Rights assessment: an independent assessment of the applicant’s welfare benefits and tax credits entitlement.

Financial assessment: an assessment made by the Local Authority’s Finance Team using a standard means test to establish eligibility to payments from the Local Authority.

Social workers should distinguish between the two types of assessment and ensure that applicants are similarly clear. Applicants should not be allowed to assume that because they have received a Welfare Rights assessment they will automatically be eligible to be assessed for financial support.

Details of the financial assessment process can be found in the chapter Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure.

5.2 The Initial Household Income Assessment form (IHIA) must be completed with applicants by the Welfare Officer as soon as the Local Authority receives notice of their intention to apply for a Special Guardianship Order. The Welfare Officer will verify the applicants’ income, expenditure and savings.
5.3 To request a welfare rights assessment the social worker should initiate the Framework episode of that name, complete the document in this episode and scan in the IHIA. The task “Request Welfare Rights Assessment” must then be sent to the appropriate welfare rights officer by name. The welfare rights officer will contact the applicant/s, undertake the assessment and record the result in the return screen when completing the task. On receiving the completed task the social worker may then view the result of this assessment. The social worker closes the episode by moving to the Outcomes screen, choosing “Assessment completed” and clicking on Finish.
5.4 The welfare rights officer will inform the applicants of the outcome directly and assist them to make any claims for benefits or tax credits to which they are entitled.


6. Process to be Followed on Framework

On receipt of the letter of notification the admin worker creates a Framework file if the applicant/s is not already known. As it may be necessary to obtain statutory checks on other members of the household, they should also be added to Framework as new persons, if not already on the system.

6.1

Special Guardianship - Referral

 

The admin worker should initiate the new episode called “Special Guardianship - Referral” on the first applicant. All recording will be done on the first applicant’s file. The admin worker sends the task “Request Manager Decision/Comment” to the Manager. This alerts the Manager to the fact that the letter of notification has been received and that the work will need allocating. The Manager will then complete the task and move to the Outcomes screen. The Manager may choose the “NFA on referral” outcome and enter the reasons, but is more likely to choose the outcomes “Begin assessment for court report” and “Start Stat Checks”. The Manager should find the social worker and admin worker respectively to whom this work will be allocated and once both outcomes have been entered click on Finish. This sends the next episode “Special Guardianship - Court report and application” to the Incoming Work folder of the allocated social worker, and sends the “Statutory Checks” episode to the Incoming Work folder of the admin worker.

The process then continues along two parallel lines; the social work process and the administrative process. The former consists of completing the “Special Guardianship - Court Report and Application” episode and initiating welfare rights and financial assessments, where appropriate; the latter consists of the episode relating to statutory checks. It is important that statutory checks are requested as soon as possible.

6.2

Special Guardianship - Court Report and Application

 

The allocated social worker opens this episode from their Incoming Work folder and uses it to record all relevant information as outlined. This episode will remain open until the final court hearing and the making of a Special Guardianship Order, or otherwise. The court report should be uploaded into the Documents screen within this episode.

In the course of their work with the applicant/s the social worker will also need to initiate the episode requesting welfare rights (all applicants) and the financial assessment episode where appropriate. These are both “stand-alone” episodes which means that they can be open at the same time as the Court Report and Application. See paragraph 8.3 and paragraph 8.4 below.

Once the episode is ready to complete the social worker should send a task to their Manager (Request Manager Decision/Comment) to confirm that the process is now at an end. The Manager must reply to the task. The social worker should then move to the Outcome screen, choose “Special Guardianship - service ceased” and click on Finish.

6.3

Special Guardianship - Request Welfare Rights Assessment

 

All applicants should be assessed for their entitlement to benefits and tax credits. Not only may this be beneficial to them in maximising their income, but it is a requirement that if financial support is provided this must take account of the applicant’s entitlement to universal benefits etc.

The social worker should complete the document in this episode and send the task “Request Welfare Rights Assessment” to the appropriate welfare rights officer by name. The welfare rights officer will contact the applicant/s, undertake the assessment and record the result in the return screen when completing the task. On receiving the completed task the social worker may then view the result of this assessment. The social worker closes the episode by moving to the Outcomes screen, choosing “Assessment completed” and clicking on Finish.

6.4

Special Guardianship - Request Financial Assessment

  If an assessment for financial support is to be undertaken guidance for completing this can be found in the chapter Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure.

6.5

Special Guardianship - Statutory Checks

 

It is important to initiate statutory checks as soon as possible once the referral has been received. When the manager completes the Referral episode an outcome will be sent to the admin worker and will appear in their Incoming Work folder.

Although this will come through attached to the file of the first applicant only, the admin worker should initiate a “Special Guardianship - Statutory Checks” episode on each applicant and any member of the household who requires checks.

This is a “stand alone” episode (i.e. not part of the workflow) to ensure that a number of similar episodes can be created which can remain open for as long as necessary whilst the social work process continues.

Where the applicants are existing foster carers applying for a SGO in respect of a child in their care, information from the three yearly statutory checks should be used and transposed into this episode. Checks should be repeated as usual in the three year cycle while the application is continuing, and the episode updated as and when necessary.

For all other applicants the following actions will be taken and recorded by the admin worker within the statutory checks episode:

  • Letter to applicants with Declarations of Health and Suitability (CH/SG/APP1; CH/SG/APP3; CH/Decl.Health);
  • Letter to parents (CH/SG/APP7);
  • Admin does statutory checks when forms returned (using letter CH/SG/APP8);
  • Letter to GP sent with completed Declarations of Health (CH/SG/APP4). Agency medical adviser consulted if any queries about medical report from GP;
  • Personal Reference request letters sent out with Personal Reference form for completion (CH/SG/APP5) + (CH/SG/APP6). Three personal references must be completed;
  • DBS checks. The social worker provides DBS forms for enhanced disclosures to applicant (one for each adult member of the household). The applicant returns the completed DBS forms to the social worker. Where applicants are liable to cover the costs of DBS checks themselves (see 4.1.2 or when the Local Authority does not support the application) the DBS forms must be accompanied by a cheque payable to Nottinghamshire County Council for the total cost of the checks needed. The social worker sends the forms to the relevant Children’s Services Manager who countersigns the forms for processing. (If the application process lasts for more than 3 years, an updated DBS check will be needed so that the court report includes information from a DBS check that is less than 3 years old).

The admin worker will record the results of all checks, scanning forms etc into the Documents screen within the Statutory Checks episode. Once the checks are complete, the admin worker should send the task “Statutory checks completed” to the allocated social worker. The social worker should reply to the task and the admin worker should then move to the Outcome screen to complete the episode, choosing “Stat checks completed” and clicking on Finish to close the episode.

6.6 For additional Framework episodes in relation to assessing for and reviewing Special Guardianship Support Services see Sections 12.7 and 13.5 respectively.


7. Court Reports: Process and Responsibilities

Please note: if the applicant is a person who requires the leave of the court to make an application, no work should begin until the court has given that leave.

7.1

Responsibilities of Staff Undertaking Assessment Reports

 

“Local Authorities are expected to ensure that the social worker who conducts the investigation and prepares the report to the court is suitably qualified and experienced in conducting the investigation, the person preparing the report should analyse and consider the information they ascertain from and about the prospective special guardian. The approach should be objective and inquiring. Information should be evaluated, and its accuracy and consistency checked. The safety of the child is of paramount concern and it is vital that the background of the prospective special guardian is checked rigorously. The special guardian (with an appropriate support package) should be considered able to meet the child’s needs at the time of the making of the order and in the future”.

(Special Guardianship Guidance 2005. para.106)

7.2

Court Report

 

A standard front sheet and template for Special Guardianship court reports, can be found in Forms (CH/SG/Court Report).

Please note that an additional section should be completed as a narrative summary where the court has no prior knowledge of the circumstances which have led to the application.


8. Special Guardianship Support Services

Regulations 3-5 of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 set out the support services to be provided, options for how they may be provided and the Local Authority responsible for delivering the services.

8.1

Support Services consist of:

  • Financial support;
  • Groups to discuss matters relating to Special Guardianship for:
    • Children for whom Special Guardianship is being formally considered or where an SGO is already in force;
    • Special Guardians or prospective Special Guardians;
    • Parents of the child.
  • Assistance in relation to contact;
  • Therapeutic services for the child;
  • Assistance to maintain the relationship between the child and special guardian, including training to meet any special needs of the child, respite care and mediation in relation to matters relating to SGO's;
  • Counselling, advice and information.
8.2 These support services “mirror” those which are to be provided in relation to adoption support. However, given the smaller number of people who qualify for such services and the different needs and circumstances of those who are Special Guardians, the way in which these services are provided may well be different. For example, Nottinghamshire can arrange for another Local Authority or other agencies (as defined in Regulation 4) to provide support services on its behalf.
8.3 For details of the Special Guardianship Financial Support scheme see chapter Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure.
8.4 Children, Special Guardians and parents will be signposted to appropriate support groups for those affected by special guardianship.
8.5

For Special Guardians living within Nottinghamshire, assistance in the form of advice and guidance about contact may be sought from:

  • Kinship Care Support Workers for Special Guardians who are relatives of the child; or
  • The Fostering Team which was previously responsible for the foster carers who are now the child’s Special Guardians.

These workers will also be available to provide support, advice and information to Special Guardians.

8.6 In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to establish indirect contact with birth parents through a letterbox arrangement. In such cases no undertaking should be given without the Service Manager of the appropriate Children’s Services Team first discussing this with the Team Manager of Support After Adoption so that the appropriateness and capacity to manage such an arrangement can be fully considered.
8.7 If Special Guardians live outside Nottinghamshire and the children concerned have not been looked after previously by this Department, the Local Authority in whose area the Special Guardians live is responsible for any assessment for support services, including financial support, and for the provision of any services agreed.
8.8 In relation to therapeutic services for a child it is essential that these are identified in any assessment for support services and clearly recorded in the Special Guardianship Support Plan.
8.9 Where respite care is being considered, the priority should be to identify members of the special guardian’s family or friends who could offer short-term care if the need arose. This should be considered at the time of assessment for support services.
8.10 The Local Authority responsibility for undertaking an assessment of need and providing any support services will vary according to whether the child was previously looked after, and if so the length of time that has elapsed since the making of the SGO.
8.11

The following scenarios apply when a child was previously Looked After:

First three years from the date of the SGO

Responsibility for the assessment and provision of services to the child, Special Guardian and any children of the Special Guardian remains that of the Local Authority where the child was last Looked After. This applies wherever the family lives during that period of time.

After the first three years from the date of the SGO

The Local Authority where the Special Guardian lives becomes responsible for assessing and providing support services. The only exception to this is where the special guardian is receiving on-going financial support from the original Local Authority, who will continue to be responsible for making these payments for as long as the family qualify for payments.

8.12 Where the child who is the subject of the SGO was not previously Looked After the Local Authority where the Special Guardian lives at the time is always responsible for assessment and support. This includes assessment and support for the child’s relatives who may live elsewhere.
8.13 Regulation 5 permits the Local Authority to provide services to people outside their area in other circumstances if the Local Authority considers it appropriate. This might be the case, for example, where a family is moving into another authority and transfer of services needs to be negotiated.


9. Assessment for Support Services

For assessment for financial support see chapter Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure.

Regulation 11 of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 deals with the parties who must and who may receive an assessment.

9.1

Eligibility for Assessment

9.1.1

The following people must receive an assessment at their request:

  • The child;
  • The Special Guardian or prospective Special Guardian;
  • A parent.

Although this relates to a child who is Looked After or was Looked After immediately prior to the making of an SGO, the Regulation makes it clear that children who are not/were not Looked After should not be unfairly disadvantaged by this approach. It recognises that in many cases they might have become Looked After, had it not been for the timely intervention of a relative.

9.1.2

The following people may be offered an assessment of their need for support services:

  • The child (where not Looked After);
  • The Special Guardian or prospective Special Guardian(where the child is not Looked After);
  • The parent (where the child is not Looked After);
  • A child of a Special Guardian (whether the Special Guardianship child is Looked After or not);
  • Any person whom the Local Authority considers to have a significant and on-going relationship with a child (whether the child is Looked After or not).
9.1.3 If Special Guardians live outside Nottinghamshire and the children concerned have not been looked after previously by this Department, the Local Authority in whose area the Special Guardians live is responsible for any assessment for support services, including financial support, and for the provision of any services agreed.

9.2

Undertaking an Assessment for Support Services

 

Regulation 12 of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 describes the basis of the assessment and how this should be conducted.

  • The assessment should follow the guidance set out in, and use the domains of the Assessment Framework, recognising the different context;
  • Other agencies (e.g. health and education) should be consulted if it is clear that needs identified relate to services provided by them;
  • The person whose needs are being assessed should be interviewed unless the only support required is information or advice, or unless it is not appropriate to interview the child. In this case the child’s actual or potential Special Guardian may be interviewed;
  • The assessment should be a written report;
  • The process should be flexible and not delay the provision of appropriate services;
  • If it is clear that one particular service is needed, the assessment can be limited to looking at the need for that type of service. Once support services are in place, their efficacy must be reviewed by the Local Authority every year. This review can be done through correspondence with the Special Guardian, rather than a meeting.

In addition to the support provided by local authorities the Adoption Support Fund in England also covers therapeutic support for children, living in England who ere previously in care immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order.

Based on the assessment of needs, local authorities can apply for funding from the Adoption Support Fund.


10. Provision of Support Services

(For provision of financial support see chapter Special Guardianship - Financial Support Procedure).

Regulations 14 - 16 of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 deal with communicating the outcome of the assessment for Special Guardianship Support services and the subsequent actions required by the Local Authority.

10.1 Once an assessment has been completed and the Local Authority decides that a person has a need for Special Guardianship Support Services, it must decide whether to provide such services. A notice must be sent to the person concerned explaining the outcome of the assessment and indicating whether support services will be provided, and in what form. (CH/SG/APP9).
10.2 If the Local Authority intends to provide support services on more than one occasion, and the services are not limited to advice or information, a written plan must be produced. This should be sent with the Notice of Outcome of Assessment. If the assessment has identified a need for services provided by health, education or other agencies, the Local Authority must consult with those agencies before preparing the plan.
10.3 An individual must be nominated to monitor the provision of services in accordance with the plan.
10.4

The plan must include:

  • The services to be provided;
  • The objectives and criteria for evaluating success;
  • Timescales for provision;
  • Procedures for review;
  • The name of the person nominated to monitor the provision of services in accordance with the plan.
10.5 If the Local Authority does not propose to provide support services, the reasons will be recorded in the Notice of Outcome of Assessment. The person concerned will be given the opportunity to make representations and will have 28 days to do so from the date the proposed decision is sent to them. (CH/SG/APP9).
10.6 After considering any representations received, the Local Authority must make a decision as to whether to provide support services to the person assessed, taking into account the individual circumstances of the case and the resources that are available locally. Once a decision has been made, the person concerned must be notified in writing, giving reasons for the decision. If the decision is that support services are to be provided a written plan must be prepared and sent to the person who has been assessed (see 10.2 - 10.4 above).

10.7

Special Guardianship - Assessment for Support Services

This Framework episode allows you to record the process for the assessment and provision of Special Guardianship Support Services.

The allocated social worker initiates the episode by clicking on Person > New episode on the Personal Details screen. The social worker should complete the document in this episode. At this stage it will not be necessary to complete Section 3 - Review of Support Services.

The social worker sends the task to their manager who should complete and return. The social worker closes the episode by moving to the Outcomes screen and choosing the appropriate outcome.

If the chosen outcome is “Assessment completed - Review Services” a Scheduled date box will appear. A date for review can be entered here. The name of the worker who will be responsible for the review should be entered.

By clicking on Finish the outcome will be sent to the Future Work folder of the worker under the month and year of review.


11. Reviewing the Plan

Regulation 17 of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 stipulates arrangements for reviews of special guardianship support plans.

11.1

Where support services are being provided (excluding financial support paid periodically) the Local Authority must review these:

  • If any change of circumstances comes to their attention which may affect the provision of support services;
  • Whenever they consider it appropriate to do so;
  • At least annually.
11.2 The review process should be the same as the original assessment process (see 9.2). However, the form the review takes may vary according to circumstances. This may, for example, be achieved by an exchange of correspondence, e-mails or telephone calls. However, where a change of circumstances is more significant (e.g. a serious deterioration in the behaviour of the child) it will normally be more appropriate to meet and conduct a new assessment of needs.
11.3 If as a result of the review the Local Authority proposes to vary or terminate the support services provided, the person concerned must be given notice of this and will be given 28 days to make representations. (CH/SG/APP10).
11.4 If services continue to be provided, a revised written plan must be produced using the same format as the original (see 10.4).

11.5

Special Guardianship - Review of Support Services

 

This Framework episode follows on from the Assessment for Support Services episode. It will move from the social worker’s Future Work folder into their Incoming Work folder shortly before the review is due.

Open the episode by right clicking on the name of the person and clicking Start work.

The Assessment details section of the Document will pull through the information entered in the previous episode. Complete the Review of Support Services section.

The social worker sends the task to their manager who should complete and return. The social worker closes the episode by moving to the Outcomes screen and choosing the appropriate outcome.

If the chosen outcome is “Review completed - Services to continue” a Scheduled date box will appear. A date for the next review can be entered here. The name of the worker who will be responsible for the review should be entered. By clicking on Finish the outcome will be sent to the Future Work folder of the worker under the month and year of review.

End