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4.6 Children Accommodated by Health and Education Authorities, Residential Care Homes, Nursing Homes


This chapter deals with the duty by which Health Authorities or Local Education Authorities need to notify the Local Authority when a child is accommodated for three months consecutively, or when they intend to do this.


Children Act, 1989, Section 85 and 86


  1. Legal Requirement
  2. Policy
  3. Procedure 

1. Legal Requirement

1.1 Section 85 of the Children Act, 1989 requires Health Authorities or Local Education Authorities to notify the Local Authority when they have accommodated a child for three months consecutively, or intend to do this. They must also notify the Local Authority when they cease to accommodate such a child.
1.2 Section 86 of the Children Act, 1989 requires notification in the same circumstances from "a person carrying on" a residential care home, a nursing home or mental nursing home. Failure by these establishments to give this notice can be an offence. The Local Authority has the power to enter the premises listed in Section 86 to ensure that the requirements are being complied with. Identification must be provided for this purpose.
1.3 In the situations in 1.1 and 1.2 above, the notification is to be given to the Local Authority in whose area the child is ordinarily resident, and if there is none, that in which the accommodation is situated.
1.4 The duty of the Local Authority is to take reasonably practical steps to determine whether the child's welfare is being adequately safeguarded and promoted. They must also consider whether they need to exercise any of their functions under the Children Act, in relation to the child.

2. Policy

2.1 It is the policy of the Children's Social Care that all notices in relation to Sections 85 and 86 of the Children Act will be directed to the relevant Reception and Assessment Team.
2.2 On receipt of the notification the R and A Duty Team Manager will liaise with the placing agency and, if necessary, arrange for the child to be visited and a social work assessment to be done.

3. Procedure

3.1 The notice is received by the R and A Duty Team who will take appropriate action within their registration or inspection functions.
3.2 The Children's Services Manager in the locality will arrange for any action required in relation to an assessment of the child's needs or to safeguard their welfare.
3.3 Where, in the course of an assessment, concerns arise in relation to the establishment in which the child is placed, the district Children's Services Manager will notify the placing authority.