Children and Social Work Bill

Councils have an excellent track record of providing care and support for lone children, with over 4,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) currently in the care of local authorities in England.


Remaining Stages, House of Commons, 7 March 2017

Key messages

  • We welcome the Bill's focus on support for children in care, including the provisions to clarify corporate parenting principles, create a clear local offer for care leavers and extend personal adviser support for all care leavers until the age of 25. However, any new burdens on local authorities must be fully funded with new money to ensure that resources are not diverted from other services for vulnerable children as these are already considerably over-stretched.
  • The provisions outlined in clauses 8 and 9 reflect existing good practice, ensuring that courts and social workers focus on children's long-term interests when planning care. The broader emphasis on permanence is particularly welcome, allowing placement decisions to be firmly based on the needs of individual children and young people.
  • We are pleased that the Government has listened to our call for sex and relationships education (SRE) to be made compulsory in all secondary schools. When designed and delivered effectively, evidence suggests that these lessons have a positive impact on pupil wellbeing and can be a valuable element of a robust local safeguarding strategy



Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 13 December 2016

Key messages

  • We welcome the Bill's focus on support for children in care, including the provisions to clarify corporate parenting principles, create a clear local offer for care leavers and extend personal adviser support for all care leavers until the age of 25. However, new burdens must be fully funded to ensure that resources are not diverted from other services for vulnerable children as these are already considerably over-stretched.
  • The provisions outlined in clauses 8 and 9 reflect existing good practice, ensuring that courts and social workers focus on children's long-term interests when planning care. The broader emphasis on permanence is particularly welcome, allowing placement decisions to be firmly based on the needs of individual children and young people.

Missing media item.


Second Reading, House of Commons, 5 December 2016

Key messages

  • Looked-after children (Part 1, Chapter 1): The LGA supports the Bill's strong focus on support for children in care, including provisions to clarify corporate parenting principles, create a clear local offer for care leavers and extend personal adviser support for all care leavers up until the age of 25. However, new burdens must be fully funded to ensure that resources are not diverted from other services for vulnerable children, which are already considerably over-stretched.
  • The provisions outlined in clauses 8 and 9 reflect existing good practice, ensuring that courts and social workers focus on children's long-term interests when planning care. The broader emphasis on permanence is particularly welcome, allowing placement decisions to be firmly based on the needs of individual children and young people
  • Child safeguarding (Part 1, Chapter 2): The recent Wood Review recommends that the current system of serious case reviews be replaced by a more flexible programme of local learning reviews supported by a national panel to consider more serious cases. The LGA supports this general approach, but we are concerned that the Panel outlined in the Bill risks politicising the serious case review process.
  • Different ways of working: Freedom to innovate can be a powerful tool in improving outcomes for children and young people, and we strongly support the principle of allowing councils to shape provision around the needs of children and young people rather than the constraints of inflexible legislation.



Third Reading, House of Lords, 23 November 2016

Key messages

  • Freedom to innovate can be a powerful tool in improving outcomes for children and young people, and we strongly support the principle of allowing councils to shape provision around the needs of children and young people rather than the constraints of inflexible legislation.
  • The powers set out by the Government should only be used where this is clearly shown to be in best interests of children, and an expert panel with strong representation from the sector and other key stakeholders would ensure this. In light of the additional safeguards introduced by the Government, we welcome the ability to test the new ways of working and do not agree with the removal of clause 29 during Report Stage.
  • We are pleased the Government listened to arguments made by the Local Government Association and stated that the expert panel reviewing freedoms to innovate would include representation from the voluntary sector, a practice expert, and local government.

Missing media item.


Report Stage, House of Lords, 8 November 2016

Key messages

  • We are supportive of the Government's announcement in response to amendment 70, led by Lord Dubs, the Lord Bishop of Durham, Baroness Sheehan, and Lord Watson, that they will publish a strategy for safeguarding unaccompanied refugee children by May 2017. Local authorities already support over 4,000 unaccompanied children in England and are working with the Government to put in place arrangements for further children arriving in the UK via the Dublin III regulations and the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act 2016.
  • The LGA previously raised concerns that the new social work regulator would not have the guaranteed independence necessary to balance the needs of the public; requirements set by Government; the interests of the profession; and the organisational requirements of employers who will have overall management responsibilities. We are pleased the Government has addressed these concerns, but much will depend on how the regulator operates in practice.