President of the Family Division Issues Addendum to Practice Guidance on Unregistered Placements

 On 1st December 2020, Sir Andrew McFarlane issued an addendum to the Practice Guidance: Placements in Unregistered Children’s Homes in England or Unregistered Care Home Services in Wales.

 The Practice Guidance outlines the steps that must be followed in circumstances where an application is made to the court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction for an order to authorise the deprivation of liberty of a child.

In summary, those are:

  1. Seeking confirmation of the registration status of those seeking to provide the care or accommodation for the child.
  2. If those providing care or accommodation are not registered, this must be made clear to the court. The court should also be made aware of the reasons why registration is not required or is delayed. If there is an exemption for registration, the applicant must make the court aware of the steps being taken to ensure that the premises and support provided are suitable and safe.
  3. If registration is required, the court will need to be satisfied that the necessary steps are being taken to apply for registration. The court will also need to be assured that the provider of the care has confirmed that they are able to meet the child’s needs. The Local Authority will need to inform the court about the steps being taken in the meantime to ensure that premises and care given by the staff are suitable for the child.
  4. Where an application for registration has been submitted the court will need to be made aware of the status of that application.
  5. If an order is granted but there is no application for registration, the order should provide that the application for registration should be made within 7 days.

The addendum creates the additional step that the court must include in any order approving the placement of a child in an unregistered placement, a requirement that the Local Authority should immediately notify OFSTED (England) or the Care Inspectorate (Wales) and provide them with a copy of that order and judgment of the court.

Daniel Proctor

Trinity Chambers

2nd December 2020

Practice Guidance: