Reforms set out within the Children and Social Work Bill have now become law. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 become an act of parliament after receiving Royal Assent on 27th April 2017.
The Act enshrines in law a number of significant changes.
Summary of key provisions
The Act includes provision about:
Corporate parenting and looked-after children:
- A requirement for every local authority to publish their local offer for care leavers, and provision of personal advisers to care leavers up to the age of 25.
- The provision of information and advice to promote educational achievement in relation to previously looked after children.
- Permanence provisions in respect of care and adoption proceedings in England and Wales. In respect of adoption, a duty to have regard to relationship with adopters.
- Provision relating to the placement of children in secure accommodation elsewhere in Great Britain – namely Scotland.
Safeguarding of children:
- Establishment of a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. Safeguarding partners for a local authority area in England must make arrangements for safeguarding partners, and relevant agencies to work together in exercising their functions for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area.
- Provision to combine safeguarding partner areas and delegating safeguarding functions for two or more local authority areas in England – allowing areas are to be treated as a single area for the purpose of meeting their safeguarding functions.
Children’s social care:
- Provisions relating to pre-employment protection of whistle-blowers. Combined authority functions relating to powers to secure proper performance.
Relationships, sex and PSHE education:
- Provision for compulsory relationships education for primary school pupils in England, as well as sex and relationships education for secondary school children.
Social workers etc in England:
- Provision for a series of changes to the regulation and training of social workers in England such as the creation of a new organisation, Social Work England, which will take over from the HCPC as the profession’s regulator.
- A requirement for the new regulator to obtain the education secretary’s approval for professional standards.
- New powers for the education secretary to set ‘improvement standards’ for social workers, and the introduction of assessments for practitioners.