Care Proceedings Reform
We are committed to reducing unnecessary delay in care proceedings, bringing together all the agencies involved in the care proceedings system with local accountability.
Public Law Outline
From 1 July 2013, a pilot Public Law Outline for care, supervision and other Part 4 proceedings will be introduced. The pilot will run until 31 March 2014 and will enable courts in specified areas to implement the new court process required to support the proposed 26 week time limit for proceedings.
Areas will join the pilot on a phased basis between July and October. A list of participating courts will be published on this page and updated monthly.
The pilot practice direction, revised PLO and keeling schedule can be viewed here. Practitioners may also wish to view the updated application form for proceedings, C110A, which also comes into force on 1 July and should be used from the date a local area commences the pilot, as well as the template for a new annex document - the Allocation Proposal Form.
Annex to Practice Direction 36C - the PLO
Local Family Justice Boards
46 LFJBs were set up across England and Wales in 2012 following the Government response to the Family Justice Review. The LFJBs oversee the operation of local family justice as part of a system-wide approach to improving performance and reducing delay in care proceedings.
They bring together local decision makers from agencies across the care proceedings system to develop local solutions to local problems. The overarching aim of LFJBs is to achieve significant improvement in the performance of the family justice system in their local area.
Their specific objectives are to:
- analyse and identify causes of delay within individual local agencies and the system as a whole and put in place local actions to improve performance and the delivery of family justice;
- report to the Performance Improvement Sub-Group of the Family Justice Board, through action plans, examples of best practice and also to report issues where broader strategic challenges outside the scope of local action may be emerging;
- organise inter-disciplinary training with at least one training event a year;
- engage with other LFJBs to identify opportunities to share best practice and resources;
- identify differences in performance locally and regionally to improve consistency of best practice across the agencies; and
- provide a direct link with other relevant local groups.
Revised statutory guidance for local authorities
The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Welsh Assembly Government have issued revised statutory guidance to assist local authorities.
This sets out all the steps local authorities need to take before they apply to court for a care or supervision order. The revised guidance came into force in both England and Wales on 1 April 2008.
Parent’s Pack – information for parents about care proceedings
This is a booklet for parents who may be about to be taken to court by a local authority because of concerns over the safety and welfare of their child. It gives parents information in a clear and straightforward manner about what is involved in court proceedings and the various stages in the process. It is intended that parents should receive this information from local authorities at the stage at which a Letter before Proceedings is issued.
Parent's pack (PDF 1.36mb 28 pages)
Pecyn Gwybodaeth i Rieni (PDF 1.60mb 28 pages)
Your child could be taken into care – here’s what you need to know. A leaflet version is also available:
Your child could be taken into care – here’s what you need to know
Parents leaflet (PDF 0.4mb)
Parents leaflet, Welsh (PDF 0.4mb)
Practice direction public law proceedings guide to case management: April 2010
The Judiciary for England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice have issued a case management Practice Direction, which comes into force on 6 April 2010, and replaces the Public Law Outline Practice Direction (April 2008).
Court forms April 2010
To support the Public Law Practice Direction (April 2010), we have introduced a application form C110 for care and supervision orders. The form C1 has also been revised to reflect these changes.
Others new forms for Standard Directions are the PLO 8 and the PLO 9.
Pre-proceedings legal advice
The Legal Services Commission provides non-means and non-merit publicly funded legal advice for parents and those with parental responsibility. Access to this service is triggered when the local authority gives written notice of the potential to issue care proceedings.
The aim of the service is to work with the family to help resolve issues or avoid the need for court proceedings, if the necessary improvements can be agreed.
Full details about Family Help (Lower) Level 2 are in section 20 of the LSC Funding Code: Decision Making Guidance - Family.
Lord Laming's report
Lord Laming was commissioned to prepare an independent report on the arrangements to safeguard children in England. His report was published on 12 March 2009, with a total of 58 recommendations. The government responded immediately and accepted all the recommendations in full, followed by a detailed action plan on 6 May 2009.
Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children
The government has appointed Sir Roger Singleton to be its Chief Adviser on child safety in England. Sir Roger will play a key role in ensuring that the government delivers the pledges made in the government's action plan.