Related Sector: Health & Social Care

From 1st April 2018 the entirety of The Children and Social Work Act 2017 came into force.

This legislation will not only impact on how practitioners in social care, the NHS, the police and other relevant agencies work, but also the way they are regulated and trained.

The Act introduces a wide range of new and important provisions for any organisation or individual involved in the provision of services for a child, whether in a voluntary or paid capacity.

This includes: all local authorities (from heads of service to front line social work staff), Police, CCG’s, schools and their governing bodies and children’s charities.

The Act defines, for the first time, the role of a Corporate Parent. There are 7 corporate parenting principles which all key members of staff (from executive level to front line social work staff) need to be aware of and have sufficient training to be able to competently apply the principles. This is relevant to all children in care, previously looked after children, and those leaving care.

Importantly, it also establishes a new regulatory regime for social work; Social Work England (SWE).

Please find below a summary of the relevant sections of the new Act:

  • Section 1(1) establishes the 7 core principles regarding the role of the Corporate Parent which Local Authorities and their partners agencies must have regard to.
  • Sections 2 and 3 establishes additional responsibilities the Local Authority now has for care leavers in preparing them for adulthood and independent living.
  • Section 4 provides new duties a Local Authority now has in relation to previously looked after children.
  • Sections 8 and 9 identify the additional considerations that the court must have regard to when making a care or supervision order, or when placing a child for adoption, including the updated definition of the 'permanence plan'.
  • Section 10 introduces changes to current legislation to include the provision of secure accommodation for children elsewhere in Great Britain under new placement provisions.
  • Sections 12-15 establishes the new Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
  • Section 16 establishes and identifies the safeguarding partners and other relevant agencies’ statutory responsibility to work together and exercise their functions equally and collectively to meet the welfare and safeguarding needs of every child.
  • Section 24-28 introduces new provisions for child death reviews.   
  • Section 32 introduces new provisions for the protection against pre-employment discrimination for whistle-blowers in children's social care roles.
  • Sections 36-46 identify the new provisions in relation to Social Work England including registration, regulation, professional standards and training of social workers.

For local authorities

You should ensure that your local authority is fully compliant with the new legislation and that your workforce fully understand their new roles and responsibilities and can competently carry out their duties that the new Act has brought into force.

For front line social work staff

You need to consider how the new legislation will affect your day-to-day role in safeguarding children. Do get in touch with your training department if you require further support in this area.

Bond Solon offers an highly informative course on The Children and Social Work Act 2017

Zak McNally
Health and Social Care Manager

This article was first published on Thursday 12 April 2018.


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