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8.1 Scheme of Delegation

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in September 2017 to reflect current roles and responsibilities.


Contents

  1. Senior Management Contact Details
  2. Introduction
  3. Scheme of Delegated Authority for Children


1. Senior Management Contact Details

Director of Children’s Services

Deborah Gornik
Hamilton Building,
Conway Street,
Birkenhead,
Wirral,
CH41 4FD

0151 666 4288
deborahdornik@wirral.gov.uk

Head of Children’s Social Care Services

Simone White
Hamilton Building,
Conway Street,
Birkenhead,
Wirral,
CH41 4FD

0151 666 4597
simonewhite@wirral.gov.uk

In absence: sarahselwood@wirral.gov.uk


2. Introduction

This Scheme of Delegated Decision Making primarily focuses on key decisions made within Children’s Social Care with respect to promoting vulnerable children’s welfare. It replaces the previous Scheme of Delegations dated March 2017.

All policies and procedures are in the process of being updated to ensure they accord with this document.

The delegated decision to a designated level of Manager will not be further delegated; the decision must be made by a Manager at the same level of seniority (equivalent) or above.

A basic premise which must be adopted in respect of all decision making, is: “if in doubt, consult”.

Matters which concern particularly risky children / young people must be discussed with Line Managers in supervision and escalated dependent on the level of risk associated with the child/ young person, which may seriously compromise their safety and welfare. Media enquiries must be referred to the press office and through Line Management arrangements to the Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care; as well as briefings about matters which may attract media attention.

The process for completing enquiries from Members of Parliament and letters sent to the Director, are subject to a separate procedure. Responsibility for completing a draft response will not be delegated below the level of Group Manager; responses will be co-ordinated by the Complaints Manager and the final response will be agreed by the Deputy Director Children’s Social Care for approval by the Director.


3. Scheme of Delegated Authority for Children

  1. Section 17 Payments
  2. Decision to Accommodate
  3. Care Proceedings
  4. Contact with Parents
  5. Medical Consent and Treatment
  6. Decision to Withhold Whereabouts of a Child in Care
  7. Death of A Looked After Child
  8. Notification to OFSTED of Serious Harm to a Child / Serious Case Review
  9. Placement of a Child with Parents
  10. Placement of a Child with Family and Friends
  11. Private Fostering
  12. Holidays Abroad and Passports
  13. Application for a Child to Live Outside England and Wales
  14. Change of Name of a Child Looked After
  15. Marriage of a Looked After Child
  16. Joining the Army
  17. Overnight Stays
  18. Recovery Order
  19. Informing 3rd Party About A Person Considered To Be A Risk To Children
  20. S47 Enquiries and Child Protection Conferences
  21. Secure Accommodation
  22. Adoption
  23. Fostering

Decision to be Delegated Delegation to: Will Take Decision In Absence of Person With Delegated Authority Comment/ Guidance
1. Section 17 Payments
Recommendations to make Section 17 payments: Equivalent level manager.

All requests must be supported by a clear rationale for expenditure and what alternative forms of funding have been explored e.g. voluntary groups. Leaving Care Grants and minuted decisions for expenditure made by Panels (LAAM/ Permanence, etc) are generally exempt from the full Process.

Up to £250 on any one client p.a. Team Manager
Up to £250 on any one client p.a. Team Manager
Up to £2000 on any one client p.a. Group Manager.
Up to £5000 on any one client p.a. Senior Manager.
Over £5000 on any one client p.a. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care
2. Decision to Accommodate
(Procedure(s):Decision to Look After and Care Planning)
Decision to accommodate a child (Section 20).

Senior Manager who then consults with the Deputy Director of Children’s Services.

Deputy Director - Children's Social Care

 

Decision to de-accommodate. Group Manager in consultation with Senior Manager. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care  
3. Care Proceedings
Decision to instigate Legal Proceedings. Group Manager in consultation with the Senior Managers then on to legal meeting LAAM. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care To seek legal advice and provide recommendation for action. All meetings minutes and recommendations must be scrutinised and ratified by the Senior Manager.
Chairing of Pre-Proceedings Meeting. Team Manager. Group Manager. Legal Representative must be present.
Decision to apply for an Interim Care Order. Group Manager in consultation with Senior Manager and Legal. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care S31 Children Act 1989

where an urgent application for Care Proceedings is required an extra ordinary Meeting will be called or a Senior Manager will be consulted

Deputy Director - Children's Social Care to be informed by Senior Manager of all new cases.
Endorsing the Care Plan for the final hearing, except where an Independent Provider resource is required. Senior Manager Deputy Director - Children's Social Care

CLA (1999) 29 One of more relevant Senior Managers should endorse the Care Plan for the final hearing as an Authority wide statement of its commitment to the plan. The choice of one or more Senior Managers designated to endorse Care Plans on behalf of the Local Authority is for the authority to determine.

In exceptional cases and where the Court considers it necessary a Designated Officer or other Senior Manager may be required to attend Court and give evidence on behalf of the Local Authority.
Decision to endorse the Care Plan for the final hearing: where an Independent Provider resource is required. Senior Manager. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Funding must have previously been recommended through Independent Placement Panel and the final Care Plan endorsed once the placement is authorised.
Decision to apply for an Interim Supervision Order. Group Manager. Senior Manager/Deputy Director - Children's Social Care S31 Children Act 1989.
Decision to apply for a Emergency Protection Order. Group Manager. Group Manager agreement between relevant GM and GM covering Group other than where the child lives.

S44 Children Act 1989

Written legal advice should be obtained and the Senior Manager consulted before decision making takes place. Rationale and name(s) of Managers making the decision must be recorded on the child's record.
Decision to apply for a Child Assessment Order.   As above.

S43 Children Act 1989

As above.

Decision to apply for discharge or variation of a Care Order or Supervision Order (including extension of a Supervision Order). Group Manager in agreement with Senior Manager. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care S39 Children Act 1989 Group Manager must have Chaired a Discharge Meeting and there must be a recommendation from a Statutory Review (LAC or CIN).
Decision to discharge a child on a planned basis. Group Manager for relevant service in agreement with Senior Manager. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care Following decision at a Statutory Review unless the parent withdraws consent to S.20 then the child must be returned to the parents care (except where the child is 16 plus or immediate legal action is considered necessary to protect the child).
4. Contact with Parents
(Procedure(s): Contact with Parents, Siblings, Relatives and Connected Relatives)
Decision to refuse parental contact with a child subject to a Care Order for up to seven days in an emergency when it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare. Group Manager in consultation with Senior Manager. Deputy Director - Children's Social Care S34 (6) Children Act 1989. The Group Manager must set a date to review the decision and seek legal advice as to whether to return to Court for an order under S34(4) of the Children Act 1989.
Agree contact for Looked After Child with parents, family and friends. Team Manager in consultation with Group Manager. Senior Manager.

“Decision on reasonable contact both direct and indirect between Children in Care and parents and persons with PR, siblings and significant others consistent with Children in Care welfare”. On recommendation of LAC Review” “Guidance should be “S34(1) and Schedule 2 para 15 (1) Children Act 1989”

Note: the legal status of the looked after child is significant to the restrictions that can be applied.
Decision to apply for an Order authorising the Authority to refuse contact. Group Manager Senior Manager. S34 (4) Children Act 1989.
5. Medical Consent and Treatment

Medical consent for a child subject of Care Order:

Routine medical treatment.
Team Manager Senior manager in absence of Group Manager.

Consent to be recorded in the Placement Information Record, signed by the Team Manager.

Delegated authority to foster carers.

Authorise testing for blood born virus. Team Manager Senior manager in absence of Group Manager. Consent to be recorded in the Placement Information record, signed by the Team Manager in consultation with designated Doctor / Nurse for CLA.
Emergency medical treatment which may or may not involve general anaesthetic. Group Manager. Senior manager in absence of Group Manager. Medical staff can act in an emergency on the basis of medical need.
Planned medical treatment involving surgery and general anaesthetic. Group Manager. If the treatment poses significant risks then the Senior Manager. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Parental involvement should always be considered and only excluded if not in the child’s best interests.
6. Decision to Withhold Whereabouts of a Child in Care

Decision to withhold the whereabouts of a child in care from a person, usually the parent.

This does not apply to Children in Care accommodated under S20, Children Act 1989 where there is NO POWER to withhold this information, unless an order has been applied for and obtained. This must be supported by evidence of concern and a review date set.

Group Manager. Senior Manager

Schedule 2 s15(4) Children Act 1989

A Local Authority is not required to inform any person of the whereabouts of a child if:-

  1. The child is in the care of the Authority; and
  2. The Authority has reasonable cause to believe that informing the person would prejudice the child’s welfare.
7. Death of a Looked After Child
(Procedure(s): Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)
Notification to Ofsted following the death of a child looked after / serious harm to a child in a Children’s Home/ Foster Care. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

Schedule 2 S20 Children Act 1989.

Regulation 43 (1) and Schedule 8 Fostering Services 2002.

Schedule 5 Children’s Homes Regulations 2011.

OFSTED Guidance on Handling Serious child Care Incidents.
Funeral arrangements following the death of a child looked after. Group Manager. Group Manager. These should always be made in consultation with the parent and may be made with the parent if they so wish and if it is deemed appropriate.
8. Notification to Ofsted of Serious Harm to a Child/Serious Case Review
Notification to OFSTED of serious harm to a child / Serious Case Review. Head of Children’s Safeguarding and Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children’s Services. OFSTED Guidance on Handling Serious Child Care Incidents.
9. Placement of a Child with Parents
Decision to place a child who is the subject of a Care Order or Interim Care Order with parents or persons with Parental Responsibility. Deputy Director - Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

Vol. 3 Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations 5.40

Where a Director nominates another officer as decision maker the nomination should reflect the serious nature of the decision and this nomination should rest at 3rd tier level i.e. Assistant Chief Director or Area Manager or an equivalent senior level. Nominees will need good knowledge of child care practice in order to provide a considered opinion. The nomination of the Senior Officers can only be made by the Director and should be in writing.
10. Placement of a Child with Family and Friends
(Procedure(s): Children Cared for by Family and Friends)
Approval of Family and Friends (Connected Foster Carers). Group Manager ratified by ADM. ADM. Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulation 2010.
11. Private Fostering
(Procedure(s): Private Fostering Procedure)
Authorise a Private Fostering Placement. Group Manager agreed by a senior manager. Group Manager agreed by a Senior Manager.

S17 Children Act 1989

Approved by the Local Authority as a part of a Child In Need Plan following a Social Work Assessment.
12. Holidays Aboard and Passports
(Procedure(s): Holidays and School Trips Outside the UK)
Permission to go abroad (for a period of less than one month) including signing passport application for a child subject of a Care Order. Group Manager. Senior Manager. S33(8) Children Act 1989.
Authorisation of an application for a passport for a Looked After Child. Group Manager. Senior Manager. S33(3) Children Act 1989 in respect of a child in care and S22(3) Children Act 1989 in respect of a child provided with accommodation under S20.
13. Application for a Child to Live Outside England and Wales
Decision to apply for leave of the Court for a child in care to live outside of England or Wales. Senior Manager. Equivalent. S33(7)(b) Children Act 1989. This may have substantial financial implications and therefore delegation should reflect this.
14. Change of Name of a Looked After Child
(Procedure(s): Change of Name of a Looked After Child)
Permission for child subject to a Care Order to be known by a new surname (only possible with agreement of everyone with Parental Responsibility of the leave of the Court. This would only be in exceptional circumstances. Senior Manager. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. S33 (7) (a) Children Act 1989.
15. Marriage of a Looked After Child
(Procedure(s): Marriage of a Looked After Child)
Permission for a child subject of a Care Order to marry. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services. S33(3) Children Act 1989.
16. Joining The Army
Permission for a child subject to a care order to join the army. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

S33(3) Children Act 1989

This should include a discussion with any party who holds PR.
17. Overnight Stays
(Procedure(s): Overnight Stays and Social Visits)
Decision for a child looked after to have an overnight stay. Foster Carer or Residential Support Worker if applicable. Team Manager

CLA (2004)

Decisions on overnight stays should in most circumstances be delegated to Foster Carers and Residential Support and arrangements for such decisions written into the Placement Plan (Placement Information Record) or Foster Placement Agreement.

Children Looked After should as far as possible be granted the same permission to take part in normal and acceptable age appropriate peer activities as would reasonably be granted by parents of their peers.

Only where there are exceptional reasons should the permission of the responsible Authority be required or restrictions placed on overnight stays.
18. Recovery Order
Decision to apply for a Recovery Order for a child who is in care, the subject of an EPO or in Police protection. Group Manager in consultation with Senior Manager. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care.

S50 Children Act 1989

Following legal advice and discussion with Police. This may be appropriate consider if a child is at risk of sexual exploitation.
19. Informing 3rd Party about a Person Considered to be a Risk to Children
Decision to inform a third party of the identity and concerns about a person who is considered a risk to children. Group Manager. Senior Manager.

S33(3) Children Act 1989 and

S22(3) Children Act 1989 for Children in Care, S17 Children Act 1989 for children in need and S47 Children Act 1989 for children at risk.

Reasons for sharing information must be clearly recorded by the Team Manager on the child's record.
20. S47 Enquiries and Child Protection Conferences
(Procedure(s): Wirral Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual: Strategy Discussions/Meetings and Section 47 Enquiries as Part of a Single Assessment Procedure, Section 25, Children's Services Recording Requirements)
Decision to initiate S.47 enquires. Team Manager. Group Manager.

S.33(3) Children Act 1989; and

S.22(3) Children Act 1989 for Children in Care, S17 Children Act 1989 for children in need and S47 Children Act 1989 for children at risk.
Decision to take no further action following S.47 enquiries. Team Manager in consultation with Group Manager. Senior Manager.

S.47 Children Act 1989

Team Manager must report outcome to Group Manager to endorse decision; this must be recorded on the child’s record.
Decision to convene a Child Protection Conference following S.47 enquiries. Team Manager. Consultation with the Safeguarding Unit to take place. Covering Team Manager or Group Manager. Consultation outcome must be clearly recorded on the child's record by Team Manager.
Decision to terminate a Child Protection Plan. Chair of Conference on evidence from the Core Group and Multi-Agency Review.    
21. Secure Accommodation
Authority to apply for a Secure Accommodation Order. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

S25 Children Act 1989

Vol. 4 Children Act 1989 Guidance & Regs. 8.6 `Steps should be taken to ensure all decisions to seek a placement for a child in secure accommodation are taken at a senior level in the Authority. This should not be less than at Asst Director level and such a person should be accountable to the Director for that decision.

Multi-Agency Meeting must be held chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer to confirm criteria for Secure Accommodation are met and outline the reasons why alternative provision is not appropriate. For children under the age of 13 agreement must be sought from the Department for Education (DfE).
Authority to decide on a placement in Secure Accommodation without an Order for up to 72 hours. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

S25 Children Act 1989

See above.

Review of placement in Secure Accommodation in a Community Home.

Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit Head of Children's Safeguarding and Senior Manager independent of team.

Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care.

S15 Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991

Each Local Authority looking after a child in Secure Accommodation in a Community Home shall appoint at least 3 persons at least one of which is not employed by the Local Authority by or on behalf of which the child is being looked after who shall review the keeping of the child in such accommodation for the purposes of securing her/ his welfare within one month of the inception of the placement and then at such intervals not exceeding three months where the child continues to be kept in such accommodation.
22. Adoption
(Procedure(s): Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters / Adoption Panel / Allegations Against Prospective Adopters and in Relation to Children Placed for Adoption or Already Adopted / Adoption Support)
Adoption Agency Decision Maker - decisions that a child should be placed for Adoption/ Prospective Adopters should be approved / a child should be matched with Adopters. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children’s Services.

Adoption & Children Act 2002 Guidance

Adoption Agencies Regulation 27.2 no member of the Adoption Panel can take part in the agency decision

It should be taken by a senior person in the Agency such as the Agency’s Adoption Manager or Senior Manager who is not a member of the Panel that submitted the recommendation.
Designated Manager for Adoption Panel Appointments. Agency Advisor to Panel. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care.  
Appointment of Adoption Panel Advisor. Senior Manager, Children In Care & Care Leavers. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care.  
Designated Manager for Adoption and Fostering to liaise with LADO. Group Manager. Senior Manager.  
Designated Manager Adoption Support other than financial. Children in Care Group Manager. The Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care must decide on the eligibility and agree the support.    
Senior Manager(s) with whom Adoption Agency Decision Maker will discuss cases where s/he is minded not to accept the Adoption Panel’s recommendation. Senior Manager, Children In Care and Care Leavers. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care.

Adoption & Children Act 2002 Guidance

Chapter 3 paragraph 68.

23. Fostering
(Procedure(s): Fostering Services)
Fostering Panel Decision Maker. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children's Services.

Regulation 28 Fostering Service Regulations 2002

No member of the Fostering Panel shall take part in any decision by the Fostering Service provider to approve or set terms of approval for a Foster Carer.
Responsibility for making recommendations about approval of Foster Carers and any terms of approval. Independent Chair of the Fostering Panel and the Reviewing Officer for Foster Carers. Deputy Chair of the Fostering Panel.

Regulation 24 Fostering Service Regulations 2002

'A senior member of staff of the Fostering Service Provider who is not responsible for the day to day management of any person carrying out assessments of prospective foster parents or such other person not being an employee member or partner or director of the Fostering Service Provider who has the skills and experience necessary for Chairing a Fostering Panel’.
Authorisation to increase the limit of children placed in a Fostering Placement on an emergency/temp basis - up to 6 weeks. Children in Care Group Manager in consultation with Senior Manager. Senior Manager in their absence.  
Decision to authorise increasing the limit of children placed in a Fostering Placement on a planned basis after all checks undertaken and the Fostering Panel has recommended an increase. Senior Manager, Children In Care and Care Leavers (Agency Decision Maker).

Senior Manager.

 
Authorise publicity for family finding for the Adoption and Long Term Fostering of children. Team Manager Adoption & Fostering. Senior Manager.  
24. Special Guardianship and Child Arrangements Orders
Decision on suitability of a carer to be a Special Guardian. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children’s Services.  
Decision of an individual's Special Guardianship Support Services, including financial support and legal fees. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children’s Services.

Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 and Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016. Decision made following recommendation from Permanency Panel.

Decisions on a child’s maintenance and accommodation costs as a result of a Child Arrangements Order. Deputy Director – Children’s Social Care. Director of Children’s Services. Schedule 1, paragraph 15 Children Act 1989. Decision made following recommendation from Permanency Panel.

End