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W3C Compliance


May 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Transport for Students with a Special Educational Need or Disability

A link to ‘Child car seats: the law’ was added in the Relevant Guidance. The rules have changed around booster seats and babies who now need to stay in rear facing seats until 15 months. (There has been a change to the technical standards of booster seats and cushions for manufacturers but this does not affect existing models of booster seats and cushions.)

Please reference as required.
Children Missing from Home and Care Policy This key chapter provided under the auspices of the Merton Safeguarding Children Board has been updated. Please re-reference.
Trafficked and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 has been referenced in relation to age assessments: Section 2.3, Children Who Are Age Disputed and Age Assessments has been updated with regards to undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child - local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities has been added.

The statutory guidance has been updated to link to the 'DfE 2017 Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery – statutory guidance for local authorities'.
Policy and Practice Guidance in Respect of No Recourse to Public Funds Cases This chapter has been updated to add a link to 'NRPF Securing British Citizenship for looked after children (2017)'. This reflects the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens. 'The Local Government Ombudsman has recently criticised a local authority for not ensuring a child in its care received specialist legal advice and assistance to sort out the child’s right to British citizenship. Having British citizenship has a profound impact on a child’s future and identity. Yet failing to secure a child’s citizenship can lead to that right to citizenship being lost altogether’. Please reference.
Joint Protocol for the Assessment of Housing and Support Needs of Homeless 16 and 17 Year Olds This chapter has been updated to provide a link to the current Guidance ‘Prevention of homelessness and provision of accommodation for 16 and 17 year old young people who may be homeless and/or require accommodation - Guidance to children’s services authorities and local housing authorities about their duties under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16 and 17 year old young people (Min. of Housing, Communities and Local Govt. / DfE, April 2018)’. This guidance identifies the respective roles of Children’s and Housing services and emphasises joint working and strategic planning. An Annex identifies ‘Factors to be considered by children’s services when assessing 16-17 year olds who may be children in need’. Please re-reference.
Care Planning for Looked After Children This chapter has been amended throughout to reflect the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing (2017) with respect to ‘consent’. The court recognised that the term ‘consent’ itself was not used in Section 20. However, it described previous court observations as ‘good practice guidance’, emphasising its judgment should not alter the content or effect of these. (See Obtaining Parental Consent’). Additionally, the update includes recognizing the importance of ensuring the child’s status is recorded on the information management system, (see Other Ways of Becoming Looked After) and consent (see Section 20 Accommodation).
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review guidance and regulation with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive. (See Frequency of Looked After Reviews).
Education of Looked After Children

This chapter has been reviewed and updated to add a section on Young People Remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation. The Personal Education Plan has been fully revised, and a number of additions to the content of other sections:

  • Who Do we Work With - includes Schools, Early Years Settings, Academies, Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Education Providers. The Virtual School also supports young people at college and university;
  • The Personal Education Care Plan (PEP) - The Personal Education Plan should be initiated as part of the Care Planning process before a child becomes Looked After and no later than 10 working days after a child comes into care. In the case of an emergency placement, the PEP should be made available for the child’s Looked After Review;
  • The First Personal Education Plan - Where a child has a fixed term exclusion from school, the Head Teacher (or other senior school representative) should also be invited to the meeting. The PEP cannot proceed if there is no representation from the school where the child or young person is on-roll;
  • When a Child is Absent from School - Where attendance falls below the 90% threshold, the Looked After Child is identified and tracked through the LAC Concern Process and an attendance plan developed if necessary.
LAC Health Care Assessments and Plans This chapter was updated to add 'NICE (NG 26), Children’s attachment: attachment in children and young people who are adopted from care, in care or at high risk of going into care (2015)', (see Relevant Guidance above). This guideline covers the identification, assessment and treatment of attachment difficulties in children and young people up to age 18 who are adopted from care, in special guardianship, looked after by local authorities in foster homes (including kinship foster care), residential settings and other accommodation, or on the edge of care. It aims to address the many emotional and psychological needs of children and young people in these situations, including those resulting from maltreatment. Pleaser reference as required.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody This chapter has been updated to reflect changes to the 'Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE)' which defines “arrested juvenile” for the purpose of Part 4 of that Act and the statutory guidance for local authorities on children who lose their looked-after status when remanded or sentenced to custody. Please re-reference.
Staying Put Policy

This chapter has been reviewed and comprehensively amended to reflect the 'Children and Social Work Act 2017' and update the financial entitlements of the young person and staying put carer as well as current Departmental terminology. In particular, please re-reference sections:

  • ‘Where No Foster Children Are Living in the Staying Put Arrangement’ (in Section 4, Legal Status and Safeguarding);
  • Section 5, Financial Arrangements.
Assessments and Approvals of Foster Carers Section 9, After the Adoption, Fostering and Permanence Panel Recommendation has been updated to clarify the decision as to the suitability of the applicant must be made within 7 working days of receipt of the panel’s recommendation and final set of panel minutes – 'The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4 and Standard 14 (14.9) Fostering panels and the fostering service’s decision-maker'. Please re-reference.
Placement for Adoption This chapter was updated to add a link to research in practice, Contact after adoption. This seeks to provide practical resources that bring together knowledge from research and practice to support professionals to be reflective and explore their own assumptions, attitudes and values when developing contact plans.
Inter Country Adoption This chapter was updated to add links to the DfE Intercountry adoption and resident status requirements and Adoption Support Fund. Please reference as required.
Supervision Policy and Procedure for Registered Social Workers Employed by London Borough of Merton This chapter has been comprehensively updated throughout and includes new sections on What is Supervision? Definition, Context and Theoretical Framework; Supervision definitions; Supervision agreement; addressing equalities and diversity in supervision; Group Supervision and Resolving Difficulties. The chapter also contains a range of templates and tools in the Appendices, including Supervision Agreement; Case Supervision template and Observation templates. Please re-reference.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Procedure for Transition of Young People with Disabilities from Children's to Adults Services in Merton The chapter recognises that moving to adulthood is challenging for all young people and that ‘It is never too early to think about transition and the aspirations of young people should be at the heart of all planning’; transition is a continuous. process. The chapter has sections on Transition Planning and Assessments, Safeguarding and Mental Capacity and Quality Assurance and contains Appendices on Roles and Responsibilities, Financial Assessment, etc.
Fostering Payment Scheme This Policy sets out the payment framework for foster carers and connected persons in line with Merton’s Special Guardianship Policy, Adoption and Child Arrangement Payment Schemes. Please reference.

Next Update: November 2018


2018 Amendments

2017 Amendments

2016 Amendments

2015 Amendments

2014 Amendments