The government has passed a set of amendments to regulatory legislation that will temporarily affect the statutory obligations of children’s social care services across the country. As part of the Coronavirus Act 2020, this legislation came into force on 24th April and is in place until 25 September 2020 – it will be kept under review by the Department for Education until then.
While the new changes give us the flexibility to reduce some of our responsibilities, we have made the decision that, at this point, there will not be any reduction in the service that we are providing for children and their families.
We have risk-assessed every child whom we are working with in relation to vulnerabilities through coronavirus (COVID-19). And, as a result, we have in many cases increased our contacts with children and their families in order to ensure that they are fully supported during these difficult times.
These unprecedented times have thrown up many unique challenges, but be assured that we remain deeply committed to the safeguarding of children and families.
An overview of the amendments is available on the government website.
Our response to changes in legislation
Adoption and social care
Social worker visits, independent reviews and placement plans are still being conducted. We have adapted to complete these virtually where appropriate. For any face-to-face contact we will follow the Government’s social-distancing guidance, and we have use of Personal Protective Equipment where this is needed.
Adoption and fostering panels are also taking place virtually and are working well.
All fostering services continue to follow current best practice and are working to existing timescales.
We have identified those GP surgeries that are still offering medicals. Panel Medical Advisors are still available to the fostering panels and the Coram BAAF Self Assessment Questionnaires have been adopted. Fostering services are no longer required to report infectious disease to Ofsted.
Independent Reviewing Officers and Disabled Children’s Services colleagues have been made aware of any changes to our short breaks offer.
There won’t be any reduction in children’s home service, although it is acknowledged that normal expectations around care standards will not be possible or fair in this climate.
Continuity of monthly independent visits and reports is being ensured through virtual means. Ofsted’s usual inspection frequency is not viable, but they retain the ability to visit when and where they feel necessary.
Care homes continue to help young people to achieve their educational potential, but the limitation of education provision is taken into account. Meanwhile, virtual methods should be used if necessary to allow children to meet privately with their parents, relatives, advocates etc.
Wherever possible we want to work with you to resolve any complaints locally, by discussions with your worker or their line manager.
Where complaints are not taken through the normal channels our senior managers across children’s social care have an overview of these and are ensuring that complaints are considered