Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Third Report


Memorandum by the Department of Health


  The Committee has requested a Memorandum on three points relating to the Adoption Agencies and Children (Arrangements for Placement and Reviews) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 1997.

The first point

  New regulation 8(2)(h) of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 1983 (inserted by regulation 2(6)) requires an adoption agency to invite the prospective adopter to send any written observations on the agency's assessment within 28 days, and new regulation 11A(4)(c) (inserted by regulation 2(10)) requires the agency to invite the prospective adopter to submit any representations he wishes to make within 28 days. From what date is the 28 day's period intended to run - the date on which the document was sent, the date of receipt or some other date?

  The 28 day period referred to in new regulation 8(2)(h) and new regulation 11A(4)(c) is intended to run from the date on which the document was sent. The Department proposes to make an appropriate amendment to these provisions at the next available opportunity but does not anticipate that any practical problems will arise as a result of this omission.

The second point

  New regulation 14(4) (inserted by regulation 2(14)) provides that the ªadoption agency shall ensure that the place of special security referred to in paragraphs (2) and (3) preserve the records etc., so far as is possible, and in particular minimise the risk of damage from fire or water."

  The Department agrees that it would have been better to insert after "(3)" words such as "is suitable to" but the sense of this provision is quite clear. The "case records etc." refers to the case records and the indexes referred to in paragraphs (2) and (3). The Department proposes to make appropriate amendments to this provision at the next available opportunity.

The third point

  New paragraph 12A of Part I of the Schedule (inserted by regulation 2(17)(b)) refers to the result of any assessment carried out in respect of any special educational needs under the Education Act 1996. Identify the provisions of the 1996 Act contemplated and explain why they are not specified in paragraph 12A.

  Adoption agencies are required to obtain the information specified in Part I of the Schedule and include it in the child's record by virtue of regulation 7(2)(b) of the Adoption Agencies Regulations. The new paragraph 12A provides that the particulars must include any educational needs which the child now has and how those needs are to be met, including any assessment of special educational needs carried out and identified under the Education Act 1996. An assessment of a child's educational needs may be carried out by the local education authority under section 323 of the Education Act 1996. Under section 324, if in light of that assessment, it is necessary for the authority to determine the special educational provision which any learning difficulty a child may have call for, the authority must make and maintain a statement of his special educational needs. The statement must give details of the authority's assessment of the child's special educational needs and specify the special educational provision to be made for the purpose of meeting those needs. It is submitted that it is clear from the reference to section 324 what assessment is being referred to and under what provision this is carried out.

June 1997

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Prepared 29 July 1997