Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Tenth Report


Memorandum from the Department of Health

(ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2001 (S.I. 2001/2992)

1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

    Explain why paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 to the 1991 Regulations has not been consequentially amended, given the amendment (made by regulation 2(2)(b)) to regulation 3(4A) of the 1991 Regulations.

2. Paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 and regulation 3(4A) serve different, albeit related purposes. Regulation 3(4A) provides (subject to paragraph (4B)) that a person is precluded from acting as a local authority foster parent, if he or a member of his household who is aged 18 or over has been convicted of or cautioned for a specified offence committed at the age of 18 or over.

3. Schedule 1 sets out the information which local authorities must obtain in relation to a foster parent on approval and renewal of approval (regulation 4) including (at paragraph 9), information about any criminal convictions or cautions relating to him or a member of his household who is over the age of 18. The information is not limited to specified offences, nor to those committed at or over a certain age. The local authority will need this information in order to consider the suitability of the prospective foster parent and in particular whether the disqualification in regulation 3(4A) applies. Regulation 3(4A) will require a formal record check on the date of decision or renewal of approval and if a member of the household has turned 18 by then, another check would have to be carried out by the authority.

4. The Department accepts, however, that it would have been preferable to have amended paragraph 9 of Schedule 1, consistently with the amendment made by regulation 2(2)(b). The Foster Placement (Children) Regulations are to be replaced with effect from 1 April 2002 and we will bear this point in mind.

8 November 2001

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