To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many local authorities have used the new flexibilities on statutory duties for children’s social under the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.
18 May 2020
Local authorities are not required to log this information with the department; however, we are working with the sector to monitor their use. We are not currently aware of any local authorities having made use of the new flexibilities.
Following the temporary regulation changes made on Friday 24 April, it is for local authorities to decide whether it is appropriate to make use of these flexibilities, taking account of all available information. Decisions to do so will need to be agreed at senior manager level and recorded. Amendments should only be used when absolutely necessary and must be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place. We expect the regulator/inspector of services, Ofsted, to take note of any use of these flexibilities, so local authorities should be ready to explain why their use was necessary. Guidance relating to the amendments is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services.
As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19.
Our latest guidance on vulnerable children is set out below:https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.
These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.