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Current consultations

30-hour free childcare entitlement

The Department for Education is inviting views on how they should provide an extended entitlement of up to 30 hours free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year-olds. More information is available on the Department for Education Consultation Hub.

Closing date: 6 June 2016


Children and Young People’s Mental Health: Peer Support – England

The Department for Education has launched a consultation seeking views on the most effective support methods to help improve the mental health of children and young people.   The call for evidence aims to find out more about:

  • what works in peer support for children and young  people’s mental wellbeing;
  • the approaches that are currently available; and
  • how things might be improved.

More information including a link to a young people’s call for evidence is available on the Department for Education Consultation Hub.

Closing date: 24th March 2016

Keeping Children Safe in Education: Proposed Changes to Statutory Guidance – England

The Department for Education is seeking views on proposed revisions to statutory guidance for schools on keeping children safe. The revised guidance document, which replaces ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015′, provides information on what schools and colleges should know and do, and sets out the legal duties with which schools and colleges must comply in order to keep children safe.
The consultation documents and response form can be found on the Gov.uk website

Closing date: 16 February 2016

CoramBAAF is seeking views on The Future of Fostering in England

CoramBAAF is consulting on a draft position statement about the future of fostering in England.

The issues are set out in a draft position statement that highlights the diverse needs of children and young people in foster care and an accompanying discussion paper on the challenges of achieving permanence through fostering. Further details and a link to the consultation papers can be found on the CoramBAAF website.

Closing date: 11 December 2015

Views Sought on Inspecting Special Educational Needs Provision – England

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will assess how effectively local areas are fulfilling their obligations towards children and young people with special educational needs from May 2016, under new proposals announced. The organisations want these inspections to act as catalysts for improvement. They have launched a consultation to seek responses to the proposals from all those with an interest in disability and special educational needs, including young people.

Further details are on the Ofsted press release

The consultation documents are available on the Gov.uk website
Closing date: 4 January 2016

The Family Rights Group is running a survey for kinship carers in England and Wales. Its aim is to fill research and policy gaps about kinship care to inform campaign work to secure a better deal for kinship carers.

To take part in the survey please click here

Consultation on Special Guardianship Orders

A consultation from the Department for Education is seeking the sector’s views on whether the legal framework for special guardianship orders needs changing. The government has launched a review of special guardianship orders amid concerns over how they are being used.

The Department for Education’s review includes a consultation seeking views on whether the legal framework underpinning the orders needs to changed. The consultation comes at a time where the sharp rise in the number of special guardianship placements has led to concerns the orders are being used inappropriately.

The consultation is asking for views on:
•Whether there are any changes needed to the legal and/or practice framework in which special guardianship decisions are made, or whether the current framework works well.
•How well assessment for special guardians works at the moment, and whether this could be improved.
•What advice and support is most important at each stage of a special guardianship order.
•What the best practice in special guardianship looks like so that we can support all practitioners to deliver this.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/446131/Special_guardianship_review_consultation_.pdf

The consultation closes on 18 September.

Keeping children in care out of trouble: call for evidence
An independent review, chaired by Lord Laming and established by the Prison Reform Trust, was launched on 23 June to consider the reasons behind, and how best to tackle, the over representation of looked after children in the criminal justice system in England and Wales.

The review team seeks evidence from those with experience of care and criminal justice, including children and young people, their families and carers, social workers, youth offending team managers, police and local authority leads and other experts.

The closing date for written submission is 5.00pm on Tuesday 4 August 2015.  For more information and to download a response form, go to: www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/carereview

Contact the review:
By email: carereview@prisonreformtrust.org.uk
By post: Care review, C/o Prison Reform Trust, 15 Northburgh Street, London EC1V 0JR
Telephone: Katy Swaine Williams, Care review co-ordinator – 020 7251 5070

Lord Laming to review why high proportion of children in care end up in prison

Lord Laming is to lead a major review into why such a high proportion of looked-after children end up in the criminal justice system.
Launched on 22nd June, the nine-month review was established by the Prison Reform Trust, which warned of the “depressing” route from care to custody.

Submissions on the topic can be sent to: carereview@prisonreformtrust.org.uk

For a full briefing on the Review please visit the Prison Reform Trust website.


Foster Carer Study on New Mental Health Screening Tool – UK

A research team based at the University of Surrey is seeking to gather the views of foster carers on a new mental health screening tool from Michael Tarren-Sweeney; the Brief Assessment Checklist. They are asking foster carers of children and young people between 4 and 16 years to complete a brief online survey to share their views. The survey is anonymous and takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The survey can be found on the University of Surrey website  For more information or to ask any questions please email the research team at lacstudysurrey@gmail.com

Treasury Seeking Views on Budget – UK

The Treasury is seeking views on what should go into the Budget, which will take place on 8 July 2015. The survey asks for one or two issues important to you, with an explanation of why your proposal should be considered and clear, concise evidence to support it.

Closing date: 5 June 2015.

Guidance and a link to the survey are on the Government Online website

Updated guidance on permanence, long-term foster placements and ceasing to look after a child.

The Department for Education has published updated guidance on permanence, long-term foster placements and ceasing to look after a child. Amendments involve: delegating decision making about looked-after children to their carers; arrangements for making, supervising and reviewing long-term foster care placements; and assessment and planning arrangements where the responsible authority is considering ceasing to look after a child.

Source: Department for Education 26 March 2015

Further information:
Permanence, long-term foster placements and ceasing to look after a child: statutory guidance for local authorities (PDF).


Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory Guidance – England

The Department for Education has published statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment. The guidance sets out what schools and colleges must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18.

Further information:
Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.


What to Do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused: Guidance – England

The Department for Education has published advice to help practitioners identify the signs of child abuse and neglect and understand what action to take. This advice is for anyone who comes into contact with children and families while working and replaces the version published in 2006.

Further information:
Advice to help practitioners identify the signs of child abuse and neglect.


Working Together to Safeguard Children: Statutory Guidance – England

The Department for Education has published statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The guidance covers:
• the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
• a clear framework for Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to monitor the effectiveness of local services.

The guidance sets out how organisations and individuals should work together and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children. It includes supplementary guidance on particular safeguarding issues. The guidance replaces Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013).

Further information:
Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children


Working Together to Safeguard Children: Guide for Children and Young People – England

Rights4me has published guides for children and young people to the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance.

Further information:
Young Person’s Guide to Working Together to Safeguard Children
Young Person’s Guide to Keeping Children Safe


Revisions to Working Together to Safeguard Children

Funding for Children and Young People with SEND – England

The Department for Education has launched a consultation calling for evidence on distributing special educational needs and disability (SEND) funding more fairly in future.

Further details on the Gov.uk website.

 This consultation has now closed

Open Consultations

Current Consultations


Revisions to working together to safeguard children – England

This consultation has now closed

About this consultation

This consultation document seeks views about three proposed changes to the statutory guidance. The government is not consulting on the updates and clarifications set out in Annex A. Following this consultation, the government proposes to update and replace the current statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children revised and published in 2013.

The three proposed changes being consulted on are:

  • the referral of allegations against those who work with children;
  • notifiable incidents involving the care of a child; and
  • the definition of serious harm for the purposes of serious case reviews.

The current guidance can be viewed by clicking on this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children

This is statutory guidance which aims to help professionals understand what they need to do under the law, and what they can expect from one another, to safeguard children. It focuses on the core legal requirements and it makes clear what individuals and organisations should do to keep children safe. It does not include practice guidance, or detailed guidance about what action professionals should take in response to specific situations. These are matters best left to professional judgement, taking account of the unique circumstances and factors involved in each particular case.

The government would like to hear your views on these proposals.

Respond online

Please use the online system wherever possible.

Visit www.education.gov.uk/consultations to submit your response

Other ways to respond

If for exceptional reasons, you are unable to use the online system, for example because you use specialist accessibility software that is not compatible with the system, you may download a word document version of the form and email it or post it.

By email


By post

Working Together Consultation
Department for Education
Floor 1, Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT

The consultation closes on at 5.00pm on 3 February 2015.

Revised Statutory Guidance on the education of looked after children published – England

The Department for Education has published revised statutory guidance on the education of looked after children.

It can be found here:


The revised guidance details the duty on local authorities and Virtual School Heads (VSH) to promote the educational achievement of the children they look after, including those placed out of authority.

This guidance replaces statutory guidance issued in March 2010 and reflects the now statutory nature of the VSH role. Some of the key duties in the guidance include local authorities ensuring that VSHs are in place and that they have the resources, time, training and support they need to discharge the duty effectively.

Local authorities must also have robust procedures in place to monitor the attendance and educational progress of the children their authority looks after, and Children in Care Councils should regularly share the educational experiences and issues raised by looked after children.

Areas also covered in the guidance are pupil premiums, school admission, school exclusions and supporting transitions from care.

Guide to ‘Staying Put’ arrangements for fostered young people published – England

A new guide has been launched, explaining the implementation of the recently introduced ‘Staying Put’ arrangements which allow fostered young people in England to remain in their placements until age 21.

Published by the Children’s Partnership, the voluntary and community sector strategic partner to the Department for Education, Staying Put – a good practice guide has been written for everyone involved in making and supporting staying put arrangements in England. It will be particularly relevant to practitioners and managers in children’s social services, independent reviewing officers, foster carers and looked after young people.

‘Staying Put – a good practice guide’ is available from:


Care Act 2014: Launch of Care and Support Consultation – England

The Department of Health is seeking views on how local authorities should deliver the care and support reforms in the 2014 Care Act.

Under the Care Act, local authorities will have a duty to consider the needs of children living in households where there is an adult who has a disability or impairment that requires help or care as part of a “whole family assessment”. The Act also enables children to have their own carers’ needs assessment carried out, and introduces a new right for young carers aged 16 to 18 who are transitioning to adulthood to have their specific needs assessed in light of how their role might change.

The closing date for the consultation is 5 August 2014.

For more information and a link to respond to the consultation visit


NEWS FLASH – Civil Service Apprenticeships announced

The Civil Service is about to organise a new round of recruitment for their apprenticeship scheme. There are 200 Civil Service apprenticeship placements for people 18 to 21 who want to work in government. This would be a wonderful opportunity to encourage care leavers to apply!

Criteria is that you must be:

  • a non-graduate
  • have 5 GCSEs, grades A* to C including English language and maths
  • aged between 18 and 21 on 31 August 2014
  • be able to start in September 2014

You can register your interest to get an email when applications open.

You’ll need to apply between 28th January and 19th February 2014.

Further details in link below:


Improving Permanence for Looked After Children


On 4th December; the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove announced that he intends to place a new legal duty on local authorities to provide support for every young person who wants to stay with their foster parents until their 21st birthday – giving local authorities £40million over the next three years to put the support arrangements in place.

The measures will be added to the third reading of the  Children and Families Bill which is due to be debated in the House of Lords later this year, which will become law from April 2014. The full details of the proposed measure will be announced later. In the meantime, the situation for Looked After Children reaching the age of 18 remains as per the Guidance issued in May 2013 which can be found on the FosterTalk Website.