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Family President introduces requirement for court to notify Ofsted of unregistered placements where inherent jurisdiction used to authorise deprivation of liberty of child

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has amended the practice guidance he issued in November 2019 explaining the registration and regulation structure applicable in England and, separately, in Wales for residential care facilities for children and young people.

The document, Practice Guidance: Placements in unregistered children’s homes in England or unregistered care home services in Wales, was issued after the number of applications made for a court in family proceedings to authorise a residential placement of a young person in circumstances where their liberty might be restricted had increased markedly in recent times.

The President said today (1 December) that this continued to remain the case, and the Practice Guidance remained in force and should be followed by courts.

Announcing an amendment, Sir Andrew said: “The Practice Guidance sets out steps that must be followed in circumstances where an application is made to the court for an order under the court’s inherent jurisdiction to authorise the deprivation of the liberty of a child.

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“This addendum provides an additional required step as follows: the court must include in any order approving the placement of a child in an unregistered placement, a requirement that the local authority should immediately notify OFSTED (England) - if the placement is in England - or the Care Inspectorate Wales - if the placement is in Wales- and provide them with a copy of that order and the judgement of the court.”

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