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6.1.1 Adoption and Fostering Panel

This chapter was added to the manual in September 2015.


Contents

  1. Aims and Objectives
  2. Functions of the Panel
  3. Legislation and Statutory Guidance
  4. Membership
  5. The Agency Adviser
  6. The Panel Chair Person
  7. Meetings of the Panel
  8. Panel Recommendations
  9. Agency Decision Maker
  10. Conduct of Panel Members
  11. Resignations and Terminations
  12. Expenses
  13. Representations
  14. Annual Report
  15. Review

    Appendix 1: Adoption and Fostering Panel Responsibilities

    Appendix 2: Panel Checklists

    Appendix 3: Renumeration


1. Aims and Objectives

Waltham Forest established a combined Adoption and Fostering panel on 1st April 2015, with the aim of providing a consistent approach, practice and decision-making forum for all children needing care in family placements away from their birth parents, and for those seeking to provide care to those children. The purpose of the Waltham Forest Adoption and Fostering panel is to ensure that the best interests of the child are safeguarded and that prospective and approved adopters and foster carers are treated fairly. The Panel has an overriding responsibility to promote high quality practice, consistency of approach and fairness in all aspects of the Adoption, Fostering and Children in Care services across the Borough, which safeguards and promotes the welfare of children ‘looked after’ by the local authority, in accordance with its policies, procedures and values. All Adoption and Fostering Service Providers are legally required to have Adoption and Fostering Panels. The Regulations ensure that Panel has an independent role separate from the Adoption and Fostering Service Provider.


2. Functions of the Panel

The Panel makes recommendations as to the following:

  • Whether Adoption is the most appropriate plan for a child whose care has been relinquished by their birth parents;
  • The suitability of prospective adoptive applicants to adopt;
  • The suitability of approved adopters to continue to be approved where the Adoption Service has concerns in this regard;
  • The review of adopters who have been approved but no child placed with them, within a year of their approval;
  • Whether a child should be placed for adoption with particular prospective adopters;
  • The suitability of prospective foster carer applicants to foster, stating the terms of approval in relation to age and number of children and the nature of the fostering task, (e.g. respite or full-time fostering);
  • The suitability of approved foster carers to continue to foster after the first year of approval, and then at no more than three yearly intervals;
  • The suitability of the Adoption or Fostering Service to continue with an assessment of adoptive or foster carer applicants where there are significant concerns raised during the Stage 2 part of the assessment;
  • Whether a child should be placed in, or if already placed, matched with a Long Term Fostering placement with particular foster carers;
  • The suitability of a family and friends (connected person) to look after a specific child or children;
  • To comment of the quality of the reports presented to the Panel.

Panel also needs to be notified of all resignations of approved foster carers and withdrawals of approved adopters.

The recommendations that the Panel makes must be unconditional and cannot be ‘in principle’. They may therefore choose to defer hearing a case where additional information is required.

The Panel can offer advice and guidance in relation to a case presented to it.

The Panel will monitor the standards and quality of assessments, reviews, matching and other panel related reports and give feedback via the Agency Adviser (AA) and written reports to the Agency.

The Panel will monitor timescales for the completion of work undertaken by the adoption and fostering service and report this to the Agency quarterly, as well as producing an annual report.

The Panel will be transparent in the process of how it arrives at its recommendations, which will be fully reflected in the minutes of the Panel.

The Panel will seek feedback on its function and operation from anyone who attends the Panel.

The Panel requires feedback, via the AA, on the progress of children for whom they have agreed adoption and long term fostering placements. They must also receive reports where children’s permanent placements have broken down, in order to understand the learning for the Agency in such cases.


3. Legislation and Statutory Guidance

The Adoption and Fostering Panel carries out its responsibilities in accordance with extensive Legislation and Statutory Guidance, along with relevant Waltham Forest Children and Families Policies and Procedures. These are listed in appendix one attached to this policy.

The Adoption and Fostering Panel is committed to practice which promotes inclusion and diversity, and will carry out its duties in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and related Codes of Practice and The London Borough of Waltham Forest’s Diversity and Anti-discriminatory policy.

In all matters the Adoption and Fostering Panel will hold the welfare of children to be paramount.


4. Membership

The membership of the Waltham Forest Adoption and Fostering panel is drawn from a ‘central list’ of suitably qualified and experienced people, who come from a variety of backgrounds and who are able to provide the Agency with independent advice and recommendations. The Central List had been appointed to by the Head of Service for Placements and Resources (the designated manager).

There is no limit to the number of people on the Central List, but in order to be quorate, each panel must take place with no less than five people, with the maximum being ten. The Panel must consist of the following:

  • The independent panel chair, who has the skills and experience necessary to chair a panel;
  • One HCPC registered social worker with no less than three years of relevant post-qualifying experience;
  • Three other members from the Central List;
  • The AA, who is not a member of the Panel and has no decision-making role;
  • The PA, who is responsible for recording minutes of the Panel.

There must always be at least one member of the Panel who is independent of the Agency.

If the Chair cannot attend, the Panel will be chaired by one of the two vice-chairs Waltham Forest has appointed, both of which are independent.

The Central List consists of a number of qualified social workers, some of which are independent of the Agency and some of which are employed in Waltham Forest.

The Central List consists of foster carers and adoptive parents, all of whom meet the regulations in that they have not been approved by, or adopted or fostered through Waltham Forest within the last year.

There are adopted adults on the Central List as well as a care leaver. There are people with backgrounds in Education, Health and CAMHS, along with an elected member.

The Panel benefits from the services of two medical advisers who provide information in relation to children’s current health needs and the health history of them and their birth family, where the information is available. They provide information in relation to adoptive and foster care applicants and on the health of those involved in any placement match. The medical adviser attends one panel a month. The Agency Medical Advisers are senior members of the Community Child Health Service and have an in-depth knowledge of child health and development and the consequences of abuse and neglect.

The Panel also benefits from written legal advice in relation to children being placed for adoption and children being matched with foster carers long term.


5. The Agency Adviser (AA)

The AA to the Adoption and Fostering Panel must be someone with at least five years relevant post-qualification and management experience. The current adviser has worked in the field of adoption for 10 years as a senior practitioner and team manager.

The role of the AA includes assisting with the appointment, termination and review of appointment of members of the Central List; responsibility for the induction and training of members of the Central List; responsibility for liaison between the Agency and the Adoption and Fostering Panel, monitoring the performance of members of the Central List and the administration of the Adoption Panel; and giving such advice to the Panel as the Panel may request in relation to any case or generally. The AA provides advice to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) when the decision-maker is considering a particular case.

The AA is not a panel member and does not take part in the decision-making process. Their role is to contribute to panel meetings by raising issues and providing advice, for example about the Agency's procedures and practices.

The AA maintains an overview of the quality of the Agency's reports, to both the Panel and to the ADM, and liaises with team managers to quality assure reports submitted to the Panel. Where there are concerns about a report, the AA and the Panel chair consider whether it is adequate for submission to the Panel. It is for the AA alone to decide whether the report is adequate for submission to the ADM.

The AA also updates the Panel on the general progress of cases it has considered. This is particularly important where the Panel's recommendation or advice was not accepted.


6. The Panel Chair Person

The Chair of the Panel must be an independent person with significant experience of social work, including adoption and fostering work, at a senior management level, and the necessary skills to ensure that the Panel's work is carried out efficiently and sensitively. The current panel chair for the London Borough of Waltham Forest is a social work academic with extensive experience in practice alongside this. She also chairs the London Borough of Haringey Adoption Panel and the London Borough of Bromley Fostering Panel.

The Chair will ensure that Panel meetings are conducted in a professional and proper manner and that all items of business are covered. The Chair will assume responsibility for co-ordination of discussion and time keeping. The Chair will ensure that all applicants, social workers and managers attending Panel will be treated with respect and courtesy.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring that all Panel members contribute fully to the Panel’s recommendation and to ensure that where Panel members have serious or dissenting reservations these are recorded in the minutes of the Panel’s meetings. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that all verbal contributions and all documents presented to Panel are given due consideration, and that Panel records are accurate; ensuring there is clarity concerning the reasons for Panel's recommendation and accurate recording of such. Furthermore, the Chair ensures the promotion of good practice and consistency of approach and fairness by Panel Members.

There are two vice-chairs appointed to the Panel in Waltham Forest. One has a social work background at a senior management level and one has personal experience of adoption. Both have sat on Adoption or Fostering panels for a number of years. There is generally one vice-chair present at each panel. They take responsibility for chairing at least one panel per year.


7. Meetings of the Panel

The Waltham Forest Adoption and Fostering Panel is held twice a month, on a Friday, commencing at 9:30am. The duration of the Panel is dependent upon the cases needing to be heard, and can last all day. The Panel is usually the first and third Friday of the month and additional panels will be arranged if necessary to avoid unnecessary delay to children. The dates for the Panel will be set in January of each year for the coming financial year. These are circulated to social work staff. At the same time, Panel Members are allocated to each panel and the list circulated. There is an expectation at this stage that panel members will confirm attendance for the dates given that year and notify the AA and Panel Administrator (PA) of those dates that they are unavailable so that places can be re-allocated if necessary. Where a panel member is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, having already confirmed attendance, they are expected to notify the AA and PA as soon as is practically possible. The Adoption and Fostering Service will endeavour to maintain the list of attendees and not cancel an individual’s attendance with little notice. However, it seeks to achieve a balance between being quorate and not being so big that it is overwhelming for social workers and members of the public attending. With this in mind, the Panel seeks to operate with no more than seven members at any one time.

The AA and PA compile the agenda for each panel, ensuring that there is time at the beginning of the Panel for panel members to declare any conflicts of interest, to consider the minutes of the last meeting and to raise items of any other business. There is time at the end of the meeting to discuss any issues that have arisen during the Panel and to ‘de-brief’.

The Panel will consider cases with the following approximate timings:

  • Approval of prospective adopters and foster carers: 60 minutes;
  • Matches of children with adopters: 60 minutes;
  • Adoption plan for a relinquished child: 45 minutes;
  • Long term foster care placement matches for children with specific foster carers: 60 minutes;
  • Disruption reports: 30 minutes;
  • Reviews of foster carers: 60 minutes;
  • Reviews of approved adopters who have had no children placed within the year since their approval: 60 minutes;
  • Termination of approval: 90 minutes.

The AA requires reports and supporting documentation to be submitted by the responsible Social Worker 10 days prior to panel, these having been signed by the Social Worker and Applicants and quality assured by their Team Manager prior to submission. All adoption and fostering support plans need to have been signed by the relevant team manager, and, where there is a commitment to funding the provision of an external service or allowance, the relevant budget holder. The AA is available to advise social workers on the completion of reports if required.

The paperwork required for each item that can be referred to the Panel is included in the attached Appendix 2: Panel Checklists, along with requirements in relation to Social Worker attendance.

The AA will ensure that all required information is present before this is circulated to panel members by the PA no less than 5 working days prior to that panel taking place. Where the necessary information is not available, the case may need to be heard at a later panel. It is the responsibility of the individual social worker to ensure that applicants have a copy of the reports they have submitted to panel, for the case that they have put forward to be heard.

In order to ensure confidentiality, panel papers are sent securely via email where panel members have been provided with a tablet computer device. Where this is not the case, they are sent by registered post for which a signature is required.

The PA, in consultation with the AA, is responsible for inviting applicants to the Panel and notifying social workers of their time of attendance. The PA will also provide applicants with written information regarding the process of the Panel. A booklet is held in the waiting room on the day of panel, which gives details of the members sitting on panel that day. There is an expectation that prospective adopters and foster carers, or approved adopters/foster carers in the case of a review or a match, will attend panel unless there are extenuating circumstances. Children may also attend in the case of an adoption or long term fostering match, where they have sufficient understanding of the process.

The PA is responsible for obtaining legal and medical advice and ensuring that this is available to the Panel on the day.

On receipt of the Panel papers, the expectations of panel members are as follows:

  • That panel papers will be kept securely and confidentially, not shared with anyone outside of the Panel. Where being held on a tablet, this will be password protected. At the end of panel, papers will be collected by the PA for shredding;
  • Any conflict of interest will be brought to the attention of the AA and Chair as soon as possible so that additional panel members can be sought if necessary;
  • Panel papers will be read in full and panel members will come prepared to contribute;
  • At panel, they will treat any attendees, and other panel members fairly, with respect and courtesy.


8. Panel’s Recommendations

Prior to the Social Workers and applicants being invited into the Panel, the Panel chair will summarise the case to be heard, clarify the recommendation that the Panel is being asked to make, share any additional information provided by the AA and PA, (usually legal and medical information) and determine that all information is available in order to make a recommendation. The Panel chair will facilitate a case discussion between panel members and they will formulate questions for the Social Workers and the Applicants as a result of the discussion, which will be asked to attendees.

Panel members will be asked to comment on the quality of the information provided to them, which is monitored by the AA and fed back to the service where necessary.

Social Workers and Applicants will then be invited to join the meeting and questions asked as well as giving the attendees the opportunity to ask questions. When the Panel is considering a match between children and adopters/foster carers, they are required to check that the circumstances of the birth family members have not changed to the degree that the child could be cared for within their birth family. The attendees then leave and panel members are asked to give their recommendation in relation to the recommendation that they are being asked to make. In the event of a disagreement between Panel members, the Chair will consider whether further information is required or whether the Panel should go ahead and make a recommendation on the basis of the majority view. In this event, any dissenting view should be fully recorded in the minutes. The Panel are making a recommendation only. This is then referred to the ADM for a decision to be made. The Panel chair and the AA communicate the Panel’s recommendation to the social workers and applicants in the room in which they are waiting.

Panel can also give advice to the Agency on any practice matters. These are recorded within the minutes and can include advice on contact, support to the adopters, foster carers and birth parents, training needs etc.

Following the Panel it is the responsibility of the AA to review the minutes produced by the PA and make any amendments to ensure that these are an accurate record of the Panel that took place. These are sent to the Panel chair for approval before being circulated to the Panel members that attended the Panel in question, for them to approve. The Agency seeks to have these minutes signed off by all panel members within 5 working days of the Panel taking place. Therefore there is an expectation of the AA, chair and members that they are available to read the minutes and send any amendments that they wish to make to the PA within this timeframe.

Other than spelling or grammatical corrections, the Panel chair’s agreement is needed for any amendments that panel members wish to make. In adoption cases that panel has heard, minutes are also shared with attending social workers for their amendments. Again, these have to be agreed by the Panel chair. Once minutes are finalised they are forwarded to the ADM for ratification.

The minutes relating to ‘any other business’ of the Panel are circulated to all panel members on the Central List to ensure that they are kept abreast of issues raised within panel.


9. Agency Decision Maker

In Waltham Forest the ADM (ADM) role is shared between two senior managers.

The Head of Service for Placements and Resources is the ADM for all foster carer approvals, reviews, continuation of approvals and terminations. He is also responsible for the temporary approval of adopters as foster carers in ‘fostering to adopt’ placements. These temporary approvals are not required to be heard by an adoption or fostering panel, although the adopters will have been approved as such at a panel prior to the temporary approval being given.

In addition, changes to terms of approval for foster carers (e.g. changes to age, gender, and numbers of children to be placed) are agreed by the ADM without the need for them to be heard by the Panel, unless this is part of the annual review being presented to the Panel.

The ADM for all matters relating to adoption, as well as the long-term matches of children with foster carers, is the Divisional Director of the Children and Families’ Service. She is also responsible for agreeing adoption as a plan for a child, or the changing of an adoption decision that has been previously made. Since 2012, these last two decisions are not required to be heard by an adoption and fostering panel, apart from where a child’s care has been relinquished by the birth parents. This is due to the court overseeing this plan during care proceedings. In addition, the Divisional Director’s approval of a long term fostering plan for a child, where this has not been part of care proceedings, is sought prior to progressing to panel for a match with specific carers. This responsibility is sometimes executed by the deputy agency decision maker to ensure impartiality at the point that the divisional director is considering panel recommendations after the match.

Once panel minutes have been finalised they are submitted to the ADM, along with the reports and papers that the Panel has sight of in making their recommendation, for the ADM to consider the recommendation and make the final decision. This is done in consultation with the AA where necessary. The ADM will make their decision within 10 working days of the Panel.

The PA will notify the social workers of the Agency decision within 1 working day. Social workers will orally inform foster carers and adopters of the Agency decision within 2 working days of the decision being made. The ADM will write to the adopters/carers and birth parents, confirming their decision within 5 working days. The ADM will include the reasons for the decision and, where the Agency decision is different from the recommendation of the Panel, information about their and the Panel’s recommendations.

Where the ADM has made a decision not to approve a recommendation that they were being asked to consider, they will enclose information regarding the representations that the applicants can make. This will include making representation to the Agency or the Independent Review Mechanism. See Section 13, Representations.

The LBWF has appointed a deputy Agency Decision Maker to act in the absence of the ADM. This is the Principal Social worker.

When making a decision with regards to an adoption plan or reversal of an adoption decision the ADM will meet with the AA and a record of this meeting is recorded by the PA. When considering these decisions the ADM has sight of any assessments undertaken as part of the care proceedings relating to the child, the Child Permanency Report, and Medical and Legal Advice.

The ADM and AA meet twice a month in order to consider these cases.

In reaching any decisions the ADM must consider the following:

  • The welfare checklist in Section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002;
    1. The child's ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding the decision (considered in the light of the child's age and understanding);
    2. The child's particular needs;
    3. The likely effect on the child (throughout his life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person;
    4. The child's age, sex, background and any of the child's characteristics which the court or agency considers relevant;
    5. Any harm (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989 (c. 41)) which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
    6. The relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant, including:
      1. The likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so;
      2. The ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs;
      3. The wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child.
  • All the information surrounding the case including the reports submitted to the Adoption and Fostering Panel (where applicable), and that the authors of the reports are appropriately qualified to prepare them;
  • The stability and permanence of the relationship of any couple under consideration;
  • The recommendation and reasons of the Adoption and Fostering Panel and any Independent Review Panel under the Independent Review Mechanism; and
  • The final minutes of the Adoption and Fostering Panel including any minutes from adjourned Panel meetings and the Independent Review Panel;

It is good practice for the ADM:

  • To list the material taken into account in reaching the decision;
  • To identify key arguments;
  • To state whether they agree with the process and approach of the Panel and are satisfied as to its fairness and that the Panel has properly addressed the arguments;
  • To consider whether any additional information now available to them that was not before the Panel has an impact on its reasons or recommendation;
  • To identify the reasons given for the relevant recommendation that they do or do not wish to adopt; and
  • To state (a) the adopted reasons by cross-reference or otherwise and (b) any further reasons for their decision.

The Panel Chair, AA and the ADMs for both Adoption and Fostering will meet once every quarter (in April, July, October and January) to discuss any issues and common themes that may be arising from panel. The vice-chairs will join this meeting at least annually.


10. Conduct of Panel Members

Each new panel member will be subject to interview, a DBS check as well as two references, prior to being appointed to the Central List. DBS checks will be updated every two years. It is the responsibility of the Panel member to notify the AA if they have received a conviction or caution in between DBS checks.

Once completed they receive a letter of appointment, stating the remuneration they will receive along with the job description, person specification and panel policy, with they are required to sign to accept the terms and conditions of.

Panel members are expected to attend a minimum of 75% of meetings that they are scheduled to attend in a year and to arrive on time for all Panel meetings. Where panel attendance is consistently problematic for a member, the Panel Chair and AA will discuss this with the member and consider whether they wish to remain on the Central List.

Panel members will be committed to working in line with the Equality Act 2010 and will consider each case on its own merits.

Additional expectations of panel members are set out in Section 7, Meetings of the Panel.

Panel members are expected to keep up to date with developments in fostering and adoption and to avail themselves of training opportunities. The AA will offer advice and support on this. In addition, there will be one training day provided per year, to include panel members and agency social workers.

Panel members will be kept informed about current practice, issues and legislation in relation to adoption and fostering by means of updates from the AA.

In addition to the training day, one panel business day will be arranged per year. It is hoped that panel members will attend both the training and business days, but there is a requirement that they attend at least 50% of these events. Panel members will be consulted on the content and format of the training to ensure that it meets the needs of the Panel. Independent Panel Members will receive 50% of the fee paid for a panel when attending the training and business days (see Appendix 3: Renumeration).

Each Panel member will have a file held by LBWF with details of recruitment, references, full name, date of birth, home address, photograph, proof of identify, and where relevant, qualifications and experience. Any complaints and allegations made against the Panel member including details of any investigation and its outcome will be recorded.

All new Panel members will be expected to observe one Panel prior to full membership.

All new Panel members will be expected to engage in an induction, which will include details of policies, procedures and legislation governing the Panel. This is part of the recruitment process and payment is not provided for this. However, expenses can be claimed (see Section 12, Expenses). The AA will offer support to any panel member requesting this.

Each Panel member is required to attend an annual appraisal, to be held in February/March of each year. This is held between the individual Panel Member, the AA and the Panel Chair. Prior to the Annual appraisal the panel member is required to complete a self-evaluation. The AA and the Panel Chair will prepare a summary of any feedback received in relation to the Panel member and all parties should reflect on the abilities of the individual in relation to the Job Description and Person Specification. Within the appraisal meeting the above topics will be discussed. A written summary of the discussion will be agreed, signed and held on the file of the individual Panel member.


11. Resignations and Terminations

Anyone wishing to resign from the Central List must give one month’s notice to the Agency, in writing.

Where concerns are raised regarding a panel member, this will be discussed between the Panel Chair, AA and the Panel Member at the point that it becomes a concern. It will not be held for discussion at the annual appraisal. The content of the discussion will be noted, actions for improvement and support required will be agreed and this will be held on the Panel Central List file of the individual as well as being shared with the designated manager (Head of Placements and Resources). Where concerns of conduct continue, the matter will be referred to the designated manager, in order that they make a decision with regards to termination of the appointment of the Panel member. The Panel member will have the opportunity to make representation prior to the designated manager considering the appointment, having received written information setting out the concerns. If the designated manager decides to terminate the appointment the Panel member will be given one month’s notice in writing, stating the reasons for the termination of appointment.


12. Expenses

Independent Panel members (with the exclusion of the Panel chair and vice-chairs) can claim for travel to and from the Panel, training and business days. Unless otherwise provided, they can also claim for their lunch time meal up to the amounts in the Council’s Policy for subsistence allowances for staff, where the day covers the lunch time period (see Appendix 3: Renumeration).


13. Representations

The Panel minutes and recommendations relating to any case will be placed on file. Adopters and foster carers do not have the right to see panel minutes; however they will receive the list of the positive factors and risk factors identified by Panel with their letter informing them of the Agency Decision.

Any complaint specifically about the Adoption and Fostering Panel should be directed to the AA or Chair in the first instance to assist resolution. If the matter cannot be resolved at stage one then the usual complaints procedure for the LBWF will be used.

Where an adopter/carer is not in agreement with the decision made regarding their suitability, and/or the Panel’s recommendation, and does not accept the recommendation, the following representation procedure will be followed.

The prospective or existing adopter/foster carers may choose to either make a written representation directly to LBWF or a written application to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) – they cannot do both. Different timescales for representations exist for adoption and fostering. In this instance the prospective or existing adopter/foster carer will be provided with the appropriate information along with their ADM letter giving the decision and reasons.

Where a practitioner is not in agreement with a recommendation made by the Panel and wishes to pursue the matter, he/she should do so directly through their line manager and the AA (who will inform the Chair of the Panel).


14. Annual Report

The AA and The Panel Chair will produce an annual report on the work of the Adoption and Fostering Panel following the end of the financial year.

The report should include:

  • Number of adopters and foster carers approved, ethnicity, gender, age group, family structure, geographical location;
  • Number of children matched for adoption and long term fostering, ethnicity, gender, age group, family structure, geographical location;
  • Number of relinquished children that had an adoption plan considered, ethnicity, gender, age group, family structure, geographical location;
  • Work of the Panel and the Agency;
  • A record of feedback received from children, applicants, fosters carers, adopters and social workers;
  • Strengths and weaknesses of current provision including sufficiency;
  • Quality of work presented to Panel;
  • Specific issues arising for Panel over the past year;
  • Recommendations regarding the operation of Panel and the provision of adoption and fostering services in Waltham Forest.

The annual report will be presented to Panel and the ADMs.

The annual report will be presented to elected Councillors as part of the Annual Adoption and Fostering Service Provider Reports.

The AA and panel chair are also required to provide quarterly reports to the ADMs on the wok of the Panel. These will be produced in July, October, January and April.


15. Review

The function, role, policy, procedure and operation of the Adoption and Fostering Panel will be formally reviewed annually.


Appendix 1: Adoption and Fostering Panel Responsibilities

The Adoption and Fostering Panel will carry out its responsibilities in accordance with:

  • The Children Act 1989;
  • The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000;
  • The Adoption and Children Act 2002;
  • The Children Act 2004;
  • The Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005;
  • The Children and Young Person’s Act 2008;
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010;
  • The Accommodated Children Visiting Arrangements Regulations 2010;
  • The Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010;
  • Family and Friends Care: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities, 2010;
  • The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011;
  • The Arrangements for Placement of Children by Voluntary Organisations and Others (England) Regulations 2011;
  • The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011;
  • Volume 1 (2008), Volume 2 (2010), Volume 3 (2010), and Volume 4 (2011) of the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations;
  • The Family and Friends Care: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities 2011;
  • The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards 2011;
  • The Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013;
  • Statutory Guidance on Adoption for local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and adoption support agencies July 2013;
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013;
  • Statutory Guidance on adoption July 2014;
  • The Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2014;
  • Early permanence placements and approval of prospective adopters as foster carers: Statutory guidance for local authorities and adoption agencies, July 2014;
  • Adoption: national minimum standards, July 2014;
  • The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015;
  • Permanence, long-term foster placements and ceasing to look after a child: Statutory guidance for local authorities, March 2015.

All relevant LBWF Children’s and Families Policies and Procedures alongside Anti-discriminatory and Equal Opportunities Policies.

This list is not exhaustive and will be updated annually to take account of new legislation and guidance issued within the year.


Appendix 2: Panel Checklists

Click here to view Appendix 2: Panel Checklists.


Appendix 3: Remuneration

Independent Panel Members will receive 50% of the fee paid for a panel when attending the training. Whilst the training or business day may be a whole day, this is recognition of the reading time required for panel that is not required for a training or business day and is therefore proportionate to this fee.

The Chair and Vice-Chairs do not receive a fee for panel training and business days, this being accounted for within their fee paid for each panel attendance.

Independent Panel members (with the exclusion of the Panel chair and vice-chairs) can claim for reasonable travel to and from the Panel, training and business days.

This is for use of public transport or mileage and parking. The mileage rate is 45p per mile.

Unless otherwise provided, where the day covers the lunch time period, independent panel members can claim for their lunch time meal up to the amounts in the council’s Policy for subsistence Allowances for staff. (again, this excludes the Panel chair and vice-chairs). The maximum amount that can be claimed for lunch is £6.17.

End