Designation of local authorities for the purposes of care and supervision orders
Produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers
Designation of local authorities for the purposes of care and supervision orders

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Ruth Cabeza of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Designation of local authorities for the purposes of care and supervision orders
  • General principles
  • Interim and final orders
  • Two tests—supervision vs care orders
  • Designation for supervision orders
  • Designation for care orders
  • Determining where a child is ordinarily resident for the purposes of ChA 1989, s 31(8)
  • The meaning of 'ordinarily resident'
  • A v A—a change of approach?
  • Designations under ChA 1989, s 31(8)(b)
  • more

This Practice Note aims to provide guidance on the often controversial issue of local authority designation for the purposes of section 31 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). In particular, it will focus on:

  1. the different statutory tests for designation under either care or supervision orders

  2. with regard to a care order, the impact (if any) of Re A v A and Another (Children: Habitual Residence) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre and Others Intervening) on the concept of ‘ordinary residence’

  3. the ‘stop clock’ provisions contained in ChA 1989, s 105(6) and the impact of the changes to ChA 1989, s 22 brought in by the Children and Families Act 2008, with regard to the definition of a looked after child

General principles

The Family Court cannot make a care order or a supervision order in the abstract. These orders must identify the local authority which is tasked with the responsibility of either caring for, or supervising, the subject child. The order must designate the responsible authority. On being designated, the local authority with responsibility for the child under a care or supervision order acquires statutory obligations to the child. Those obligations carry with them resource implications and it is therefore unsurprising that local authorities are anxious to avoid being designated improperly.

Equally, it is a question of potentially great significance