ALC Seeks Revision Of Children Act Guidance

The Association of Lawyers for Children has serious concerns over the revised Children Act Guidance and Regulations that are intended to run alongside the forthcoming Public Law Outline.

In a response published on their website, and following on from their response to the outline itself, they have highlighted several points of concern which if “not quickly remedied they will have a significantly limiting effect on the extent to which the PLO is able to achieve the early definition of issues and the early identification of evidence so crucial to its operation and, vitally, to its procedural fairness.”

Specifically they claim that

“(a) The revised Guidance lacks specificity……. Those elements of the Guidance concerning pre-proceedings work under Part IV, and which are most relevant to social work professionals in day-today practice are incorporated within a wealth of information not immediately relevant to such work. This significantly militates against ease of use by busy practitioners requiring ready reference to principles of direct application to work ‘on the ground’.
(b) The revised Guidance lacks clarity….. As currently drafted, the elements of pre-proceedings guidance that are contained in the Guidance are interspersed amongst dense passages of typescript. Given the importance of the pre-proceedings process, it is difficult to understand why the key elements of that process are not articulated with far greater clarity (for example, by way of a summary or flow chart) to assist practitioners who are required to apply those core tents of practice.
(c) The revised Guidance is incomplete…… The revised Guidance in its current form omits many key principles required for, and core elements of, pre-proceedings best practice. The overall result is an incomplete guide to the practice required for effective pre-proceedings assessment and planning under Part III or, where proceedings are necessary, for proper preparation of those proceedings.
(d) The revised guidance does not currently dovetail accurately with the Public Law Outlined at the point at which Part III and Part IV of the 1989 Act”

The full text of their response can be found on their website by following this link –