TACT: Care Proceedings Programme

A partnership of Government Departments and agencies has commissioned Children Law UK, part of TACT, to deliver inter-agency training to support reforms to the care proceedings system which are to be introduced next Spring.

The Public Law Outline (PLO), which will replace the current Protocol for managing care cases, and revised statutory guidance to assist local authorities in preparing care applications, are to be introduced from April 2008. Together they aim to reduce unnecessary delay and put the child at the heart of care proceedings by promoting better co-operation between all the parties involved. Training to support the introduction of the PLO and local authority guidance is taking place in England and Wales throughout February and March.

The steering group responsible for overseeing the implementation of the PLO includes representatives from Her Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS), Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF), Welsh Assembly Government, Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru, the Local Government Association, the Legal Services Commission and Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

The training courses will be delivered through 25 inter-disciplinary seminars across England & Wales and is targeted at social workers, local authority legal advisers, legal practitioners, family court staff and Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru staff. The seminars will be delivered by experienced family legal experts and will equip attendees with the necessary skills and knowledge they will require to be able to cascade the training to their peers and colleagues.

Places at the seminars are offered free to representatives of the various agencies involved in child care proceedings and interested individuals are encouraged to register their intererest now. A number of places are also available to book for a fee which will attract CPD accreditation from the Law Society, Bar Council and Institute of Legal Executives. Upon completion delegates will be ready to deliver the training and be provided with the relevant training materials including audio visual presentations.

Bridget Prentice, Minister for Family Justice, said:

“Children and families who become subject to care proceedings are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. The Public Law Outline, together with the revised guidance for local authorities, will help achieve better outcomes for these children. It is important that they have safety and stability in their lives and that decisions as to their future are made fairly and as speedily as possible”.

Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of TACT, of which Children Law UK is part of, said:

“Children Law UK, part of Tact, is delighted to be delivering this training which will emphasise the multi-agency nature of this important work and illustrate the key roles taken by individual practitioners in the lives of children”

Given the vital importance of this training and the likely demand on places it is recommended interested parties register their interest or book their place now. To do this they contact the information and booking line on 0208 695 8112, email plo@tactcare.org.uk or via the website www.tactcare.org.uk.

For more information please contact Children Law UK’s public relations team on 0208 695 8142 or out of office press enquiries to Matt Huggins on 07872818286.

Notes to Editors:

1. Attached to this release are the dates for the training and the course brochure which provides more specific information about the content of the course

2. The implementation of the revised statutory guidance to local authorities preparing care proceedings applications, (The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations, Volume 1 Court Orders) and a revised judicial case management tool (to replace the Protocol for Judicial Case Management in Public Law Children Act Cases) , to be known as the Public Law Outline (PLO), is being undertaken to streamline the course of public law proceedings through the family justice system.

3. Children Law UK, part of TACT, brings together professionals and policy makers who work in the legal field with the aim of ensuring that children, young people and their families involved in legal proceedings receive the very best outcome

4. In August 2007 Children Law UK merged with TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust), the largest fostering adoption charity in the country

5. TACT is a registered charity (number 1018963)

6. Kevin Williams was appointed as Chief Executive of TACT in 2001 and has an MA in Social Work. He is also a Trustee for the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and on the Board of Research in Practice.