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Kara Swift
Kara Swift
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Charities warn against reducing local authorities' duties

Date:3 MAY 2011

Local GovernmentCharities and organisations working with children in care have raised concerns about a government review of all statutory duties placed on local government in England. The charities are opposing any changes that might affect the newly introduced framework for fostering services and regulations on care planning, placement and review.

The review has so far identified 1,294 duties on local authorities, mostly arising from legislation, and is consulting on which must be kept and which repealed.

The fostering standards and regulations came into force on 1 April and provide a framework for the inspection of fostering services and work in conjunction with new statutory guidance for fostering services.

However the campaigners who lobbied extensively for the new framework are now concerned that it won't be given a chance to succeed before being repealed. The chief executive of the Fostering Network, Robert Tapsfield, said: "The new regulations and statutory guidance on fostering have just come into effect after extensive consultation by the department for education with all stakeholders. They must be given time to settle in.

"Wider duties in policy areas such as housing or asylum also affect children in care and the impact of any proposed changes on looked-after children should be carefully considered before any changes are made. Our emphasis is on protecting and promoting the rights and wellbeing of children in care."