This guidance replaces the Children Act Guidance and Regulations 1991 and comes into effect from 1 April 2008.
Volume 1 is issued as guidance under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, which requires local authorities, in exercising their social services functions, to act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State. The guidance should be complied with by local authorities when exercising these functions, unless local circumstances indicate exceptional reasons that justify a variation.
Volume 1 also provides a complete account of the range of court orders that are provided for by the Act, including those that are predominantly used in private law proceedings, where local authorities are less often involved. The guidance also describes the key principles underpinning the Act and the roles of the police and of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) in relation to the Act.
The guidance features a number of key changes that will have implications for local authorities: