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Inter-agency Fee

The setting of a standard Inter-agency fee for adoption placements in Scotland

An interagency fee can be charged when adopters approved by one adoption agency are matched with a child in the care of another.  Following consultation, the Scottish government has agreed to endorse the use of a standard fee structure for these inter-agency placements.

Introducing a standard fee structure will:

  • Ensure that matching decisions are based on the needs of the child without reference to the different costs that would be incurred by placement with different agencies

  • Help to maximise the number of adopters being approved across Scotland, providing the financial security to allow agencies to recruit beyond their immediate needs

  • Maximise opportunities for agencies to use the Adoption Register to find placements for children as quickly as possible, where a match is not immediately available from local resources

Three questions relating to setting a standard inter-agency fee were added on to the public consultation on Scotland’s Adoption Regulations 2016. (Questions and responses available in the Consultation Analysis document). The main findings were:

  • A large proportion of respondents agreed that a standard inter-agency fee should be paid by the child’s adoption agency to the adopter’s adoption agency

  • There was a 50/50 split in those who wish the fee to be based on the same interagency fee structure in England and those who would like further research and consultation taken to produce a Scottish fee

  • A large proportion of respondents agreed that the adoption of a standard interagency fee structure should be endorsed by Scottish Ministers.

The Scottish Government has decided to endorse the fee structure which is used in England. The table which details the fee structure is provided  below.

For 1 Child

Full Fee £27,000

For 2 Children

Full Fee £43,000

For 3 Children

Full Fee £60,000

For 4 Children

Full Fee £68,000

For 5 Children

Full Fee £80,000


In coming to the decision to use this particular fee structure, the following was taken into account:

  • The English fee structure is current and has been well researched (conducted by Julie Selwyn for the Department for Education in 2009)

  • While, the context for the adoption process in Scotland is different to that in England, it appears likely that the costs of recruiting and assessing prospective adopters would be broadly similar either side of the Border

  • Research and consultation on a Scottish inter-agency fee would lead to significant delay and cost.

As is the case in England, the fee structure will not be contained within legislation at this time however this may be subject to review at a later date. The fees are payable between adoption agencies and will not be regulated by Scotland’s Adoption Register. 

We would however strongly encourage adoption agencies to use this fee structure.  By covering the costs of recruiting prospective adopters, this will ensure that adoption agencies can continue to invest in recruiting adopters even if they are matched with children from outwith their local area.  In addition to ensuring that the best interests of the child is at the forefront of any potential match, this will also help to maximise the opportunities for children across Scotland who require adoptive placements.   


Adoption is a legal process which replaces a child's birth parents with new adoptive parents.

Children who are adopted will almost always have been looked after by a local authority, except in cases where a step-parent adopts the child of their partner, or the adopted child comes from a country outside of the United Kingdom (an intercountry adoption). The local authority will have made a decision that adoption was in the best interests of the child, providing them with a safe, secure and stable home in which to grow up.

All adoptions in Scotland are carried out under the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

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