The Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009: Scottish Government Response to Consultation

Consultation report on the Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations

Regulation 3 - Appointment and composition of adoption panels

Question 1: Is a minimum of 6 members (which reflects the current minimum in the 1996 Regulations) reasonable?

The majority of responses agreed with a minimum of 6 members. Two responses remarked on the removal of the gender requirement (Regulation 7(4) of the 1996 Regulations specify 6 as the minimum and should include at least one man and one woman). Two responses suggested that panels should be called 'Adoption and Permanence panels' and one respondent felt that this regulation should be amended to reflect the fact that not all adoption agencies are required to have a panel.

Scottish Government response/action

The matter of gender balance is best dealt with in guidance rather than making it a requirement as this could present practical difficulties if there was a dearth of one gender or the other. The title of the panel reflects the functions it will exercise in accordance with these Regulations. However, we appreciate that some local authorities call their panels 'Adoption and Permanence Panels' as parents find this more acceptable on occasions when dealing with, for example, permanent fostering rather than adoption. There is no reason why this practice should not continue and this will be reflected in guidance. All local authorities are required to appoint an adoption panel but the regulation has been amended to make clear that only registered adoption services which are either carrying out or are proposing to carry out the functions conferred by these Regulations require to appoint a panel.

Question 2: Do you agree with the provisions in Regulation 3 regarding agencies having to be satisfied as to the qualifications for panel membership?

The majority of the responses agreed with the provisions in this Regulation.

Scottish Government response/action

No action required.

Question 3: Should Regulation 3 place a duty on agencies to review the membership of the panel on a regular basis?

All but two of the fifteen responses agreed that membership should be reviewed but there was no consensus as to how often this should be done. Five respondents felt that there should be no timescale; four suggested three-yearly reviews; one suggested a two-yearly review; one suggested that panel members should serve for either three, five or ten year periods and two felt that the matter should be covered in guidance.

Scottish Government response/action

Regulation 3 has been adjusted to include a requirement to review membership "from time to time" thereby leaving the frequency of reviews at the discretion of each adoption agency.

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