Statutory guidance on Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers under section 63 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to provide corporate parents with information and advice.

Section 57: Application of Part 9

53. Section 57 describes the population of children and young people to which Part 9 (corporate parenting) applies. The Act states that:

(1) This Part applies to-

(a) every child who is looked after by a local authority, and

(b) every young person who-

(i) is under the age of 26, and

(ii) was (on the person's 16th birthday or at any subsequent time) but is no longer looked after by a local authority.

54. Provision 1(a) means that a corporate parent's duties apply equally to all looked after children, regardless of their age, gender, location or placement type. Provision 1(b) means that a corporate parent's duties apply equally to all care leavers, up until their 26th birthday. (For further details about the definition of a looked after child and care leaver, please see the pages 5 and 6 above.)

55. The Act goes on to state that:

(2) This Part also applies to a young person who-

(a) is at least the age of 16 but under the age of 26, and

(b) is not of the description in subsection (1)(b)(ii) but is of such other description of person formerly but no longer looked after by a local authority as the Scottish Ministers may specify by order.

56. Under this provision Scottish Ministers have the power to extend the population to which Part 9 (corporate parenting) applies, by means of a Ministerial Order (secondary legislation). Any extension of the eligible population must be approved by the Scottish Parliament, and corporate parents will have an opportunity to share their views on the proposals.

Application of Part 9: individuals or whole population

57. All corporate parents should be clear that the duties set out in Part 9 (in particular section 58 (Corporate Parenting Responsibilities)) apply to individual eligible children and young people. In so far as it is consistent with the exercise of their other functions, every corporate parent should view their duties in relation to the specific needs of individual looked after children and care leavers. Part 9 sits firmly within the national Getting it Right for Every Child approach, which puts the needs of individual children at the centre of all decision making. [9]

58. The practical implications of this will differ significantly between corporate parents, in view of whether they provide services and support to children and young people, and their ability to identify individual eligible children amongst service users. For some corporate parents, such as those who do not provide any services or support, it may be appropriate to interpret the Part 9 duties in respect of the 'collective' population of looked after children and care leavers. For others, such as local authorities and health boards, existing duties (around assessment, care planning and collaboration) demand a constant focus on individual need; these organisations should already have a clear view of the needs of individual eligible children and young people (as well as systems in place to assess new eligible children), and be taking such actions as they consider necessary to safeguard and promote those individual's wellbeing.

59. The situation is perhaps most complex for corporate parents who provide services and support, but who are not able to identify (without notification from a local authority or self-declaration by service users) eligible individuals. In such cases it is accepted that the Part 9 duties will be implemented for individuals where the corporate parent is aware of their eligibility. Continued efforts should be made, however, to improve systems for identifying looked after children and care leavers among service users; proper use of the duty to collaborate (section 60) and other relevant legislation (such as Part 4 (Named Person Service) and Part 5 (Child's Plan) should facilitate this process.

Children and young people placed (or who move) away from home area

60. Part 9 does not make a distinction between corporate parents with a national or local focus. An organisation's corporate parenting duties apply equally to all eligible children and young people, regardless of where the child or young person lives, or who they are formally looked after / provided with aftercare support by. However, as acknowledged in the preceding chapter, it is likely that corporate parents whose functions are restricted to a specific administrative area will concentrate their efforts on those children and young people for whom they are responsible (under other legislative provisions).

61. In this context, it is recommended that where looked after children and young people have been placed into an area by another local authority, or a care leaver moves to a new area of their own volition, the placing / home local authority should remain the child / young person's corporate parent. This is consistent with the principles and rules set out in Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and the Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Regulations 2003. [10] In contrast, when a looked after child is placed, or a care leaver moves into, a new area, the territorial health board for that area becomes the child / young person's corporate parent. This is consistent with guidance set out in Chief Executive Letter 03: Establishing the Responsible Commissioner (2013).

62. Where relevant, corporate parenting plans and reports should make explicit reference to how corporate parenting duties are being fulfilled for children placed outside of administrative boundaries, and for care leavers who have moved away.

Children placed with third sector or private care providers

63. Where a looked after child is placed with a third sector or private care provider ( i.e. a residential care and / or education establishment) the placing local authority and the home health board remain the child's corporate parents. Day‑to-day responsibility for safeguarding and promoting a child's wellbeing may be delegated to the independent care provider but, without exception, the child's corporate parents remain accountable for the fulfilment of the duties and functions set out in Part 9.

Transitions out of care

64. Children who cease to be 'looked after' by a local authority (and who do not qualify as 'care leavers') are no longer covered by Part 9 of the Act. However the Act as a whole is focused on securing and promoting the wellbeing of all children. A child who is ceasing to be looked after should not experience a sudden removal of support or opportunities, but rather a transition to alternative interventions (as set out in their Child's Plan). Where relevant, corporate parents should consider their duties to children and young people under other Parts of the Act (and other legislation) when assessing how to support a child or young person who has recently ceased to be looked after. The involvement of corporate parents, families, mentors and other trusted adults will be important to securing positive transitions out of care for children.

65. Similarly, while the corporate parenting duties set out in Part 9 of the Act come to an end at a young person's 26th birthday, corporate parents are encouraged to keep the needs and rights of the young person at the centre of their decision making, and plan the transition away from support and services in cooperation with the young person and any other appropriate persons or services.


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