2 Relevant Local Authority
A 'relevant local authority' is defined as the authority where the child generally lives. If the child does not actually live most of the time within a particular local authority area, then the relevant local authority will be the one which the child has the closest connection with. This will not include a local authority where the child happens to be placed in residential establishment within that area. (s 201)
Panel members will have to be clear about which authority is the relevant authority as they will need to name an implementation authority when making a decision about a compulsory supervision order. In most situations this will be very apparent i.e. where the child normally lives with their family. If the child was placed out in a residential establishment away from their own local authority area, this new authority would not be the relevant local authority. The real issues arise in situations where it cannot be determined which local authority the child has the closest connection with i.e. where the child and their family frequently change homes from one local authority area to another or have no fixed abode and are moving between local authorities laying down no firm roots. Panel members in these circumstances must make a decision and name the implementation authority based on the representations made at the children's hearing and the discussion which takes place.
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