Quality statement 6: Continuity of services for placements outside the local authority or health boundary

Quality statement

Looked-after children and young people who move across local authority or health boundaries continue to receive the services they need.

Rationale

Looked-after children and young people should not be disadvantaged when they move across local authority or health boundaries and should continue to receive the services they need. Good transition planning enables transfer of relevant information and continuity of services. Looked-after children and young people also value continued contact with the same professionals when they move areas.

Quality measure

Structure:

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure the placing authority shares relevant information before a child or young person is placed across a local authority or health boundary.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that an assessment of health needs has been carried out before a child or young person is placed across a local authority or health boundary.

c) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure there is agreement between placing and receiving teams about schooling and healthcare arrangements before a child or young person is placed across a local authority or health boundary.

d) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that looked-after children and young people have continued contact with key professionals when they are placed across a local authority or health boundary.

Process:

a) Proportion of looked-after children and young people placed across a local authority or health boundary for whom relevant information was shared before the placement took place.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator for whom all relevant information was shared before the placement took place.

Denominator – the number of looked-after children and young people placed across a local authority or health boundary.

b) Proportion of looked-after children and young people for whom an assessment of health needs was carried out before they were placed across a local authority or health boundary.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who received an assessment of health needs before they were placed across a local authority or health boundary.

Denominator – the number of looked-after children and young people placed across a local authority or health boundary.

Outcome:

a) Feedback from looked-after children and young people that they remain in contact with key professionals when they move across a local authority or health boundary.

b) Carer satisfaction with the arrangements made for children and young people placed with them from a different area.

What the quality statement means for each audience

Looked-after children and young people continue to receive services they need and remain in contact with key professionals if they are moved across local authority or health boundaries.

Carers of looked-after children and young people are supported to meet the needs of the child or young person through looked-after children and young people having continued access to services they need and continued contact with key professionals if they move across local authority or health boundaries.

Local authorities and other commissioning services ensure they commission services with local arrangements for necessary services to be in place, for relevant information to be transferred, and for continued contact with key professionals before looked-after children and young people are moved across local authority or health boundaries.

Organisations providing care ensure there are local arrangements for necessary services to be in place, for relevant information to be transferred and for continued contact with key professionals before looked-after children and young people are moved across local authority or health boundaries.

Social care, education and healthcare staff ensure all relevant information for looked-after children and young people is transferred before they move across local authority or health boundaries, and that contact is maintained with key professionals.

Source guidance

NICE public health guidance 28/SCIE guide 40 recommendations 3, 12, 20 and 43.

Data source

Structure: a) Local data collection. Data collected through the Children looked after return (SSDA903) and reported in the Department for Education Statistical first release: outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England includes information on the percentage of looked-after children placed outside the local authority boundary and more than 20 miles from where they used to live.

b), c) and d) Local data collection.

Process: a) and b) Local data collection. Providers may consider using the NMHDU/NCSS self-assessment tool (data systems adapted to produce specific transition reports, including monitoring outcomes for all young people with ongoing needs at the point of transition).

Outcome: a) and b) Local data collection.

Definitions

Carers

Carers include foster carers (including family and friends carers), residential carers and supported lodging providers.

Placements outside the local authority or health boundary

Placements outside the local authority or health boundary are when a child or young person moves to a new home outside the geographical boundaries of the local authority that looks after them, or the health boundary, and they use the services (for example, education, health, leisure or housing) of the local authority area they have moved into.

Relevant information

The placing authority should inform the relevant health organisations in both the placing and receiving local authority and transfer multiagency information to the receiving authority before a child or young person is placed across a local authority or health boundary.

Equality and diversity considerations

Continuity of services should take account of the diverse needs of looked-after children and young people, including (but not limited to):

  • babies and young children

  • children and young people with special educational needs

  • children and young people with learning or physical disabilities

  • children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties

  • children and young people with a hearing or visual impairment

  • unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people.

Context for this quality statement

This section signposts practitioners to regulations, statutory guidance and national minimum standards for looked-after children and young people that are of particular relevance to the NICE quality statement and its associated measures. As the legislative framework in relation to looked-after children and care leavers is complex and cross-cutting, this should not be viewed as an exhaustive list.