Accountability and Delegation


In July 2020, this chapter was reviewed and amended where required.

1. Application and Scope

This document sets out the authority required to undertake a range of key case management decisions. In each case the posts designated represent the minimum level at which the decision can be taken.

Its purpose is to provide for consistency in the level and authority at which key case management decisions are taken throughout the Service. Although directed principally to Child Protection and Child In Need casework in the Children in Social Work Teams, Children in Care, Leaving Care teams and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, this procedure is also of relevance to other parts of Integrated Children's Service.

This scheme of delegation is confined to operational decisions and not financial and personal decisions. It represents the normal arrangements for making decisions. In some exceptional situations, decisions may need to escalate to a more senior level.

This document should be brought to the attention of all managers and supervisors during their induction and reference made to it in their Good Communication Tool.

2. Principles of Accountability and Delegations

Two principles should be considered in the exercise of the delegations set out below:

  • Children and young people should always be consulted (dependent on age and understanding) about decisions affecting their lives and their views recorded;
  • It is always best practice to consult with parents or those with parental responsibility of decisions being taken about their children. In particular it should be noted that parental rights and responsibilities remain for children and young people who are accommodated under Section 20.

3. Framework of Accountability

The Directors of Specialist Children's Services Integrated Children's Service are accountable for both the performance and quality of all practice and service delivery across the County.

Assistant Directors are accountable within their designated area for the performance and quality of all practice and service delivery.

Service Managers are responsible for both performance and quality within their area.

Team Managers and Early Help Unit leads are responsible for the day to day performance and practice within their team.

Senior Managers are expected to have systems in place that include supervision and audits to inform of the quality of performance and practice within Areas, Districts and Teams.

4. Consultation and Recording

Although the following records the decisions that must be undertaken and who is accountable for those decisions, we also need to consult with parents including those who have parental responsibility and children and young people unless there is a very good reason why this cannot occur. In exceptional cases when the parent has not been consulted, reasons should be recorded on the child's records.

All decisions set out in this procedure when taken with respect of a child or young person must be recorded on Liberi or EHM together with a concise statement explaining or accounting for the decision.

The decision recorded on Liberi should be in the case note section with the heading 'Decision Taken' by the named manager or unit lead and identify:

  • What is the decision;
  • Why is the decision being taken;
  • Who made the decision;
  • When the decision was made.

The case record should be clear for all Social Care staff, relevant external professionals such as Inspectors and particularly for the young person or parent who may read it.

5. Decision Makers in Relation to Adoption

The relevant Assistant Director is authorised to make the decision whether a child should be placed for adoption. In addition (s)he will decide whether or not to ratify the recommendation of the Adoption Panels in relation to:

  • Whether a child should be placed for adoption (in relevant cases i.e. where the matter is not before the court);
  • Whether individuals should be approved as adoptive carers;
  • Whether approved adoptive carers should be matched with a child;
  • Annual review (where child not placed);
  • Re-consideration of approval (if child is in placement).

6. Decision Makers in Relation to Fostering

The Head of Fostering Managers are responsible for the approval of new foster carers and the Service Managers for Children in Care will have the responsibility for the panels which deal with all other Fostering Panel activity. 

The Assistant Director is authorised to decide whether or not to give temporary approval to connected persons as foster carers under Regulation 24 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.