The Representations Procedure (Children) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

Link to law: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/1996/451/made/data.htm?wrap=true
Published: 1996-09-25

Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
1996 No. 451

CHILDREN
The Representations Procedure (Children) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

Made
25th September 1996

Coming into operation
4th November 1996

The Department of Health and Social Services, in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Articles 37(2), 45(5) and (6), 75(4) and (5), 105(1) and (2)(l) of, and paragraph 6(2) of Schedule 5 to, the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995(1) and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, hereby makes the following Regulations:

Part IIntroductory

Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Representations Procedure (Children) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 and shall come into operation on 4th November 1996.

(2) In these Regulations—

“the Order” means the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995;

“complainant” means a person qualifying for advice and assistance about the discharge of an authority’s functions under Part IV of the Order in relation to him, or a person specified in Article 45(3)(a) to (e) of the Order making any representations;

“independent person” means in relation to representations made to, or treated as being made to, an authority, a person who is neither a member nor a director nor an officer of that authority, nor the spouse of any such person;

“panel” means a panel of 3 persons;

“representations” means representations referred to in Article 37(1) or 45(3) of the Order.

(3) Any notice required under these Regulations is to be given in writing and may be sent by ordinary post.

Part IIRepresentations and their Consideration

Authority action

2.—(1) An authority shall appoint one of its officers to assist it in the co-ordination of all aspects of its consideration of representations.

(2) An authority shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that everyone involved in the handling of representations, including independent persons, is familiar with the procedure set out in these Regulations.

Preliminaries

3.—(1) Where an authority receives representations from any complainant, except from a person to whom Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply, the authority shall send to the complainant an explanation of the procedure set out in these Regulations, and offer assistance and guidance on the use of the procedure, or give advice on where he may obtain it.

(2) Where oral representations are made, an authority shall forthwith cause them to be recorded in writing, and sent to the complainant, who shall be given the opportunity to comment on the accuracy of the record.

(3) An authority shall consider any comments made by the complainant under paragraph (2) and shall make any amendments to the record which it considers to be necessary.

(4) For the purposes of the following provisions of these Regulations, the written record referred to in paragraph (2), as amended where appropriate in accordance with paragraph (3), shall be deemed to be the representations.

(5) Where an authority receives representations from a person to whom it considers Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply, the authority shall—

(a)forthwith consider whether the person has a sufficient interest in the child’s welfare to warrant his representations being considered by the authority;

(b)if the authority considers that he has a sufficient interest, cause the representations to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations, and send to the complainant an explanation of the procedure set out in the Regulations, and offer assistance and guidance on the use of the procedure, or give advice on where he may obtain it;

(c)if the authority considers that he has not got a sufficient interest it shall notify him accordingly, and inform him that no further action will be taken;

(d)if the authority considers it appropriate to do so having regard to his understanding, it shall notify the child of the result of its consideration.

(6) Where paragraph (5)(b) applies, the date at which the authority concludes that the person has a sufficient interest shall be treated for the purposes of these Regulations as the date of receipt of the representations.

Appointment of independent person

4.  Where an authority receives representations under regulation 3, it shall appoint an independent person to take part in the consideration of them, unless regulation 3(5)(c) applies.

Consideration by authority with independent person

5.—(1) An authority shall consider the representations with the independent person and formulate a response within 28 days of their receipt.

(2) The independent person shall take part in any discussions which are held by the authority about the action, if any, to be taken in relation to the child in the light of the consideration of the representations.

Withdrawal of representations

6.  The representations may be withdrawn at any stage by the person making them.

Notification to complainant and reference to panel

7.—(1) An authority shall give notice within the period specified in regulation 5 to—

(a)the complainant;

(b)if different, the person on whose behalf the representations were made, unless the authority considers that he is not of sufficient understanding or it would be likely to cause serious harm to his health or emotional condition;

(c)the independent person;

(d)any other person whom the authority considers has sufficient interest in the case,

of the proposed result of the authority’s consideration of the representations and the complainant’s right to have the matter referred to a panel under paragraph (2).

(2) If the complainant informs the authority in writing within 28 days of the date on which notice is given under paragraph (1) that he is dissatisfied with the proposed result and wishes the matter to be referred to a panel for consideration of the representations, a panel shall be appointed by the authority for that purpose.

(3) The panel shall include at least one independent person.

(4) The panel shall meet within 28 days of the receipt by the authority of the complainant’s request that the matter be referred to a panel.

(5) At that meeting the panel shall consider—

(a)any oral or written submissions that the complainant or the authority wish to make; and

(b)if the independent person appointed under regulation 4 is different from the independent person on the panel, any oral or written submissions which the independent person appointed under regulation 4 wishes to make.

(6) If the complainant wishes to attend the meeting of the panel he may be accompanied throughout the meeting by another person of his choice, and may nominate that other person to speak on his behalf.

Recommendations

8.—(1) When a panel meets in accordance with regulation 7, it shall decide on its recommendations and record these with its reasons in writing within 24 hours of the end of the meeting.

(2) The panel shall give notice of its recommendations to—

(a)the authority;

(b)the complainant;

(c)the independent person appointed under regulation 4, if different from the independent person on the panel;

(d)any other person whom the authority considers has sufficient interest in the case.

(3) The authority shall, together with the independent person appointed to the panel under regulation 7(3), consider what action, if any, should be taken in relation to the child in the light of the representation, and that independent person shall take part in any discussions about any such action.

Part IIIReview of Procedure

Monitoring of operation of procedure

9.—(1) Each authority shall monitor the arrangements that it has made with a view to ensuring that they comply with the Regulations by keeping a record of each representation received, the outcome of each representation, and whether there was compliance with the time limits specified in regulations 5(1), 7(4) and 8(1).

(2) For purposes of such monitoring, each authority shall, at least once in every period of 12 months, compile a report on the operation in that period of the procedure set out in these Regulations.

(3) The first report referred to in paragraph (2) shall be compiled within 12 months of the date of coming into operation of these Regulations.

Part IVApplication of the Regulations to Voluntary Organisations and Registered Children’s Homes and in Special Cases

Application to voluntary organisations and registered children’s homes

10.—(1) The provisions of Parts I to III shall apply where accommodation is provided for a child by a voluntary organisation, and he is not looked after by an authority, as if—

(a)for references to “authority” there were substituted references to “voluntary organisation”;

(b)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “complainant” there were substituted—

““complainant” means—

(a)
any child who is being provided with accommodation by a voluntary organisation;

(b)
a parent of his;

(c)
any person who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him;

(d)
such other person as the voluntary organisation considers has a sufficient interest in the child’s welfare to warrant his representations being considered by them;”;

(c)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “independent person” there were substituted—

““independent person” means in relation to representations made to, or treated as being made to, a voluntary organisation, a person who is not an officer of that voluntary organisation nor a person engaged in any way in furthering its objects, nor the spouse of any such person;”;

(d)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “representations” there were substituted—

““representations” means representations referred to in Article 75(4) of the Order about the discharge by the voluntary organisation of any of the organisation’s functions relating to Article 76 of the Order and any Regulations made under Article 75(4) of the Order in relation to the child.”; and

(e)for the reference in regulation 3(1) and (5) to a person to whom Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply or to whom the authority considers Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply, there was substituted a reference to a person who may fall within sub-paragraph (d) in the definition of “complainant” in these Regulations.

(2) The provisions of Parts I to III shall apply where accommodation is provided for a child in a registered children’s home, but where the child is neither looked after by an authority nor accommodated on behalf of a voluntary organisation, as if—

(a)for references to “authority” there were substituted references to “the person carrying on the home”;

(b)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “complainant” there were substituted—

““complainant” means—

(a)
any child who is being provided with accommodation in a registered children’s home;

(b)
a parent of his;

(c)
any person who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him;

(d)
such other person as the person carrying on the home considers has a sufficient interest in the child’s welfare to warrant his representations being considered by them;”;

(c)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “independent person” there were substituted—

““independent person” means in relation to representations made to a person carrying on a registered children’s home, a person who is neither involved in the management or operation of that home nor financially interested in its operation, nor the spouse of any such person;”;

(d)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “representations” there were substituted—

““representations” means any representations (including any complaint) made in relation to the person carrying on the registered children’s home by a complainant about the discharge of his functions relating to Article 92 of the Order.”; and

(e)for the reference in regulation 3(1) and (5) to a person to whom Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply or to whom the authority considers Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply, there was substituted a reference to a person who may fall within sub-paragraph (d) in the definition of “complainant” in these Regulations.

Exceptions to application of Regulations

11.  These Regulations shall not apply to representations made by a child or a person in respect of a child who is being provided with accommodation, otherwise than by an authority or voluntary organisation, in a school (as defined in Article 2(2) of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986(2)).

Special cases including application to representations by foster parents

12.—(1) Where representations would fall to be considered by more than one authority, they shall be considered by the authority which is looking after the child or by the authority within whose area the child is ordinarily resident where no authority has that responsibility.

(2) The provisions of Parts I to III and regulation 12(1), shall apply to the consideration by an authority of any representations (including any complaint) made to the authority by any person exempted or seeking to be exempted under paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 to the Order (foster parents: limits on numbers of foster children) about the discharge of the authority’s functions under that paragraph, as if—

(a)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “complainant” there were substituted—

““complainant” means a person exempted or seeking to be exempted under paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 to the Order making any representations;”;

(b)for the definition in regulation 1(2) of “representations” there were substituted—

““representations” means representations referred to in paragraph 6 of Schedule 5 to the Order.”;

(c)in regulation 3(1) the words “except from a person to whom Article 45(3)(e) of the Order may apply,” were omitted; and

(d)regulation 3(5) and (6) were omitted.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Health and Social Services on 25th September 1996.

L.S.
P. A. Conliffe
Assistant Secretary

Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations.)

These Regulations establish a procedure for considering representations (including complaints) made to an authority about the discharge by the authority of any of its functions—
(a)under Part IV of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (“the Order”) in relation to a child looked after by it or in need;
(b)where Article 37(1) of the Order applies (representations concerning advice and assistance for certain children aged 18 to 21);
(c)under paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 to the Order (foster parents: limits on number of foster children) in relation to exemption from the usual fostering limit.
The Regulations apply, with modifications, the procedure for considering representations (including complaints) to voluntary organisations and persons carrying on registered children’s homes.
The Regulations make provision to include consideration of representations by an independent person and for reference of representations to a panel which is to make recommendations to the authority, organisation or person carrying on the home.
The Regulations also make provision for a record to be kept of all representations received and their outcome in order to monitor the operation of the procedure and for a report on the operation of the procedure to be prepared every 12 months.
Articles 37(2), 45(5) and (6), 75(4) and (5), 105(1) and (2)(l) of, and paragraph 6(2) of Schedule 5 to, the Order are the enabling provisions under which these Regulations are made. They were brought into operation on 18th July 1996 by virtue of Article 2(1) of, and Schedule 1 to, the Children (1995 Order) (Commencement No. 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 1996 (S.R. 1996 No. 297 (C. 17)).


(1)
S.I. 1995/755 (N.I. 2)

(2)
S.I. 1986/594 (N.I. 3)
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