Councils could use controversial new powers allowing them to be exempted from children’s social care legislation in order to streamline checks on potential foster carers, the Department for Education has suggested.

A briefing note on proposed legislation contained in the Children and Social Work Bill, which is due to be discussed in the House of Lords today (18 October), outlines details of areas where the “power to innovate” could “potentially be used”.

It states that councils involved in the Partners in Practice programme, local authorities deemed to be performing at an exceptional level that other councils can learn from, are interested in testing flexibilities around the approval and review requirements for foster carers.

“The timescales and processes for considering, approving and reviewing foster care placements are set out in detail in various pieces of legislation including the Children Act 1989 and the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011,” the briefing note states.

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