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3.9.13 Arrangements for Children's Guardians to attend meetings of the Adoption Panel

1. Where a Children's Guardian has been appointed for a child in current court proceedings, and the Adoption Panel is to be asked to recommend whether the child should be placed for adoption, the Child's Permanence Report will include an account of the Children's Guardian's view of the proposal to place the child for adoption and associated matters e.g. proposed contact arrangements;
2. If the Guardian has not yet formed a view, the Child's Permanence Report will indicate this;
3. In addition, the Children's Guardian, will be invited:
  • To make his/her views known to the Adoption Panel in writing; or
  • To attend that part of the Adoption Panel meeting at which the Panel is considering its recommendation whether the child should be placed for adoption.
4. The Guardian will not be invited to attend a meeting or part of a meeting at which the matching of the child with particular prospective adopters is being considered.
5. The Chair of the Panel will make clear to members at the start of the agenda item the purpose and limits of the Guardian's role in the meeting and that s/he is not there to play any part in reaching the recommendation.
6. The purpose of the Guardian's attendance is to provide the Adoption Panel with information about the Guardian's view of the planning for the child and any other factual information known to the Guardian which would assist the Panel's deliberations, such as recently emerged information which has not been included in the Child's Permanence Report and may not be known to the child's social worker.
7. While the Children's Guardian will be available to supply information and answer appropriate questions, s/he will not participate in the adoption panel's conclusions, recommendation or advice
8. If the Children's Guardian is concerned that the Panel is moving towards a recommendation based on a misunderstanding or ignorance of relevant facts, s/he should voice his/her concerns.
9. The Children's Guardian's overall intervention should be constructive and co-operative in order to promote the child's best interests.
10. The Children's Guardian may be asked for his/her opinion on specific or general issues in relation to a child during the meeting. Care must be taken by the Guardian in giving any opinion that could influence decisions taken by other participants in the meeting. If an opinion is given, it needs to be qualified by a statement that an opinion has been formed on the basis of information available up to that time, and may be altered by information revealed by further investigation.
11. The Children's Guardian has no brief to monitor the operation of the panel or to scrutinise the performance of panel members.
12. If, exceptionally, on a particular occasion, the Chair of the Panel feels that the effective operation of the Panel is being inhibited by the presence of non-members, the Guardian may be asked to leave the meeting after having been given the opportunity of contributing his or her views and information.