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1.2.7 Supervision Orders in Care Proceedings


This chapter was updated in February 2018 to reflect the replacement of Child and Family Progress Plans and Reviews with Child and Family Progress Plans and Meetings. Section 8, Management of Supervision Orders and Section 9, Extending a Supervision Order of this chapter has been significantly revised accordingly.


  1. Policy Statement
  2. Policy Status
  3. Key Points
  4. Duration of Orders
  5. Directions available within Supervision Orders (at the direction of the court)
  6. Children’s Rights
  7. Standards
  8. Management of Supervision Orders
  9. Extending a Supervision Order
  10. Supervision Order Procedure

1. Policy Statement

Children’s Social Care policy is to utilise appropriate measures under the Children Act 1989 to protect children who are suffering, or likely to suffer from Significant Harm. Thus for a child to be the subject of a Supervision Order, the grounds for Care Proceedings must be met, and the child’s needs, together with the management of the Supervision Order, through Child in Need planning, is seen as of equal weighting to all children who have been the subject of proceedings. Supervision Orders are time limited, and may be extended where needed on application to the court, but at all times the care and safeguarding needs of the child should be primary considerations for all children’s services staff.

It is very unusual (though not impossible) to apply for a Supervision Order in its own right. Generally Supervision Orders emerge as a result of an application for a Care Order.

2. Policy Status

  • Children Act 1989 (Schedule 3 refers);
  • Children and Adoption Act 2002;
  • Children Act 2004;
  • Revised Public Law Outline.

3. Key Points

On the application of any Local Authority or authorised person, the courts make an order:

  1. Placing the child with respect to whom the application is made for the care of a designated local authority; or
  2. Putting him under the supervision of a designated local authority.

A court may only make a Care Order or Supervision Order if it is satisfied:

  1. That the child concerned is suffering, or is likely to suffer Significant Harm; and
  2. That the harm, or likelihood of harm, is attributable to:
    1. The care given to the child, or likely to be given to him if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him; or
    2. The child being beyond parental control.

A Supervision Order does not confer Parental Responsibility upon the parent or guardian with care of the child. The Supervision Order will be in place for the period of time directed by the court.

No Supervision Order may be made with respect to a child who has reached the age of seventeen (or sixteen, in the case of a child who is married).

Supervision Orders can be made with respect to a child who is subject to a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order (see Residence Order/Child Arrangements Order Procedure), Special Guardianship Order (see Special Guardianship Orders Procedure), or any Section 8 Order and will not end those orders, being expected instead to support the carers in the best possible care of the child.

4. Duration of Orders

In the first instance, a court will generally impose a Supervision Order for one year, (though this can be for a shorter period of time). A supervisor can apply to the court to extend or further extend a Supervision Order for such period as the court may specify, but cannot extend in total for a period beyond three years from the date on which the Supervision Order began.

Whilst a Supervision Order is in force it shall be the duty of the supervisor, who will be a registered social worker to:

  1. Advise assist and befriend the supervised child;
  2. Take such steps as are reasonably necessary to give effect to the order; and
  3. Where:
    1. The order is not wholly complied with; or
    2. The supervisor considers that the order may no longer be necessary;
    3. To consider whether or not to apply to the court for its variation or discharge.

5. Directions available within Supervision Orders (at the direction of the court)

Directions can be made, which are sometimes relevant for older children, e.g. requiring them to live in a specific place in the case of a child who persists in returning to the home of a person who is a risk), or requiring them to attend medical appointments (e.g. a child with anorexia or self-harming or other diagnosed mental health problems). There may be other circumstances in which directions are appropriate.

A Supervision Order may require the supervised child to comply with any directions given from time to time by the supervisor which require him to do all or any of the following things:

  1. To live at a place or places specified in the directions for a period or periods so specified;
  2. To present himself to a person or persons specified in the directions at a place or places and on a  day or days so specified;
  3. To participate in activities specified in the directions on a day or days so specified.

It shall be for the supervisor to decide whether, and to what extent, he exercises his power to give directions and to decide the form of any directions which he gives.

Within the Supervision Order there is the opportunity to impose obligations on a responsible person, (Schedule 3). This makes the requirements the responsibility of the parent/carer as well as the child, but it needs their consent at the final hearing to include it in the order.

(Paragraph 8) requires the responsible person to give details of the child’s address and allow the supervisor reasonable contact with the child.

The responsible person, in relation to a supervised child means:

  1. Any person who has parental responsibility for the child; and
  2. Any other person with whom the child is living.

A Supervision Order may require the supervised child to submit to a medical or psychiatric examination or to submit to any such examination from time to time as directed by the supervisor. See Schedule 3 for further details particularly in relation to medical/psychiatric examination and treatment.

6. Children’s Rights

  • The right to apply for the discharge of a Supervision Order s.39(2)(b);
  • The right to make representation (including complaints) to the Local Authority if they are a “child who is in need”. s.26(3)(a);
  • The right to be notified of the findings of a representation or complaint, s.26(7)(b)(ii);
  • The right to have a Children’s Guardian appointed to represent his/her interests in certain proceedings s.41;
  • The right to be involved in Child and Family Progress Meetings, and to have his or her views ascertained, and given due consideration (having regard to age and understanding) S17 (4A) (a) (b);
  • The child needs to be advised that there is a Children’s Rights Officer available to them and a referral should be made to that officer where appropriate.

7. Standards

  • A Care Order (and /or a Supervision Order) should only be considered when no lesser option will meet the child’s needs;
  • An in principle decision to recommend care proceedings, including to obtain a Supervision Order should be taken by the Support Panel, or in emergency circumstances a Head of Service;
  • Children’s wishes and feelings should be ascertained as soon as possible;
  • A Legal Planning Meeting must be held to decide if an application for a Care Order or Supervision Order is appropriate, to identify any actions required before the application is made, and the timing of an application;
  • The social worker applying for a Care Order, or Supervision Order must be clear about the plans and timetable for the child as discussed in the Legal Planning Meeting;
  • Any social worker, who has obtained an interim or final Supervision Order, shall immediately inform any person who is caring for the child, as well as their team manager and other significant professionals, and enter the details on the child’s electronic record.

8. Management of Supervision Orders

At the finalisation of the proceedings, a Care Plan will have been presented to the court detailing the aspects of the Supervision Order. A Care Plan for the Supervision Order must be immediately moved after the proceedings into the Child and Family Progress Plan and should match the aspects of the Care Plan presented to the court.

The child’s situation should be managed through the Child and Family Progress Meetings where the Child and Family Progress Plan will be actively considered. The Child and Family Progress Plan should be reviewed in line with the Child and Family Progress Plans and Meetings Procedure.

From time to time a Child and Family Progress Plan for a child who is subject to a Supervision Order may need to be moved into child protection planning.

Child in Need visits to the child should take place at a minimum of every third calendar week the child should be seen alone (dependent on age and understanding) and his or her wishes and feelings obtained, and recorded. The child should be visited outside any Child and Family Progress meetings held at the child’s home.

9. Extending a Supervision Order

During the Child and Family Progress Meetings, constant attention should be given to whether the Supervision Order will need to be extended.

At the Child and Family Progress Meeting held 8 -12 weeks before the Supervision Order expires, consideration should be given as to whether the Supervision Order needs to be extended. This discussion and the outcome should be fully recorded within the Progress Update section of the Child and Family Progress Plan. The case should be referred back to support panel and where agreed, a Legal Planning Meeting convened. 

If at the Child and Family Progress meeting it is recommended that the Supervision Order is not providing the level of safeguarding required for the child, it may be felt that it is necessary to return to court to seek a Care Order. In these circumstances this issue needs to be placed before the support panel as above.

In an emergency a decision to place the matter before the court can be taken by a Service Manager.

NB an application for a Care Order whilst a Supervision Order is in force will be treated as a fresh Care Proceedings application and the threshold for making a S.31 order will have to be proved as at the date of Local Authority intervention (usually the date of the new application).

10. Supervision Order Procedure

Task Responsible Officer Record Timescale
Agree whether care proceedings appear to be necessary. Team manager and social worker MOSAIC As appropriate
Discuss case with Team Manager. Social worker and/or Manager MOSAIC As soon as possible
Present to Support Panel. Social Worker or Manager MOSAIC As soon as possible
Present case at Legal Planning Meeting. Social worker /manager LPM Next available panel
If the conclusion of the meeting is that care proceedings are appropriate set a date for a pre-proceedings meeting and draft a “pre-proceedings letter before action” to parents. This letter should include: The date, time and venue of the meeting; the fact that they should be represented; the reasons for the recommendation; and what needs to change to avoid care proceedings. Social worker to draft Legal services to approve content Team manager to sign MOSAIC Template As agreed in actions at Legal Planning Meeting
Hold meeting as above between the parents, social worker, manager, legal services and the parents’ representatives (if appointed) to clarify the council’s concerns and agree a plan of action to avoid care proceedings if possible. Manager to chair MOSAIC As agreed in actions at Legal Planning Meeting
Consider the views of the people at the legal family meeting and decide what action to take. Consider use of Family Group Conference, options for potential support to the family to avoid care proceedings. If decision is not to instigate care proceedings, then develop a plan with the family. Social worker, team manager and legal services MOSAIC As appropriate
Agree record of meeting, decisions and recommendation. Letter to family and/or parent’s solicitors. Team manager or social worker Legal services to approve Team manager or social worker Minutes via e-mail Within two working days
If decision is to instigate immediate legal proceedings, return to Legal for further advice. Contact via email or telephone is acceptable. Social worker or Team Manager    
If an emergency discuss with manager. Otherwise follow the procedures below. N/A N/A N/A
Prepare, collate, confirm manager’s approval / Service Manager and send to legal services the following essential documents:
  1. Statement - using PLO Template;
  2. Up to date concise chronology;
  3. Genogram;
  4. Interim care plan for each child;
  5. Any previous court orders and judgments;
  6. Up to date, Social Care Assessments and any viability/parenting assessment;
  7. Pre-proceedings letters and minutes.
Legal services may ask, if they exist, for:
  1. Any child protection conference minutes;
  2. Any strategy discussion records and any other reports;
  3. Any plans from family group conference;
  4. Any relevant documents from other agencies;
  5. Any minutes of any meetings with the family;
  6. Any existing care plans;
  7. Any other relevant historical assessments;
  8. Police information;
  9. Any Section 7 or Section 37 reports.
Social worker MOSAIC As soon as possible
Prepare and collate:
  • Application form C110A;
  • Schedule of proposed findings/threshold.
Legal services C110A Within timescale agreed at Legal Planning Meeting
File application with the relevant documents with the court. Legal services Legal services system Immediately
Serve the relevant documents on the respondents and inform the social worker and team manager of the court time, date and venue. Legal services C9 Immediately once notification has been received
Inform the following, (if they are not already aware):
  1. The child, (dependent upon age and understanding);
  2. Any other person caring for the child;
  3. Any other relevant person, before the hearing of the application.
Social worker MOSAIC Within one working day
Comply with directions given at allocation meeting. Social Worker & Legal Services Court Order By day ten of the proceedings
Attend advocates meeting Social Worker & Legal Services Case Management Order By day ten of the proceedings
File draft case management order Legal Services   By 11am on the working day before the case management hearing
Attend court for Case Management Hearing (CMH) All relevant staff MOSAIC By day twelve of the case
Carry out any relevant actions identified at the CMH. All relevant staff MOSAIC As appropriate
Obtain copy of the Case Management Order from legal services. Social worker MOSAIC As appropriate
Ensure everyone knows what has happened and what needs to happen next. Legal representative Attendance note and covering memo At court or as soon as possible
Carry out any relevant actions identified at the case management hearing which may include preparing and filing final evidence and care plan, once approved by team manager/ Service Manager and legal services. Social worker, team manager, legal services MOSAIC As appropriate
If all assessments completed hold Care Planning Meeting to clarify the likely final plan and identifying any further issues to be determined. Social worker, team manager, /Service Manager /legal services Minutes After assessments have been completed in advance of the advocates meeting which precedes the issues resolution hearing
Hold advocates meeting. Advocates Attendance note No later than seven working days prior to issues resolution hearing
Be available (possibly by telephone) to give instructions to their representative at the advocates meeting. Social worker Attendance note On the day
File updated draft case management order. Legal services Legal file By 11am on the working day before the issues resolution hearing
Attend issues resolution hearing which should be the final hearing and consider disclosure of the documents from this proceeding to any relevant parties e.g. CICA Social worker, team manager, legal representative Attendance note On the day
Comply with any outstanding directions Social worker MOSAIC As appropriate
Attend any further hearing and consider disclosure of the documents from this proceedings to any relevant parties e.g. CICA Social worker, team manager, legal representative Attendance notes As appropriate
Record any final orders and directions that are made and carry out any actions that may be required. Social worker / legal services MOSAIC Immediately