Version 2: 7 May 2020 (PDF version)


Elaine Dibben, CoramBAAF Adoption Consultant 

The Government has now published the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, which came into effect from 24 April, and accompanying guidance. They amend the requirements on local authorities and adoption agencies in their use of panels as a critical part of their decision-making process. The guidance strongly indicates that the amended regulations should only be used where necessary. This includes noting the reasons for any changes in writing. These changes may be subject to inspection by Ofsted. CoramBAAF has been receiving feedback from a number of agencies about their experiences of holding virtual panels over the last few weeks. Feedback has also been received through attendance at several Panel Chair Forums. A number of agencies have also shared their procedures and associated leaflets with us, as they have developed their local practice. 

This CoramBAAF guidance document sets out the relevant sections of the amended regulations and guidance for panels. It will also identify learning from agencies as they are planning and holding adoption and fostering panels during the current crisis:

The value of panels in the decision-making process
Factors to consider when setting up a virtual panel 
Managing the panel process 

The original guidance on holding virtual adoption and fostering panel meetings during the Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic published in March is incorporated into this guidance. 

Our thanks to Adoption Counts, Cumbria County Council, Ambitious for Adoption, Action for Children and others for sharing their experiences and processes with us so we can pass on their learning.

What are your experiences?

We will be discussing these issues at our Regional Practice Forums and our Adoption and Fostering Panel Advisers and Adoption Panel Chairs meetings, which we will hold virtually if we cannot hold them in person at the London Coram campus. You can also contact Elaine Dibben on to share your learning.