End of Coronavirus regulations

  • Date:

Growing numbers of members have been contacting our Advice Line to ask how agencies should deal with assessments that were under way before 30 September 2021, when the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 expired. 

When the original ten flexibilities were introduced in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, there was detailed provision for continuing these after the expiry of the Regulations in September 2020. After consultation (and legal challenge by Article 39) five of the flexibilities were reproduced in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020 (initially due to expire in March 2021 and then extended to September 2021). 

The ‘savings provisions’ in the original Regulations, which dealt with cases not completed at the time of expiry, were not reproduced in either  the No 2 Regulations 2020 or the 2021 Regulations. Therefore they cannot apply to any cases started after 25 September 2020.

Given the uncertainty about how to deal with cases that started before 30 September 2021 we have asked the Department for Education for guidance on how agencies should deal with them. The Department has suggested that the most practical way would be to treat them as if the savings provisions from the original Regulations had been reproduced in the No 2 & 2021 Regulations. While this is a pragmatic approach, there is no guarantee that the courts would support this method of remedying what appears to have been an omission in the drafting of the Regulations.