The Adoption Agencies (Panel and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2012 have just been published.
Even as a law geek, these are too dull to read (my pet-hate is legislation that simply consists of ‘remove the word ‘always’ from s271 (1) (b) (iv) of the Act, and replace with ‘under no circumstances whatsover’)
The nub of it is, in cases after 1st September 2012, there is no longer a requirement for the LA to present a child’s case to Adoption Panel to get permission to seek a Placement Order from the Court, or to present a care plan of adoption to the Court. In fact, not only is it no longer a requirement, from 1st September the LA is FORBIDDEN to place the child before Adoption Panel for that decision. (This doesn’t apply to cases where a baby is given up for adoption, or relinquished).
What’s not terribly clear is whether the cut-off date of 1st September applies to :-
(a) cases where the Court won’t be actively considering making the ORDER until after 1st September
(b) cases where the LA evidence is due before 1st September.
I suspect, in the absence of clear guidance to the contrary, it has to be assumed that (as the LA needed Panel permission to put in a care plan of Adoption, it would be (b). I suspect the Court might see a massive surge in directions which put the LA evidence due on 1st September or later, even when it could actually come in the week before.
If you really want to read the legislation (and I do warn you, that it bored even me, and I have a high tolerance level), here it is :-