The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has today published a Report which raises questions about the Department for Education’s plans for replacing the Adoption Register for England.
In its Report, the Committee draws the Children’s Homes etc. Inspection Fees, Childcare Fees, Adoption and Children Act Register (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/835) to the special attention of the House of Lords. Amongst other things, these Regulations revoke the duty on adoption agencies to provide information for the Adoption Register about children approved for adoption and approved prospective adopters who have not been matched.
Following an oral evidence session on 14 May 2019 with Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Department for Education, the Committee remained concerned about various impacts of the Regulations, including the potential implications of the Department having ceased provision of the Adoption Register for England before a replacement system is ready, in particular the impact for hard-to-place children.
In its Report the Committee states:
- “The Regulations are drawn to the special attention of the House on the ground that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument’s policy objective and intended implementation.”
- “…the Committee remains unclear about the Department’s plans, timetable and budget for the replacement service.”
- “Whilst acknowledging the objective of trying to improve the service, the Committee remains concerned by some of the potential implications of having ceased the Adoption Register before a replacement has been identified, and in particular the potential diminution of provision during this interim phase for those children who may be more difficult to place.”