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1.9 Children and families who move across Safeguarding Children Partnership Boundaries

Reviewed in Jan 2022

Date of next review Jan 2023




This procedure sets out the actions to be taken in relation to children and families who move across local authority boundaries, either on a temporary or permanent basis. This procedure is to be used where there is contact with the family by the statutory agencies and some degree of concern for the child. The same principles apply where a child moves within a local authority area.


Where a child moves and the family cannot be located, the Joint Policy for Children Missing should also be followed.


Regardless of the reasons or circumstances for families moving between local authority areas, the Children Act 1989 is clear about where the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of such children lies (Section 17 and Section 47): it is with the Local Authority responsible for the area in which the child is to be "found", i.e. where they are at the time that concern may arise, which will generally be where they are living.


However, where a child is currently receiving services, or is subject to a section 47 enquiry, formal transfer processes should be followed. Responsibility for safeguarding the child will remain with the local authority where the child was living (even though the child will have moved) until these transfer processes have been fully completed.


In the following circumstances the Local Authority where the family previously lived will retain responsibility for the child

1. Children subject to a statutory order - this includes:

  • a care order
  • an interim care order
  • any form of supervision or family assistance order
  • an emergency protection order
  • a child assessment order
  • any child who is subject to police protection powers
  • a Section 37 assessment.

2. Children who are accommodated 

3. Where a parent is accommodated or a care leaver

4. Children subject to a Child Protection Plan

5. Children in receipt of services as a ‘child in need

6. Children who move during section 47 enquiries 



This section provides information and defines responsibilities where a child and/or their family have moved to a different local authority - e.g. a:

  • 'Travelling' family
  • Child living with a parent in a refuge or homeless persons' accommodation
  • Child and/or family moving across local authority boundaries  

The term 'Originating Authority refers to the authority in which the child previously lived, and 'Receiving Authority' to the Authority to which the child has moved.

Indicators of Risk


Along with the indicators of risk of significant harm set out in the Recognising Abuse and Neglect Procedure the following circumstances associated with children and families moving across local authority boundaries are a cause for concern:

  • A family not being registered with a GP
  • Children missing from a school roll or persistently not attending
  • Homelessness, in so far as it impacts on the welfare of the child
  • Information held across a network of agencies with no single agency holding the whole picture of family history
  • A & E departments offering treatment to a child who appears not to be engaged with primary health groups.
  • Children and/or/ their parents/carers with complex mental health needs
  • Children with complex medical conditions

Staff in all agencies must be alert to the possibility that a child or family who comes to their attention may not receive universal services. 

Information Sharing and Consent


Working Together to Safeguard Children provides that professionals  do not need consent to share personal information. It is one way to comply with the data protection legislation but not the only way. The GDPR provides a number of bases for sharing personal information.

It is not necessary to seek consent to share information for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of a child provided that there is a lawful basis to process any personal information required.


Particular care must be exercised by all agencies in contact with children and families moving across boundaries to collect accurate and share information e.g.

  • Ensuring that all forenames and surnames used by the family are provided, and clarification is obtained about the correct spelling
  • Ensuring that accurate dates of birth are obtained for all household members, where at all possible
  • Obtaining the previous full addresses, and earlier addresses within the last 2 years
  • Clarifying relationships between the child and other household members, if possible with documentary evidence
  • Asking the child/family with which statutory or voluntary organisations they are in contact.

Staff in Originating Authorities must ensure that their counterparts in the Receiving Authority have been sent a copy of all relevant records within 5 days of being notified of the move.


Staff in Receiving Authorities must ensure that they request relevant records from their counterparts in Originating Authorities when notified of the move.


All attendance of children at A&E departments should be communicated to community-based staff via paediatric liaison services.


You can read more about good information sharing in the pan Sussex Information Sharing Guidance

Child in Need


Responsibilities & procedure for the Originating Authority  


If a family with children subject to a Child in Need Plan  moves to another area, then the Originating Authority should notify the Receiving Authority that the family have moved and provide copies of relevant documentation:

  • Copies of the most recent assessments of the children
  • Copies of the child in need plan
  • A case summary and, if the case summary is not up to date, a social work report identifying the needs of each of the children
  • If the children have previously been the subject of a child protection plan, then the Originating Authority should ensure that the risks and protective factors are clearly described in the case summary.

Where a family has only been resident in the Originating Authority for a short period of time, then the respective authorities should consider who is best placed to undertake the assessment. 


Responsibilities & Procedure for Receiving Authority

The Receiving Authority must undertake the following actions:

  • The responsible Manager must first ensure that full details of the incoming family members are obtained; and
  • The Manager must obtain full details of any previous assessments undertaken, including any financial responsibility exercised by the Originating Authority; and
  • The Manager of the Receiving Authority must ask for written confirmation of the request for case transfer from the Originating Authority, including a summary of what action is needed
  • The Manager who has accepted the referral must (within 15 days of first being notified of the move) inform the Originating Authority in writing, what the proposed action is by the service.

The following conditions apply:

  • Generally the Receiving Authority will not be expected to accept case responsibility if the move is deemed temporary. This is usually determined on a case by case basis, taking into account the child’s needs/risk and the proximity of the originating LA to the family’s temporary/interim address.
  • The Receiving Authority will not be expected to accept financial responsibility where the move is temporary, as above
  • Any acceptance of financial responsibility by the Receiving Authority must be confirmed in writing by a manager.

Child on a Child Protection Plan


The responsibility for the monitoring, supervision and updating of the Child Protection Plan must transfer from the Originating Authority to the Receiving Authority.


Where there are significant concerns about a child, the transfer to another authority should not deter the Originating Authority from initiating Care Proceedings.


The responsibility for a child on a Child Protection Plan remains with the Originating Authority until the Receiving Authority's Transfer Conference.  Following the Transfer Conference, the Originating Authority should end their Child Protection Plan and notify relevant agencies accordingly.


Transfer Child Protection Conference Arrangements are set out in the  Transfer Child Protection Conference protocol. 

The temporary move of a child on a Child Protection Plan


A temporary move could cover a range of situations from holiday stays to short stay placement moves to relatives or residential units; the circumstances should always be checked with the child's Lead Social Worker.


Where it is known that the child has moved out of the area for a temporary period, however long or short, the area where the child is temporarily residing must be provided with relevant information.


The Lead Social Worker in the Originating Authority must contact the temporary Receiving Authority to provide them with the relevant personal details and the last Child Protection Plan.


It is the Originating Authority's responsibility to ensure the Child Protection Plan continues to be implemented until the formal transfer has been agreed at a Transfer Conference. 


Useful criteria to judge the permanency of a move will include security of housing, registration with a GP, enrolment in an education or early years provision

Looked after children


Case responsibility remains with the Originating Authority unless there are clear agreed transfer arrangements.  Case responsibility cannot transfer if the child has a final Care Order – see Child Subject to Statutory Order in Originating Authority below


If there are safeguarding concerns, a Strategy Discussion should be convened by the Local Authority in which the child has suffered or is identified to be at risk of, harm or neglect.

Child Subject to Statutory Order in Originating Authority


Children's Social Care responsibility

 Children subject to a full Care Order or an Interim Care Order remain the responsibility of the Originating Authority until the order is discharged or expires.

Where a Care Order is in force, the Receiving Authority may, (and this must be confirmed in writing by a Manager or above) agree to provide required services on behalf of the Originating Authority. Still, the legal responsibility remains with the Originating Authority.


Responsibility to provide/obtain information

  • In cases where Children's Social Care is aware in advance of a child's move, the social worker in the Originating Authority must, before the child's move inform relevant agencies within the Originating Authority and the Authority which the child has moved into.  
  • The social worker must also ensure that appropriate agencies in which the child is now living are aware of the child's needs.
  • It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the Originating Authority, before the child's move, to provide information to their colleagues in the Receiving Authority.
  •  If this information has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the Authority to where the child has moved (once they become aware of the child's arrival) to request the information.

Children who are accommodated


As a general principle, if a family move into Emergency Accommodation provided by the Local Authority, this is normally for a short period of time, up to 6 weeks. This allows time for the housing duty to be initially assessed. The family may move back to their Originating Authority. If the family are open to Children's Services, the Originating Authority would maintain their case responsibility during this Emergency Accommodation period. This avoids unnecessary 'bouncing' of case responsibility.

If this accommodation becomes Temporary Accommodation, which is often in place for an extended period of time, and the process of setting up local services such as schools and a GP has started, the Receiving Authority will take over case responsibility.


An accommodated child remains the responsibility of the Orgininating Authority until:

  • the child is discharged from accommodation
  • the the Receiving Authority agrees they will accommodate the child. This agreement must be confirmed in writing by children's care managers for both authorities.

Any child protection concerns which subsequently arise are the responsibility of the local authority in whose area the child is found.

Where a parent is accommodated or a care leaver


Where a child is a mother/expectant mother and is accommodated or subject to leaving care arrangements (potentially up to 25 years), the responsibility for these services remains with the Originating Authority, unless formally transferred.

The Receiving Authority will be responsible for responding to any concerns about the baby. There are occasions when this might require review on a case by case level between managers.

If the unborn baby is already the subject of a pre-birth child protection plan the arrangements for transferring the child protection plan must be followed. 

Children who move during section 47 enquiries


The Originating Authority retains responsibility until the completion of the Section 47 Enquiry.

The Section 47 Enquiries procedure provides further guidance on the duty and arrangements for conducting section 47 enquiries. 

Disputed Arrangements


If there are any disputes about the acceptance or transfer of cases, these should be resolved by managers and escalated through the management structure as necessary. 


Procedures cannot cover all eventualities and decisions about case responsibility must ultimately be based on children's needs. In some cases, e.g. where children of the same family may be living separately, discussion between managers should clarify which Authority will take overall case responsibility, based on the long-term needs of the children concerned.

Other circumstances requiring cooperation across local authority boundaries


Co-parenting arrangements

 Where there is a co-parenting arrangement (however imbalanced) across two different local authority areas, the professionals in the two areas should jointly plan for the child's safety. This will include an assessment of the child's needs in both locations and an assessment of both parents.


Child supported on the Channel Programme

Children and young people who are supported through the Channel programme and move into another Local Authority need to be supported in the Receiving Authority. The Channel Programme chair will inform the counterpart in the Receiving Authority.  If a case involves two or more Local Authority areas, for instance, the individual resides in one Authority, but works or attends school in another, or in the case of a looked-after child being the responsibility of one Authority, but housed in another, then both local authorities must attend the Channel panel. The lead Authority is always the Authority in which the individual resides.


Children who go missing

Where a local authority places a child in another local authority area who then goes missing the Missing Episode should be processed by the local authority area where the child is residing. In this regard the lead authority for processing missing episodes should be where the child is currently residing. There should be liaison between the two local authorities to agree which agency is best placed to complete the Return Home Interview, working on the basis that it is best practice for the interview to be conducted by the allocated social worker who knows the child. A record of the completed interview should be shared with the local authority in which the child resides and the respective Police force. The local authority with responsibility for the child should also share any updating actions to reduce likelihood of further missing episodes.


Child on the Sex Offenders Register

 These children are covered by the Public Protection Arrangements   

The following information must be shared in all circumstances:

  • The risk assessment completed by social care or other
  • The youth offending pre-sentence report
  • Any previous child protection reports or minutes relating to the perpetrator.

Child/ren (with or without carers) from outside the UK

 The following applies to all children moving into the Local Authority from outside the UK, whether unaccompanied, with their family/relatives or with other adults (see also Children from abroad

Responsibility for Recognition of Child in Need

 All agencies that come into contact with the child must consider their welfare and whether or not they might be a Child in Need and justify a referral to Children's Social Care  - Making a referral 

The agencies include:

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI);
  • Refugee council;
  • Housing services;
  • Health services;
  • Education services;
  • Children's Social Care.

See also Child victims of modern slavery  


Children's Social Care receiving the referral must undertake an Assessment of any child who appears to be a Child in Need in accordance with the Children Act 1989.

 They should notify local Health Services and the Education Welfare Services of such a child.

As part of the Assessment, social workers should ensure that they:

  • Use an interpreter if required
  • See the child alone, where possible
  • Obtain a full history of the child/children and carers including place of birth, date of birth, relationships, where the child has been living with addresses and any significant events
  • Obtain records from other agencies in this country
  • Consider the possibility of obtaining information and/or records from abroad, including the use of Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB), Red Cross), unless initial enquiries suggest that this may create or exacerbate danger for the child and her/his family
  • Understand what significant events have occurred in the child's life, the impact of these and any consequent therapeutic needs of the child.

Professionals from such agencies as health, social care services or the police should request this information from their equivalent agencies in the country/countries in which the child has lived. Information about who to contact can be obtained via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the appropriate embassy or Consulate based in London.

Responsibilities of Health Professionals


Information regarding children who meet the criteria outlined at the beginning of this procedure must be transferred between health trusts in a timely and appropriate manner. If a child is on a Child Protection Plan, or they are subject to a court order, or they are on a child in need plan, the records or information should be transferred directly to the office of the designated/named professional in the relevant trust.


The caseload holder/trust/department in the Receiving Authority should be notified at the earliest opportunity by telephone of the family's move. Colleagues in other agencies and health trusts who have contact with the family should be informed of the move and given up to date information.  Practitioners from the Originating Authority may be asked to provide a report or attend a Transfer Conference, this should be discussed, and an agreement reached regarding a response that best meets the needs of the child/family.


In all other circumstances, information should be shared following normal information-sharing agreements.


Children who need a paediatric assessment should be seen at a site that meets both the needs of the child and the service. It is essential that there be a discussion with the paediatrician before the Assessment to agree on appropriate action.

Responsibilities of Education Professionals


Any information relating to a child that meets the criteria described at the beginning of this procedure must be transferred between schools or other education settings in a timely and appropriate manner. If a child is on a Child Protection Plan or they are subject to a court order, or they are a Chid in Need– the child's academic and all other records must be transferred to the named school and, if other education services are to be provided, in the first instance the senior area attendance officer. Depending on the admission arrangements, contact should be made with the relevant admission service to ensure the child is registered at an appropriate school immediately. If it becomes known that a child has moved into an authority without a recent education history the child must be tracked through the 'DFE school 2 school' service.

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This page is correct as printed on Friday 12th of August 2022 04:38:26 AM please refer back to this website ( for updates.