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Children Act 1989

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47 Local authority’s duty to investigate.E+W

(1)Where a local authority—

(a)are informed that a child who lives, or is found, in their area—

(i)is the subject of an emergency protection order; or

(ii)is in police protection; F1. . .

(iii)F1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(b)have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm,

the authority shall make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare. F2. . .

(2)Where a local authority have obtained an emergency protection order with respect to a child, they shall make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as they consider necessary to enable them to decide what action they should take to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

(3)The enquiries shall, in particular, be directed towards establishing—

(a)whether the authority should make any application to the court, or exercise any of their other powers under this Act [F3or section 11 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (child safety orders)], with respect to the child;

(b)whether, in the case of a child—

(i)with respect to whom an emergency protection order has been made; and

(ii)who is not in accommodation provided by or on behalf of the authority,

it would be in the child’s best interests (while an emergency protection order remains in force) for him to be in such accommodation; and

(c)whether, in the case of a child who has been taken into police protection, it would be in the child’s best interests for the authority to ask for an application to be made under section 46(7).

(4)Where enquiries are being made under subsection (1) with respect to a child, the local authority concerned shall (with a view to enabling them to determine what action, if any, to take with respect to him) take such steps as are reasonably practicable—

(a)to obtain access to him; or

(b)to ensure that access to him is obtained, on their behalf, by a person authorised by them for the purpose,

unless they are satisfied that they already have sufficient information with respect to him.

(5)Where, as a result of any such enquiries, it appears to the authority that there are matters connected with the child’s education which should be investigated, they shall consult [F4the local authority (as defined in section 579(1) of the Education 1996), if different, specified in subsection (5ZA).

(5ZA)The local authority referred to in subsection (5) is—

(a)the local authority who —

(i)maintain any school at which the child is a pupil, or

(i)make arrangements for the provision of education for the child otherwise than at school pursuant to section 19 of the Education Act 1996, or

(b)in a case where the child is a pupil at a school which is not maintained by a local authority, the local authority in whose area the school is situated.]

[F5(5A)For the purposes of making a determination under this section as to the action to be taken with respect to a child, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare—

(a)ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings regarding the action to be taken with respect to him; and

(b)give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child as they have been able to ascertain.]

(6)Where, in the course of enquiries made under this section—

(a)any officer of the local authority concerned; or

(b)any person authorised by the authority to act on their behalf in connection with those enquiries—

(i)is refused access to the child concerned; or

(ii)is denied information as to his whereabouts,

the authority shall apply for an emergency protection order, a child assessment order, a care order or a supervision order with respect to the child unless they are satisfied that his welfare can be satisfactorily safeguarded without their doing so.

(7)If, on the conclusion of any enquiries or review made under this section, the authority decide not to apply for an emergency protection order, a child assessment order, a care order or a supervision order they shall—

(a)consider whether it would be appropriate to review the case at a later date; and

(b)if they decide that it would be, determine the date on which that review is to begin.

(8)Where, as a result of complying with this section, a local authority conclude that they should take action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare they shall take that action (so far as it is both within their power and reasonably practicable for them to do so).

(9)Where a local authority are conducting enquiries under this section, it shall be the duty of any person mentioned in subsection (11) to assist them with those enquiries (in particular by providing relevant information and advice) if called upon by the authority to do so.

(10)Subsection (9) does not oblige any person to assist a local authority where doing so would be unreasonable in all the circumstances of the case.

(11)The persons are—

(a)any local authority;

(b)F6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(c)any local housing authority;

(d)any [F7[F8Local Health Board] , Special Health Authority][F9, Primary Care Trust][F10, National Health Service trust or NHS foundation trust]; and

(e)any person authorised by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section.

(12)Where a local authority are making enquiries under this section with respect to a child who appears to them to be ordinarily resident within the area of another authority, they shall consult that other authority, who may undertake the necessary enquiries in their place.

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Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

F3Words in s. 47(3)(a) inserted (30.9.1998) by 1998 c. 37, s. 119, Sch. 8 para. 69; S.I. 1998/2327, art. 2(1)(y)(2)(u) (subject to arts. 5-8).

F7Words in s. 47(11)(d) substituted (1.4.1996) by 1995 c. 17, s. 2(1)(3), Sch. 1 Pt. III, para. 118(7)(with Sch. 2 para. 6)

F8Words in s. 47(11)(d) substituted (1.4.2007) by The References to Health Authorities Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/961), arts. 2, 3 {Sch. para. 20(2)(f)}

F9Words in s. 47(11)(d) inserted (8.2.2000) by S.I. 2000/90, art. 3(1), Sch. 1 para. 24(7)

Commencement Information

I1S. 47 in force at 14.10.1991 see s. 108(2)(3) and S.I. 1991/828, art. 3(2)

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