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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 12: Independent review of determinations

55.Section 12 provides for the establishment of a review procedure in respect of qualifying determinations made by adoption agencies. A person in respect of whom a determination specified in regulations has been made may apply to a panel established by the appropriate Minister for a review of the relevant determination.  It is intended to use this provision to give effect to the White Paper commitment to provide prospective adopters with a right to request a referral to a panel run by an independent organisation, where an adoption agency indicates that it is minded to turn down their application to adopt.

56.It is also intended that the independent review mechanism will review qualifying determinations made by adoption agencies concerning the disclosure of protected information (defined in section 57) held by the agency where, under the Act, the agency have discretion as to whether to disclose such information.

57.Regulations may be made under subsection (3) dealing with the duties and powers of a panel (including the power to request a contribution towards the cost of a review from the adoption agency which made the original determination), administration and procedures, appointment of panel members, payment of expenses, the duties of adoption agencies in connection with reviews and the monitoring of reviews.

58.Subsection (4) enables the appropriate Minister to delegate functions in relation to the panel to an organisation to perform on his behalf. “Organisation” is defined as including a public body and a private or voluntary organisation. Subsection (6) enables the appropriate Minister to make payments to such an organisation and under subsection (5) the organisation must perform its functions in accordance with any general or special directions which the appropriate Minister may give.

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