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Law For Social Workers Social Work Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 5403 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The understanding and application of the Law is pivotal to good social work practice. The law provides framework for effective and equitable social work practice. It’s an important tool by which people’s rights are promoted whilst offering protection and care which will be evident in this case study. The law set out the different powers, duties and responsibilities. Duties are mandatory and with power, there is an element of discretion. However, the law cannot either resolve everyday dilemmas and tensions or replace sound professional judgement as there is no ready made solution for revolving complex problems that sometimes confronts social workers (Johns, 2005).

Abigail is 44 years old. She has one son, Connor, who is 14 years old. Abigail is a single mother. She has one brother, Brian, aged 40. Brian has mild learning difficulties and mental health problems. He lives with his mother Dorothy, who is 84. Dorothy supports Brian to be able to function independently at home.

Dorothy has a fall and is taken to hospital. She is admitted and Brian is left at home alone to cope by himself, which he struggles to do as he is unable to look after himself without prompting.

Q1. What are your duties and powers to intervene?

My duties and powers to intervene are underpinned by s.29(1) of National Assistance Act (NAA) 1948, s.47 of National Health Service and Community Care Act (NHSCCA) 1990. I have a duty under s.47(1) of NHSCCA 1990 to undertake an assessment of Brian’s needs for community care services. S.47(3) of NHSCCA requires the local authority (LA) to notify the local housing authority or health authority regarding Brian’s mental health and invite them to assist with the assessment. In an emergency, under s.47(5) I must provide the services first and second complete the assessment, s.47(6). S.47(4) requires assessment to be carried out in accordance with Fair Access to Care Services (FACS), categorised as either critical, substantial, moderate or low (DOH, 2003). However, it is imperative that Brian is made aware that there is no statutory timescale for completion of the community care assessments. It is intended that Brian’s assessment under the Single Assessment Process should begin within 48 hours and to be completed within a month and reviewed at regular intervals (Clements & Thompson, 2007).

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People with learning difficulties come within the definition of a disabled person therefore, s.47(2) of NHSCCA requires LA to make decision under s.4 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 without Brian’s request and inform him of his rights under the Act. Brian’s capacity to give consent and make informed decisions pertaining to his well-being will be assessed under Mental Capacity Act (2005) (Clement & Thompson, 2007).

The Laming Letter 1992 (Clements &Thompson, 2007:100) explains the need for LA to take into account available resources when deciding to response to Brian’s assessment, in R v. Gloucestershire County Council, ex parte Barry [1997] 2 All ER 1. However, once LA indicates that services should be provided, LA is legally obliged to arrange or provide and cannot be redrawn without assessment as it could result in judicial review. The LA’s refusal to undertake assessment under community care was challenged in R v. Bristol City Council, ex parte Pentfold [1998] 1 CCLR 315 (Brammer, 2007).

Q2. What do you do to take appropriate action?

Once Brian’s needs likewise his financial status have been assessed, as requiring services under s.47(1)(b) of the NHSCCA 1990, the LA must make the necessary arrangement to provide the services. The objectives of the intervention should be agreed in the form of care plan describing what services Brian is entitled to, the frequency and duration, reviewed regularly, the timing and interval should be stated. I should secure the most cost effective package of service that meets Brian’s care needs, taking into account Brian’s carer’s own preferences. I should restore and maintain independence by enabling Brian to live in the community wherever possible.

S.4 of the Disabled Persons (Service, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 provides regime to make arrangements for services under s.2(1)(f) of Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act(CSDPA) 1970 and s.29(1) of the NAA 1948 enables LA to cover holidays for disabled people as well as residential accommodation on short-basis (respite) contrary to community care principles. Similarly, s.2(1)(c) of CSPDA 1970 and s.45 of Health Services and Public Act 1968 gives the LA power rather than a duty to provide services such as advisory services, education and social work support (see Q6).

Abigail and Connor move into the family home temporarily and Brian finds it very hard to cope with the changes his mental health deteriorates. He becomes very paranoid about his sister and his nephew and becomes aggressive. He thinks that Abigail is controlling his finances and he is accusing her of stealing from him. There is an incident where there is domestic violence between the brother and sister. You are contacted by the police who have attended, and you are asked to assist in your capacity as an approved social worker. A doctor has also been called in.

Q3. What do you do in these circumstances?

I must undertake an assessment of Brian’s needs prior to possible admission under the Mental Health Act 1983, set out in Chapter 2 of the Code of Practice (1999). As ASW I have a duty to make an application under s.13(1) for admission to hospital or into guardianship if appropriate. S.131 urges ASWs to consider the least restrictive alternative as such informal admission. I must identify myself, explain my role, purpose of the visit and interview Brian in a suitable manner (s.13(2)), considering Brian’s social, family circumstances including the nature of the behaviour disorder, language barriers, both his wishes, views and that of his relatives. Also consider if admission is in the interest of Brian’s own health or safety or with the view to safeguarding other members of his family. Assessment of a person with learning difficulties requires special consideration (Brayne & Carr 2005:579; Code para.2.6, 30.3).

S.2, admission for assessment may be appropriate in Brian’s situation, as diagnosis of Brian’s condition is unclear and an in-patient assessment may be necessary to produce a treatment plan. The Nearest Relative (NR) or the ASW can make s.2 application. ASW has a duty to inform the NR about the s.2 application and their power of discharge under s.11(3). Brian detained under s.2 will get quicker access to Mental Health Tribunal than under s.3. Also, NR can object to s.3 but may only express concerns about s.2. At the end of the 28-day-period Brian may choose to leave the hospital or remain as informal patient or detained under s.3 which last 6 months and is renewable. Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides a mechanism for challenging unlawful detention, Winterwerp v. The Netherlands (1979) 2 EHRR 387 (Brammer, 2007). It is vital to emphasise that ASW’s decisions are exclusively on the basis of statutory criteria and an individual responsibility. ASW’s decision based solely on doctor’s recommendation, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust v S (1998), (Brayne & Carr 2005). I identified numerous ethical issues as ASW considering Brian’s wishes and balancing care and control such as restricting his liberty.

If ASW is satisfied that Brian is suffering from a mental disorder and the situation is urgent, an application for emergency assessment can be made under s.4 (lasts 72-hours). An application can be founded on one doctor in emergency (Brown, 2006). S.4 should never be used for administrative convenience however, in a normal assessment two doctors are required to give medical recommendations one preferable Brian’s GP. They are required to undertake their assessment within five days of each other (Ball & MacDonald, 2002). A completed application gives ASW authority under s.6 to convey Brian to the hospital, Re v Central London County Court ex parte London (1999), compulsory admission should be last resort, (Code, para.2.7; Brayne & Carr 2005).

Brian goes into hospital for three weeks under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act until Dorothy has recovered from her fall. They are both discharged to live at home together, although require support to live at home.

Q4. What are your responsibilities towards Dorothy and Brian? Describe the outcomes you are seeking to achieve for Dorothy and Brian?

The outcomes I am seeking to achieve for both Dorothy and Brian is to promote their independence inline with the GSCC (2002) code of practice which states that I must promote their independence whilst protecting them from harm or danger. The duty to provide after-care under s.117 does not apply to s.2 detention. However, under s.19 Brian may be discharged from hospital into guardianship with comprehensive care plan under the Care Programme Approach (CPA). Guardianship under s.7 is appropriate as it provides a limited amount of control and support enabling him to receive continuing care and to achieve independent life as possible within the community (Brammer, 2007). My responsibilities as a guardian are set out under s.8 MHA and 1983 Regulations 12. This includes: visiting Brian every three months, nominating a doctor to attend to him and advising social service of any changes to Brian’s address, of his death, his discharge from hospital; comply with any directive and advocate on his behalf. It last for 6 months, renewable for 6 then 12 months and can be terminated by NR or under s.23. If Brian refuses to comply, there are no legal sanctions, R v. Kent County Council, ex parte Marston, (Brammer, 2007; Code, para.13.6).

The obligations to provide service that has been assessed (s.47(1), Q.1) as being required will apply post hospital discharge and likewise carer’s assessment obligation to Dorothy (Clement & Thompson,2007). The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 and Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 require LA to inform Dorothy of her entitlement to a carer assessment and to carry it out. S.2 of C(EO)A 2004 stipulate that I must consider whether Dorothy works, or wishes to work, is undertaking or wishes to undertake training/education, or any leisure activity. Also I must consider respite care for Dorothy. I must take into account the results of that assessment when putting together a care package for Dorothy (Brammer, 2007).

Dorothy may be eligible to receive Direct Payments under Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996, s.57 of Health and Social Care Act 2001 and considering that she is receiving services under s.47 NHSCCA. The community Care Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (England) Regulations 2003, requires LA to offer direct payment to those who are eligible and want to receive them. Dorothy may be capable of managing a direct payment with or without assistance and is possible to receive a combination of services and direct payments: R (on the application of A and B, X and Y) v East Sussex County Council (2003), (Brayne & Carr, 2005).

Q5. Which other professionals are involved in their post hospital care (under which frameworks) and how will you work with them?

The professionals involved are: Social Workers from the hospital or community, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, community/district and Psychiatric nurses, General Practitioners, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Home Care Assistants, housing agencies, sheltered housing Wardens, hospital Consultants (e.g. Geriatricians), (Brammer, 2007).

The frameworks are National Service Framework (NSFs) for older people, NSF for mental health and Care Programme Approach. NSFs are long-term (10-years) strategies for improving particular areas of care. NSF for Mental Health (1999) addresses planning, delivery and monitoring of mental health services for adults until 2009. It consists of seven standards, five objectives and ten guiding values and principles. The Care CPA set out systematic arrangements for assessing people’s health and social care needs, formulation of care plans, appointment of key worker to monitor, and regular reviews. NSF for Older People (2006) and Care Management require assessment to be undertaken from the user’s perspective, taking into account their clinical background, disease prevention and personal care (DOH, 2001).

S.47(3) of NHSCCA 1990 and s.3 s.117 of MHA 1993 provides statutory support for assessment to be carried in a multi-disciplinary fashion. Besides, s.82 of National Health Service Act 2006 places duty on health bodies and LA to co-operate with each other to promote the health and welfare of the general population. There are however, three broad categories of statutory obligations namely: strategic level for planning, general day-to-day delivery of services and co-operation under MHA 1983. I have a duty co-ordinate and co-operate with all relevant bodies.

Q6. Dorothy has a range of needs. How would you know what needs are met by what services?

Dorothy’s needs are health and social care needs. National Health Service (NHS) in relation to after-care of ill-people is obliged under sections 1 &3 of NHS Act 2006 to meet Dorothy’s health care needs. Dorothy may be eligible for NHS Continuing care such as nursing care, a package of care arranged solely by NHS to meet physical and mental health as a result of illness. The package is reviewed three months initially and yearly (Clement &Thompson, 2007:446).

Furthermore, social services have a duty under s.254 Sch.20 of National Health Services Act 2006 to meet Dorothy’s social needs. Therefore, her needs will be met by provision of domiciliary services as part of her community care package (Q.1). This may include home helps, meals-on-wheels; help with bathing and dressing, laundry services, drop-in/day centres, recreational and transport facilities. S.2(1)(e) of Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970 requires LA to make arrangement for home adaptations such as hand-rails, alarm systems to ensure greater safety. When NHS Continuing health care is provided, it can highlights difference in legal frameworks under which NHS and LA operate as in R(T, D and B) v Haringey LBC [2005] EWHC 2235 (Admin); (2006) 9 CCLR 58, (Clement &Thompson, 2007).

Abigail and Connor move back to their home and Abigail starts a relationship with a new partner Edward, who moves in with them. A common assessment framework (CAF) assessment is received at social services referral and assessment team following concerns being observed by the school and a few other agencies, which states a number of concerns about Connor’s behaviour: his grades are slipping and he is getting into trouble, possibly taking drugs, and getting into fights.

Q7. How do you decide what to do next? What outcomes are you trying to achieve?

My duties to intervene are underpinned by Children Act (CA) 1989/2004. CAF cannot be used for a child who has or likely to suffer significant harm (DfES, 2006). Therefore, assessment under s.17 of CA 1989 and Framework for the Assessment (2000) is more appropriate. However, in order not to replicate what has already been done, I must follow up and clarify that the information provided is accurate and up-to-date and to ascertain whether the nature of concerns considers specialised assessment (referrals protocols, see Q.8).

S.17(1) of CA 1989 sets out a general preventative duty on LA to safeguard and promote Connor’s welfare as a child in need. Sch.2 and s.17(10) defines a child in need as someone who is unlikely to attain or maintain a satisfactory standard of health or development, or their health or development will significantly be impaired without the provision of services (Working Together, 2006). Firstly, I must undertake assessment of Connor’s and his family’s needs, produce a care plan and finally provide the identified services in accordance with The Children Act Guidance issued under s.7(1) R v. Lambeth LBC, ex parte K (A Child) (2000) 3 CCLR 141 ruled on the method of the assessment (Brammer, 2007). The assessment should be a child centred-approach, account taken from Connor’s perspective and consistent with his welfare and safety, to promote Connor’s upbringing by his family, by providing service appropriate to his needs (DOH, 2000). S.17(3) services may include advice, guidance or counselling, support groups, parenting classes, accommodation or cash in exceptional circumstances. Family Group Conference may be appropriate as child in need. LA has central role of co-ordinating service provision. However, s.17 gives LA discretionary powers rather than a duty to provide the service (Brammer, 2007).

The outcomes I am seeking to achieve is spelt out in the five outcomes in the Every Child Matters (DfES, 2003) to ensure that Connor is healthy, stays safe, enjoys and achieves, makes a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being. The recommendations were made by Laming Inquiry report in 2003 (death of Victoria Climbè) to enhance accountability in safeguarding children. Moreover, the emphasis of any outcome service provision should meet the primary objective of safeguarding and promoting Connor’s welfare, (Guidance and Regulations, 1989).

Connor is offered counselling via school, which he starts attending and tells the counsellor that he is not getting on with his step-father. He arrives at school one day with a bruised arm with two marks on his arm, and tells the counsellor that he had been hit with a fence post with a nail in it.

Q8. What are your duties and powers to intervene?

My duties and powers are outlined in Working Together 2006, s.47 CA 1989 and London Child Protection Procedures 2007, as within the local area. S.47 imposes a statutory duty on LA to investigate any allegation whereby a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm. However, the threshold is low in R (S) v. Swindon Borough Council [2001] EWHC Admin 334, LA decided to continue its s.47 enquiries even though he was acquitted of indecent assault.

Once a referral is received, I must follow up and clarify the nature of concerns, make decision to conduct an initial assessment and acknowledge in writing within one working day of receiving the referral. The initial assessment should be completed within seven working days of receiving the referral. Its purpose is to determine whether Connor is a child-in-need, the services required and whether a further more detailed core assessment should be undertaken in accordance with Framework for Assessment (2000). I have a duty to see Connor alone and interview him on his own as well as with the family members and relevant professionals. I must take him to the General Practitioner for medical examination within 24 hours. However, if the criteria for initiating s.47 enquiries are met the initial assessment may be very brief. A strategy meeting will be convened immediately. It will involve the police, health authorities, school and other appropriate agency as s.10 places a duty on statutory and voluntary agencies to assist LA with their enquiries. The strategy discussion is to decide whether further enquiries are to be carried out under s.47. S.47 enquiries usually comprise of a core assessment, which is an in-depth assessment of Connor’s needs and Abigail’s capacity to meet those needs within the wider family and community context. The core assessment should be completed within 35 working days by the time of the child protection conference and (DfES, 2006). The outcome of the strategy meeting should be recorded in writing and a copy given to the parents and agencies involved in advance of child protection conference (Working Together, 2006). In Re (L) v. Borough Council [2001] EWCA Civ 346, an interview was improperly conducted and information withheld (Brammer, 2007).

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However, if concerns are substantiated, a child protection conference should be convened. This is to enable professionals involved to assess relevant information and plan on how to safeguard Connor. If his name is placed on the child protection register, a review conference should be held within three months of the initial conference and then every six months for as long as Connor’s name remains on the register. The register has four categories namely: physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect. S.26 provides complaints procedures and any complaint should be made to the chair (Working Together, 2006). It is important that I am aware of the timescales of the Child Protection Procedures.

Q9. What do you do to take appropriate action?

The ‘any action’ used in s.47(1)(b) may amount to applying for a court order or providing any form of support under Part 3 of the CA 1989 (Q.7). There is a duty under s.47 to commence care proceedings if appropriate to safeguard and promote Connor’s welfare. If access is denied, LA has power to apply to the court to obtain Child Assessment Order (last 7days) under s.43 for assessment of Connor’s state of health and development.

An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) under s.44 could also be used if an authorised person such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the police obtain from court. EPO lasts eight days but can be extended once not more than 7 days under s.45 and allows Connor to be either removed on short-term basis to a place of safety. In addition, the Family Law Act 1996 amended the CA to include s.44A that provides power in an emergency to remove the alleged abuser from the family home. Exclusion powers require consent from Abigail and are depended upon to keep Edward out of the home. However, in its absence, it is not possible to remove him. LA obtains parental responsibility (Brayne & Carr, 2005).

If the allegation is substantiated, the NSPCC or LA can start care proceedings and can obtain Interim Care Order (ICO) under s.38 from the court pending full hearing of the application for a care order under s.33. ICO lasts for 8 weeks and can be renewed for another 4 weeks. The LA share parental responsibility with Abigail. However, a full Care Order under s.31 can also be obtained from the courts which commit Connor to the care of the LA on long-term basis. The LA acquires extensive powers like parental responsibility (Brayne & Carr, 2005).

Connor is arrested by the police as he and a friend have been stealing mobile phones from other young people. Abigail is struggling to parent him, refuses to attend the police station and contacts social services saying she can no longer cope, as he has been threatening his victims with a knife. Abigail asks for Connor to be accommodated.

Q10. What do you do?

As Abigail has agreed for Connor to be accommodated by LA, I have a duty under s.20(1)(c) of CA 1989 to accommodate him as a child in need, while investigations and assessments are carried out. This may prevent an application for EPO or ICO being pursued. While Connor is accommodated Abigail retains full parental responsibility (PR) but LA may determine the extent to which Abigail may exercise her PR (Brammer, 2007). S.22(5)(c) gives discretional powers rather than a duty in placement decision-making, LA should take into consideration the wishes and feelings of Connor in the light of his age and understanding as well as the wishes and feelings of Abigail, Connor’s racial origin, religious and cultural background. Ironically, LA does not have power to remove Connor to alternative accommodation contrary to Abigail’s wishes, in Re Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, ex parte J [2000] 1 FCR 173, LA’s decision to remove a 13-year-old-girl against her parents’ wishes was unlawful (Brammer, 2007).

Given the voluntary basis of the request, it is viewed as a service as outlined in s.20(7)(8). In Re (G) v. Barnet London Borough Council [2003] UKHL 57, LA found to have acted within the terms of CA 1989 s.20 by offering to accommodate the child only (Brammer, 2007). Under s.20(8) Abigail is not required to give notice to the LA if she wishes to remove Connor but when it becomes necessary for Abigail to resume care after Connor has been accommodated for more than six months, she must give 28 days notice (Brammer, 2007). Conversely, the term accommodation in a number of ways is misleading, as being accommodated requires the LA much more than the provision of a place to reside.

Connor appears in court in relation to the possession of an offensive weapon and robbery allegations and is remanded into local authority accommodation until his next court appearance. Connor pleads guilty to the charges and the court requests a pre-sentence report. He is placed in a foster care placement.

Q11a. What are the duties, powers and responsibilities of the local authority towards Connor as a looked after child?

The LA under s.38 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 must provide support for Connor whilst awaiting trial. Under s.22(3)(a) LA have a duty to safeguard and promote Connor’s welfare. S.22(4) requires LA to consult him when making decisions and ascertain his wishes and feelings s.(22)(5) (see Q.10). In exceptional circumstance this duty of consultation may be limited as in the Re P (Children Act 1989, s.22 and 26: Local Authority Compliance) [2000] 2 FLR 910. A restricted consultation was permitted as the father continues to pose a risk. Under s.23(1)(a)(b) LA must provide a suitable accommodation and maintain Connor as a child in need and inform Abigail about Connor’s whereabouts. S.23(7)(a) stipulates that the accommodation provided should normally be near the Connor’s home as much as practicable and consistent with his welfare (Brammer, 2007).

The Review of Children’s Cases Regulations 1991, s.26 and Sch.2 para.17 CA require LA to conduct regular reviews. Such reviews must be chaired by an independent reviewing officer (IRO) and should occur within four weeks after Connor began to be looked-after, three months from the first review and thereafter every six months. The IRO monitors the s.31A care plan produced in consultation with Connor. S.26 (2)(i) requires LA to notify Connor and his family of the outcome of the review decisions. Connor has right to attend the review meetings and IRO should ensure Connor is given opportunity to make meaningful contributions to his reviews. Initial medical health assessment should be carried out as soon as practicable after Connor becomes looked-after and reviewed yearly (Brammer, 2007).

S.34, Sch.2 para.15 CA requires LA to promote contact between Connor and his family unless it is inconsistent with his welfare, thus not an absolute duty. Under s.17(8), Sch.2 para.16 CA, the LA may make payments to Connor to cover travel cost or other expenses to enable contact to take place. However, the LA has power to exercise discretion but not an obligation. This emphasises the importance of placing Connor near his family and contact is considered as Connor’s right (Brayne &Broadent, 2002). S.52 of CA 2004 and Guidance on the Education of Young People (DOH, 2000) places a duty on LA to promote educational achievements of all looked-after children by ensuring that they have a personal education plan (PEP). Also, LA must secure an education placement within 20 school days when a child has been moved as an emergency or breakdown in education provision.

When it appears that looked-after child has little communication with the parents, not visited for the last 12 months and in the best interest of the child, Sch.2 para.17 requires LA to appoint an independent visitor for them. The Fostering Services Regulations 2002 requires LA to ensure a child placed with foster carer is not subjected to any form of corporal punishment or unreasonable measures of control, restraint or discipline and only physically restrained where necessary to prevent likely injury to the child.

Unknown Partner

Q11b Draw a genogram to support the court report. (Genograms are often used in legal documents, such as court reports, to provide an illustration of the family composition)

Enduring Relationship

Transitory Relationship

Enduring Relationship

Unknown Partner


Parker & Bradley (2007)

Figure : Genogram of Dorothy’s Family

Connor returns to court and is given a 12 month referral order.

Q12 What are the powers and duties of the YOT social worker?

The YOT social worker (YOT) as part of Youth Justice System has a general duty to protect and promote Connor’s welfare under s.17, Sch.2 CA 1989 and s.37 CDA1998 to prevent offending, reduce the need to bring criminal proceedings and to keep young people out of criminal courts (Brammer, 2007). The YOT under s.38(4)(g) of CDA 1998 has a duty to supervise Connor with Referral Order. S.21(1)(a) of the Powers of Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act (PCC(S)A) 2000 required YOT to form a youth offender panel (YOP), consisting of one Youth Offending Team member and two volunteers from the community. The YOT must prepare a brief report given to the panel members in advance (Bateman & Pitts, 2005).

The YOT under s.23 PCC(S)A 2000 must arrange the first YOP meeting within 20 days of the referral order being made. S.22 of PCC(S)A 2000 requires YOT to notify Connor and his parents under s.22(4)(b), and victims of the crime under s.22(4)(a) to attend panel meeting. Under s.23 YOT must draw up a written agreement to include an element of reparation either to the victim or the community. YOT is obliged under s.23(6) to ensure Connor and a member of the panel sign the contract, a copy given to Connor. Contract runs from the date of agreement and last for 12 months as specified by the Court (Bateman & Pitts, 2005).

Under s.26 YOT must hold progress meetings with Connor once every three months depending on the level of supervision. S.27 of PCC(S) 2000 requires YOT to arrange final meeting towards the end to review Connor’s compliance and if the panel is satisfied, the order will be discharged. Under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the conviction is ‘spent’. If agreement was not reached within reasonable period, YOT and the panel under s.25(2)(b) must refer Connor back to court. Court may decide to revoke the order and sentence Connor for the original offence. Although Referral Order adopts a restorative justice there could be a power imbalance between Connor and the panel, leading to a possible breach under the Article 6 of Human Rights Act 1998 (right to a fair trial) as legal representation is not allowed (Ball et al, 2002).


It could be seen from this case study how law plays an important role in social work. It provides social worker with powers and duties. Critically, social workers need to abide by GSCC Code of Practice that is beyond what the law can offer. It is important to acknowledge that there were conflicts between the law and social work ethics and values as promoting Brian’s independence and restricting his liberty. Social workers face various difficult decisions and encounter ethical dilemmas on daily basis. The Law provides a framework which assists in decision-making and inclusive practice. Certainly, the law shapes practice and is essential that social workers reflect on their actions, good practice and make appropriate decisions as informed by the law, social work ethics and values (Brammer, 2007).

Word Count excluding questions: 4,391


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