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5.1.8 Out of Area Placements


Local Authority's Sufficiency Duty - Accommodation for Looked After Children Procedure

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand or Youth Detention Accommodation.


In September 2015, a link was added to additional local information in the Documents Library.


  1. Placements to which this Procedure Applies
  2. Approval of Placement by Nominated Officer/Director of Children’s Services
  3. Notification of Placements
  4. Emergency Placements

1. Placements to which this Procedure Applies

This procedure applies to any placement of a Looked After child outside the area of the local authority, EXCEPT WHERE the placement is with a Connected Person, or a local authority foster carer approved by the placing authority.

2. Approval of Placement by Nominated Officer /Director of Children’s Services

The Strategic Contracts and Access to Resource Team (SCART) are responsible for all placement contract management and brokerage and as such should be contacted to assist the placement finding process.

Please contact 0114 2734 145 or 0114 205 3499.

The decision to place the child out of area must be approved by the Nominated Officer, unless it is a Placement at a Distance, (i.e. outside the area of the local authority and not within the area of any adjoining local authority), in which case the approval of the Director of Children’s Services is required. 

Out of Authority Placements


The surrounding local authorities to Sheffield:

  • Barnsley
  • Derbyshire
  • Doncaster
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Rotherham
Placements of Distance All other local authorities.

In order to access an out of authority placement the social worker/team manager will have completed a Placement Search Request Form, authorised by a Service Manager. Once approval has been granted, the social worker is required to complete a White Rose Referral Form and send it to SCART. A SCART Placement Officer will check for suitable vacancies and will forward the completed Referral form to all suitable provider/s.

The Placement Officer will regularly keep the social worker informed of how the placement search is progressing and will forward details of potential suitable Placements to the social worker to consider, as this is the responsibility of the social worker to determine the suitability of the Placement identified.

If the placement identified is out of authority area, SCART will add the Out of Authority Placement – Approval Request form for the worker to complete, this is then passed to the appropriate officer for authorisation.

The Nominated Officer/Director of Children’s Services must be satisfied, from the information contained in the Approval Request Form, of the following:

  • That the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • That the placement is the most appropriate placement available for the child and consistent with the Care Plan;
  • That relatives have been consulted where appropriate;
  • That the area authority has been notified, or, for a Placement at a Distance, the area authority have been consulted and have been provided with a copy of the child’s Care Plan (see Section 3, Notification of Placements);
  • That the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) has been consulted (usually the IRO will discuss with the child after the child has visited the proposed placement).

If a placement is accepted, it is the responsibility of the social worker to arrange/agree the Transition Plan, the admission date and exchange all the relevant Care Management materials with the Provider. The Placement Officer will then issue an Individual Placement Agreement confirming the Placement duration and fees to the Provider with a copy to the CF Information Monitoring Payment Team.

3. Notification of Placements

Written notification must be given to the area authority of the arrangements for the placement before the placement is made or, if the placement is made in an emergency, within five working days of the start of the placement unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.

The notification must include:

  1. Details of the assessment of the child’s needs and the reasons why the placement is the most suitable for responding to these; and
  2. A copy of the child’s care plan (unless already provided in the case of a Placement at a Distance).

4. Emergency Placements

In the case of a placement made in an emergency, the approval of the Nominated Officer is still required and s/he must be satisfied that the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration, and must take steps to ensure that within 5 working days: the IRO has been informed; relatives have been consulted (where appropriate) and the area authority notified.

Further information regarding the placement approval process can be found in the Document Library.