Statutory guidance

The purpose of statutory guidance is to provide more detail about how legislation is intended to be applied.

The law is different, depending on whether statutory guidance was issued before April 2016.

Before April 2016:

Where guidance was issued under section 7 Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, local authorities must follow that guidance, unless they can justify why they departed from it in the circumstances of the case. Most statutory guidance was different between Wales and England.

From April 2016:

Statutory guidance in Wales is now contained in the Codes of Practice issued under section 145 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. These Codes are a mix of statutory and non-statutory guidance. Similarly to section 7 guidance (above), statutory guidance in the Codes must normally be followed by local authorities. Under section 147, if there are circumsances in which a local authority has good reason to depart from the requirements of a Code, certain steps need to be followed, including a policy statement explaining why.

‘The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’, 2001, guidance was, until April 2016, the required basis for all assessments of children made by social workers. It has been adapted for inclusion in the Part 3 Code of Practice (see Annex 2).

Looked-after children

Statutory guidance supporting the regulations on placement, planning and review is contained in the Part 6 Code.

The regulations and guidance on Visits to former looked-after children in detention prior to 6 April 2016 is published in one document.

Provision of Accommodation for 16 and 17 yr old young people who may be homeless 2010 – Guidance to children’s social services authorities and local housing authorities about their duties under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16 and 17 year old young people.

Code of guidance to local authorities on the allocation of accommodation and homelessness (March 2016) This new guidance to local authority housing departments makes it clear that bed and breakfast accommodation is unsuitable for single homeless young people (see from para 19.63

Code of Practice on Advocacy Services  – Revised in December 2019.


National Minimum Maintenance Allowances for Foster Carers – This sets out the recommended national minimum maintenance allowances that foster carers including family and friends and short break foster carers would receive for 2011-2014.

National Minimum Maintenance Allowances for Foster Carers 2017-2020.  Sets out recommended national minimum maintenance allowances for foster carers by Local Authorities and independent fostering providers

When I Am Ready is good practice guidance that is supplementary to the statutory guidance in the Part 6 Code about looked-after young people staying with foster carers after they turn 18.  More information about post-18 fostering is here.

Statutory guidance and a Code of Practice for Fostering Providers were issued in April 2019.

Leaving care

Children Leaving Care Act guidance – This was guidance was issued in 2001 to accompany the regulations about services for young people leaving care.


Reconnecting to Care for Former Relevant Children in Wales – Set out the requirements on local authorities in Wales to enable young people up to the age of 25 who are formerly looked-after children to have access to care services for the purposes of assistance to pursue education and training.

These have have been replaced since 6 April 2016 by the Part 6 Code.

Child protection

The statutory guidance for agencies working together in prevention and investigation of abuse and neglect of individual children is Working Together to Safeguard People – Individual Children at Risk. This statutory guidance on child protection was updated in June 2018. This guidance is issued under section 28 Children Act 2004 but links with other safeguarding guidance issued under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

The Working Together guidance is supplemented by a range of specific procedures and protocols under the All-Wales Child Protection Procedures (currently being revised), set out under Other Guidance.

Older supplementary guidance issued under s 7:

Guidance on safeguarding children in whom illness is fabricated or induced – Supplementary guidance to Working Together, to provide a national framework for agencies and professionals at local level to draw up and agree detailed ways of working together where illness maybe being fabricated or induced in a child by a carer who has parenting responsibilities.

Guidance on safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation 2011 – Designed to assist practitioners in preventing child sexual exploitation (CSE), protecting children and young people who are at risk of abuse or are abused through sexual exploitation, and disrupting and prosecuting those people who perpetrate this form of abuse.


Statutory guidance is now contained in the Codes of Practice.

Former guidance on Direct Payments – Direct Payments Guidance Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (Wales) Guidance 2011. There was also a summary of the direct payments guidance.

Education and schools

The following guidance is issued under the Education Act 2002:

Special Educational Needs Code of Practice for Schools

Children’s rights to appeal and make a claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales – Statutory guidance for local authorities, 22/12/14 [W]

Keeping learners safe- The role of the local authority, governing bodies and proprietors of independent schools under the Education Act 2002

Statutory guidance on handling allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff – April 2014

A new draft Code on additional learning needs is now under review – details here.

Children in long-stay health or education institutions

Visits to children in long-term residential care – Guidance supporting the regulations regarding children who are in living in health or education institutions for a period of three months or more. This guidance is different to that which applies to children who are looked after by the local authority.

Mental Capacity

Information on the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice is here.

Adoption and Special Guardianship

The Adoption Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2005 Guidance sets out the requirements for adoption agencies.

Special Guardianship Code of Practice – includes statutory and non-statutory guidance on support services and on reports to court about special guardianship assessments.

Complaints and representations about local authority services

A guide to handling complaints and representations by local authority social services, 01/08/14 [W]

Care proceedings and going to court

Vol 1 Children Act 1989 Guidance – Court Orders 2008 The 2008 guidance was supplemented in 2014 to reflect changes in sections 13-15 Children and Families Act 2014. When the Children Act came into force in 1991, there were several volumes of supporting guidance. This Volume 1 guidance is now the only volume of guidance issued under the Act that still applies in Wales. The others have fallen into disuse as they are out of date. There is another version of Volume 1 guidance, and several updated volumes of other Children Act guidance, in England. Information about care proceedings and related court matters is on this page.

This guidance was not updated to reflect the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.