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Social Services have asked me to sign and adhere to a Written Agreement and Safety plan, should I sign?

View profile for Chelsea  Harris
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Written agreements and safety plans are intended to provide clarity about the way that the Local Authority and your family will work together to ensure that your children remain safe whilst in your care.

A safety plan is usually a personalised document that will support you and your family to manage the issues and concerns that the Local Authority have. There may be things in the safety plan that you are asked to do or not to do to ensure your children’s safety at home.

A written agreement will set out expectations for the whole family, and you will be asked to contribute to the agreement. The concerns that the Local Authority have will be outlined as well as what they would like the family to do to address the concerns raised. The written agreement should also outline what the Local Authority will do to support you and your family.

Safety plans and written agreements are both voluntary arrangements put in place by the Local Authority, with the help of the family, to help reduce the concerns and issues that the Local Authority have identified within the family. Although these plans are both voluntary, if you do not adhere to these plans this can cause the Local Authority to have more worries about your children within the home and this may result in them making an application to the Court for an Order. To read more about what Orders the Local Authority can apply for at Court, please click here.

Safety plans and written agreements are not legally binding documents, and you cannot be forced to sign them and should you break the plan or agreement then you cannot be sued for breach of contract. However, the Local Authority can rely upon the plan and agreement and use these as supporting evidence if an application is made to the Court. If you do breach a plan or agreement, then the Local Authority may use this as evidence that you are not working honestly with professionals and not making the necessary changes to provide adequate care for your children. Alternatively, if you do sign and adhere to the safety plan and written agreement, this can also be used as evidence in Court to show that you are engaging well with professionals and making the necessary changes to care for your children safely.

It is crucial that before you sign a safety plan or written agreement that you have had the opportunity to be a part of the making of the plan or agreement. You must ensure that you fully understand the document and are confident that you can comply with what is in the plan or agreement before you sign. If there are any parts of the plan or agreement that you are unsure about then you should ask for this to be clarified. If you are still unsure about any part of the plan or agreement, then you can seek legal advice before signing any documents.

Here at Johnson Astills Solicitors, members of our Care Department are highly experienced and can deal with a wide range of matters where Social Services are involved.  If you require legal representation at a Child Protection Conference, Pre-Proceedings Meeting  or would like advice in relation to your matter do not hesitate to visit our Care Team Page on our website or call our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or Loughborough office on 01509 610312 or email us at careteam@johnsonastills.com.