Family Law: What is a Supervision Order?

Image of a family holding hands and walking away. family Law blog post on Supervision Order


What is a Supervision Order?

A Supervision Order imposes a duty on the local authority to ‘advise, assist and befriend’ the child.

Supervision Orders are for a set period of up to one year, usually 6 months or 12 months.  It may be extended each year to a total of three years. It expires automatically when the child reaches the age of 18.

Only the Local Authority (or very rarely NSPCC) can apply for a Supervision Order.  The Local Authority may make an application for a Supervision Order or it may be ordered by the Court following an initial application for a Care Order.


Why are Supervision Orders Made?

In practice, Supervision Orders are most commonly made when children are returned to parents’ care at the end of proceedings. Or when a Special Guardianship Order is made, and the Local Authority want to remain involved for a period of time; perhaps to oversee arrangements for contact.

An important distinction between a Supervision Order and a Care Order is that a Supervision Order does not confer Parental Responsibility to the Local Authority.

Within the Supervision Order there is the opportunity to impose obligations on a responsible person. Therefore, requirements will be placed on the parent/carer as well as the child. However, this does require the consent of the responsible person before it can be included in the Supervision Order. The parent/carer  is required to give details of the child’s address and allow the supervisor (i.e. Social Worker) reasonable contact with the child. (Schedule 3, Children Act 1989)

The responsible person, in relation to a supervised child means:

  • Any person who has parental responsibility for the child; and
  • Any other person with whom the child is living.

Unlike a Care Order, a Supervision Order does not require a care plan for its implementation, there is usually a Supervision Plan setting out what is expected of both sides.


What is an Interim Supervision Order?

The court can consider whether to make an Interim Supervision Order which places the child temporarily under the supervision of the local authority until the court can make a final decision about what is best for the child. An Interim Supervision Order will be made where the court has reasonable grounds for believing the threshold criteria of harm has been met.


Can I discharge a Supervision Order?

There are regular meetings held 8 -12 weeks before the Supervision Order expires, and consideration should be given as to whether the Supervision Order needs to be extended. If it is determined that the Supervision Order is no longer required, the Supervision Order will effectively be discharged once the duration of the order has lapsed.

Please do get in touch if you need any further information or advice. You can also find more information on Family Law on the Family Page of our website.


Post written by Jo Taylor,
March 2019

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