What is an SGO (Special Guardianship Order)?

Public Law Outline

Within public law proceedings there are various different Order’s that can be made at the conclusion of the proceedings. One such Order is a Special Guardianship Order, often referred to as an SGO.

If your name is put forward to be assessed to care for a child within care proceedings, then a social worker will likely carry out an initial assessment of you. This is to see if you are a suitable candidate to care for the child long term.

If this initial assessment is positive and a full assessment is recommended the social worker will carry out a detailed assessment of you. This will take into consideration your current circumstances, your relationship, school and employment history, your living circumstances and various other matters to see if you are suitable to become the child’s special guardian. You will be asked to engage with a DBS check, medical assessment and references will be obtained from family and friends.

Should the assessment be positive, you will be notified of this and ultimately the court will make the decision as to whether or not you can be the child’s special guardian. It is likely that the Local Authority will fund a one off session of legal advice for you and you may be invited to attend court at the final hearing to confirm your position.

An SGO is a private law order that gives a child permanent legal security with carers who have an existing relationship with them. The making of an SGO in an individual’s or a couple’s favour would grant those individuals “special guardianship” of the child or children concerned. Special guardianship, and the making of an SGO, is one way of providing a permanent home for a child should assessments provide that they cannot remain with, or return to, their parents care.

When the SGO is made, the special guardians are granted parental responsibility for the child. This means that they are able to make day to day decisions about the welfare of the child. Others who have parental responsibility for the child, such as their birth parents, will retain their parental responsibility, however, the special guardians have enhanced parental responsibility meaning they will make the day to day decisions. Others with parental responsibility must be consulted when there is a proposed change to the child’s surname, the child is to be removed from the UK for more than three months, or when other serious decisions are made where the law states that the consent of all parties with parental responsibility is required.

Bromleys have a large team of expertly trained solicitors who can assist you with a Special Guardianship Order, if you have any questions please urgently contact Terri Lock by email tlock@bromleys.co.uk or call on 0161 331 3881.