A LA can apply for a freestanding SO under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989. This might be in circumstances where the LA are concerned about the care a child is receiving from its parents but not enough to warrant the LA wanting to share PR for the child and be involved in the day to day decision making for the child. The LA will have to prove to the Court that the threshold criteria are met.
The LA may also initially apply for a Care Order but the Court does not consider that the circumstances are sufficiently concerning enough to warrant the LA sharing PR and may make a Supervision Order instead.
The Court can also make an Interim Supervision Order (ISO) for periods of 28 days at a time if it considers that there are reasonable grounds during the course of the proceedings to believe that the threshold criteria would be met for a full Care or Supervision Order.
An application for a Supervision Order is usually made in the first instance in the Family Proceedings Court local to the LA. Such an application comes under the term “care proceedings” and the Court will appoint both a Children’s Guardian and a solicitor for the child. Those with PR for the child and the child himself will be parties to the proceedings and will usually have legal representation throughout.
The child must be under 17 at the time the SO is made or under 16 if he or she is married.
An SO generally lasts for one year although it can also be made for less. However, the supervisor may apply for the order to be extended up to three years from the date it was originally made if he believes there is a need to. It must be renewed before the original order expires or a fresh application will need to be made. It will also end automatically if certain Court orders are made or when the child turns 18.
Any person with PR for the child, the child himself, or the supervisor can at any time apply to discharge or vary the requirements of the SO.
A supervision Order is also often made alongside a Residence Order in proceedings to allow the LA to assist with issues such as contact.