Government guidance on an expanded system of parenting orders
and new powers to issue fixed penalty fines to parents admits that
the government is in the dark about how existing parenting orders
are really working.
Draft guidance published last week from the Home Office on the
provisions in the Antisocial Behaviour Bill says: “We have little
information about the operation of certain aspects of parenting
orders made under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and to inform our
guidance we would be interested to learn more about experience and
The guidance goes on to appeal for information on how breaches
of parenting orders are dealt with, information on what happens to
parents who are subject to more than one order, how many appeals
have been lodged against parenting orders and what the outcomes
were, and the circumstances in which orders have been discharged or
varied by the courts.
New powers are to be introduced for local education authorities
and youth offending teams to apply to the courts for parenting
orders against parents if a child is excluded from school or
thought to be at risk of offending. Currently parenting orders can
only be made when a young person is convicted of a criminal
offence. Schools, local education authorities, the police and youth
offending teams (Yots) will also be able to fine parents for their
children’s truancy or antisocial behaviour.
Part 3 of the Antisocial Behaviour Bill, which includes the
provisions on penalties for parents, has finished committee stage
in the House of Lords, and the new powers are expected to be
available by 28 February next year.
Under the new powers, fines of up to £100 can be issued to
parents by school heads, deputies and assistant heads in cases of
truancy, as well as by education welfare officers