Low allowance may face legal review

Kirklees Council could face a judicial review over the level of support it gives to carers who become special guardians.

Huddersfield family law solicitors Ridley and Hall are taking the advice of a barrister on the possibility of challenging the council’s decision to pay its special guardian allowances at a lower rate than equivalent fostering allowances.

The firm is representing a grandmother on pension credit who has taken on the care of her grandson.

Special guardianship orders were introduced in 2005 and are more secure than residence orders because parents cannot apply to discharge them unless they have the permission of the court.

Guidance on guardianship orders says that when councils consider how much financial support they offer, they should have regard to the level of fostering allowance they pay.

Kirklees’ rates for special guardians are two-thirds of the level of equivalent fostering allowances.

Ridley and Hall senior partner Nigel Priestley said many authorities seemed to be struggling to determine how much to pay their special guardians.

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