asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any extra funding has been made available to local authorities for the provisions of guardians ad litem following the decision of Regina v. Plymouth Juvenile Court ex parte F.
The setting up of the panels of guardians ad litem was one of the new areas of expenditure for which allowance was made in the rate support grant settlement for 1984–85. The matter has been raised in subsequent discussions on the increased pressures that local authorities foresee. These discussions with respect to 1988–89 have just begun. It is, of course, for local authorities to decide the priorities for expenditure between this and other functions.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has taken any action to reduce the period between the appointment of the guardian ad litem and the nomination of a guardian ad litem.
The Department conducted an informal exercise last summer which shows that in over half the areas the time taken to nominate guardians ad litem is under a week. Where delays occur, they are for the local authority responsible for administering the panel of guardians ad litem to resolve, in conjunction with the Courts. The Department has assisted local action by amending regulations to allow a wider range of suitable persons to act as guardians ad litem, and by holding a national conference of all panel administrators. The Department intends to issue further guidance to panel administrators in due course.