What is meant by a placement?

The concept of a placement is key to an understanding of what constitutes a cross-border placement for the purposes of Schedule 1. In the case of placements from England or Wales, the authority has to be arranging for the provision of accommodation. In the case of placements from Scotland, the authority has to be securing the provision of accommodation. In the case of placements from Northern Ireland, arrangements for the provision of accommodation need to be in place.

The case study below provides an example of a cross-border placement.

Case study: Brian, aged 28

Brian, aged 28, lived in a council flat in Northern Ireland. He has learning disabilities and was frequently taunted and bullied by other young people on his estate. He became increasingly isolated and depressed.

Brian discussed fully with his health and care workers the suitability of his accommodation and feelings about moving. Brian clearly expressed a desire to start afresh in a supported community where he could learn new skills, meet friends and receive therapeutic support. A suitable care home was identified which provides, among other things, access to specialist colleges of further education and adult communities where individual abilities and qualities are recognised. The accommodation was only available in Wales. Brian lived previously in a children’s home in Wales for a short period and has always expressed a desire to return there permanently. The authority in Northern Ireland accepted that due to his vulnerability it should arrange and provide new accommodation.

Brian visited the accommodation and undertook a trial week-long stay. This was successful. Once Brian had given his final consent to the placement, the authority in Northern Ireland set up a contract between itself and the care provider for the provision of accommodation. Brian moved into his new accommodation in Wales.

This is a cross-border placement and the authority in Northern Ireland remains responsible for the placement and Brian’s ongoing needs.

A Schedule 1 placement therefore generally arises where the authority has made the arrangements for accommodation. It therefore follows that a person’s accommodation in, for example, a care home will not constitute a cross-border placement for the purposes of Schedule 1 where that accommodation is underpinned by private arrangements made by or on behalf of the accommodated person. Private arrangements can include scenarios where there is no authority involved at all, but can also include limited involvement in the form of assistance by an authority (this is discussed further later in this guidance). In such cases the person will usually (subject to satisfaction of the Shah test) become the responsibility of the new authority into whose area they have moved (unless arrangements for a Schedule 1 placement ought to have been made but were not made – see discussion below).

Where the capital of a person who is resident in accommodation by virtue of their own private arrangements falls below the relevant threshold, they would usually need to approach the authority in which their accommodation is situated for assistance. The following case study provides an example of a privately arranged move. The position of people who lack capacity to make decisions about their living arrangements is discussed later in this guidance.

Case study: Susan, aged 20

Susan (aged 20) has Asperger’s syndrome and full decision-making capacity. She lived in care home accommodation in England and decided to move to Scotland in order to take up full-time and permanent employment with a publishing company. Susan chose a specialist private care home in Scotland which aims at promoting independent living for people with Asperger’s and also provides a specialist employment support service. She arranged the move herself (with some support from her family) and made all the formal arrangements (including the contract). The move was successful and she is now enjoying life in her new accommodation and job.

This is not a cross-border placement for the purpose of Schedule 1 because the local authority in England has not arranged the accommodation and she has independently organised it for herself. Given that Susan has capacity, and can be said to have made a voluntary decision for settled purposes, she is now ordinarily resident in Scotland. If Susan were to seek support for her social care needs, she would need to approach the relevant Scottish local authority of the area in which she is now living.


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  • Cross-border placements