What is a Supervision Order?

Posted on: 6 mins read
Last updated:
Patricia Cannon

Head of Family and Childcare

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Under a Supervision Order, the Local Authority has a duty to befriend, advise and assist your child. This means social workers should make regular contact with your family and offer support and advice on resources when necessary.

Supervision Orders are usually put in place so that your child or children can stay at home with you. a social worker will remain involved to ensure Any risk of harm to a child/children does is prevented. 

Under a Supervision Order a ‘responsible person’, such as a parent with Parental Responsibility or anyone living with the child may have obligations imposed upon them with their consent. This person will be expected to give details of where the child is living and to allow reasonable contact between the child and the social workers.

If you’ve been told your child will be placed under a Supervision Order, our Care Proceedings Team can help you with the next steps and discuss whether you could be entitled to Legal Aid.

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When is a Supervision Order Necessary?

If the Local Authority thinks a Supervision Order is needed, they’ll apply for this through the Court. A decision will then be made based on the child’s current situation. The court will consider:

  • whether the child is suffering harm or is at risk of this in the future;
  • whether the child is beyond their parent or carer’s control, putting them at risk;
  • whether the care being given to the child meets reasonable expectations.

These are called the ‘threshold criteria’. The Court will need to be satisfied that the child is at risk of any of the above before granting permission to the Local Authority for a Supervision Order to be put in place.

Looking at this list, it’s evident that Supervision Orders aren’t just given out under any circumstances, especially not right now, considering many Local Authorities are short-staffed. Clearly, the situation must be serious to cause enough concern from the Local Authority to make them put a Supervision Order in place.

However, it’s important to note that when Supervision Orders are put in place, it is to help the family, rather than to punish them or judge them for the treatment of their child. Supervision Orders are just put in place to make sure everything is in order.

These Orders are just part of a support system provided by Local Authorities to make sure that children are being looked after properly, and to ensure that they aren’t at risk of harm. It focusses on the child’s welfare and safety, which is the common goal of both parents and Local Authorities.

Will I be Given Notice?

The Local Authority are legally required to give you notice before the first Court Hearing.

They’ll send you a copy of the papers to be presented in Court and you have the right to attend and voice your opinion on whether a Supervision Order is needed.

If you get in touch with our team of solicitors at Simpson Millar, we can help you get your story and opinions across before the first Court Hearing, and throughout the following process.

From the moment you get in touch with our approachable and friendly team of Care Proceedings Solicitors, we will listen to your side of the story so we can really understand your circumstances and what’s going on with your family, and in particular with your child or children.

We’re here to provide honest and unbiased legal advice, without judgement, so that we know exactly how to represent you and your case.

When you are given notice before the first Court Hearing, we will work hard with you to build your case so you can voice your opinion on whether or not a Supervision Order is needed.

A Care Proceedings Solicitor can represent you in proceedings and support you in putting forward your argument.

How Long Does a Supervision Order Last?

A Supervision Order may last up to a year, but it can be extended if the Local Authority applies back to Court and the Court believes that it should continue.

This depends on a few factors. Firstly, a change in home environment can really affect how long a Supervision Order lasts. Something might change in the home environment – whether it’s a supportive family member moving in, or a problematic member moving out – which can impact the length of a Supervision Order.

In addition, the child’s wellbeing has a massive impact on how long a Supervision Order lasts, and if it ends early. If the child or children involved seem to be doing better mentally and physically, and are seemingly no longer at risk, this can end the Supervision Order early.

Supervision Orders can also be lengthened, though, if things get worse or don’t improve in time before the Order is about to end. For example, the child may be at increased risk due to changing circumstances. When this happens, Supervision Orders can be made longer by the Local Authority.

Overall, to make a Supervision Order end early, the Local Authority must be satisfied that enough changes have been made to improve the child or children’s home life, in a way that can be sustained. On the other hand, if the Order is made longer, this has to be because the Local Authority isn’t satisfied with the progress of the child or children’s home life.

To end the Supervision Order early, an application must be made by:

  • someone with parental responsibility for the child;
  • the child;
  • the ‘supervisor’ at the Local Authority.

The Court will need to see that there is enough evidence to demonstrate that the Supervision Order is no longer needed. A Care Proceedings Solicitor can help you to put together evidence to show the progress which has been made since the Supervision Order was granted.

Get in Touch

If you’re in this difficult situation, where you might have to deal with a Supervision Order, our Care Proceedings Solicitors are here to help you work your way through the legal side of the process.

We can guide you through the inner workings of these cases, to make sure you know exactly what to expect form Supervision Orders. It’s important to know how they work, from how they can end early or be made longer, to what happens during a Supervision Order, and what your child may have to do or discuss with the Local Authority professionals dealing with your case.

With us in your corner, you’ll know what to expect. We’ll guide you through the whole process and what happens at every stage to make sure you’re never left in the dark.

We get how tough these things can be, which is why we offer an unbiased and judgement-free safe space to air whatever questions, thoughts and concerns you may have about what happens next. We understand you’re probably full of worries and questions, all of which we’re happy to answer openly and honestly.

As experts in this area of the law, our Care Proceedings Solicitors can help make the law around Supervision Orders as accessible as possible, so that there’s nothing you don’t understand when it comes to Court Hearings and other legal proceedings in the Supervision Order process.

So, get in touch with our Care Proceedings Solicitors today.


UK Government. (1989). Children Act 1989, Part IV, Supervision Orders. Retrieved from https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/part/IV/crossheading/supervision-orders

Family Rights Group. (n.d.). Supervision Order. Retrieved from https://frg.org.uk/get-help-and-advice/a-z-of-terms/supervision-order/

Tees Child Protection Procedures. (n.d.). 16. Children Living at Home Subject of Interim or Final Supervision Orders. Retrieved from https://www.teescpp.org.uk/procedures-for-the-safeguarding-process/16-children-living-at-home-subject-of-interim-or-final-supervision-orders/

Patricia Cannon

Head of Family and Childcare

Areas of Expertise:
Care Proceedings

As a Partner, Children Panel Solicitor and Department Head of our teams of Care Proceedings Solicitors in London, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds; Patricia represents parents, other carers and children in care proceedings and other matters related to disputes regarding children.

Patricia also offers advice and representation to those seeking protection from or responding to allegations of domestic abuse.

Patricia joined Simpson Millar in October 2018, and has over 20 years’ experience in Family Law, having qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

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