What is adoption panel?

All Adoption panels are set up in line with statutory requirements to ensure safe and effective care for children who have a plan for adoption.

Following completion of the home study assessment, your case will be presented to ARC Adoption’s adoption panel.

Their role is to ensure the highest standards of practice. All Adoption services are required to appoint a range of people to a ‘Central List’ of panel Members. Adoption panel members have an important role in ensuring that ARC Adoption North East applies the highest possible standards in considering who is suitable to be approved to adopt vulnerable children.

In order for ARC Adoption’s adoption panel to go ahead a quorum of five members must be present

The adoption panel consists of the following members:

  • A chairperson who is an independent professional who is not employed by ARC Adoption and who has a comprehensive understanding and experience of the Adoption process.


  • A vice-chair who does not have to be independent of the agency but may be
    • A social worker with at least three years’ experience in childcare and Adoption
  • Independent people with first-hand knowledge of Adoption matters

Examples of other people who may be at ARC Adoption’s adoption panel:

  • An education professional
  • An experienced adopter
  • An adoptee
  • A medical advisor
  • A legal advisor
  • Professional advisor to panel – this will be either the Director or Assistant Director. Their role is to inform the  panel members of adoption regulations; agency policies and procedures and any business which is relevant to the recruitment and approval of adopters.
  • There is also a panel administrator who takes minutes, circulates papers and is responsible for ensuring that actions agreed are followed up.
  • Sometimes an observer may sit on the adoption panel. They play no part in the adoption panel on the day, and are there in order to develop their knowledge and understanding of the process.

Legal role of the adoption panel

The ARC Adoption’s adoption panel and decision-maker make timely, quality and appropriate recommendations/decisions in line with the overriding objective to promote the welfare of children throughout their lives.

 The adoption panel must consider:

  • Each application for approval as an adopter and recommends to the agency decision maker, whether or not a person is suitable to act as an adopter, within four months of receipt of the prospective adopter’s formal application to be assessed.
  • Where this timescale has not been met, the   panel records the reasons in the written minutes of the   panel meeting.
  • Where it recommends approval of an application, to recommend to the agency decision maker, the terms of approval to be given.
  • The ARC Adoption’s ARC Adoption’s Adoption  panel provides a quality assurance feedback to the agency every six months on the quality of reports being presented to the   
  • Prospective adopters must be given the opportunity to attend and be heard at all ARC Adoption’s ARC Adoption’s Adoption   panel meetings which discuss their brief or full prospective adopter’s report prepared on their suitability to adopt a child, or termination of their approval, as applicable.

ARC Adoption’s Adoption panel can only make recommendations to the agency as it is the Agency Decision Maker who makes a formal and final decision taking into account the recommendation made by the   panel and the final minutes. This decision will be given to you verbally within two days of the decision being made and confirmed in writing within seven working days.

All prospective adopters are invited to attend the   panel that considers their application. Your attendance at   panel is not mandatory, though we encourage people to attend and be part of the complete process. However, if you chose not to, this decision will not prejudice consideration of your case.

ARC Adoption’s Adoption panel receive the assessment document in advance of the   panel meeting and on the day they ask questions of the assessing Social Worker and the prospective adopters if they are present.

The agency decision maker (ADM) for ARC Adoption is a highly qualified social work manager registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If the   panel is recommending approval, you will be informed of this at the   panel meeting or by telephone the same day if you are not in attendance.

The agency decision will be made within seven days of the decision maker receiving the recommendations from   panel and the full and final minute.

Following approval, you will be informed by a telephone call that you are now available to be considered for any potential match with a child. This is then followed up in writing.

If the adoption panel’s recommendation to the agency is not to approve an application, then the applicants are told this at the adoption panel meeting or by telephone the same day and informed by the panel Advisor of the representation procedure. This is then followed up in writing.

If this is the case prospective adopters will also be advised that they can have their case referred for consideration by an Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) instead. They have 40 days to decide whether or not they wish to use the IRM route

If the applicants decide to make a representation to the agency, they have 40 days to do so from the time they receive written notification of the recommendation of the panel.

Following this period of time, the agency decision maker may either uphold the panel’s original recommendation, decide to approve the applicants or refer the matter back to the next available adoption panel for further consideration.

If prospective adopters believe that they have been treated unfairly during any part of the process, they are informed by the agency of their right to use the agency’s complaints procedure.

If you would like to find out more about the adoption panel or to enquire about adoption, please call 0191 516 64 66 or click the following link Adoption enquiry and a member of the ARC Adoption team will contact you as soon as possible.