Special guardianship allowances.

Author:Harris, Alexandra Conroy
Position:England and Wales

R(TT) v London Borough of Merton [2012]

High Court Queen's Bench Division Edwards-Stuart J

25 July 2012 EWHC 2055 (Admin)

TT was the special guardian of a four-year-old child. She sought judicial review of LB Merton's special guardianship policy, which set the maximum allowance payable to special guardians at two-thirds of the fostering rate. Merton claimed that the rate was reasonable as it 'had regard to' the fostering rate required by the Special Guardianship Guidance. The National Fostering Network sets its minimum allowance at the cost of looking after a child in a birth family, plus 50 per cent to take into account the costs that arise as a result of the child being fostered. Merton took this rate, but assessed the costs of looking after a child under special guardian ship as the same as those of looking after a birth child. TT also complained that Merton had departed from the recommended means test in several ways, each variation producing a result less favourable to special guardians.


Merton's policy of deducting all of the additional costs of caring for a looked after child was not justified and the rate of two-thirds the fostering rate was unlawful. The means test did not have the status of the Guidance and the variations, although the court thought that they could be described as 'mean', were not ones that no reasonable authority could have taken. Merton were able to give rational reasons for each...

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