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3.4.3 Sanctions


This procedure applies to children placed in Southwark's foster homes, but the principles apply to the placement of all Looked After Children. Therefore where Looked After Children are placed with parents, kinship carers or in placements not managed by the Authority, the social worker must ensure these or other adequate procedures are applied.

It summarises the measures that should be taken when imposing Sanctions and the manner in which they should be recorded. 

The procedures in this Chapter must be read in conjunction with detailed Guidance on the use of Sanctions contained in Behaviour Management Guidance.


  1. Non Approved Sanctions
  2. Approved Sanctions
  3. Informing Children
  4. When Sanctions May be Imposed
  5. Monitoring and Recording use of Sanctions

1. Non-Approved Sanctions

Certain sanctions may not be imposed upon children, in any circumstances; they are listed in Section 4.3, Non-Approved Sanctions, of Behaviour Management Guidance.

2. Approved Sanctions

The sanctions that may be imposed upon Looked After Children are as follows:

  1. Confiscation or withdrawal of a telephone or mobile 'phone in order to protect a child or another person from harm, injury or to protect property from being damaged. Also see Telephones, Mobile Phones and Letters Procedure.
  2. Restriction on sending or receiving letters or other correspondence in order to protect a child or another person from harm, injury or to protect property from being damaged. Also see Telephones, Mobile Phones and Letters Procedure
  3. Reparation, involving the child doing something to put right the wrong they have done; e.g.: repairing damage or returning stolen property.
  4. Restitution, involving the child paying for all or part of damage caused or the replacement of misappropriated monies or goods. No more than two thirds of a child's pocket money may be taken in these circumstances. 
  5. Curtailment of leisure activities, involving a child being prevented from participating in such activities.
  6. Additional chores, involving a child undertaking additional chores over and above those they would normally be expected to do.
  7. Increased supervision, involving the child being closely supervised by staff/carers. Also see procedures in Physical Interventions Procedure, regarding Seclusion, Timeout and Withdrawal.
  8. Early bedtimes, by up to half an hour.
  9. Removal of equipment, for example the use of a TV or video/DVD player.
  10. Loss of privileges, for example the withdrawal of the privilege of staying up late.
  11. Suspension of pocket money for short periods.

3. Informing Children

Children should be informed about the range of sanctions that may be imposed upon them and the possible circumstances which may result in sanctions.

This information must be provided in a Children's Guide or outlined in the Placement Information Record for individual children.

4. When Sanctions May be Imposed

Only Approved Sanctions may be imposed, as a negative consequence for unacceptable behaviour. 

Sanctions may only be imposed as a last resort with the intention of encouraging acceptable behaviour or acting as a disincentive for unacceptable behaviour.

Sanctions must never be imposed simply as a consequence of unacceptable behaviour.

Caution should be exercised to ensure that sanctions do not act as positive re-enforcement of unacceptable behaviour.

Before any sanction is imposed staff/carers must be satisfied of the following:

  1. That the child was capable of behaving acceptably and understands what was required of him/her;
  2. That other encouraging and rewarding Strategies have not worked or would not work in the circumstances;
  3. That the sanction imposed is relevant, fair and must last no longer than is absolutely necessary
  4. That there is a view that the sanction may encourage acceptable behaviour or act as a disincentive to unacceptable behaviour.

5. Monitoring and Recording Use of Sanctions

The fostering social worker and children's individual social workers must monitor and review the use of sanctions by foster carers and be satisfied that they are used appropriately.

Foster Carers must record sanctions used in the child's Daily Record.