Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update (Special) – March 2014


This special issue of the Adoption Reform Update carries two important items.  The first about Royal Assent to the Children and Families Bill and the second, announcing the publication of a suite of research and priority papers.

Children and Families Bill:  Royal Assent

The Children and Families Bill received Royal Assent today, 13 March 2014, and is now an Act of Parliament.  The adoption and family justice provisions of the Act will be commenced by May 2014 and the majority of the regulations will be in force in summer 2014 following consultation exercises. The exceptions are post adoption contact (section 9) which will come into force on 22 April 2014, and adoption support personal budgets (section 5). We are piloting personal budgets within the prototype of the Adoption Support Fund in ten local authorities between March 2014 and spring 2015. The date of implementation of the regulations will be decided following the outcome of the pilots.

The pilot Public Law Outline will be extended to cover the period from end March to when it comes into force on 22 April 2014.

Read our press notice for more information on the Children and Families Act 2014.

We are currently consulting on four sets of regulations and statutory guidance and would welcome your views – see

  • Court Orders relating to Family Law – consultation ends 26 March 2014.
  • Adoption: Getting It right, Making It Work – consultation ends 11 April 2014.

Please feel free to pass this on through your usual channels.

Research Priority and Question Papers


We thought you would be interested to know that today, Thursday 13 March 2014 the Department for Education published a suite of Research Priority and Question Papers which set out what the department thinks the important research questions are across our key policy areas.


The department wants to make its research prioritisation more transparent and more collaborative: joining up with a wider range of people and organisations to discuss what the research priorities for education and children’s services should be and how the gaps can best be filled.

Talk to us

We hope these papers will kick start a conversation about research and evidence gaps and we would be interested to hear what you think about:

  • This new approach of more transparent and collaborative prioritisation of research
  • Whether there is existing research that we have missed in the paper
  • Any research that is already underway or planned that might answer these questions
  • Whether these are the right questions in your opinion


We want these papers to stimulate discussion with as wide an audience as possible, so please do pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested. If you have a blog, newsletter, twitter feed or Facebook presence and you feel it would be appropriate to mention these papers, this would greatly help us achieve our aim of extending our engagement on research prioritisation for the department and beyond.

We will be engaging with and getting feedback from interested people over the coming months; if you want to get involved then please do get in touch on the email address below.

The future

These will be living documents to be revised in light of responses to this first publication and as questions are answered and new ones emerge. The department will continue to commission research but that commissioning will now be informed by these papers and the discussions that are prompted by them. If you want to offer your thoughts on any of the points above please email us on You can also see what others are saying by following us on Twitter (@educationgovuk) and using #DfEResearch, or liking us on Facebook.

You can access all of the papers from the website (click here), and the full list of topics covered is below.

We hope these papers are of interest to you.

Papers have been published which cover the following policy areas:

  • Teachers and Teaching
  • Capital Funding and School Places
  • School Funding
  • Pupil Premium
  • Academies
  • Free Schools, University Technical Colleges and studio schools
  • Children in care
  • Adoption
  • Social work and child protection
  • Early education and childcare
  • Assessment, curriculum and qualifications
  • Special educational needs and disability
  • School behaviour

Papers covering 16-19 provision and Accountability and Governance will be published shortly.

Keeping you in touch

We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. We hope to keep you updated as and when there is something substantial to communicate and envisage this as the first of a series. We will ensure that all updates will be available on the Department for Education Adoption website page. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list they should email their details to

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
March 2014