Foster carers in Bradford will be given a list of the day-to-day decisions they can make on behalf of children in their care, including choices about activities, hair cuts and overnight stays.

The document, which sets out who has the authority to decide things like whether a child can go on a school trip or access social networking sites, will be discussed at Bradford Council’s corporate parenting panel tomorrow.

A report to the meeting says a system of how authority is delegated is already in place, but is “out of date” and “not used consistently”.

It says delays in decision-making between foster carers, parents and social workers can lead to children in care “missing out” on the same opportunities as their peers.

Decisions which can be made by foster carers, according to the Bradford Council Delegated Authority Decision Support Tool, include: l Haircuts and colouring.

  • l Giving permission for overnight stays with friends.
  • l Taking holidays within Britain.
  • l Joining social or uniformed groups.
  • l Taking part in activities like horse-riding and skiing.
  • l Having a mobile phone.
  • l Gaining part-time employment.

Social workers have the authority to decide matters, including: l Body piercings.

  • l Changes in faith.
  • l New, or changes, in the order of first names or preferred names.
  • l School trips of over four days inside Britain.

The Council’s service manager and parents make decisions about whether a child has medical treatment involving anaesthetic, including those contrary to parental wishes, discontinuation of medical treatment and consent to any dental or medical treatment requiring general anaesthetic.

The report said: “Poor planning around delegation of authority can delay decision-making and lead to children missing out on opportunities that enable them to experience a fulfilled childhood and feel part of their foster carer’s family or the delay life of their children’s home.

“Looked-after children say that problems obtaining parents’ and Local Authorities’ consent to everyday activities makes them feel different from their peers and cause them embarrassment and upset.”