What do the manifestos say about adoption?

Published: 13.04.15

Chief Executive Hugh Thornbery looks through the recently announced party manifestos to see what's being promised for adoption.
What do the manifestos say about adoption?

Five parties in England and one in Wales have now announced their manifestos and we have looked through to see what is being said about their plans for adoption.


  • The Conservatives have plans to establish Regional Adoption Agencies. (see page 35) 

The Conservatives announce proposals to establish Regional Adoption Agencies.  Adoption UK has discussed with the previous Government the need to consider rationalising the adoption sector.


  • Labour do not mention adoptions, their focus is on better support for kinship care. (see manifesto) 

This is a topical issue as we see a rise in the number of Special Guardianship Orders made to family members alongside a decline in the use in adoption over the last year. Adoption UK, as a member of the Care Inquiry which reported in 2013, argued strongly for better support for all permanence options. The level of support must relate to the needs of the child, not the legal order that they are under.

  • The Liberal Democrats say that they want to continue to make it easier for children in care to find a loving home, through the national Adoption Register and the new national gateway for adoption, a first point of contact for potential adopters. (page 60) 

    They want to find more loving homes for children currently in care through the use of the National Adoption Register and the national gateway for adoption. Adoption UK is a partner in First 4 Adoption, the national gateway and we are encouraged by its rising use.

  • UKIP state their intention to reform the care system to ensure that children can find stability through fostering and adoption in a faster and more efficient way(Pages 24 to 27)


  • The Green Party want to ensure that the UK’s child protection systems are effective at tackling child neglect and abuse early on, including changing the law so that emotional abuse is treated on a par with physical abuse and giving police and child protection professionals clear guidance to help them work effectively. (Page 28)
  • Plaid Cymru make no specific mention of adoption but state they will better protect our most vulnerable children and review the effectiveness of child protection provision to make sure that schools and social services co-operate efficiently. (Page 21)


  • The Scottish National Party make no specific mention of adoption. (see manifesto)

Hugh Thornbery Adoption UK chief executive commented: “Adoption, or wider children’s social care issues for that matter, may not be at the top of voters’ minds in determining the next Government. But whoever forms the next government after the election will inherit an adoption reform programme that has been running for almost five years. We are in the very early stages of implementing some of the policies and legislation within the context of a dramatic fall in the numbers of children put forward for adoption (2013) and a significant rise in SGOs (special guardianship orders) for younger children than they were originally intended for.”

“Adoption UK has discussed with the current Government the need to consider rationalising the adoption sector. Our view is that too many agencies (180 in England alone) across local authorities and the charity adoption sector, leads to the provision of variable levels of service which are dependent on cost pressures faced in each area. Adoptive families need a better guarantee of sufficient support than they currently get."