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1.4.8 Protocol between Children's Safeguarding Standards Unit and Children's Social Care

Contents

  1. Initial Child Protection Conferences
  2. Child Protection Review Conferences
  3. Looked After Children
  4. Joint Looked After Child and Child Protection Reviews


1. Initial Child Protection Conferences

  • Completed reports for Conferences must be circulated by the social worker to the following people before the Conference. Conference times should reduce significantly if reports are circulated in advance:
    • Team Manager: a minimum of 4 days before Conference;
    • Parents and young people: a minimum of 3 days before Conference;
    • Conference Chair: a minimum of 3 days before Conference.
  • The format of reports and Initial Conferences are contained on ICS. The reports should reflect the agenda for Initial Conferences and must contain an analysis of risk;
  • Full copies of the Statutory Assessment should not be submitted to the Conference. A summary of the Statutory Assessment should be included within the Conference report;
  • The reports must detail outline plan proposals for the Conference to consider. These will usually take the form of either:
  • Reports must be quality assured within the supervision process;
  • The relevant Team Managers will monitor aspects of report quality;
  • Any commissioning, professional or funding issues around the proposed plan must be explored by the Social Worker prior to the Conference. Legal Services should be informed of any such issues prior to the Conference;
  • If it is thought that Conference may exceed 90 minutes, comfort breaks will be discussed;
  • Decisions to make a Child Protection Plan should not be based solely on number of votes but on consideration of each agency’s view, i.e. to prevent one agency dominating the decision;
  • Team Managers should have discussed plans for how a case will be managed post Conference depending on whether the child/ren are subject of a Child Protection Plan or not. This should have been agreed prior to the Conference and shared during the Conference;
  • Alternative proposals to Child Protection Plan status should be discussed with the Conference Chair prior to the Conference following circulation of the report.


2. Child Protection Review Conferences

  • All Review Conferences review the Child Protection Plan and consider possible discontinuation of the plan;
  • All Reviews must be completed within prescribed timescales;
  • If it is thought that the Conference is likely to exceed 90 minutes the need for breaks will be discussed with Conference participants;
  • A Child Protection Review Conference will only be regarded as quorate if Children’s Social Care and two other agencies are either present, or have sent their views in writing. If Reviews are not quorate they will be recorded as having been convened but must be reconvened within 4 weeks. At the inquorate Review those present will discuss the Child Protection Plan in so far as possible and ensure the child/ren continue/s to be safe;
  • Reports for Child Protection Reviews must be circulated to all parties at least 3 days before the Review;
  • Reports for Child Protection Review Conferences must be concise, they must be agreed by the Core Group, and must contain the following:
    • Analysis of risk;
    • How risk has changed;
    • What has contributed to the change;
    • A summary to date - including the Statutory Assessment;
    • Clear recommendations.
  • The common format for Conference reports should be used;
  • The formulation of the Care Plan is the responsibility of the Core Group. Each agency’s role within the Core Group must be clearly defined during the review process and recommendations will be agency specific, with named workers where possible;
  • When consulting on legal advice the Team Manager, Social Worker and legal representative must leave the Conference and it must be clear why they are doing that. Other participants will have the same opportunity;
  • In order to provide a better and more consistent service to parents and children, Team Managers should attend the Review Conference whenever possible. On the occasions when Team Managers cannot attend the Conference they should make their views clear to the Chair in advance;
  • All potential commissioning issues must be explored prior to review and any proposals agreed in principle through normal channels. Child Protection Conferences cannot make specific recommendations about resources for which prior agreement has not been sought;
  • Decisions about the child’s Plan other than the issue of being subject of a plan will be made by the Core Group (led by the Team Manager) and ratified by the relevant Service Manager;
  • Whilst decisions about the Child’s Plan are made by the Core Group, the Chair will ensure that the child’s needs are the focus of attention and that the Conference takes the decisions required of it in an informed, explicit and systematic way;
  • The Chair will ensure recommendations identify clear outcomes, which are agreed, realistic, measurable and timed.


3. Looked After Children

  • All Care Plans must be written within 7 days of placement with reports from Children's Social Care, Health, Education and family;
  • At this point a Care Team for the Looked After Child must be identified;
  • The Care Team chaired by the Team Manager will make decisions within the context of the Care Plan. These will be ratified by the relevant Service Manager;
  • LAC Reviews will review those decisions within the context of the overall plan. The Care Plan will be owned by the Care Team.
  • LAC Reviews should not be brought forward in order for decisions about day to day care to be made. Most decisions should be made by the Care Team;
  • LAC Reviews will monitor compliance with procedures, good practice, ensuring children and parents have been consulted, and that objectives in the Care Plan have been achieved;
  • All LAC Reviews must have as a minimum:
    • Review Form;
    • Child Plan;
    • Consultation Documents/Viewpoint;
    • Medical Summary.

These must be brought to the review.

  • All case records must contain:
    • Most recent Child Plan;
    • Placement Information Record;
    • Updated PEP;
    • Completed ICS documentation.

These must be placed at the front of each file.

  • Core Groups/Care Teams must focus their plan for the child/young person around the appropriate Assessment and Action Records for children and young people who have been assessed at 4 months as likely to be looked after for longer than 6 months;

    The summary sheet from those assessment and action records must inform LAC Reviews;
  • If a child is not going to be present at a LAC Review, it must be clearly recorded why in the Review Form by the child’s Social Worker;
  • If a child or parent has not completed a consultation form - it must be recorded why by the child’s Social Worker;
  • Reports from other agencies must be in writing and must be directed by the Care Team.


4. Joint Looked After Child and Child Protection Reviews

  • All children subject of a Child Protection Plan who are subject to Interim Orders where appropriate will have the plan discontinued by the Review Conference;
  • All children on Care Orders will have their plan discontinued;
  • In the case of Joint Reviews which may be appropriate, existing protocol will continue to be applied where necessary;
  • In Care Planning for Looked After Children the following roles will apply:
    • Social Workers and Managers with assistance of Core Group/Care Team will formulate plan;
    • Core Group/Care Group will implement, develop and progress plan;
    • Reviews will Monitor, review, ensure good practice, quality assure process, monitor outcomes;
    • Final plans for Court must be countersigned by the relevant Service Manager.

End