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3.1 Children in Need: Service Delivery


This chapter provides information about the processes for children who are not looked after or subject to a protection plan, but require additional services.


Newcastle SCB Procedures, Children in Need Procedure


This chapter was amended in September 2014 as a result of local review. Section 1.2, Responsibilities has been revised and should be re-read.


1. Child in Need Planning Meetings
  1.1 Purpose
  1.2 Responsibilities
  1.3 Attendance
  1.4 Timing and Venue
  1.5 Involvement of the Child and Family
  1.6 Recording Actions and Decisions from Child in Need Planning Meetings
2. The Care Team
3. The Child in Need Plan
4. Child in Need Reviews
5. Outcomes of a Child in Need Plan

1. Child in Need Planning Meetings

In every case where a decision has been made by Children’s Social Care to provide services following a Statutory Assessment and develop a Child’s Plan, a Child in Need Planning Meeting will be convened to formulate the Care Plan, informed by the child, family members and contributions from other agencies - a Team around the Child (TAC).

Those professionals, including the child and parents, involved in the assessment will become the Care Team.

1.1 Purpose

The purposes of a Child in Need Planning meeting includes:

  • Bringing the family, child and all those professionals involved with them together;
  • Collating and analysing the multi-agency information about the child’s health and development and the parental capacity to promote the child’s welfare;
  • Judging if the child is unlikely to achieve or maintain or have the opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services;
  • Deciding what future actions and/or services are required to promote the child’s welfare and what the intended outcomes are, including the completion of a Statutory Assessment and clearly recording who will do what, when and why in relation to needs and outcomes identified so that progress can be tracked and reviewed by family and professionals involved in future Child in Need meetings.

The initial Child in Need Planning meeting must consider:

  • Issues arising out of the Statutory Assessment process;
  • Previous agency involvement with the family and family background;
  • Child’s individual developmental needs (each child of the family/household should be considered individually);
  • Parents’/carers’ capacity to respond appropriately to the child/young person’s needs;
  • Family and environmental factors;
  • Child’s views;
  • Parent’s views;
  • Arrangements for completing the Statutory Assessment and developing the Child’s Plan;
  • Any specialist assessments required and arrangements for commissioning these. (i.e. who is to do what and when is this to happen);
  • How the Care Plan will be co-ordinated and reviewed;
  • Who else should attend (this may not involve all those at the initial meeting); and
  • Set a date for a review.

If no agreement can be reached the record of the meeting should record disagreements and any action proposed.

1.2 Responsibilities

The social worker will:

  • Arrange an Initial multi agency Child in Need Care Planning Meeting and arrange a review within one month of completion of the Statutory Assessment;
  • Ensure that the Care Planning meeting is recorded on the template on ICS;
  • Ensure that care team meetings are held at least every six weeks.

The social worker’s team manager will:

  • Ensure that the Child in Need Plan reflects the needs identified through assessment and includes the appropriate service delivery to meet these needs
  • Monitor the progress of the Plan and review of the case through supervision of the allocated social worker
  • In IRS, consider transfer to East or West if the assessed needs are complex and require a longer term response than a short term intervention provided by IRS. Depending on the complexity of the case, chair a review of the case or delegate the task to a senior practitioner within three months.

1.3 Attendance

A Child In Need Planning Meeting will consist of the smallest number of people with the family, and family members themselves will be invited to attend. In general these will include:

  • Family (which will include the child or young person where age appropriate);
  • Children’s Social Care;
  • Health;
  • Education.

Plus any other professional or voluntary agency who has involvement with the family, and/or where there are known to be particular problems causing the family stress. It will be important to consider inviting someone who may have expertise or knowledge in a particular area to advise, i.e. domestic violence and abuse, sexually abusive behaviour, etc. and/or someone who may be able to provide a service, i.e. Drug and Alcohol Service, etc. Where there are complex issues or the possibility of any legal intervention, consideration should be given to inviting a legal representative from the Local Authority and for family. For further information please see Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual.

1.4 Timing and Venue

The social worker will consult with the child/young person and their family as to the most convenient time for them to attend, and provide options as to where the meeting could take place, i.e. family home, a local venue to their. Where possible the family’s wishes should be met. Where this is not possible, or appropriate, negotiation should take place as to when and where the meeting will be convened.

1.5 Involvement of the Child and Family

The involvement and participation of children and families should always be considered. Decisions regarding attendance should be based on his/her maturity and what is in his/her best interests. The views and wishes of all children old enough to express their views and wishes should be ascertained using whatever medium is most appropriate.

The Child in Need Planning Meeting should be held at a time and place that maximises the ability of the family to participate in a meaningful way.

If English is not the first language of the child/parent or carers, arrangements should be made for an interpreter to attend the review.

If the family are unable to attend the meeting, the other participants should decide whether a meeting should take place in the family’s absence or if the meeting should be rearranged so that the family are able to attend.

If a meeting does take place without the family being present, this should be considered a professionals meeting. This meeting should follow the same format as a Child in Need Planning Meeting and a copy of the record of the meeting must be given to the family.

1.6 Recording Actions and Decisions from Child in Need Planning Meetings

A summary of the issues discussed must be recorded, together with the agreed Initial Plan or Child’s Plan. This record of the meeting must be sent to everyone who was invited to the meeting within 10 working days.

2. The Care Team

Care Team meetings held at 6 weekly intervals between the Planning Meetings will be chaired by the social worker, senior practitioner or team manager depending on the complexity of the case.

3. The Child in Need Plan

A Child in Need plan must be completed in all cases where services are being provided. It should determine (in partnership with the family and other agencies) which services best meet the needs of the family and who is best placed to provide these services. A plan should be agreed with the family rather than imposed on them, and should be drawn up only after an assessment has been completed.

The Child in Need Plan must:

  • Set out the overall objective;
  • Identify appropriate services;
  • Identify the need for any specialist assessments;
  • Have clearly defined tasks, sources of family support and agreed timescales;
  • Be discussed with the child or young person and their parent(s)/carer(s) and include their views;
  • Set indicators for success;
  • Be monitored at no less than 6 weekly intervals;
  • Be recorded on the template on ICS;
  • Set a date for the plan to be formally reviewed by all agencies.

The social worker should make any necessary referrals.

4. Child in Need Reviews

The Child in Need Plan will be formally reviewed by all agencies at a six monthly Review Meeting, chaired by a senior practitioner or team manager.

The Child in Need Review Meeting should consider:

  • Changes in circumstances since the last meeting;
  • The overall aim of the plan, and any progress or development made, or concerns identified;
  • The objectives and actions agreed in the Statutory Assessment and the extent to which these have been met;
  • Any revised priority needs or risks to the child;
  • Whether the current level and type of service provision is appropriate, including whether the level of intervention is adequate to safeguard the child and promote child’s health and development;
  • Whether the parent(s)/carer(s) are able to use the services offered and are able to provide adequate parenting.

A record of the meeting together with the new plan will be made on the template on ICS and circulated to everyone invited to attend the meeting.

5. Outcomes of a Child in Need Plan

Once the actions from the Child in Need Plan have been met in full and with joint agreement from the family, Children’s Social Care and other agencies involved, it may be decided that the case should be closed to Children’s Social Care (although there may be ongoing universal service provision).

If the child’s circumstances improve, and the child is assessed to no longer have complex needs but continues to have additional needs, this should be decided within the Child in Need meeting and be fully documented. A Lead Practitioner can be identified outside Children’s Social Care if another agency is to continue providing services with a Team around the Child. Please refer to the Case Closure Procedure.

If, following ongoing support from all agencies, it is apparent that identified outcomes and changes have not been achieved; the social worker and their team manager should consider whether to hold a Strategy Meeting to decide whether the safeguarding thresholds have been met for the case being moved into Child Protection processes. This decision can only be taken on a case by case basis and a Section 47 Enquiry commenced. Where there is sufficient evidence to show that the cumulative impact of inaction by the family is having a detrimental effect on the child(ren) and can be considered as ‘significant harm or likelihood of it’, then the option of calling a Strategy Meeting must be considered.

Note: if the case is progressed under Section 47 and a Child Protection Conference is required this must take place within 15 working days of the Strategy Meeting. Please see Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual.