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6.3 Child Protection Conference

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure further details the process of convening and preparing for a Child Protection Conference. It covers the various roles including the social worker and the Chair of the Child Protection Conference. It also deals with action following a child being made the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Children Act 1989

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

See also: Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Safeguarding Children Procedures 

RELATED CHAPTER

Participation of Children and Young People, Parents and Carers in the Child Protection Process Procedure

AMENDMENT

In July 2015, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

1. Timescale
2. Conference Booking
3. Venues
4. Invitations to the ICPC
5. Administrative Arrangements
6. Social Worker's Preparation for the Conference
  6.1 Discussion with CP Coordinator
  6.2 Preparing the Family
7. Social Worker’s Report to the ICPC
  7.1 Important Points to Note about the Report
  7.2 Role of Team Manager
8. Initial Child Protection Conference Agenda
9. Attendance
10. Exclusions
11. Role of the Chair
12. Outline Child Protection Plan
  12.1 Aim of the Child Protection Plan
  12.2 The Outline Child Protection Plan
13. Child Protection Conference Minutes
14. What happens after the Child Protection Conference if a Child is made the subject of a Child Protection Plan?
  14.1 Detailed Child Protection Plan and Role of the Core Group
  14.2 Core Groups
  14.3 Timescales for Visits to Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan
15. Review Child Protection Conference
  15.1 Convening the Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC)
  15.2 Social Work Report to Review Child Protection Conference
  15.3 Attendance
  15.4 Role of the Chair
  15.5 The RCPC Agenda
  15.6 Ending a Child Protection Plan
16. Ending a Child Protection Plan for a Child Temporarily Resident in Nottinghamshire
17. Looked after Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan
18. Appendices
  Appendix 1: ICPC/Strategy Meeting Booking Form
  Appendix 2: Agency Invitation Checklist
  Appendix 3: Invitation Letter to Parent(s)/Carer(s)
  Appendix 4: Standard Agency Invitation Letter to Attend Child Protection Conference
  Appendix 5: Information Regarding Criminal Convictions
  Appendix 6: Agenda for ICPC
  Appendix 7: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for ICPC
  Appendix 8: Chair’s Working Agenda for ICPC
  Appendix 9: Invitation to Parent/Carer to Attend an RCPC
  Appendix 10: RCPC Agenda
  Appendix 11: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for RCPC
  Appendix 12: Chair's Working Agenda for RCPC
  Appendix 13: Guidance to Professionals
  Appendix 14: Pathway to Provision - Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance
  18.1 Leaflets
  Leaflet 1: What's Child Protection? A guide for Young People on Child Protection Enquiries
  Leaflet 2: What is a Conference? Young People and Child Protection Conferences
  Leaflet 3: Child Protection Conferences - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013
  Leaflet 4: Child Protection Enquiries - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013
  Leaflet 5: Child Protection Conferences: Complaints - A guide for Parents and Carers 2014


1. Timescale

Where it is judged that a child has suffered significant harm and is likely to continue to suffer significant harm an Initial Child Protection Conference should be held in order to plan how to safeguard the child and promote their welfare.

The ICPC should take place within 15 working days of the strategy discussion, or the strategy discussion at which the decision to initiate Section 47 Enquiries occurred. Day 1 is the date the decision to initiate S.47 enquiries is made. A working day is defined as Monday - Friday. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays are excluded.

It is important to ensure that all key professionals are able to attend the conference and that parents, children and young people are well prepared. This can be a challenging process and requires pro-active management by the team manager, social worker, Child Protection Co-ordinator and administrative staff. Close, timely liaison with other agencies is essential.


2. Conference Booking

Once it has been agreed by the team manager that the outcome of the section 47 enquiries is to convene an ICPC, the social worker must contact the CPC diary co-ordinator the same day. In order to provide sufficient notice for the invitees, the arrangements for booking the ICPC should be undertaken as early as possible after the decision has been made for the ICPC to be held. This is to avoid the risk of invitations being sent out too late and also to ensure that a Child Protection Coordinator (CPC) is available.

The child’s social worker notifies the CPC Diary Coordinator by completing an ICPC booking form (see Appendix 1: ICPC/Strategy Meeting Booking Form). This must include any issues regarding risk posed by any family members, and any risk assessment; for example should a family member pose a risk of violence or abusive language. The completed form must be emailed to cpconf@nottscc.gov.uk.

The Diary Coordinator can be contacted on 01623 433168.

The child’s social worker must ascertain the availability of any essential participants prior to liaising with the diary coordinator and booking the conference, as this will inform the timing of the Conference. The diary coordinator will arrange a date for the conference within the required timescale of 15 working days.

If there are difficulties in arranging a Conference within the timescale, the diary coordinator will contact the Service Manager- Independent Chair Service in order to resolve the issue. If there is no other option but for the conference to be held out of timescale the Service Manager ICS must agree this with the Service Manager for the children’s social work team.


3. Venues

In most cases ICPCs and RCPCs will be held within social care office premises. If this is not possible the social worker may be asked to complete a risk assessment to consider possible risks to others and how these will be managed.


4. Invitations to the ICPC

It has been agreed In Nottinghamshire that social work team managers with overall management responsibility for a case are required to attend all Initial Child Protection Conferences. Where cases are in the process of transfer between teams, respective managers should agree who will attend. In complex cases it may be appropriate for both managers to be present.

In consultation with their team manager, the social worker must decide on the invitees to the Conference, complete the agency invitation checklist (see Appendix 2: Agency Invitation Checklist) and save this in the Section 47 episode.

The agency invitation checklist, although not exhaustive, provides guidance about the professionals who should be considered for invitation.

The following points should be considered:

As well as professionals, family members (including the wider family) should always be considered. Everyone with Parental Responsibility should be invited, including absent parents, unless there is a specific reason to exclude. Best efforts should be made to locate and invite birth fathers. Where the decision to exclude is taken it should be recorded, alongside the reasons, on a case note in the child/young person's Framework file.

Consideration should always be given to inviting the child or young person to their Conference, or to part of their conference, taking into account their age and maturity. Whether they attend or not, it is imperative that the child’s views are sought, communicated to the Conference and recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The child’s social worker must liaise with the CPC prior to the Conference in order to agree whether it is appropriate for the child to attend for all or part of the meeting. There is no standard letter to invite a child to their Conference, as it is likely to be most appropriate for the social worker to visit the child and parent/carers in order to discuss it with them, to explain the purpose of the conference and explain who else has been invited to the conference. It may be helpful to discuss the content of the leaflet “What is a conference? Young people and Child Protection Conferences” (see Leaflet 2: What is a Conference? Young People and Child Protection Conferences) with the child.

The social worker must also explain to the family that a number of professionals are routinely notified of all Child Protection Conferences in the locality.

The parents and the young person should be asked to attend 20 minutes prior to the start of the Conference to give them an opportunity to meet the chair.

Professionals should be invited to attend a Conference for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To provide information regarding current involvement with the family/knowledge of the family;
  • Where future engagement/service is likely e.g. new schools, agencies that will be undertaking assessments;
  • To bring specialist knowledge to the conference e.g. Women's Aid.

The GP of the child/ren, and of each parent/carer should be invited to and receive minutes of every Conference (both Initial and Review). This will be facilitated by secure email communication.

It is important to consider inviting both the community and hospital midwife and the midwifery manager for cases of unborn babies.

Information should be sought from the relevant department if the family is housed in Local Authority or housing association property, and an invitation to the conference should be considered.

The supervising social worker for foster carers should be invited as appropriate to the needs of the foster carers.

The police should be invited if there is on-going involvement or significant police information, or were involved in the enquiries.

Targeted Support or Early Help should be invited if currently involved or likely to become involved.

EDT must be invited when:

  • The specific incident commenced out of hours and the initial enquiries, including interview of child and/or parent/carer, took place during that period;
  • If Police protection or an EPO or Recovery Order was effected through EDT;
  • Where there have been three or more referrals generated through the EDT service within the six months period prior to the Initial Child Protection Conference.

Legal Services should not routinely be invited to all Conferences. They should be invited to those conferences where specialist legal advice is likely to be required. The team manager should decide when it would be appropriate to invite a legal representative.


5. Administrative Arrangements (ICPC invitations)

Following the completion of the checklist which will include confirmation of the date, time and venue for the Conference, the social worker will inform locality based business support staff who will be responsible for sending invitations to agencies. The social worker will have made telephone contact with most agencies during the initial enquiries and may already have informed some agencies about the arrangements for the ICPC. Where the social worker has not done so, then locality based business support staff should make telephone contact with agencies invited to the ICPC to provide them with as much notice as possible. Whoever makes the contact by telephone should record this in a case-note on the child/young person’s Framework file.

Where possible, invitations to professionals should be sent from and to a secure email address.

Invitation letters

Standard or adapted standard letters should be sent as appropriate. When being sent by post, correspondence regarding ICPCs should be sent by 1st class post. At the end of all letters of invitation, there should be a list giving the name and designation of all the people (including family members/young people) who have been invited to attend.

A copy of all letters of invitation should be uploaded onto the child’s Framework file by the social worker or business support officer who sent the letters.

Parents/Carers

Appendix 3: Invitation Letter to Parent(s)/Carer(s)

Standard invitation letter to parent(s)/carer(s) should be used with the name of each child to be considered at the conference included on the letter.

Leaflet 3: Child Protection Conferences - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013. Should be provided with the letter.

It may be appropriate for the social worker to take the written invitation to the parents and to explain what it means.

Young Person

There is not a standard letter to send an invitation to a young person. However, it may be appropriate to write a letter to a young person and give the letter with the leaflet “What is a Conference? - Young people and Child Protection Conferences'. (see Leaflet 1: What is a Conference? Young people and Child Protection Conferences)

Agencies

Appendix 4: Standard Agency Invitation Letter to Attend Child Protection Conference

Standard Agency invitation letter to attend a Child Protection Conference should be used. The name of each child to be considered at the Conference should be included on the letter.

Leaflet 5: Child Protection Conferences: Complaints - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013 should be sent out with this letter.

The invite and information leaflet advises professionals that they are required to submit a report, to be sent to the child’s social worker, at least 24 hours prior to conference, using their agency’s standard pro-forma or the NSCB pro-forma. The invite includes the name and contact details for the Child Protection Co-ordinator who will chair the meeting.

Invitations sent to GPs

All invites to GPs for Child Protection Conferences are to be sent by secure email to the Safeguarding Lead at the relevant GP Surgery.

Invitations to mental health workers, CAHMS and substance misuse workers (Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust)

The invitation to the ICPC should be sent to the relevant practitioner but also copied to the Central Safeguarding Team email address: not-tr.Safeguarding@nhs.net. This should be done from a secure (i.e. gcsx) email account.

Invitations to health visitors, school nurses, sure start and district nurses (Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust)

The invitation to the ICPC should be sent to the relevant practitioner but also copied to the health partnership email address: corinne.atkinson1@nhs.net. This should be done from a secure (i.e. gcsx) email account.


6. Social Worker’s Preparation for the Conference

6.1 Discussion with Child Protection Co-ordinator

The Child Protection Co-ordinator should be contacted well in advance of the start of the Conference if:

  • Key agencies are unable to attend;
  • It is thought that exclusion may be necessary;
  • A child/young person is to be invited to the Conference and how this will be managed;
  • Parents invited to the Conference are not parents of all the subject children and how this will be managed;
  • Anybody invited to the Conference has special needs/any disability/requires an interpreter/advocate;
  • There is any relevant information which would not be appropriate to discuss in front of parents/children;
  • There is any information about criminal convictions allegations or concerns which indicates that a person may pose a risk to a child. A decision will need to be made how this information (recorded on the individual's own electronic record) is shared at Conference. Although this information primarily relates to significant adults, it is important to remember that young people may also have relevant criminal convictions, concerns or allegations which could impact on the assessment;
  • It is thought that a parent/caregiver may present some challenging behaviours during the course of the Conference.

The reports from agencies invited to the Conference must be uploaded onto Framework as a priority once received by the social worker, in order for the Chair to read them prior to the conference.

6.2 Preparing the Family

It is important for the child’s social worker to prepare the parents, carers and young people well in advance of the Conference, for example so that family members are not taking in new information during the conference itself.

Parents and young people should be given a copy of the leaflets Child Protection Conferences - a guide for parents and carers (See Leaflet 3: Child Protection Conferences - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013) and What is a Conference? Young people and Child Protection Conferences’ (see Leaflet 2: What is a Conference? Young People and Child Protection Conferences). The social worker should help parents and young people clarify their views, opinions, and ideas - perhaps by encouraging them to write them down in preparation for the Conference. Good preparation of family members including young people will help to promote their participation in the Child Protection Conference. (See Participation of Children and Young People, Parents and Carers in the Child Protection Process Procedure).

The social worker must arrange to see the family at least 24 hours prior to the Initial Conference in order to:

  • Share the contents of the social work report, making a note of any points which the parents/young people do not agree with;
  • Explain the Conference process (this will include explaining which professionals have been invited to attend);
  • Arrange for family members to meet the chair of the Conference 20 minutes prior to the start of the Conference. If certain family members do not get on, careful planning will be required to ensure that the chair has the opportunity to see family members separately whenever this is necessary. The chair will explain to the parents/carers and children the structure and format of the Conference and how they will be able to contribute. The chair will advise parents/carers and children that their contribution to the decision-making processes of the Conference will be valued and due consideration will be given to their views and wishes;
  • Ensure that the family has made appropriate child care arrangements. It is not appropriate to have children in Conferences unless they are invited as participants. Consideration should be given as to whether help may be needed to make appropriate arrangements;
  • Discuss any difficulties about supporters; one parent's choice of supporter may upset the other parent.

The advocate/interpreter may need to be involved in this preparatory meeting.


7. Social Worker’s Report to the Initial Child Protection Conference

The social worker must produce the social work report for conference in Framework. This report should reflect the information gained so far from the assessments.

During the Conference the social worker will be asked to summarise the information contained in the report. It may be necessary for the chairperson to ask additional questions in order to clarify points.

Sufficient copies of the social worker’s report should be brought to the Conference, by the social worker, as it is unwise to rely on photocopying facilities at conference venues.

7.1 Important Points to Note about the Report:

  • Should be concise, analytical and contain a summary of relevant information. It is important to distinguish between fact, observation, allegations and professional opinion;
  • Should be written in plain English, jargon-free and with no unexplained abbreviations, so that it can be understood by parents, carers and professionals;
  • Should closely follow the agreed format - reports should not usually be any longer than 4 - 6 sides of A4, excluding the front sheet and family structure;
  • The ‘Family Structure/Significant Others Chart’ must be completed as fully as possible, noting exactly who lives in the household, ensuring all details including names in full are recorded accurately;
  • The background Information section should summarise relevant information and include the outcome of significant events;
  • Police criminal record checks should have been done on all relevant adults and young people prior to the Initial Child Protection Conference. It may not be appropriate for this to be included in the social worker report to conference, in these circumstances this information should be shared with the CPC in a confidential addendum to the report: Information regarding Criminal Convictions (see Appendix 5: Information Regarding Criminal Convictions);
  • If there are recommendations for legal action the Children's Service Manager should agree with the recommendations, prior to the conference;
  • It is important to include the parents' views about work or tasks which it is recommended that they will undertake as part of the Child Protection Plan. It is also important to note what the child thinks about the recommendations before the Conference, where appropriate;
  • The social worker and Team Manager should come to the conference with a clear view about the need for a Child Protection Plan based on the assessment and analysis. It is anticipated that no new information will become available at the Conference itself. However, if so, it will be necessary for the social worker and team manager to review their analysis about the need for a Child Protection Plan in the light of the new information.

7.2 Role of the Team Manager

  • The team manager has a key role of quality control in the process of producing the Children's Social Care report to conference and needs to be involved in the formulation of the final report. This will involve:
    • Discussing with the social worker the information to be included in the social work report including recommendations for the Child Protection Plan;
    • Checking the quality, content and length of the social work report in sufficient time prior to the conference to allow changes to be made;
    • Validate the social work report prior to its distribution.
  • The social work report should be available to the chair and minute-taker at least 24 hours prior to the Initial Conference. The social worker or team manager should complete the task of informing the conference chair the report has been completed and is available. The social worker should take sufficient copies of the report to the conference.


8. Initial Child Protection Conference Agenda

Appendix 6: Agenda for ICPC Agenda for ICPC. Laminated copies of this agenda will be available at the conference for all attendees. On the back of this form the criteria for a child becoming subject to a Child Protection Plan are available. They are available in larger print.
Appendix 7: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for ICPC Plain English Agenda for ICPC. This explains in a simpler version the Agenda for the ICPC. On the back of the form, the criteria for a child becoming subject of a Child Protection Plan are available, again written in plain English.
Appendix 8: Chair’s Working Agenda for ICPC Chair’s working agenda for ICPC. This form will be used by the chair and gives a clear indication of the points the chair will wish to cover under each agenda item.


9. Attendance

Parent(s), carer(s) or child (ren) may be accompanied by a friend or adviser who can help them to put forward their point of view. Their role will be to help the parent(s), carer(s) or child (ren) to communicate in the conference. Any professional person acting in this capacity e.g. solicitor, should be advised that they are attending in the capacity of a supporter and adviser. If a parent/child/carer is asked to leave a conference for any reason, their friend/adviser would also be asked to leave. However, if a parent/child/carer choose themselves to leave the conference the chair may decide that it is appropriate for their supporter to remain.

The participation of the child/young person should be promoted. The social worker should assess the most appropriate way for the child/young person to participate and to have their voice heard at the ICPC. (See Participation of Children and Young People, Parents and Carers in the Child Protection Process Procedure). If a child/young person wishes to attend for part or all of the conference, an assessment should be carried out to make sure that they are not exposed to risk of harm or harassment through their participation. Parents/carers or extended family may present a serious risk of significant harm in some circumstances. Young people at risk from forced marriage or "honour" based violence may be at significant risk of harm in these circumstances.

There is no minimum age for the participation of a child or young person. The deciding factor is how their participation can be achieved in their best interest.

Young children may have a limited understanding of what is happening to them, but this should not exclude professionals seeking their views about their lives.

Difficulties with a lack of child care should be identified at the earliest opportunity and addressed so that a child or young person is not placed in a situation where they have to attend a conference or core group inappropriately.

The participation of children and young people is not limited to their attendance at Conference. The views of the child or young person about the different ways they could participate should be considered. The decision about participation must promote their best interests. Any form of participation should not harm a child or young person in any way.

Attendance of managers and observers

Team Managers with overall management responsibility for the case are required to attend Initial Child Protection Conferences. Where cases are in the process of transfer between teams, respective managers should agree who will attend. In complex cases it may be appropriate for both managers to be present.

Requests for observers to attend a conference should be discussed with the Chair well in advance of the conference in order that agreement of the parent/carer/child can be sought by the social worker.


10. Exclusions

Guidance about when it may be necessary to exclude one or more family members is included in the NSCB safeguarding children’s procedure.


11. Role of the Chair

The Chair will begin each meeting by stating that the meeting will be conducted in accordance with the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures, that they are independent of operational or line management responsibilities for the case, as required in Working Together 2015, and that he or she is accountable to the Director of Children’s Services for the conduct of the conferences they chair.

It is the Chair’s responsibility:

  • To ensure that the focus of the conference is the welfare and protection of each child;
  • To establish a clear framework for managing the conference by use of the conference agenda;
  • To ensure that the conduct of the conference adheres to fair, open and honest discussion which allows all relevant contributions, regardless of professional status;
  • To promote a shared approach to the tasks;
  • To promote equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice and where appropriate to address oppressive or discriminatory language used within the conference;
  • To facilitate the participation of the parent(s)/carer(s), and child(ren) whether attending or not;
  • To make decisions about whether parent(s)/carer(s)/child(ren) and any friend/adviser should be excluded from the conference;
  • To make decisions on whether partial involvement of parent(s)/carer(s)/child(ren) and any friend/adviser is appropriate;
  • To enable the conference to distinguish between fact and opinion and/or unfounded value judgements;
  • To enable conference participants to contribute their views about whether the criteria for a child becoming the subject of a child protection plan has been met;
  • To make an analysis of risk and a recommendation as to whether the removal of the child from their current living situation, through legal action, is necessary;
  • To make the decision about the need for a Child Protection Plan, the category if one is made, and to ensure an outline child protection plan (review child protection plan at an RCPC) is formulated;
  • To identify if there are any dissentions to the decision;
  • To identify social work visiting frequency for each child and record this on Framework;
  • Where a decision is made at conference that the child will not be made the subject of a Child Protection Plan, following the conference, the social worker may consider whether the child is deemed a Child in Need. If so, an outline Child in Need plan should be formulated by the social worker, including which elements of the Child and Family Assessment are to be completed, and to be reviewed at an inter-agency Child in Need Review;
  • To record the outcome from the conference onto Framework;
  • To ensure that the Child Protection Plan and minutes are accurate and circulated appropriately using the agreed format.


12. Outline Child Protection Plan

12.1 Aim of the Child Protection Plan

Once a Chair has decided and given a rationale that a threshold for having a child protection plan has been met and the category for this has been set, the Chair will need to state what the aim of the child protection plan is. The aim of the child protection plan should be clearly linked to reducing the risk of harm to the child and promoting the child’s welfare.

During the ICPC the Chair should formulate the outline child protection plan by identifying the unmet needs of each child and the desired outcomes for each child which are clearly linked to the aim of the plan. The Chair will then agree clear actions and timescales, including an understandable sense of how much improvement is needed, and by when. It should not be too lengthy or detailed, however should be realistic and specific so that success can be judged. The outline child protection plan needs to clearly recommend how agencies, practitioners and family members can work together to achieve the desired outcomes.

12.2 The Outline Child Protection Plan

The plan should:

  • Clearly identify desired outcomes for the child which are linked to the aim of the plan;
  • Be clear about who will have responsibility for what actions, including actions by family members and within what specified timescales;
  • Make clear any expectations which are non-negotiable;
  • Specifically identify any action which requires immediate action;
  • Agree the minimum frequency for the social worker visiting each child;
  • Identify the lead social worker, core group members and date of the first core group meeting;
  • Confirm date and time of the Review Child Protection Conference.

The outline child protection plan should include a child specific contingency plan in case agreed actions and expectations are not completed and/or circumstances change.

Following the Initial Child Protection Conference the outline child protection plan will be recorded and distributed to all parties. The outline plan will be distributed to agencies by either secure email or Cryptshare.


13. Child Protection Conference Minutes

The social worker is expected to visit the family to deliver and go through the outline child protection plan and minutes of the conference. Parents/carers/young people may find a conference difficult for a number of reasons, and so may not 'hear' or 'take in' everything during a conference, so it is important they have the opportunity to go through the minutes with the social worker.

The social worker should use this opportunity to discuss the plan of work with the family which are recorded in the outline child protection plan. This should prepare the family for the first core group when the detailed child protection plan is drawn up.

The social worker should explain the plan to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding and agree the plan with the child.

The Initial Child Protection Conference Outline Child Protection Plan should be distributed within 1 working day of the conference. This helps the plan to start immediately. If a child protection plan is not made at the conference, the outcome of the conference will be sent out in the same timescale, i.e. 1 working day of the conference. In all cases, the full record of the conference should be distributed within the approved timescale.


14. What happens after the Child Protection Conference if a Child is made the subject of a Child Protection Plan?

14.1 Detailed Child Protection Plan and the Role of the Core Group

The purpose of the detailed plan is to put into operation the outline plan made at the initial child protection conference or the review child protection plan which is made at subsequent Review Child Protection Conferences (RCPC). The social worker's report to each review conference should refer to the (outline or review) plan made at the previous conference and explain how that plan has been addressed.

The Chair of the Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC) should refer back to the (outline or review) plan made at the previous conference and check the work carried out and progress made against that plan. The child protection plan must be reviewed and updated at every Child Protection Conference. The core group should subsequently update the detailed child protection plan.

The (outline or review) child protection plan will be developed into a specific and detailed inter-agency child protection plan by the core group. The social worker will be the lead professional for inter-agency work with the child and family, coordinating the contribution of family members and professionals putting the child protection plan into effect.

The core group should:

  • Meet within 10 working days following a Child Protection Conference (if the child is subject of a child protection plan) and there after meet no more than 6 weekly;
  • Develop the outline child protection plan, based on assessment findings, and set out what needs to change, by how much, and by when, in order for the child to be safe and have their needs met;
  • Clarify visiting frequency and contact with the child and family for all core group members;
  • Decide what steps need to be taken, and by whom, to complete the in-depth assessment to inform decisions about the child’s safety and welfare; and
  • Implement the child protection plan and take joint responsibility for carrying out the agreed tasks, monitoring progress and outcomes, and refining the plan as needed.

The first or second core group meeting following the Initial Conference should be chaired by the team manager. Subsequent core group meetings can be chaired by the team manager or social worker.

The core group should make sure everyone is clear about what they are being asked to do and that they are able to undertake these actions.

Following each core group meeting the detailed child protection plan recorded on the child’s file should be updated by the social worker and distributed to relevant professionals (and family where appropriate). A case note should record who the detailed child protection plan has been distributed to and how this was done i.e. sent by post or given in person and the date this was done.

When individual professionals are named in any child protection plan it is important to also show their job designation.

It is important that team managers and social workers use the outline (or review) and detailed plans within supervision to make sure that all work identified within the child protection plan is being properly addressed.

Where there is no progress being made in a timely way, there should be active consideration given to taking legal action.

14.2 Core Groups

For more information about the role of the core group, please see Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Safeguarding Children Procedures

14.3 Timescales for Visits to Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan

Our departmental standard is that all children subject to a child protection plan must be visited by the social worker at least every 4 weeks. In the majority of cases contact will be considerably more frequent. The outline (or review) child protection plan will have defined the appropriate frequency of visits for each child. Any changes to the agreed pattern of visits should normally be made at a review child protection conference. If it is felt appropriate to change the visiting pattern in between conferences, then this should be recommended at a meeting of the core group. It is, however, the responsibility of the team manager to approve any such change and this must be recorded on Framework. The preferred way would be for the team manager to be in attendance at the core group meeting considering the change. It is important for the rationale for any change to be clearly recorded in the core group minutes.

The above relates to minimum visiting standards and clearly any child must be visited more often if there are additional concerns regarding their safety.

The team manager has responsibility to ensure that visits are maintained if the social worker is absent from work e.g. sickness/annual leave.

Social workers should take to each supervision session a list of all children on their caseloads who are subject to a child protection plan with information about the visiting frequency in respect to each child. Team managers will also be able to refer to this list if workers are absent in order to make the necessary arrangements for the child to be visited.

All visits to children subject to a child protection plan should be recorded in case notes.

The social worker must ensure that the correct “Type of Note” is recorded

SW visit to child on CP plan - THIS child seen
or
SW visit to child on CP plan - child NOT seen

and the correct date and time of the visit is entered.

When the case note is finished this can be copied to other siblings, but the social worker must ensure that the correct “Type of Note” is recorded for each individual child as not all children in a household will be seen at every visit.


15. Review Child Protection Conference

Procedures for the preparation and decision-making at the Review Child Protection Conference should be the same as for the Initial Child Protection Conference.

The purpose of the Review Child Protection Conference is to consider whether the child is continuing to suffer, or is likely to suffer significant harm, and review developmental progress against child protection plan outcomes. If a child continues to need a child protection plan the RCPC will formulate a review child protection plan which will be developed into a detailed child protection plan by the Core Group.

Team managers should be actively involved in the planning, oversight, preparation and input to review child protection conferences.

15.1 Convening the Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC)

The date of the Review Child Protection Conference will have been agreed at the proceeding conference and will have been recorded in the minutes and discussed at Core Group meetings.

The social worker should complete the agency invitation checklist used to consider who should be invited to attend the RCPC.

All members of the Core Group as well as any other professionals involved with the child and family should attend the Review Conference. It should also be considered whether professionals who may become involved or have a specialist view should be invited to attend.

Invitations for RCPCs should be sent by secure email where possible. It is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that appropriate agencies have been invited.

The following standard letters should be used as the basis for the invitation and sent out at least 2 weeks prior to the RCPC:

Appendix 9: Invitation to Parent/Carer to Attend an RCPC Standard Letter - Invitation to parent/carer to attend an RCPC.
Appendix 10: RCPC Agenda Standard Letter - Agency invitation to an RCPC.

Depending on the child or young person’s age and understanding the social worker should positively promote their participation in the conference; this may include inviting the young person to part of the conference as discussed in section 4.

15.2 Social worker’s report to Review Child Protection Conference

The social worker must write a report using the agreed format on the Mosaic episode and the following points about RCPC reports should be noted:

  • If siblings (living in the same household) of the child whose name is subject to a Child Protection Plan are not subject to a Child Protection Plan themselves, the needs of the siblings must still be considered in the RCPC report. Contact should always be made with agencies involved with siblings who are not subject to a child protection plan, in order to seek their views prior to the conference and inform the social worker's assessment as to whether any risks of Significant Harm to the siblings who are not subject to a Child Protection Plan have increased. If there are new concerns about siblings who are not currently subject to a Child Protection Plan, consideration must be given to combining an ICPC on the siblings with the RCPC on the child subject to a Child Protection Plan. Any siblings not subject to a Child Protection Plan who are identified as Children in Need should have their CIN plan regularly reviewed;
  • In the RCPC report the social worker should refer to the (outline or review) child protection plan agreed at the last conference and explain how each point has been covered in the detailed Child Protection Plan and reflect on the effectiveness and impact of action taken so far;
  • The social worker should include in the report the significant issues and developments which have taken place since the last child protection conference, and further information which has come to light;
  • Dates for Core Group meetings and visits to parents and children should be included in the social worker's report to the Review Child Protection Conference. The visits to children shown in the report should include all social work contact with the child, not just visits made by the social worker writing the report. Where there is more than one child subject to a Child Protection Plan, it is preferable for visits to be shown against each child's name separately for example:

    Joe Bloggs: 3.10.14, 23.10.14, 8.11.14, 27.11.14, 11.12.14
    Mary Bloggs: 3.10.14, 21.10.14, 8.11.14, 27.11.14, 9.12.14

If the child/ren have not been seen at the frequency agreed as part of the Child Protection Plan the social worker should state the reasons for this:

  • In the recommendations section, the social worker should suggest any revisions which will be needed to the current Child Protection Plan.

15.3 Attendance

Refer to section 9. Attendance at Review Child Protection Conferences should replicate attendance for Initial Child Protection Conferences.

Team Managers should attend review Child Protection Conferences where there is significant complexity or there are other features of the case or the worker that indicate their attendance is necessary for example:

  • Where there have been agency disagreements;
  • Where the case has or has the potential to receive media attention;
  • Where there has been drift in the case and or the child protection plan has not been followed;
  • Where there has been a significant lack of engagement by the family leading to consideration of escalated intervention (legal action);
  • Where there have been significant complaints from the family regarding the departments intervention;
  • Where there has been a change of worker or the worker is inexperienced.

This is not an exhaustive list and a judgement about attendance should be made on a case by case basis. In some scenarios it will be appropriate to consider the use of practice consultants to support social workers at Review Child Protection Conferences.

15.4 Role of the Chair

Refer to Section 11. The Chair of the RCPC should refer to the (outline or review) child protection plan made at the previous conference and check the work carried out and progress made against that plan. The Child Protection Plan must be reviewed and updated at every RCPC.

15.5 The RCPC Agenda

Appendix 10: RCPC Agenda Laminated copies of this agenda will be available at the conference for all attendees. Copies are available in larger print.
Appendix 11: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for RCPC Plain English Agenda for RCPC. This explains in a simpler version the Agenda for the ICPC. On the back of the form, the criteria for a child becoming subject of a Child Protection Plan are available, again written in plain English.
Appendix 12: Chair's Working Agenda for RCPC Chair’s working agenda for RCPC. This agenda will be used by the chair. It gives a clear indication of the points the chair will wish to cover under each agenda item.

15.6 Ending a Child Protection Plan

A child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan if it is judged that:

  • It is judged that the child is no longer continuing to, or is likely to, suffer significant harm and therefore no longer requires safeguarding by means of a child protection plan;
  • The child and family have moved permanently to another Local Authority area. In such cases, the receiving Local Authority should convene a Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of the being notified of the move. Only after this event may the Local Authority discontinue its Child Protection Plan; or
  • The child has reached 18 years old, (to end the Child Protection Plan, the Local Authority should have a Review Child Protection Conference around the child’s birthday and this should be planned in advance); or
  • The child has died or permanently left the United Kingdom.

When the Child Protection Plan in relation to a child is brought to an end, all relevant professionals should be informed. Consideration should be given to informing professionals invited to the Initial Child Protection Case Conference that led to the plan.

If following the end of a Child Protection Plan, in the view of the Chair of the Conference, support services are still required; the Chair may recommend that a CIN plan is considered. A decision should then be made by the Team Manager as to whether a Child in Need plan should be put in place, or whether the case should be stepped down to Common Assessment Framework (CAF) (see Appendix 14: Pathway to Provision - Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance). If the view is that it is appropriate to close the case to social care, the social worker should seek the views of other agencies to gain an understanding of their assessment in light of the case closure recommendation.

If there is a disagreement between agencies over case closure, there should be discussion, which is recorded, between the appropriate line managers within each agency to resolve the issue. For further information please refer to the escalation process of the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Safeguarding Children Procedures.

Reference should be made to the step down process within the Pathway to Provision document. (see Appendix 14: Pathway to Provision - Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance)


16. Ending a Child Protection Plan for a Child temporarily resident in Nottinghamshire

When a child from another Local Authority who was temporarily residing in Nottinghamshire has:

  • Moved out of Nottinghamshire;

    or
  • Has had their plan brought to an end by the originating Local Authority.

The Child Protection Co-ordinator has the responsibility to ensure this is reflected in the child's Framework record. The Child Protection Co-ordinator will liaise with the relevant team manager to arrange for any relevant agencies within Nottinghamshire to be informed of the change in circumstances. The team manager must ensure that these activities, and the reasons for it, are clearly recorded on the child's Framework case file.


17. Looked After Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan

When a child is looked after and there are no plans for return home and no unsupervised contact with an alleged perpetrator a decision about ending the child protection plan may take place without a Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC). In liaison with the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO), the Child Protection Co-ordinator (CPC) and team manager should review the Care Plan, to ensure that the child protection needs are met in the Care Plan. If it is felt that the Child Protection Plan should be brought to an end, this should be agreed with at least one other agency prior to ending the plan and the reasons clearly recorded. The Team Manager and the CPC should identify which professionals should be informed. This should include the child's G.P, all professionals invited to the most recent RCPC, the Safeguarding Children Information Management Team, any other professionals identified by the CPC or team manager. The team manager and CPC will need to agree how the parents will be informed of the decision. The CPC will confirm the decision with the parents in writing.

A Child Protection Plan for a Looked After Child is only necessary as a supplementary to the Care Plan if risks of significant harm remain that cannot be managed within the LAC care plan. The principle is that as far as possible a child should only be subject to one process. Good quality communication between the team manager, CPC and Independent Reviewing Officer is essential in order to promote clear, timely, well-informed decision making.

Even if a child's is deemed no longer to require a Child Protection Plan there still needs to be an inter-agency response to Looked After Children.

If the Care Plan changes once the Child Protection Plan has been brought to an end and consideration is being given to the child returning home, an ICPC must be held prior to the child returning home. If the child is subject to a Care Order, such a placement should always be made under the 'Placement with Parents' Regulations (See Secure Accommodation – Application, Admission & Reviews Procedure). This principle applies to Interim Care Orders under the Children and Young People subject to Dual Status (See Children and Young People Subject to Dual Status Procedure).


18. Appendices

Appendix 1: ICPC/Strategy Meeting Booking Form
Appendix 2: Agency Invitation Checklist
Appendix 3: Invitation Letter to Parent(s)/Carer(s)
Appendix 4: Standard Agency Invitation Letter to Attend Child Protection Conference
Appendix 5: Information Regarding Criminal Convictions
Appendix 6: Agenda for ICPC
Appendix 7: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for ICPC
Appendix 8: Chair’s Working Agenda for ICPC
Appendix 9: Invitation to Parent/Carer to Attend an RCPC
Appendix 10: RCPC Agenda
Appendix 11: Parents, Carers and Young People’s Agenda for RCPC
Appendix 12: Chair's Working Agenda for RCPC
Appendix 13: Guidance to Professionals
Appendix 14: Pathway to Provision - Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance

18.1 Leaflets

Leaflet 1: What's Child Protection? A guide for Young People on Child Protection Enquiries
Leaflet 2: What is a Conference? Young People and Child Protection Conferences
Leaflet 3: Child Protection Conferences - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013
Leaflet 4: Child Protection Enquiries - A guide for Parents and Carers 2013
Leaflet 5: Child Protection Conferences: Complaints - A guide for Parents and Carers 2014

End