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3.6 Transfer Policy

AMENDMENT

In June 2018, this chapter was extensively updated and should be read throughout.


Contents

1. Guidance Outline and Exceptions
2. Overview of Teams
3. General Principles for the Transfer of all Cases in Children’s Social Care
4. MASH
5. Assessment Team
6. Specific Circumstances


1. Guidance Outline and Exceptions

This guidance outlines the transfer process for all cases from the point of referral, and should be read in conjunction with:


2. Overview of Teams

2.1 MASH: is the point of Initial Referral (for new referrals regarding children who do not have an allocated social worker) (see Initial Referral Procedure). In co-ordination with police and other partners the MASH will undertake the primary exchange of information and make a decision regarding the need for further statutory or non-statutory assessment or intervention in accordance with the Pathway to Provision (Nottinghamshire County Council).
2.2 Assessment Service: there are two Assessment Teams operating in the County, North (Mansfield, Bassetlaw and Newark) and South (Broxtowe, Gedling, Rushcliffe and Ashfield). Following the receipt of a new referral the Assessment Team will complete a Child and Family Assessment (see Child and Family Assessment Procedure) to determine whether the child is in need of specialist support from children’s social care, is in need of protection or a child in need of care. When required the Assessment Team will complete Section 47 enquiries and take emergency protective action to safeguard and protect the child. On completion of the Child and Family Assessment the case will either close, be stepped down or transfer to another children’s social care team with a child protection plan, child in need plan or care plan (Looked After Child).
2.3 District Child Protection Team (DCPT): there are District Child Protection Teams (DCPT) for each of the 7 districts (Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Rushcliffe). The DCPT’s complete all work with children who have a child in need (CIN) plan or child protection (CP) plan, as well as the initial care planning for looked after children (LAC).
2.4 Through Care Service: a countywide service for looked after children (LAC), those children subject to legal proceedings and care leavers.
2.5 Children's Disability Service (CDS): a countywide service which carries out all of the statutory social work duties and responsibilities for children and young people with a permanent and substantial disability, see Children's Disability Service - Threshold Criteria for Children's Social Care. Following the receipt of a new referral the CDS undertake Child and Family Assessments (including Section 47 enquiries), complete all work with children who have a Child in Need (CIN) plan or Child Protection (CP) plan, as well as the care planning for Looked After Children, working with children subject to legal proceedings and those transitioning into adult care services.


3. General Principles for the Transfer of all Cases in Children’s Social Care

3.1 The safe and smooth transition of work between all social workers and teams is essential in protecting the child and promoting the child's welfare.
3.2 Cases will transfer at an appropriate time for the child and family.
3.3 As soon as a case transfer is recommended, the transferring team manager and the nominated manager for the receiving team must have a conversation and reach agreement about the timing and arrangements for the case transfer and ensure there is a smooth transition. It is essential that there is good communication between the outgoing manager and incoming manager and when needed telephone conversations and face to face meetings will take place.
3.4 When cases transfer from the MASH or an Assessment Team to a DCPT the outgoing manager will ensure that at the earliest opportunity details of the case are sent to the incoming DCPT using the district transfer e-mail address. The DCPT Managers will respond and advise who the case will be allocated to.
3.5 When cases transfer from an Assessment Team to a DCPT an invitation to attend the planning meeting (child in need planning meeting, child protection conference or looked after review) must be sent to the incoming DCPT using the district transfer e-mail address. The DCPT Managers will respond and advise who will be attending the meetings.
3.6 The electronic case file (Mosaic) for each child must be up to date, all steps, case notes, minutes, plans and a chronology must be completed as appropriate to the case at the point the transfer. The person summary on the child’s electronic case record must be updated ensuring all known family members are cross referenced, telephone numbers and contact details are correct and known professionals are linked.
3.7 It is the responsibility of the outgoing social worker to ensure that all professionals, family members and child(ren) know why the case is transferring, when the case is transferring and the contact details of the new social worker.
3.8 It is the responsibility of the incoming team to immediately communicate with all family members and professionals to confirm the name and contact details of the social worker, team manager and where available social work support officer (SWSO).
3.9 Once the transfer is agreed the outgoing and receiving social worker must have a conversation to share information.
3.10 Where a case transfers (except transferring from the MASH) the outgoing and receiving social workers should work together to ensure all relevant information is shared. The receiving social workers should be invited to attend the child in need planning meeting, child protection conference or looked after review where the future plan for the child is going to be agreed. When possible the outgoing social worker should introduce the receiving social worker in person to the child(ren) and key family members either at the planning meeting (as above) or at a separate meeting or home visit. Organising this must not delay the transfer of a case.
3.11 Upon transfer, cases will be assigned to the incoming work folder for the receiving team. Any immediate actions required or dates agreed must be made explicit at the time of transfer. Management responsibility and oversight of the work must be clear at all times.
3.12 In all cases (except transfer from MASH to another team [1]) the outgoing social worker must write a case note titled ‘Transfer Immediate Actions’ which will alert the incoming manager and social worker to actions which need to be completed immediately, specifically, information regarding financial arrangements and contact must be made explicit.
3.13 In all cases (except transfer from the Assessment Service [2]) the outgoing social worker must write a case note titled ‘Transfer Summary’ which contains details of the agreed case transfer, a summary of the child’s current circumstances and details of any actions to be undertaken. This must include the dates and details of any forthcoming meetings, visits or reviews.
3.14 In all cases the outgoing team manager must write a case note titled ‘Case Transfer’ which details the agreement with the receiving team manager and date of the case transfer.
3.15 Due to the specific needs of a child or family there may be times when it is appropriate for a case to transfer to another social worker or team which is outside the normal transfer process. In these instances the children’s service manager (CSM), for the outgoing and receiving teams must reach agreement about the timing and arrangements for the case transfer and ensure there is a smooth transition. The outgoing CSM must write a case note titled ‘Case Transfer’ which details the agreement with the receiving CSM and date of the case transfer.

[1] The MASH enquiry and outcomes should contain all relevant information and rational for progression to assessment, a separate ‘Transfer Immediate Actions’ case note should not be required.

[2] When a case transfers from an Assessment Team there will be a completed Child and Family Assessment and a completed plan for the child.  The assessment and plan will contain the required information regarding the reasons why the case is transferring, the needs and risks which need to be met and the outstanding work which is required to meet these needs and risks.


4. MASH

4.1 All enquiries (apart from the exceptions listed below) regarding the welfare and protection of a child, which meet the level 4 threshold (see Pathway to Provision (Nottinghamshire County Council)) for Children's Social Care involvement will transfer from the MASH to the relevant Assessment Team or CDS for a Child and Family Assessment to be undertaken.
4.2

The maximum time cases will be held in the MASH before it is transferred will be determined by the initial RAG rating (colour-coded priority):

Red: Will be processed by MASH within 1 working day (8.5 hours) Assessment Team will be immediately alerted about the nature of the case;

Amber: Will be processed by MASH within 2 days (17 working hours);

Green: Will be processed by MASH within 3 working days (25.5 working hours).

4.3 The MASH team manager is responsible for the quality assurance of the information collected and shared in the MASH. Prior to transfer the manager must confirm in the actions and decisions form that they have reviewed the information and the threshold for Children's Social Care involvement is met.
4.4 Once the relevant and necessary data collection and investigation has been undertaken the MASH team manager will determine the point at which a MASH enquiry [3] is complete and the case should be transferred.
4.5

Exceptions: the following will transfer directly from MASH to the relevant team(Includes Public and Private Law Proceedings)

  • Requests for Section 7 or Section 37 Court Reports will transfer from the MASH to the Court Team unless it is an open case, in which case it will transfer to the team where the child is open;
  • Proceedings initiated by another Local Authority will transfer to the Court Team; if at an early point in proceedings or to DCPT if an Order is near to being made e.g. Supervision Order;
  • Re-referrals: Any closed case re-referred within three months will be returned to the team that closed the case [4];
  • Chid in Need (CIN) cases transferred in from another Local Authority will transfer from the MASH to the relevant DCPT. Prior to the case transfer the MASH must ensure that the outgoing authority has provided detailed information regarding the assessment completed and the child in need plan;
  • Children with a Child Protection Plan who are moving to Nottinghamshire from another Local Authority will be referred to the Safeguarding Children Information Management Team (SCIMT) and transferred to the DCPT where the child lives;
  • Referrals regarding unborn babies before 16 weeks of the pregnancy may be eligible transfer directly from the MASH to the court team under the Cafcass plus scheme in the following circumstances:
    1. Parents of all unborn babies known to Children’s Social Care, where there have been previous children removed from the care of parents; proceedings have been previously issued;
    2. Where either parent has a conviction for offences against a child.

[3] A ‘MASH enquiry’ is the means by which a new referral to children’s social care is recorded by the MASH.

[4] The date of closure is fixed when the last step, on the child(ren’s) case file has been completed. If the family have moved to live in a different district the case should transfer to the relevant team which covers the new district. Re-referral of cases that have been previously open to CDS will be transferred from MASH directly to CDS unless the criteria for CDS are no longer met.


5. Assessment Team

5.1 All cases (apart from the exceptions listed below) will transfer from the Assessment Team to the relevant DCPT (The District of the child’s permanent address) with a completed Child and Family Assessment and a completed plan for the child(ren) (Child in Need Plan, Outline Child Protection Plan or Plan for a Looked After Child), which has been agreed at the relevant Multi-agency planning meeting (Child in Need Planning Meeting ProcedureInitial Child Protection Conference Procedure or First LAC Review Procedure).
5.2

Exceptions: the following will go directly to the relevant team.

  • Children/young people for whom there is a permanent Looked After Child (LAC) plan will transfer to the Through Care Team;
  • Cases that have been closed in the Through Care (Looked After Child) Team and the child has been re-accommodated will transfer to the LAC team;
  • Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) will be transferred to the Assessment Team for completion of the initial information gathering and where required an age assessment, prior to transfer to the Through Care Service (LAC team) at the placement planning meeting (held within 72 hours):
  • Referrals regarding unborn babies before 16 weeks of the pregnancy may be eligible transfer to the court team under the Cafcass plus scheme in the following circumstances:
    1. Parents of all unborn babies known to Children’s Social Care, where there have been previous children removed from the care of parents; proceedings have been previously issued;
    2. Where either parent has a conviction for offences against a child.
CSM for Assessment Team should speak to the CSM for the Court Team and agree whether a case is eligible for the Cafcass plus scheme and when the case will transfer to the court team.


6. Specific Circumstances

1.

Private Fostering

  i. The Private Fostering Procedure Suitability Assessment is completed by the Local Authority where the Private Foster Carer lives.
  ii. If a notification of a private fostering arrangement is received regarding a private fostering arrangement in another local authority the notification will be passed to the responsible authority who will undertake the assessment of suitability.
  iii. If a notification of private fostering arrangement is received regarding an arrangement within Nottinghamshire a record of the Private Fostering Notification should be entered on electronic case record for the child(ren) and adult carer(s) by the team who receives the notification.
  iv. A Private Fostering Suitability Assessment is the only assessment required unless additional needs or risks are identified and an assessment under Section 17 or Section 47 Children Act (1989) is needed.
  v. If a Private Fostering Suitability Assessment is required for a child who has an open case and where the private foster carer lives in Nottinghamshire, the allocated social worker will complete the initial visit within 7 days and the full Private Fostering Suitability Assessment regarding the child(ren) and adult carer(s) within 45 days.
  vi. If a Private Fostering Suitability Assessment is required for a child who does not have an open case and where the private foster carer lives in Nottinghamshire, the relevant Assessment Team or CDS will complete the initial visit within 7 days and the full Private Fostering Suitability Assessment regarding the child(ren) and adult carer(s) within 45 days. On completion of the Private Fostering Suitability Assessment the case will transfer from the Assessment Team to the relevant District Child Protection Team.

2.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

  i. If the decision is made that the Local Authority will accept an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) under the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) see Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure. MASH will complete a MASH Enquiry using the information from the Unaccompanied Unique Child Record (UUCR) and then transfer the case to the appropriate team.
  ii. When an UASC is already identified as being Section 20 (CA 1989) Looked After the case will transfer directly to the LAC Team and the normal LAC process is followed from this point:
  iii.

All other cases will be transferred to the Assessment Team to complete an age assessment if required. The case will transfer to the Through Care Service (LAC) Team at the placement planning meeting (held within 72 hours). The assessment service will complete all the relevant paper work for a LAC child including the IHA form and alert the IRO service. This includes:

  • Dubs Case – Assessment Team until placement planning meeting (and following age assessment if required) then transfer to LAC;
  • Dublin III – Assessment Team completes the viability assessment and then transfer to DCPT if open on CIN Plan at CIN Planning Meeting. If accommodated due to accommodation with family not being viable then accommodated under s20 and transfer to LAC at 72 hour placement planning meeting.

3.

AIM Assessment

  i. Please refer to Children and Young People who Sexually Harm Procedure.
  ii. Where there is reason to suspect that a child or young person has sexually abused another child, the needs of alleged offender, alleged victim and the potential for further abuse must be considered with a Child and Family Assessment.
  iii. Where the need for an AIM Assessment is identified the assessment should commence as soon as practical. A child specific Child and Family Assessment should always be commenced with the AIM evidence based tools used to consider the level of supervision that is required for an individual, together with their developmental and intervention needs.
  iv. Following a new enquiry the case will transfer from the MASH to the Assessment Team where the Child and Family Assessment will be completed and where necessary AIM tools used and a CSH meeting convened [5].
  v. Where an AIM Assessment is needed for a child / young person who has an allocated SW, the allocated social worker (and an AIM trained Social Worker) should complete an updated Child and Family Assessment using AIM tools and a CHS meeting convened.

4.

Child Death Rapid Response

  i. Please refer to NSCB, Unexpected Death of a Child Procedure.
  ii. Where there is an unexpected child death, information gathering will take place in the MASH, and the case will transfer to the relevant Assessment Team who will attend the initial case discussion and follow up meeting.
  iii. Where a child has died in suspicious circumstances it is the Assessment Team who will take the lead to arrange the multi-agency Child Death Strategy Meeting and complete a Child and Family Assessment and Section 47 enquiries regarding all children / young people living in the household.
  iv. If a follow up Child Death Strategy Meeting is agreed, but no role is identified for the Children’s Social Care (CSC) the case will close. If CSC is requested to attend a follow up meeting the Assessment Team, team manager or social worker will attend.

5.

Unborn Babies

  i. Please refer to NSCB, Responding to Abuse and Neglect Procedure, Potential Risk of Harm to an Unborn Child
  ii. There is no minimum gestational age at which MASH enquiry [6] will be accepted. It is essential that a thorough assessment and care planning is undertaken at an early stage, avoiding crisis intervention.
  iii. If the threshold for assessment is met regarding an unborn child a Child and Family Assessment [7] should be completed to determine whether further CSC involvement / interventions are required. If the unborn baby is deemed to be at risk of Significant Harm, an Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) should be held at the earliest opportunity prior to Estimated Due Date (EDD).
  iv. All enquiries that come into the MASH of a relinquished baby will transfer to the Assessment Team for a Child and Family Assessment [8] to be completed (this should be done jointly with the Permanence Team).
  v. In cases where assessment of an unborn child is required and there is an older sibling with an allocated Social Worker in an Assessment Team, District Child Protection Team or CDS, the child enquiry will transfer from the MASH and the Child and Family Assessment will be completed by the team in which the older sibling is open.
  vi. In cases where assessment of an unborn child is required and there is an older sibling with an allocated Social Worker in the Through Care Team the child enquiry regarding the unborn will transfer to the Assessment Team to complete a Child and Family Assessment. Whilst the Child and Family Assessment is completed there should be close working between the allocated social worker in the Assessment Team and the allocated Social Worker in the Through Care Team ensuring sharing of information. The allocated social worker in the Though Care Team will provide the social worker in the Assessment Team with an updated Chronology.
  vii. Where there has been a significant family history, but no CSC involvement for over three months the referral of an unborn child will transfer from the MASH to the Assessment Team to complete a Child and Family Assessment. In these circumstances, discussion is needed between the Assessment Team Manager and the relevant previous Team Manager to ensure that knowledge of the case history is utilised to provide a coherent approach to siblings within the family.
  viii. No child should be discharged from hospital where there are safeguarding concerns unless there is an agreed plan between the responsible consultant and CSC as to how those concerns will be addressed and the child adequately safeguarded on discharge. If concerns are identified prior to the birth of a child NSCB, Responding to Abuse and Neglect Procedure must be followed. This does not mean that delays in discharge through inadequate planning are acceptable.
  ix.

When a referral is received in an early stage of pregnancy the case may be suitable for a consideration under the Cafcass Plus Scheme - Nottinghamshire scheme in the following cases:

  1. Parents of all unborn babies known to Children’s Social Care, where there have been previous children removed from the care of parents; proceedings have been previously issued;
  2. Where either parent has a conviction for offences against a child.
  3. Unborn babies where safeguarding concerns are sufficient to consider a high likelihood that care proceedings will be issued.

The motivation of families, particularly mothers, is believed to be at an optimum during the course of pregnancy. The more work which can be undertaken at this early stage has the potential to maximise the prospect of success.

Please note if the parent has a learning disability or learning/mental health difficulties which would mean they do not have the capacity to give consent they cannot be referred to Cafcass Plus.

The MASH will refer pre-birth children in the target groups 1 and 2 direct to the Court Team where there is the potential to do an assessment and hold the LPM by week 25 in pregnancy. Group 3 will be assessed in the district child protection or assessment teams.

To meet this timescale referrals to the court team can only be made until week 16 of the pregnancy.

6.

Legal Planning Meetings

  i. When considering a legal planning meeting please refer to Legal Planning Meetings and Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline
  ii.

The cases of children who require a LPM will transfer according specifications below:

  1. Planned LPM identified in the Assessment Team - case will transfer to the DCPT following the ICPC (or CIN planning meeting) with an immediate action on the plan that a LPM should be booked. The incoming team will be responsible for booking the LPM and completing the required paperwork for the LPM.

    In LAC cases the CSM’s will agree the point at which the case should transfer;
  2. Urgent LPM arranged by an Assessment Team with outcome:

    Public Law Outline (PLO), Case will Transfers to DCPT at first PLO meeting (if the PLO meeting is before the ICPC, the case will transfer at the ICPC, the Assessment Team and DCPT social worker must attend the PLO meeting).

    Immediate issue – a worker from the Court Team is allocated following the LPM to co-work the case. Case responsibility transfers to the Court Team at first hearing – SW in Assessment Service would need to be available for Case Management Hearing (CMH).
  3. Planned LPM arranged by DCPT, CDS or LAC Team – case will remain with the team who arranged the LMP who will complete the paperwork and the allocated social worker and team manager to attend the LPM.
  4. Urgent LPM arranged by a District Child Protection Team, CDS or LAC Team with outcome:

    Public Law Outline (PLO), Case remains with the team who arranged the LPM with the expectation that the work will continue within that process.

    Whilst in PLO process - If the DCPT Team Manager is of the view that an application to court should be made they will ensure that updated paperwork is approved by the DCPT CSM prior to the second review of the PLO process (16 weeks).

If the DCPT CSM approves the plan to make an application to court the updated paperwork will be sent to CSM Court and Permanence who will review this and record the decision on child’s file within 5 working days. In cases where amendments are required these will be completed by DCPT in 5 working days and returned to CSM for Court and Permanence who will record the decision on child’s file. Legal Services are then advised of the decision to proceed with an application to court.

The case will transfer to the Court Team at the CMH.

In LAC cases CSM’s will agree point at which case transfers.

Immediate Issue will transfer to the Court Team at the CMH.

[5] There should not be a separate Child and Family Assessment and AIM Assessment, the AIM assessment and analysis should be included into the child specific Child and Family Assessment.

[6] A ‘MASH enquiry’ is the means by which a new referral to children’s social care is recorded by the MASH.

[7] A separate ‘pre-birth assessment’ should not be completed, all relevant information regarding the unborn child, their needs and identified risks should be incorporated into this ‘single assessment’.

[8] A separate ‘pre-birth assessment’ should not be completed, all relevant information regarding the unborn child, their needs and identified risks should be incorporated into this ‘single assessment’.

End