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3.9 Child Protection Review Conferences

RELATED CHAPTERS

NB This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Recording Principles.

See also Unborn Babies at Risk of Significant Harm Procedure

AMENDMENT

The chapter was amended in January  2014. In Section 7, Looked After Children with a Child Protection Plan, the requirement was added that Child Protection Plans (including Outline Child Protection Plans) must explicitly state the frequency of social work visits to the child/young person as well as the frequency of visits to the child/young person by all other professional members of the Core Group.


Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Frequency
  3. Lead Social Worker's Reports
  4. Attendance
  5. Administration
  6. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan
  7. Looked After Children with a Child Protection Plan
  8. Outcomes


1. Purpose

1.1

The purpose of a Child Protection Review Conference is:

  • To receive the completed assessment from the Core Group at the first Child Protection Review Conference;
  • To review the safety, health and development of the child against planned outcomes set out in the Child Protection Plan and Social Work Assessment;
  • To ensure that the measures put in place to safeguard the child continue to be effective and appropriate;
  • To consider the child’s wishes and feelings;
  • To bring together and analyse information about the child’s health, development and functioning and the parent’s capacity to ensure the child’s welfare against planned outcomes set out in the Child Protection Plan;
  • To consider whether the Child Protection Plan should continue or should be changed and set desired outcomes and timescales;
  • To consider whether the child is continuing to suffer, or is likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  • To determine the need for further assessment;
  • To check that inter-agency co-ordination is functioning effectively;
  • To make judgements about the likelihood of the child suffering Significant Harm in the future;
  • To consider if the child’s needs can be met without the need for a Child Protection Plan.
1.2 The conference must consider all the children in the household, even if concerns are only being expressed about one child.
1.3 The Child Protection Review Conference must decide explicitly if the child is still at continued risk of Significant Harm and hence whether there is an ongoing need for a Child Protection Plan.
1.4 If the Child Protection Plan continues, the relevance of the Category of Significant Harm must be reviewed.
1.5 If the child no longer requires a Child Protection Plan, the Review Conference should consider what support may benefit the child and family and who is responsible for providing that support under the Early Help Strategy.


2. Frequency

2.1 1. The first Review Conference should be held within 3 months from the date of the initial conference
2. Further reviews must be held at intervals of not more than 6 months, for as long as the child requires a Child Protection Plan. Where a looked after child is subject to a Child Protection Plan please refer to The Child Protection Plan - including Lead Social Worker and Core Group Responsibilities Procedure, Looked After Children and Child Protection Plans Procedure.
3. An early Review Conference should be convened in the following circumstances:
  • Where there is a further incident or allegation of Significant Harm to a child with a Child Protection Plan;
  • If the Child Protection Plan is failing to protect the child or of there are significant difficulties in carrying out the Child Protection Plan;
  • Where a child is to be born into the household of a child with a Child Protection Plan;
  • Where a person considered to be a risk to children is to join or commences regular contact with children in the household;
  • Where there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family not anticipated at the previous conference and with implications for the safety of the child;
  • Where a child with a Child Protection Plan is Looked After by the local authority and consideration is being given to returning the child to the circumstances where care of the child required a Child Protection Plan (unless this step is anticipated in the existing plan). NB Significant changes to the Care Plan can only be made at the Looked After Review;
  • Where the Core Group believe that the child no longer requires a Child Protection Plan;
  • Where the previous Conference was inquorate.

3. Lead Social Worker’s Reports

3.1 The Lead Social Worker should provide to the conference a report including a chronology of significant events, using the relevant report format, which must be endorsed and counter signed by his or her manager.
3.2 Information on all children in the household must be provided and the report should be clear about which children are the subjects of concerns.
3.3

The Conference will require as part of a written report:

  • An evaluation of the progress made in reducing the risk to the child whilst the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • At the first Child Protection Review Conference, a copy of the full Social Work Assessment, together with any specialist assessments that have been commissioned, an analysis of the assessment findings and recommendations for the Child Protection Plan;
  • A view from the Core Group as to whether or not the child continues to need a Child Protection Plan.
3.4 The report should be explained and discussed with parents and children (to the extent that it is believed to be in their interests) in their preferred language at least 3 working days before the Review Conference. This will enable any factual inaccuracies to be identified, amended and areas of disagreement noted. Comments or suggestions made by the child/parents as a result of seeing the report must be included or conveyed verbally to the conference.
3.5 In exceptional circumstances where confidential information cannot be shared with the child or parent(s) beforehand, the social worker should seek guidance from his or her manager, who may wish to consult the Conference Chair.
3.6 Where required, the report should be translated into the relevant language or medium, taking account of the language and any sensory or learning needs of the child/parents.
3.7 The report should be provided to the Conference Chair at least 3 working days in advance of the Review Conference.
3.8

All contributors and Core Group members should provide, in advance, a written report to the Conference Chairperson that should be made available to those attending - the Agency Report for Child Protection Conference should be used.

Reports should be shared with the child and family in advance of the meeting and sufficient copies provided for attendees.


4. Attendance

4.1

Attendees should include those most involved with the child and family in the same way as at an Initial Child Protection Conference.

As a minimum, at every review conference there should be attendance by local authority Children’s Social Care and at least two other professional groups or agencies, which have had direct contact with the child who is subject of the conference. In addition, attendees may also include those whose contribution relates to their professional expertise or responsibility for relevant services. In exceptional cases where a child had not had relevant contact with these agencies (that is, local authority Children’s Services and two others) this minimum quorum may be breached.

The review requires as much preparation, commitment and management as the initial child protection conference. Each member of the core group has a responsibility to produce an individual agency report on the child and family for the child protection review. Together, these reports provide an overview of work undertaken by family members and professionals, and evaluate the impact of the interventions on the child’s welfare against the planned outcomes set out in the child protection plan. Those unable to attend should send their report to the lead social worker prior to the core group meeting and where possible, delegate attendance to a well briefed colleague. The content of the report to the review child protection conference should be consistent with the information set out in the Child Protection Review (Department of Health and Social Care, 2002).

4.2

The requirements relating to quoracy are the same as for an Initial Child Protection Conference.

See Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure.


5. Administration

5.1 Members of the Initial Child Protection Conference will be informed at the end of the Conference of the date of the Child Protection Review Conference, which will also be recorded in the record of the meeting. However, newly involved professionals will be invited directly to the Child Protection Review Conference by the Lead Social Worker. 
5.2 The Child Protection & Review Unit will be responsible for the preparation of the record of the meeting. 
5.3 The Lead Social Worker will advise parents, children and foster carers, and will have the same responsibilities as a social worker prior to an Initial Child Protection Conference - see Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure.
5.4 Each Child Protection Review Conference will set the date for the next review and note this date in the record.


6. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan

6.1

A child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan if:

  • It is judged that the child is no longer at continuing to be or be likely to suffer Significant Harm and therefore require safeguarding by means of a Child Protection Plan. Under these circumstances, only a Child Protection Review Conference can decide that a Child Protection Plan is no longer necessary;
  • The child reaches the age of 18 years. To end the Child Protection Plan, the local authority should have a Child Protection Review Conference around the child’s birthday and this should be planned in advance;
  • The child has moved permanently to another local authority area. In such cases, the receiving local authority should convene a Transfer Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of being notified of the move, and only after this has taken place may the Child Protection Plan be discontinued or transferred to the new local authority;
  • The child has permanently left the UK. In which case all reasonable efforts will be made to liaise with relevant agencies in the receiving country;
  • The child has died.
6.2 In the case of the third and fourth criteria as listed above, it is permissible for the Manager of the Child Protection & Review Unit to remove a child’s name without the need to convene a Child Protection Review Conference only when s/he has consulted with relevant agencies invited to/present at the conference which first decided that a Child Protection Plan was required, in which case the decision and the outcome of the consultation should be recorded in the child protection section of the child’s file.
6.3 Any dissenting views or disagreements with this decision will be included in the record of the meeting.
6.4

In the event of the death of a child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan, the CPRU Manager should notify all agencies invited to the Initial Child Protection Conference of the child’s death. Action should also be taken to safeguard any other child/ren identified as at risk of Significant Harm as a result of the child’s death in accordance with the procedures contained in Part 3 of this Manual. The child’s death will be managed in accordance with the procedures contained in Part 9 of this Manual.

6.5 When a child is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan as a result of a Child Protection Review Conference decision, notification should be sent, as a minimum, to representatives of all those agencies involved with the child and those who were invited to attend the Child Protection Conference that led to the Child Protection Plan
6.6 The Conference Chair should also write to the parents and the child (depending on his/her age and understanding) advising them of the decision. 


7. Looked After Children with a Child Protection Plan

7.1

In most cases where a child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan becomes Looked After, it will no longer be necessary to maintain the Child Protection Plan. There are however a relatively few cases where safeguarding issues will remain and a Looked After child should also have a Child Protection Plan. These cases are likely to be where a local authority obtains an Interim Care Order in family proceedings but the child or young person who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan remains at home, pending the outcome of the final hearing or where a young person's behaviour is likely to result in Significant Harm to themselves or others.

7.2

Where a Looked After child remains the subject of a Child Protection Plan, there should be a single planning and reviewing process, led by the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO), which meets the requirements of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 (now archived) as well as the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 and associated statutory guidance (including the IRO Handbook), which sets out the frequency with which the child's Care Plan should be reviewed at Looked After Reviews chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO).

7.3

The timing of the Child Protection Review Conference and the child's Looked After Review should therefore be carefully coordinated by the local authority to ensure that up to date information in relation to the child's welfare and safety is considered within the Looked After Review and informs the overall care planning process. The Looked After Review, when reviewing the child protection aspects of the Care Plan, should consider whether the criteria continue to be met for the child to remain the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

7.5

It is recognised that there are different requirements for the independence of the IRO function compared to the chair of the Child Protection Conference. In addition, it is important to note that the Child Protection Conference is required to be a multi- agency forum while children for the most part want as few external people as possible at a review meeting where they are present. However, it will not be possible for the IRO to carry out his or her statutory function without considering the child's safety in the context of the care planning process.

In this context consideration should be given to the IRO chairing the Child Protection Conference where a Looked After child remains the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Where this is not possible it will be expected that the IRO will attend the Child Protection Review Conference. Consideration should also be given to how best to ensure the child protection aspects of the Care Plan are reviewed as part of the overall reviewing process, including the multi-agency contribution to this review, leading to the development of a single plan.

7.6 Child Protection Plans (including Outline Child Protection Plans) must explicitly state the frequency of social work visits to the child/young person as well as the frequency of visits to the child/young person by all other professional members of the Core Group.


8. Outcomes

8.1  Every Child Protection Review Conference should consider explicitly whether the child continues to be likely to suffer of Significant Harm and therefore continues to need safeguarding through a Child Protection Plan.
8.2 If not, then the child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.
8.3

The fact that a child may no longer require a Child Protection Plan should never lead to the automatic withdrawal of services and the Child Protection Review Conference can recommend that services should continue to remain available to the child/family under the Early Help Strategy.

The Child Protection Review Conference should agree with the child and family a plan for the provision of support services and a lead person should be identified to coordinate the plan.
8.4 The plan must be reviewed at regular intervals of no more than 3 months.

End