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3.6 Child Protection Conferences

AMENDMENT

This chapter was slightly amended in August 2013 in regard to the change of Head of Safeguarding.


Contents

1. Initial Child Protection Conference
  1.1 Purpose
  1.2 Timing of the Conference
  1.3 Pre-birth Conferences
2. Child Protection Conference Arrangements when a Child who is Subject to a Child Protection Plan in another Jurisdiction becomes Resident on the Isle of Man
3. The Review Child Protection Conference
  3.1 Purpose
  3.2 Timing
4. The Conference Process
  4.1 Attendance
  4.2 Involving the Child and Family Members
  4.3 Quorate Conferences
5. Information for the Conference
6. Actions and Decisions for the Conference
7. Decision Making at the Initial Conference
8. Child Subject of a Child Protection Plan
  8.1 Overview
  8.2 Child not Subject of a Child Protection Plan
  8.3 Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan
  8.4 When a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan becomes a Looked After Child
9. Recording
  9.1 Immediate Information
  9.2 Conference Minutes
10. Action following the Child Protection Conference
11. Complaints about a Child Protection Conference
12. Chairing the Conference


1. Initial Child Protection Conference

1.1

Purpose

  1.1.1

The Initial Child Protection Conference brings together family members, the child, where appropriate, and those professionals most involved with the child and family following a Section 46 Enquiry. Its purpose is:

  • To bring together and analyse in an inter-agency setting, the information which has been obtained about the child’s developmental needs, and the parents’ or carers’ capacity to respond to these needs, to ensure the child’s safety and promote the child’s health and development within the context of their wider family and environment;
  • To consider the evidence presented to the conference, make judgements about the likelihood of a child suffering Significant Harm in future and decide whether the child is at continuing risk of harm;
  • To decide what future action is required to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of the Child, how that action will be taken forward, and with what intended outcomes.
  1.1.2 Those professionals and agencies who are most involved with the child and family, and those who have taken part in a Section 46 Enquiry, have the right to request that Social Services convene a conference, if they have serious concerns that a child’s welfare may not be adequately safeguarded. Any such request that is supported by a senior manager, or a Named Professional or a Designated Professional, should normally be agreed. Where there remain differences of opinion as to the necessity of a conference, every effort should be made to resolve them through discussion. Use of the Escalation of Concerns Procedure may be appropriate if a resolution cannot be found.

1.2

Timing of the Conference

  1.2.1 Once the decision to have an Initial Child Protection Conference has been made the case conference should take place within 15 working days. This decision could be made at any Strategy Discussion during the course or at the conclusion of the Section 46 Enquiry.
  1.2.2 Any delay should be agreed at a meeting with the Head of Safeguarding within Social Services within the 15 day period. Records must be kept of this meeting by the Head of Safeguarding giving the reasons for the delay and agreeing the latest date for the conference to be held. The reasons for this should be recorded in the minutes and shared at the conference. This information should be passed to the chair of the SCB Quality Assurance Group.

1.3

Pre-birth Conferences

  1.3.1

In the case of concerns about the safety of unborn children, a conference may be held as a result of:

  • The outcomes of a Core Assessment on a case already known to Social Services indicating that the unborn child may be at risk of Significant Harm;
  • Previous children having been removed from the family as a result of legal proceedings and the family are known to Social Services;
  • Previous historical knowledge indicates that there is a strong likelihood of the baby suffering Significant Harm.
  1.3.2 Pre-birth Child Protection Conferences should therefore normally be held as soon as possible after the 24th week of pregnancy. This will allow for proper plans to be made prior to the birth of the baby. The plan may need to be reviewed if the circumstances of the mother significantly change.
  1.3.3 The relevant midwife should always attend Pre–birth Conferences. 


2. Child Protection Conference Arrangements when a Child who is Subject to a Child Protection Plan in another Jurisdiction becomes Resident on the Isle of Man

2.1 An Initial Child Protection Conference must be held (see above) when a Child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan in another jurisdiction becomes resident on the Isle of Man.
2.2 The timing of the Conference must be such that the Local Authority currently responsible for the Child Protection Plan, the child’s parents and the child if of an age and understanding are able to attend.
2.3 The Local Authority currently responsible for the Child Protection Plan must be requested to provide the Core Assessment, the Child Protection Plan and a report summarising the current situation in advance of the Initial Child Protection Conference.


3. The Review Child Protection Conference

3.1

Purpose

  3.1.1

The purpose of the Review Child Protection Conference is to:

  • Review the safety, health and development of the child against the intended outcomes set out in the Child Protection Plan;
  • Ensure the plan continues to adequately protect the child from risk of harm;
  • Bring together and analyse information about the child’s health and development and the parent/carers’ capacity to ensure the child’s safety and welfare;
  • Make judgements about the likelihood of the child suffering Significant Harm in the future;
  • Decide what action is required to safeguard the child and promote their welfare.

3.2

Timing

  3.2.1 The first Review Conference should take place within 90 working days of the Initial Conference.
  3.2.2 Further Review Conferences must be held at intervals of not more than 6 months, for as long as the child is judged to be at risk of harm and there is the need for a Child Protection Plan.
  3.2.3

Consideration must always be given to bringing the date of the conference forward when:

  • There is a new incident of abuse;
  • There are difficulties in carrying out the Child Protection Plan;
  • A child is to be born into the household of a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • An offender convicted of offences against a child joins or commences regular contact with the household;
  • There are significant changes in the family circumstances, not anticipated at the previous conference that have implications for the safety of the child;
  • The Core Group, at any early stage, believes that the child no longer needs to be subject to a Child Protection Plan.


4. The Conference Process

4.1

Attendance

  4.1.1

Professionals attending conferences should be there because they have:

  • Professional expertise relevant to the case; and/or
  • Knowledge of the child and family; and/or
  • Represent their agency’s accountability to safeguard children.
  4.1.2 The social work manager should consider whether to seek advice from, or have present, a medical professional who can present the medical information in a manner which can be understood by the conference attendees and enable such information to be evaluated from a sound knowledge base.
  4.1.3 There should be sufficient information and expertise available – through personal representation and written reports - to enable the conference to make informed decisions and plans. However, a conference that is larger than it needs to be can inhibit discussion and intimidate the child and family members.
  4.1.4

Those who have a relevant contribution to make to a conference may include:

  • The child or his or her representative;
  • Family members;
  • Staff from Social Services who may have led or been involved in an assessment of the child and family;
  • Foster carers (current or former);
  • Residential care staff;
  • Professionals involved with the child (for example, health visitor, midwife, school nurse, paediatrician, school staff, early years staff, GP);
  • Professionals involved with the parents or other family members (for example, family support services, adult mental health services, probation, GP;
  • Professionals with expertise in the particular type of harm suffered by the child or in the child’s particular condition, for example a disability or long term illness;
  • Those involved in investigations (for example the police);
  • Children’s Guardian;
  • Children’s advocate (not lawyer, from advocacy service);
  • Social Services legal representative (child care);
  • Involved voluntary organisations.

4.2

Involving the Child and Family Members

  4.2.1 Before a conference is held, the purpose of the conference, who will attend and the way it will operate should be explained to the child of sufficient age and understanding, the parents and other involved family members. They should be given a leaflet (see the Isle of Man SCB website) explaining the Child Protection Conference and informed that they may choose to bring a friend or supporter to help them fully participate in the conference and express their view. This may be a legal advocate acting in the role of a supporter.
  4.2.2 Subject to consideration of their age and understanding, the child(ren) should be given the opportunity to attend the conference should they so wish. They should be told that they may bring a friend or supporter. 
  4.2.3

In deciding whether to give a child the opportunity to attend the conference the primary questions to be addressed are:

  • Does the child have sufficient understanding of the process?
  • Have they expressed an explicit or implicit wish to be involved?
  • What are the parents’ views about the child’s attendance?
  • Is inclusion assessed to be of benefit to the child?
  4.2.4 Normally it should be assumed that a child of twelve or over should be eligible to attend unless there is a reason not to do so.
  4.2.5 If the child states that they do not wish to attend the conference this must be respected. Similarly, if they wish to attend, this should be acceded to unless it can clearly be shown that this is contrary to their best interests.
  4.2.6

When the child does not attend the social worker must ensure that every effort is made to ensure the child’s views are conveyed to conference members. This may be via:

  • A pre-meeting with the conference chair;
  • Written statements/e-mails/text messages and recorded comments.
  4.2.7 Where the child or the parents/carers are bringing a friend or supporter it should be explained to them that the role of a friend or supporter is not to represent the parent/child or to speak on their behalf, but to provide emotional support and assist them in understanding the information presented to the conference and in expressing their view. In exceptional circumstances a conference chair may prevent a friend or supporter from attending a conference (e.g. where their presence is disruptive or where the person is deemed to a risk to children).
  4.2.8 Where the child’s attendance is neither desired by them, nor appropriate, the Social Services professional who is working most closely with the child should ascertain their wishes and feelings and make these known to the conference.
  4.2.9

Parents should normally be invited to attend the conference and be helped to participate fully in the conference. Such help is the responsibility of the child’s social worker and should include:

  • Assistance with preparing for the conference, including thinking in advance what they want to convey and how best to do this. Some may wish to prepare a written report, and assistance with this should be given should the parent/carer so wish;
  • Help with travel arrangements to and from the conference;
  • Provision of an interpreter for parents/children whose first language is not English or, who are deaf and use sign language, see Use of Interpreters, Signers or Others with Communication Skills Procedure;
  • Assistance with reading written material if this is required;
  • Ensuring that the exact requirements needed to support fully the participation of parents with disabilities are identified, and that these requirements are met;
  • Informing the conference chair if the child or family are bringing a friend, relative or supporter;
  • Young children should not attend conferences, and alternative child care arrangements should be made for them with the help of the social work team where necessary.
  4.2.10 The child’s social worker should brief the conference chair if there are any reasons why it may not be possible to involve all family members at all times in the conference; for example, if there is a high level of conflict between family members or adults, and any children who do not wish to speak in front of one another.
  4.2.11 There is an expectation that all relevant information will be shared in line with the and Information Sharing and Confidentiality Guidance (see the Isle of Man SCB website). If a professional is concerned about sharing a specific piece of information they should discuss this with the conference chair before the conference and reach a decision about how the information can be presented.  In no circumstances should information be withheld.
  4.2.12 Parents/carers should only be excluded partially or completely from the conference if one of the criteria (see Paragraph 4.2.14 below) applies. The decision to exclude rests with the chair of the conference. Reasons for exclusion should be conveyed to the parents, both orally and in writing. Reasons for exclusion should also be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
  4.2.13 If parents are excluded or unable to attend, they should be enabled to communicate their views to the conference by another means; for example, via a written report. The chair, in consultation with conference members, will agree what information from the minutes of the meeting will be received by the excluded person.
  4.2.14

Criteria for excluding parents/carers from a Child Protection Conference:

  • Full Exclusion
    • A strong risk of violence or intimidation by a family member at or subsequent to the conference, towards a child or anybody else;
    • If the parent or carer presents on the day or during the meeting in a way which indicates that they are likely to cause disruption to the meeting.
  • Partial Exclusion
    • The presence of an alleged perpetrator may affect the outcome of criminal proceedings.

4.3

Quorate Conferences

  4.3.1 The primary principle for determining quoracy is that there should be sufficient agencies present to enable safe decisions to be made in the individual circumstances.
  4.3.2 The minimum representation for quoracy is Social Services and at least two other agencies which have had direct contact with the child and family.
  4.3.3

Where a conference is inquorate it should not normally proceed and in such a circumstance the chair must ensure that either:

  • An immediate Child Protection Plan is produced;
  • Any existing plan is reviewed with the professionals and family members that do attend so as to safeguard the welfare of the child;
  • The notes of this discussion must be minuted and circulated to all those who should have attended the conference;
  • Another conference date is set immediately.
  4.3.4

In exceptional circumstances the chair may decide to proceed with the conference despite lack of agency representation. This may occur where:

  • A child has not had relevant contact with three agencies (see Paragraph 4.3.2 above);
  • Sufficient information is available and delay will be detrimental to the welfare of the child.


5. Information for the Conference

5.1 All information provided to the conference, whether written or verbal, should take care to distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion.
5.2 At the Initial Conference, Social Services should provide the conference with a report relating to each child. This should be consistent with the information set out in the Initial Child Protection Conference Report.
5.3

Although a Core Assessment is the means by which a Section 46 Enquiry is carried out, it is unlikely that it will have been completed in time for the Initial Conference. The report will therefore summarise and analyse the information obtained so far and should include:

  • A Genogram that has been prepared with the family;
  • A Chronology of significant events and agency and professional contact with the child and family;
  • Information on the child’s current and past developmental needs;
  • Information on the capacity of the parents and other family members to ensure the child is safe from harm, and to respond to the child’s developmental needs, within their wider family and environmental context;
  • The expressed views, wishes and feelings of the child, parents and other family members with regard to the services or actions being considered;
  • An analysis of the implications of the information obtained for the child’s future safety and of meeting his or her developmental needs.
5.4

Other professionals attending the Initial Conference who have had direct contact with the child and family should provide a written report using the SCB Report Template in advance, outlining:

  • A Chronology of their involvement with the child and family;
  • Knowledge they have concerning the child’s health and development, the capacity of the parents and other family members to safeguard the child and family and environmental factors which might affect parenting capacity;
  • Their analysis of the implications of the information for the child’s future safety and meeting of his or her developmental needs.
5.5 For the Review Conference, the Core Group has a collective responsibility to produce reports which together provide an overview of the work undertaken by family members and professionals and evaluate progress against the outcomes specified in the detailed Child Protection Plan
5.6 In addition to the reports above, the outcome of the completed Core Assessment will also be presented to the Review Conference.
5.7 All written reports for the Conference must be submitted to the Conference Chair two full working days before the Conference.
5.8 The Conference Chair will ensure that all written reports are circulated to all conference participants at least one day prior to the Conference.
5.9 It is expected that the content of all reports to Conference will have been explained to family members (including to children of an appropriate age) in advance of the Conference.


6. Actions and Decisions for the Conference

6.1

It is the role of the conference to:

  • Decide whether the child is at continuing risk of Significant Harm and therefore requires inter-agency help and intervention delivered through a formal Child Protection Plan;
  • Formulate an outline plan;
  • Ensure that, where a child is not judged as being at continuing risk of Significant Harm, consideration is given as to whether the child may need services to promote his or her development.
6.2 It is the role of the conference chair to determine which of the categories of abuse or neglect the child has suffered. The category used (that is Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse or Neglect) will indicate to those consulting Social Services’ record the primary presenting concerns at the time the child became the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Use of multiple categories should be minimised in order to maintain focus on the most pressing issues. 


7. Decision Making at the Initial Conference

7.1

The test as whether the child is at continuing risk of Significant Harm should be that either:

  • The child can be shown to have suffered ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a result of physical abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse or neglect, and the professional judgement is that further ill-treatment or impairment are likely; or
  • Professional judgement, substantiated by the findings of enquiries in this individual case or by research evidence, is that the child is likely to suffer ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development as a result of physical abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse or neglect.
7.2 Where the conference is equally divided for the need for a Child Protection Plan, the chair will make the final decision. See Complaints about a Child Protection Conference which provides specific procedures to be followed where there are formal complaints regarding the functioning of a Child Protection Conference.
7.3

The conference decision should result from the chair ensuring that:

  • All the information available to conference has been scrutinised by the conference members and information that is missing has been noted;
  • All conference members have had an opportunity to present their views and challenge the views of others.


8. Child Subject of a Child Protection Plan

8.1

Overview

  8.1.1 Where a child is to be made subject of a Child Protection Plan, it is the responsibility of the conference to consider and make recommendations on how agencies, professionals and the family should work together to ensure that the child will be safeguarded from harm in the future.
  8.1.2

The conference should:

  • Appoint the lead statutory social worker who will act as key worker. They should be a qualified, experienced social worker. Where it is not possible to appoint a key worker at the conference it becomes the responsibility of the team manager whose team is bringing the case to ensure the key worker role and functions are met and that a key worker is appointed by the first Core Group meeting;
  • Identify the membership of a Core Group of professionals and family members who will develop and implement the Child Protection Plan as a detailed working tool;
  • Consider whether a Family Group Conference/Meeting would be an effective way of engaging the wider family group in developing and implementing the Child Protection Plan;
  • Establish how children, parents (including those with Parental Responsibility) and wider family members should be involved in the ongoing assessment, planning and implementation process and the support, advice and advocacy available to them;
  • Establish timescales for meetings of the Core Group, production of a Child Protection Plan, and for child protection review meetings;
  • Identify in outline what further action is required to complete or update the Core Assessment and what other specialist assessments of the child and family are required to make sound judgements on how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • In the case of an Initial Conference, outline the Child Protection Plan, especially identifying what needs to change in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Ensure a Contingency Plan is in place if agreed actions are not completed and/or circumstances change;
  • Agree a date for the Review Child Protection Conference, and clarify under what circumstances it might be necessary to convene the conference before that date.

8.2

Child not Subject of a Child Protection Plan

  8.2.1

If it is decided at the Initial Conference that the child does not need a Child Protection Plan, the conference should develop an outline Child in Need Plan. It may be helpful to use a Family Support Meeting or Family Group Conference to complete the Child in Need Plan, and to engage the wider family group in this process. 

8.3

Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan

  8.3.1

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 risk of Significant Harm requiring safeguarding by means of a Child Protection Plan. Under these circumstances only a Child Protection Conference can decide that a Child Protection Plan is no longer necessary;
  • The child and family have moved permanently off Island.  In such cases the receiving local authority should convene a Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of being notified of the move. Only after this event, and after written confirmation has been received, should the Child Protection Plan be discontinued in the original authority;
  • Where the child’s parents are in the Armed forces and are moving to an overseas command, Social Services should ensure that Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA FH), the British Forces Social Work Services (overseas), or the Naval Personal and Family Service (NPFS) for Royal Naval families, are informed and can confirm that appropriate resources exist in the proposed location to meet identified needs;
  • The child has reached 18 years of age, has died or has permanently left the UK. 
  8.3.2

When a Review Child Protection Conference agrees that a child is no longer subject of a Child Protection Plan:

  • Notification should be sent to all those agencies’ representatives who were invited to attend the Initial Child Protection Conference, subsequent reviews or Core Group meetings;
  • The Review Child Protection Conference should discuss with the child (if attending) and family what services continue to be required in order to meet the child’s developmental needs;
  • Recommendations should be made concerning whether the child continues to be a child in need, and the content of any Child in Need Plan;
  • In most instances, a Child in Need Plan will be required for a minimum of three months in order that the child and family continues to receive appropriate support;
  • If a Child in Need Plan is not agreed at this point, the reasons for this should be clearly recorded;
  • The key worker should meet with the child and family within 10 working days of the discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan in order to confirm the content of any Child in Need Plan and the process for implementation and review;
  • The decision to discontinue a Child Protection Plan can only be made by a meeting of the Review Child Protection Conference. It must not be conducted as a paper exercise or by telephone conversation.
8.4

When a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan becomes a Looked After Child

  8.4.1 When a child subject to a Child Protection Plan becomes a Looked After Child (LAC) the LAC review process becomes responsible for interagency planning for the child’s future. 
  8.4.2

A Review Child Protection Conference should be convened to:

  • Agree the discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan;
  • Ensure that the LAC process is fully informed of the known risks to the child.
  8.4.3 For all Looked After children, any changes to the child or young person’s care arrangements, or circumstances such as a return to their birth parents, should be discussed and take into account the risks previously identified by a Child Protection Conference. In some instances it may be appropriate to convene a conference to evaluate risk. In all instances a full evaluation of any risks needs to be made by the allocated practitioner, authorised by a manager and recorded on the case file.


9. Recording

9.1

Immediate Information

  9.1.1

A letter outlining the decisions and recommendations of the conference and date of the first Core Group meeting will be sent within 2 working days to parents, children (where appropriate) and all those invited to the conference.

9.2

Conference Minutes

  9.2.1 Social Services will be responsible for ensuring that all Child Protection Conferences have a dedicated person to take notes and produce minutes of the meeting.
  9.2.2

The conference minutes will include the following information:

  • A list of those present and apologies for absence;
  • Family composition and legal status of the children;
  • A record of any delay in convening the conference with the reasons;
  • Reasons for the decision to convene a conference;
  • The essential facts of the case;
  • A summary of discussion at the conference;
  • All decisions reached, and reason for the decisions;
  • The outline or revised Child Protection Plan.
  9.2.3 A copy of the minutes will be distributed to all agencies and parents invited to the conference, whether or not they were present, except where any agency has indicated that there is no current involvement with the family or any planned for the future.
  9.2.4 Minutes will not be distributed to any friends, supporter or advocates who have attended the conference.
  9.2.5 Full minutes will be distributed within 15 working days.
  9.2.6 Minutes are a confidential document and should not be passed by professionals to third parties without the consent of either the conference chair or the key worker. However, in cases of criminal proceedings, the Police will have to reveal the existence of the notes to the Attorney General’s Chambers in line with our disclosure in criminal proceedings arrangements.
  9.2.7 Arrangements must be made to keep the minutes securely and retained by the recipient agencies in accordance with their record retention policies. They should not be filed in professional records that have open access.


10. Action following the Child Protection Conference

10.1

The key worker is responsible for:

  • Understanding the concerns of the Child Protection Conference, the details of the risk assessment leading to the Child Protection Plan and the Conference’s expectations of the Core Group;
  • Ensuring parents are clear about the outcomes of the Conference and their contribution to the Core Group;
  • Co-ordinating the work of the Core Group to ensure that the outline Child Protection Plan is developed into a more detailed inter-agency plan;
  • Ensuring that all Core Group members understand the role and function of the Core Group and have a copy of the leaflet Attending Core Group Meetings (the Isle of Man SCB website);
  • Completing the Core Assessment, securing contributions from Core Group members and others as necessary;
  • Acting as lead worker for the inter-agency work with the child and family;
  • Seeing the child as agreed in the Child Protection Plan in order to monitor their well-being and be aware of their wishes and feelings;
  • Co-ordination of the actions required to put the Child Protection Plan into effect and reviewing progress against the objectives set out in the plan.


11. Complaints about a Child Protection Conference

11.1

Children, parents and care givers are entitled to make representations or complain in respect of one or more of the following aspects of the functioning of Child Protection Conferences:

  • The process of the conference;
  • The outcome, in terms of the fact of and/or the category of primary concern at the time the child became the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • A decision for the child to become, or not become, the subject of a Child Protection Plan or not, or to cease the child being the subject of a Child Protection Plan.
11.2 Complaints about individual agencies, their performance and provision (or non-provision) of services should be responded to in accordance with the relevant agency’s complaints handling process.
11.3 Complaints about aspects of the functioning of conferences described in Paragraph 7.2 above should be addressed in the first instance by the conference chair. If it is not possible to resolve the complaint at this stage Social Services should convene an inter-agency panel made up of senior representatives from the Safeguarding Children Board. The panel should consider whether the relevant inter-agency protocols and procedures have been observed correctly, and whether the decision that is being complained about follows reasonably from this.
11.4 Professionals contributing to the child protection process do not have a formal means of complaint against it as do family members. However, professionals who dissent from the consensus view of the Child Protection Conference will have their dissent recorded and in the event that professional views are equally split between the need for a Child Protection Plan or not the conference chair will decide.
11.5 More generally, a professional from any agency may formally express their concern to Social Services about the management of a particular child’s circumstances. In this instance the file will be read and reviewed by a Service Manager, the professional raising the concerns will be met with and spoken to and the outcome will be recorded on the case file and any actions implemented.
11.6 If a professional remains concerned and in situations where a resolution cannot be sought the Escalation of Concerns Procedure should be used.  


12. Chairing the Conference

12.1

The conference chair should be:

  • A qualified and experienced worker in children’s services, independent of operational or line management responsibilities for the case;
  • Trained in the role and having:
    • A good understanding and professional knowledge of children’s welfare and development and best practice in working with children and families;
    • The ability to look objectively at, and assess the implications of, the evidence on which judgements should be based;
    • Skills in chairing meetings in a way which encourages constructive participation, while maintaining a clear focus on the welfare of the child and the decisions which have to be taken;
    • Knowledge and understanding of anti-discriminatory practice.
12.2

Prior to the meeting the conference chair should:

  • Meet the child and family members to ensure that they understand the purpose of the conference, what will happen and explain about the complaints procedure;
  • Decide whether a conference is quorate (see Quorate Conferences).
12.3

During the meeting the conference chair should:

  • Set out the purpose of the meeting to all those present, confirming the agenda and emphasising the confidential nature of the occasion;
  • Enable all those present and absent contributors to make their full contribution to discussion and decision making;
  • Encourage detailed scrutiny of the information presented to conference and constructive challenge between conference members;
  • Ensure that neither the content of the meeting, nor the way in which it is conducted, is discriminatory and that any discriminatory behaviour is addressed;
  • Ensure that the conference takes the decisions required of it in an informed, explicit and systematic way.
12.4

Following the meeting the conference chair should:

  • Ensure that the conference minutes are circulated to the correct people within the expected timescale: for more information see Paragraph 9.1.1 and Paragraph 9.2.5 above;
  • Ensure that the key worker who will chair the Core Group understands:
    • The concerns of the Child Protection Conference;
    • The details of the risk assessment leading to the Child Protection Plan;
    • The expectations upon the Core Group;
    • That, in the event it is not possible to implement the Child Protection Plan, the Conference Chair must be informed.
12.5 For more information about Core Groups, see Developing Implementing the Child Protection Plan, The Core Group.

End