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2.1.10 Child Protection Review Conferences

AMENDMENT

This chapter was extensively revised and updated in April 2016 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Purpose 
  2. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan
  3. Frequency 
  4. Reports 
  5. Attendance 
  6. Administration 
  7. Outcomes 
  8. Dissent from Review Conference Decision
  9. Minutes 


1. Purpose

The purpose of a Child Protection Review Conference is:

  • To review whether the child is continuing to suffer, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, and review developmental progress against child protection plan outcomes;
  • To consider whether the Child Protection Plan should continue or should be changed;
  • To consider the child’s wishes and feelings;
  • To examine the current level of risk;
  • To determine the need for further assessment;
  • To check that inter-agency co-ordination is functioning effectively;
  • Make judgements about the likelihood of the child suffering Significant Harm in the future;
  • To consider if the child’s need for safeguarding can be met without a Child Protection Plan in place.

The same decision-making procedure should be used to reach a judgment on this issue as is used at the Initial Child Protection Conference.

If the Child Protection Plan continues, the relevance of the Category of Significant Harm must be reviewed.


2. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan

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

  • It is judged that the child is no longer suffering, or likely to suffer, Significant Harm requiring safeguarding by means of a Child Protection Plan (e.g. the likelihood of harm has been reduced by action taken through the Child Protection Plan; the child and family’s circumstances have changed; all reassessment of the child and family indicates that a Child Protection Plan is not necessary). Under these circumstances, only a Child Protection Review Conference can decide that the Child Protection Plan is no longer necessary;
  • 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 being notified of the move.  Only after this event may discontinuing the Child Protection Plan take place in respect of the original local authority’s Child Protection Plan.

    See Children Moving Across Local Authority Boundaries Procedure;
  • The child has reached 18 years of age (to end the Child Protection Plan, the local authority should have a review around the child’s birthday and this should be planned in advance);
  • Has died; or
  • Has permanently left the UK.  In the latter case, all reasonable efforts will be made to liaise with relevant agencies in the receiving country.

In the case of the third, fourth and fifth criteria as listed above, it is permissible for the Service Manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance to remove a child’s name from the List without the need to convene a Child Protection Review Conference only when s/he has consulted with relevant agencies 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.

When a child is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan, notification should be sent, as a minimum, to all those agency representatives who were invited to attend the Child Protection Conference that led to the Child Protection Plan.

The parents and the child (depending on his/her age and understanding) will receive a letter advising them of the decision.

The Conference Chair will write to the child if they have attended the Child Protection Conference (depending on his/her age and understanding) to thank them for their participation and confirm any actions they have agreed to undertake as part of the plan.

A plan should only end at a first review Child Protection Conference if:

  1. The perpetrator of the abuse is incarcerated and does no longer pose a risk to the children;

    and/or
  2. There was a critical piece of information that was not made known at the Initial Child Protection Conference, that had this been known, this would have prevented a CP Plan being made at the initial Child Protection Conference;

    or
  3. The child has become a Looked After Child with no imminent plan to return home.


3. Frequency

  1. Except in relation to 3 below, the first Review Conference should be held within 3 months of 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;
  3. Where an unborn child has been identified as requiring a Child Protection Plan at a pre-birth conference, the first Review Conference should be scheduled to take place within 4 to 6 weeks of a child’s birth. This may be extended to 2 months with the written authorisation of a Children Social Services Service Manager if information from a post natal assessment is crucial for a well informed review conference;
  4. An early Review Conference should be considered in the following circumstances:
    1. Where there is a further incident or allegation of Significant Harm to a child with a Child Protection Plan;
    2. If the Child Protection Plan is failing to protect the child or if there are significant difficulties in carrying out the Plan;
    3. 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;
    4. Where the previous Conference was inquorate.
  5. Where the core group members consider that there has been significant progress in the Child Protection Plan and there is a likelihood that the Child Protection Plan could end.


4. Reports

The Lead Social Worker should provide a typed, signed and dated written report including a genogram, chronology of significant events, using the relevant Pro Forma, which must be endorsed and counter signed by his or her manager.

Information on all children in the household must be provided and the report should be clear about which children are the subjects of the conference.

Social Workers with support from their Managers will:

  • Attend and lead the organisation of the conference;
  • Provide information in the form of a written report to enable informed decisions about what action is necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child who is the subject of the child protection plan, and about the effectiveness and impact of action taken so far. This will include details of contributions by Core Group members, commissioned pieces of work and parental views;
  • Provide a view from the Core Group as to whether or not the child continues to need a Child Protection Plan;
  • Share the conference information with the child and family beforehand, where appropriate;
  • Record conference outcomes; and
  • Decide whether to initiate family court proceedings (all the children in the household should be considered, even if concerns are only expressed about one child) if the child is considered to be suffering significant harm.

The report should be provided to parents and older children where appropriate 5 working days before the Review Conferences to 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 and their wishes and feelings must be included or conveyed verbally to the conference.

In exceptional circumstances where confidential information cannot be shared with the child or parent(s) beforehand, the Lead Social Worker should seek guidance from their manager and the Conference Chair.

Where necessary, the report should be translated into the relevant language or medium, taking account of the language and any sensory or learning difficulties of the child/parents.

The report should be provided to the Conference Chair at least 5  working days in advance of the Review Conference.

Each member of the Core Group has a responsibility to produce an individual agency report on the child and the family for the Child Protection Review Conference. Those unable to attend should forward a copy of this report to the Lead Social Worker.

All contributors should provide a written report to the Conference Chair at least 5 working days in advance of the Review Conference.


5. Attendance

Attendees should include the Chair and Core Group members.

All involved professionals should:

  • Attend, when invited, and provide details of their involvement with the child and family; and
  • Produce reports for the child protection review. This information will provide an overview of work undertaken by family members and professionals, and evaluate the impact on the child’s welfare against the planned outcomes set out in the child protection plan.

As the Police do not routinely attend Review Conferences it is important that any Police involvement with the child, family or household between Conferences is brought to the attention of the Review Conference. Therefore the Police must always provide written information to the meeting.

See in the Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure:


6. Administration

Members of the Initial Child Protection Conference will be informed at the end of the Conference of the date of the Review Conference, which will also be recorded in the minutes.

Specialist Children’s Services will be responsible for the preparation of the minutes which will be quality assured and authorised by the Conference Chair (see Section 9, Minutes). 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, Responsibilities of the Social Worker before the Conference.

Any dissenting views or disagreements with decisions will be recorded in the minutes.


7. Outcomes

Every review should consider explicitly whether the child continues to be suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm and therefore continues to need safeguarding through a formal Child Protection Plan

If not, then the child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

A plan should only end at a first review if:

  1. The perpetrator of the abuse is incarcerated and does no longer pose a risk to the children;

    and or
  2. There was a critical piece of information that was not made known at the Initial CPC, that had this been known, this would have prevented a CP Plan being made at the initial CPC;

    or
  3. The child has become a Looked After Child with no imminent plan to return home.

The Conference Chair will have the same decision making powers at the Child Protection Review Conference as at the Initial Child Protection Conferences - see Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure, The Decision Making Process.

A child who is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan may still require additional support and services and discontinuing the Child Protection Plan should never lead to the automatic withdrawal of help. The Lead Social Worker should discuss with the parents and the child what services might be wanted and required, based upon the re-assessment of the needs of the child and family, and a Child  in Need Plan is made if support continues.

Regular Child in Need meetings should be convened following this decision to provide a formal opportunity to review the provision of services to the child and family and to facilitate ongoing multi-agency support.


8. Dissent from the Review Conference Decision

In cases where there is disagreement regarding the outcome of the Review Conference, the Conference Chair will attempt to facilitate the conference to reach a consensus.

The Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure, The Decision Making Process sets out the decision-making powers of the Conference Chair where there is no consensus.

If an agency does not agree with a decision or recommendation made at a Review Conference, the dissent will be recorded in the minutes of the conference.

If a professional concludes that a conference decision places a child at risk, s/he must seek advice from her/his Designated Professional or Named Professional or manager.

Where the issue is not resolved, the agency may consider taking action under the Resolving Professional Disagreements Procedure.

If parents/carers disagree with the Review Conference decision, the Conference Chair must further discuss their concerns and explain their rights to challenge under the Complaints and Appeals against the Conference Decision and about the Conference Process Procedure.


9. Minutes

All conferences will be minuted by administrative staff whose sole task within the Conference is to provide a written record of proceedings in a consistent format. The Conference Chair is responsible for ensuring that the minutes accurately reflect the discussion held and the decisions and recommendations made.

A record of the decisions and recommendations made will be sent to all those who attended the conference within one working day.

The minutes of the Child Protection Conference, signed by the Conference Chair must be sent to all professionals who attended, or were invited, and to relevant family members within 10 working days.

Where parents and/or the child/ren have a sensory disability or where English is not their first language, steps must be taken to ensure that they can understand and make full use of the minutes and these should be translated if required.

Where a parent or child has been fully excluded from the conference, the decision on what information they should receive will be taken by the Conference Chair in consultation with other conference members.

Where a supporter, solicitor, other family member or observer has attended a conference, the minutes will not be distributed to them unless they have a role in the Child Protection Plan and the conference agrees it appropriate.

Where a child has attended a Child Protection Conference, the Lead Social Worker must arrange to see her/him and arrange to discuss relevant sections of the minutes.

Conference minutes are confidential and should not be passed to third parties without the consent of the Conference Chair and/or Lead Social Worker or by a Court Order.

End