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5.1.2 A Risk of Care Panel - Local Guidance


This chapter details the role of the At Risk of Care Panel in the context of appropriate planning for children, who should be supported to remain at home wherever this is safe and appropriate. It identifies how the panel fits with the statutory Child in Need and Child Protection processes for children in the community and the remit of the Legal Gateway and Permanence Panels.

Practitioners are provided with detailed information in terms of what is required of them.


Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure

Permanence Planning Guidance


This chapter was reviewed and updated in April 2017, to reflect the change of terms of reference of the At Risk of Care Panel which has replaced the Placement Panel.


  1. What Does 'At Risk of Care' Mean?
  2. Purpose
  3. Practical Arrangements
  4. Membership
  5. Panel Process

1. What Does 'At Risk of Care' Mean?

Children at risk of care are those children who are currently living with their family, extended family members or other adults in their community where child and family is assessed as in need of extensive support in order for the child to remain at home safely. All efforts must be made to maintain these children within their family network and to support the adults looking after them wherever this keeps children safe and able to thrive.

2. Purpose

  • To ensure appropriate resources are put in place to support children in remaining at home wherever possible while promoting their good mental, emotional and physical health;
  • To ratify a plan to receive a child into care when all community resources, wider family etc have been exhausted;
  • To ensure the child’s best educational interests by seeking to minimise disruption and ensure continuity of their schooling;
  • To review or vary placement costs where the plan is for children to return home within 3 months of reception into care.

3. Practical Arrangements

  • Meeting frequency – At Risk of Care Panel is scheduled on a weekly basis, on a Tuesday morning the panel will rotate between area offices;
  • Where the panel review identifies that reunification is unlikely, the case will be considered at the next Legal gateway panel to ensure a legal permanence plan.

4. Membership

Chairperson – Strategic Manager, CLA

Mandatory attendees:

  • Assessment / Safeguarding Operations Manager Children’s Social Care (quarterly rotation);
  • Children’s Social Care Finance Manager;
  • Placements Team Manager;
  • Team 8 Manager;
  • Family Group Conference Co-ordinator;
  • Getset Cluster Manager (quarterly rotation);
  • Education representative;
  • Therapeutic Team Social Worker.

Where a core member cannot attend, they must identify a suitable substitute of the same grade.

5. Panel Process

5.1 Before panel

5 working days before the following documentation is sent to the panel administrator:

  • Up to date C&F Assessment;
  • CIN or CP plan;
  • Family Group Conference notes;
  • Chronology.

Where the request is for a child to be admitted to care, the minutes of the most recent Care Division meeting must also be sent to the Panel Administrator.

5.2 At Panel

Having considered all of the information made available to it, the At Risk of Care Panel will decide whether to:

  • Agree with the resource requests made, including the setting of timescale for review;
  • Defer a decision until further information is provided to the panel, making clear when this will be achieved by;
  • Refuse the request with clear explanation;
  • Refer to Legal Gateway or Permanence Panel.

5.3 Recording

  • A written summary of the meeting will always be taken by the Panel Administrator;
  • The written summary will set out the panel decision with a clear rationale for their decision making;
  • The notes will be produced and ratified by Panel Chair within 5 working days of Panel;
  • The notes will be added onto LCS on the child’s file in the forms tab on the At Risk of Care meeting form, with an alert sent to the Social Worker and Team Manager’s LCS trays.

5.4 Emergency Decisions

  • An emergency decision can only be agreed by the Deputy Director Children and Families or in their absence by the Strategic Manager Resources;
  • This decision must be brought to the next at risk of care panel with all the required information.

5.5 Review of Decisions

To ensure that decisions made at the At Risk of Care panel are progressed within the agreed timescales, updates will be timetabled at the panel and obtained from relevant managers and Social Workers as appropriate. This will ensure management oversight and challenge, to avoid drift and delay for the children and young people concerned.