Child Protection Conferences

1. Initial Child Protection Conference

PREAMBLE - The island uses the principles of the Signs of Safety (SOS) approach to enable all participants how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. The SOS model utilizes solution focused and focused problem resolution approaches. The family and professionals alike are expected to be fully engaged in the process. The model is based on appreciative enquiry; asking the right questions, using the Dynamic Risk Assessment tool which focusses on risks, protective factors and the impact of these upon children and young people. The key to the approach is to be inclusive and not directive, as such it requires significant preparation to enable family and professionals alike to experience this co-operative way of working.

Caption: initial child protection conference




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 judgments 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.

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 Children and Families 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.


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 10 working days. This decision could be at the conclusion of the Section 46 Enquiry.
  1.2.2 Any delay should be agreed by the Operational Head of Service if the delay will affect the performance timescales, otherwise agreement can be made between the Group Manager from IRT or Care Management and the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer within the 10 day period. The reason for delay must be recorded with agreement of the latest date the conference is to be held. The reasons for the delay should also be recorded in the minutes and shared at the conference. Should there need to be a delay in timescales when convening a Review Child Protection Conference then the same process of permissions should be followed.


Pre-birth Conferences


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

  • The outcomes of a S46 Narrates Assessment on a case already known to the Children and Family Service 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 the Children and Family Service;
  • 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 appropriate 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 or Transfers from the island to another Jurisdiction

Caption: another Jurisdiction
2.1 A Transfer in conference must be held when a Child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan in another jurisdiction becomes resident on the Isle of Man.
2.2 As soon as the Children and Families Service receive notification from a Local Authority in the United Kingdom or Ireland that a child/ren is moving or has moved to the Isle of Man and is subject to a Child Protection Plan in their area a social worker from the Initial Response Team will be appointed who should then inform the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer. Arrangements should then be made to convene a transfer in Child Protection Conference as soon as possible.
2.3 The timing of the Transfer in 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.
2.4 The Local Authority currently responsible for the Child Protection Plan should provide their most recent assessment, the Child Protection Plan and a report summarising the current situation in advance of the Transfer in Child Protection Conference on the Isle of Man.
2.5 When a child/ren are subject to a Child Protection Risk Action Plan on the island and the family are relocating to the United Kingdom or Ireland the receiving area should be contacted without delay. All relevant information and appropriate documentation should be supplied to the specific Local Authority.
2.6 Arrangements will need to be made for the allocated social worker from the island to attend the Transfer in Conference in that area. This should take place within 15 working days.

3. The Review Challenge Child Protection Conference

Caption: the review child protection conference




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 Risk Action 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 using the SOS approach;
  • Make judgments 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.



  3.2.1 The first Review Conference should take place within three months of the Initial Conference.
  3.2.2 Subsequent 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 Risk Action Plan.

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 Risk Action 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 Risk Action Plan;
  • There has been an appeal of the conference decision made by the parent or carer and the decision has been upheld. See Paragraph 11 and also appealing the decision of child protection conference leaflet.

4. The Conference Process

Caption: the conference process




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;
  • To make judgment whether a child protection plan should be agreed or not.
  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.

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

  • The child or his or her representative;
  • Family members;
  • Staff from the Children and Families Service who may have led or been involved in an assessment of the Child and family;
  • Foster Carer (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, Children's Rights Champion;
  • Children and Families Legal Advocate;
  • Involved Voluntary Organisations.


Involving the Child and Family Members


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?
  4.2.2 Normally it should be assumed that a child of eight or over should be eligible to attend unless there is a reason not to do so.
  4.2.3 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 (who is of sufficient age and understanding) by the social worker. Parental consent is required before the Children's Champion is able to contact and speak to the child. The Children's Rights Champion (CRC) should enable the child to understand the process of the conference and offer support throughout the meeting.
  4.2.4 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.
  4.2.5 Children should be advised that they may also bring an additional supporter as well as the CRC if they wish to do so.

When the child does not attend every effort should be made to ensure the child's views are conveyed to conference members. This may be via:

  • A pre meeting with the Children's Rights Champion (CRC);
  • A pre-meeting with the social worker or conference chair;
  • Written statements/e-mails/text messages and recorded comments.
  4.2.7 Once a decision has been made to proceed with conference the social worker will inform the parents.
  4.2.8 The purpose of the conference and who will attend should be explained to the parents or carers. They should be given a leaflet (see the Isle of Man SB 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.
  4.2.9 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).
  4.2.10 It is important that all professionals engage with the family in a way that is consistent with the Signs of Safety model to ensure that the family are aware of the key aspects of the approach prior to the conference. Some parents may wish to prepare a written report, and assistance with this should be given to the parent/carer.
  4.2.11 The Conference Chairperson and other professionals will need to be sensitive to the abilities and anxieties of the child/ren, parents/carers. Their involvement is paramount and therefore to adhere to the Signs of Safety model the agenda of the conference may need to be adapted accordingly on the day of the conference to meet their requirements and to ensure they feel fully included at all times.

Important consideration should be given to:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Very young children should not attend conferences, and alternative child care arrangements should be made with the help of the social work team where necessary. The social worker should discuss this with the parent or carer prior to the conference date to allow for appropriate arrangements to be progressed.
  4.2.13 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.
  4.2.14 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 SB 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.
  4.2.15 Parents/carers should only be excluded partially or completely from the conference if one of the criteria (see Paragraph 4.2.17 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.
  4.2.16 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.

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.


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 the Children and Families Division and at least two other agencies which have had direct contact with the child and family.

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 Risk Action 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.

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

Caption: information for the conference
5.1 The Children and Families Service have lead responsibility for the Narrates S46 enquiry. The allocated social worker who has undertaken the S46 Narrates will be required to submit the full Narrates record to conference. This report becomes the Social Workers initial conference report and should be submitted alongside all other professional reports.
5.2 At the Initial Conference, the Children and Families Service should provide a report relating to each child. This should be consistent with the information set out in the Initial Child Protection Conference Report.

The social work report for conference not only presents information relating to the risk, protective factors and impact it should also include the following information:

  • A Chronology of significant events and Agency and professional contact with the child and family;
  • Information on the child's current and past development 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 their developmental needs.
5.4 Preparing for the conference is crucial, including thinking in advance what needs to happen and when.
5.5 The intention is that participants do not read out their reports verbatim. The SOS model is specifically designed with the emphasis being on timely preparation and for all to contribute their evaluation of the risk, protective factor and impact. These should be stated clearly, e.g. I regard the risks to the child are x, y, z, the protective factors are 1, 2 and 3. I believe the impact of this on your child is……….

For all other professionals both initial and review conference reports must be provided using the Safeguarding Board Professional Template and be made available to the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance unit administration team at least 2 working days in advance of conference to enable distribution and also a full discussion and sharing with parent/carer. In addition to the above (5.5) The report should also incorporate the following information:

  • 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 their developmental needs.
5.7 All information provided to the conference, whether written or verbal, should take care to distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion.
5.8 The information provided to conference will contribute to all professionals being able to identify a Risk Statement that clearly outlines what needs to change for the Child Protection risk action plan to be no longer necessary.
5.9 For the Review Challenge 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 Risk Action Plan.
5.10 In addition to the reports above, the outcome of the fully completed Narrates Assessment, along with any other specialist assessments will also be presented to the Review Challenge Conference.
5.11 All written reports for the Conference must be submitted to the Conference Chair two full working days before the Conference.
5.12 The Quality Assurance and Safeguarding Unit administrator will distribute all of the reports to professionals in advance of the conference. 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

Caption: actions and decision for the conference

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 their 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 Children's 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

Caption: decision making at the initial conference

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 Section 11, 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.

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

Caption: child subject of a child protection plan



  8.1.1 Visual aids (White Board) should be used during the conference to summarise all of the information relating to the thorough exploration of the Risks, Protective Factors and the Impact. This information needs to be presented clearly to enable all participants to draw together a Risk Action Plan and the Risk Statement. The chair will lead this process.
  8.1.2 Where a Child Protection Conference determines that a child is at continuing risk of Significant Harm a multi-agency Child Protection Risk Action Plan is formulated to protect the child.
  8.1.3 A Core Group of professionals, including the Social Worker, are responsible for keeping the Child Protection Risk Action Plan up to date and co-ordinating inter-agency activities within it.

It is the duty of all professionals present during Conference to ensure that an effective plan is agreed making sure the child is protected and their best possible outcomes are achieved. The content of the plan must take into account the communication needs and level of understanding of:

  • The child and parents (taking into account their language and any learning disabilities);
  • Any disagreements with family members regarding how to safeguard the child must be acknowledged;
  • Areas to be covered in the plan are as follows:
    • 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 Risk Action Plan as a detailed working tool;
    • Specific achievable, child focused outcomes;
    • Specific actions and services to be offered to achieve the planned outcomes;
    • 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 Risk Action Plan, and for child protection review challenge meetings;
    • Identify and outline what further action is required to complete or update the Narrates 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 Risk Action Plan, especially identifying the risk statement which should identify 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.


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 Risk Action Plan a discussion will take place to determine whether a child with complex needs is appropriate. It may be helpful to use a Family Support Meeting to complete the plan, and to engage the wider family group in this process.


Discontinuing the Child Protection Risk Action Plan


A child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Risk Action 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 Review Conference can decide that a Child Protection Risk Action Plan is no longer necessary;
  • The child and family have moved permanently off Island. In such cases after the receiving Local Authority has held a Child Protection transferring in Conference, the Child Protection Risk Action Plan can be discontinued without a Review Conference. Written Notification will be sent by the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer to members of the Conference confirming that this has taken place;
  • The child has reached 18 years of age, has died or has permanently left the Isle of Man In such cases the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer will send written confirmation to members of the Conference confirming this. A Review Conference is not necessary.

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 with Complex Needs, and the content of any Child with Complex Needs Plan;
  • In most instances, the continued need for a child with complex needs plan will have ongoing discussions;
  • If a Child with Complex Needs Plan is not agreed at this point, the reasons for this should be clearly recorded;
  • The Social 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 with Complex Needs 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.

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.

A Review Child Protection Conference should be convened to:

  • Agree the discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan;
  • In order to ensure that the LAC process is fully informed of the known risks to the child the outline CLA plan should be drawn up and agreed by professionals as part of the Child Protection Review Conference.
  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 Social Worker, authorised by a manager and recorded on the case file.
  8.4.4 If the Child/Young person is remanded in custody and becomes looked after this wouldn't necessarily mean that the Child Protection Plan has ended.

9. Recording

Caption: recording table


Immediate Information to be made available post conference

  9.1.1 Following closure of the meeting feedback and comments forms should be completed and collected by the administrator.
  9.1.2 The Chairperson and Social Worker should meet briefly with the parent/s and the child (separately or together) in order to debrief, seek the views of the parent/s and clarify any issues or understandings. A copy of the leaflet of how to appeal against the decision of conference should be handed to parent/s. This conversation should be recorded and entered onto the child's file.
  9.1.3 Within 24 hours a brief summary of the outcome should be sent to the parent/carer. This should include the decision of the conference and reasons based on the agreed Risks, Protective Factors and Impact. The agreed Risk Statement and the outline actions or recommendations regarding the plan must be included.


Conference Minutes

  9.2.1 The Children and Families Service will be responsible for ensuring that all Child Protection Conferences have a dedicated person to take notes and produce minutes of the meeting.

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;
  • Confidentiality statement;
  • The essential facts of the case;
  • The child/ren's views wishes and feelings;
  • Agreed Risk and Protective Factors and impact;
  • The expressed views of parent/s;
  • A summary of discussion at the conference;
  • All decisions reached and reason for the decisions;
  • The Risk Statement;
  • The outline or revised Child Protection Risk Action 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, supporters 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 Manx Care's retention policies. They should not be filed in professional records that have open access.

10. Action following the Child Protection Conference

Caption: action following the child protection conference

The allocated Social Worker is responsible for:

  • Understanding the concerns of the Child Protection Conference, the details of the risk assessment leading to the Child Protection Risk Action 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 Risk Action 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 SB website);
  • Fully completing the Narrates Assessment, securing contributions from Core Group members and others;
  • Acting as lead worker for the inter-agency work with the child and family;
  • Seeing the child as agreed in the Child Protection Risk Action 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 Risk Action Plan into effect and reviewing progress against the objectives set out in the plan.

11. Complaints about a Child Protection Conference

Caption: complaints about a child protection conference

Parents and care givers are entitled to make representations and appeal in respect of one or more of the following aspects of the functioning of Child Protection Conferences:

  • The process of the conference where procedures were not appropriately followed by the Conference Chair;
  • The threshold criteria was not correctly applied by conference members;
  • 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 Risk Action Plan;
  • Significant relevant information was not available to the conference which meant the decision for the child to become, or not become, the subject of a Child Protection Plan was unsound.
11.2 There is a difference between making a complaint and actually appealing the decision made at Conference. An appeal is regarding the decision made at conference (11.1) as oppose to a complaint about the child protection work carried out by individual agencies. 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 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 informally and it is procedurally clear that an appeal should be progressed; The Senior Independent Reviewing Officer should convene an inter-agency panel made up of senior representatives from the Safeguarding Board within 15 working days of the conference. 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 If the panel determines that the appeal is upheld, the child protection conference should be reconvened without delay. Professionals who were present during the original conference will be asked to attend the reconvened conference. The information from the appeal panel will be heard in respect of why the outcome of the original conference was unsound. Professionals will then be asked for their decision on the basis of the new information, and that heard at the original conference. The conference will be chaired by the original independent chair, unless the appeal panel has recommended this is not appropriate due to their involvement in the outcome of the original conference being unsound.
11.5 Should the Appeal Panel determine that the decision making was sound and in line with policies and procedures, taking into account all relevant information, and that the threshold criteria was appropriately applied then the parent/carer will be advised of this. The plan (as agreed at the original conference) and status will therefore stand and proceed in line with procedures.
11.6 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 Risk Action Plan or not the conference chair will decide.
11.7 More generally, a professional from any agency may formally express their concern to the Children and Families Service about the management of a particular child's circumstances. In this instance the file will be read and reviewed by a Group 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.
11.8 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

Caption: chairing the conference

The conference chair should be:

  • An Independent Reviewing Officer from the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit from Children and Families should Chair the conference;
  • 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.

Prior to the meeting the conference chair person should:

  • Arrange to review all pre-conference documents and discuss the general situation with the relevant social work team members in order to:
    • Meet the child and family members to ensure that they understand the purpose of the conference, what will happen and explain about the complaints and right to appeal;
    • Decide whether a conference is quorate (see Quorate Conferences).

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.

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 9.2.5 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 - to follow.