This protocol is relevant to children who are subject to Section 46 Enquiries and move between jurisdictions. It also takes into account Children who are already subject to Child Protection planning and are moving either temporarily or on a permanent basis. It is not about children who go missing from home, or who go missing from care.
The basic principle underpinning these arrangements highlights the vulnerability of children who are in need of multi-agency services. It is important that information about the child's needs is shared with whichever jurisdiction they visit or reside in. This is particularly significant when there is involvement with more than one agency.
The expectation is for all professionals to initially notify their counterparts within the area where the child has moved to or is staying temporarily. This needs to be done verbally, and without delay, with the written outcome of the discussion sent at the earliest opportunity. This will not only enable investigation and continued planning. It should ensure continued safeguarding measures are in place for the child. It is crucial that detailed relevant family history and any updated assessments are made available along with other relevant documents that have been requested.The responsibility for undertaking Section 46 enquiries lies with the area (local authority – referred to in this guidance as "home authority") in which the child lives or is ordinarily resident. However they can request support from the temporary authority to complete this, given the geographical location of the isle of Man. Where a Section 46 Enquiry is to be conducted in relation to a child who is not a resident of the Isle of Man (i.e. ordinarily resident in another local authority), their "home authority" should be informed as soon as possible, and be involved as appropriate in the Strategy Discussion. In certain cases, it may be agreed that the "home authority" should undertake the Section 46 Enquiry (for example where the child is Looked After by the "home authority" or where the child needs to return) and in all cases, the "home authority" should take responsibility for any further support of the child or family identified as necessary. As in all cases the communication and allocation of tasks needs to be completed without delay to ensure the safety of the child.
1. Children's Social Care
Where more than one authority is involved with a child, Children's Social Care responsibility for child protection enquiries will depend on whether the allegations or concerns arise in relation to the child's circumstances within their home authority or within their host authority.
The following should always be applied:
- All child protection enquiries should be managed in accordance with the Safeguarding Board Procedures;
- Immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both host and home authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries as required of them;
- Case responsibility for the child lies with the home authority;
- Any emergency action should be taken by the host authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the home authority to take alternative action. Because of the geographical location of the Isle of Man practical involvement to take alternative action may prove difficult;
- Where concerns arise in relation to the child's home circumstances, MAPPU (Isle of Man Constabulary) and the relevant Children and Families Division will lead the enquiry, involving the host authority where the child is visiting/residing;
- If concerns arise in relation to safe parenting (e.g. where parents are visiting a child in hospital, in placement or boarding school), the police and the relevant home Children's Social Care service will lead the enquiry, involving the host authority where the child is visiting/ placed;
- Where concerns arise in relation to the child's circumstances within the host area (e.g. abuse in school, placement or temporary residence), the host children's social care will lead the enquiry, liaising closely with the home authority;
- Where emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the host authority, responsibility for the child will revert to the home authority immediately thereafter. The home authority will usually take responsibility for the provision of care arrangements such as foster care or residential care. Including other services that are considered to be required to ensure the protection of the child who is currently within the host area. Where necessary (usually because of the location) the host authority may need to provide emergency accommodation, until the next available travel day for the child to child to return to their home authority. The welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration at all times.
2. Procedure for Children Moving between the Jurisdiction of the Isle of Man and other areas in the United Kingdom or elsewhere
There must be immediate contact between home and host authorities, initiated by whichever authority receives the referral.
The home and host authority will initially agree to:
- Any need for urgent action;
- Responsibility for any urgent action and enquiries in accordance with the above principles;
- Responsibility and plans for a strategy meeting / discussion;
- Sharing of pertinent information;
- Responsibility for liaison with other agencies.
The following people must be told, and sent written confirmation, of the referral:
- The social workers for the child/ren or the relevant manager where there is no allocated social worker;
- The child protection manager for both home and host authorities;
- The placement officers of both authorities (where relevant);
- Other Local Authorities using the service or placement;
- The appropriate regulatory authority;
- The Local Authority/ jurisdiction where an alleged abuser lives and / or works.
If agreement cannot be reached within the working day, the children's social care covering the area where the child is found has the responsibility to undertake the enquiry and take any protective action necessary.
3. Strategy Meeting / Discussion
Strategy meetings and discussions must be held procedurally within timescales and be convened, administered and chaired by the responsible children's social care as defined above.
Attendance at the meeting / discussion must include:
- A managerial representative of the service provider if the child is looked after (unless suspected of involvement in the child protection concerns);
- Home authority responsible for the child/ren;
- Host authority;
- Representatives of other agencies and authorities as decided by the responsible social worker (in consultation with the other authority).
Information provided to the strategy meeting / discussion will depend on the source of the concern, but must include basic details of the child/ren and family as well as relevant information about:
- Family and (where applicable) placement history of the child;
- Basic details about alleged abuser (where applicable) employment history for the staff member / foster carer / volunteer etc.
- Registration history of the placement (where necessary).
The host department should record the strategy meeting / discussion, including decisions, actions, responsibility for actions, timescales and process for review and closure, and distribute this to relevant parties.
4. Outcome of Enquiry
It is the responsibility of the allocated social worker to make sure the outcome of the enquiry is provided in writing to:
- All local authorities with children affected;
- All local authorities using the same service or placement;
- All agencies involved;
- The child/ren where appropriate;
- Parents, carers and any others with parental responsibility;
- The employee, foster carer and any other professional involved in the concerns;
- The appropriate registering authority.
5. Families who Leave the Isle of Man During Section 46 Enquiry
In the event that a family moves whilst a Section 46 enquiry is being undertaken e.g. to a refuge in another area off island/family member or friend off island the Children and Families Service should convene a Strategy Discussion within 72 hours. The receiving Local Authority should be involved in the Strategy Discussion.
Should a family who has been visiting and/or residing off island return to the Isle of Man during a S46 investigation the Children and Families Service (originating authority) should convene a strategy meeting / discussion within 72 hours. It is important to involve the Local Authority where the child has returned in that discussion.
Where a S46 Enquiry has begun and it is believed the family have left the island then all attempts should be made to locate the family. The Strategy Meeting should determine next steps which should include discussion around:
- All ports alert and immigration checks (completed by the Isle of Man Constabulary);
- Local authority notification of missing family (completed by the Children and Families service);
- Health alerts in UK (completed by health colleagues);
- All jurisdiction police alert (completed by the Isle of Man Constabulary).
The originating authority retains responsibility until the completion of the enquiry, unless an alternative arrangement is agreed.
If a child protection conference is required it should be convened within the receiving authority. The originating authority must provide a report for the conference based on their investigation.
6. Children who are subject to Child Protection Planning
Actions to be taken when a child moves to or relocates from the Isle of Man
Where a child is subject to a Child Protection plan in another authority and has or plans to move to the Isle of Man (IoM), please follow the IOM Safeguarding Board Child Protection Conferences Procedure.
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
As soon as notification is received from another Local Authority the Children and Families Service will appoint a social worker from the Initial Response Team who should:
- Inform the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit administration team and the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer so that arrangements can be made to convene the Transfer in Conference;
- The timing of the conference should be within 15 working days of the received notification. However consideration must be given to the importance of the Local Authority (responsible for the Child Protection Plan prior to relocating to the island), the child's parents and the child (if of an age and understanding) being able to attend the conference;
- Request all information from the originating Local Authority/Jurisdiction, this will include the most recent child protection plan, copies of the Initial Child Protection Conference and Review Conference Minutes, including any recently completed assessment and relevant documents;
- Inform Health representative/Safeguarding Lead;
- Confirm the outcome of the Initial Transfer in Child Protection Conference with the originating Authority, and provide them with a copy of the conference minutes for completeness.
When a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan on the Isle of Man and the family relocate to the United Kingdom or elsewhere the receiving Local Authority should be contacted without delay. The allocated social worker or line manager is responsible and should:
- Inform the relevant department in the area that the family have moved to with the date (if known) when the family left the island. Initially this should be a telephone discussion followed up in writing confirming the agreed outcome of the discussion;
- Provide the relevant details including copy of the Child Protection plan, the most up to date assessment and any other relevant documents to the new area;
- Inform the core group members of the changes;
- Be part of the planning and attend the initial Transfer in Child Protection Conference in the new area.
Once the decision has been made for the child to become subject to child protection planning in the new area then steps should be taken to ensure that their name is removed from child protection planning within their home jurisdiction.
Please refer to Child Protection Conferences Procedure for information
7. Temporary Moves
A temporary move could cover a number of situations:
- Visiting relatives or friends.
The circumstances should always be verified with the allocated social worker for the child/ren.
Where it is known that the child/ren has moved out of the area for a temporary period, whatever the duration the area where the child is temporarily residing must be provided with the relevant information and contact details of the allocated social worker and their manager with a summary of concerns provided.
The child/ren's names will remain on the list of Children subject to Child Protection Plans in their permanent home area until the criteria for discontinuing the Child Protection Plan is met.
8. Moving Abroad
Where there is a concern that a Child subject to S 46 investigation or subject to Child Protection plan has moved abroad then the Conference Chair (if the child/ren is subject to CP Plan) should consider whether to convene a Review Conference or Core Group to consider what action to take. Appropriate steps should be made to contact the relevant overseas authority of the concerns.
If the child/ren is subject to an ongoing S46 investigation then all attempts should be made to locate the family. A strategy meeting will be convened to determine what the next steps should be and delegation of tasks to locate the child/ren should be determined in this meeting.