SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis procedure relates to the rights of parents/carers and children (if of sufficient age and understanding) to complain about the process of Child Protection Conferences or appeal against a Conference decision.
Parents/carers and children (with sufficient understanding) may have concerns about which they wish to complain or appeal, in respect of one or more of the following aspects of the functioning of Child Protection Conferences:
All parties must be made aware that this complaints process cannot itself change a Child Protection Conference decision and that during the course of a complaint/appeal's consideration, the decision made by the Conference stands.
At all stages of this complaint/appeals process, the complainant/appellant may bring an advocate or friend to support them. Particular consideration must be given to children who may not be as articulate or able to fully understand the process, and may need an advocate.
N.B. Complaints about individual agencies, their performance and provision (or non-provision) of services will not be dealt with under this procedure and should be responded to in accordance with the relevant agency's complaints handling process.
The grounds for appealing against a Conference decision may be:
That the criteria for the decision that the child should have a Child Protection Plan were not met:
Who will be involved? Team/Reviewing Manager for Child Protection Conferences and Child Protection Conference Chair.
Complaints about aspects of CPC as set out in the Terms of Reference should in the first instance be sent in writing to the CPC chair within 10 working days of the CPC. If required assistance will be given to service users to enable them to do this.
The Local Authority Complaints Officer should be informed of the complaint and where there are issues which fall outside of this procedure these should be discussed and directed through the appropriate channel (e.g. Children Act Complaint Procedure, NHS Complaints).
The complaint should be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days and an appointment offered to attempt resolution within 10 working days.
This is a problem-solving stage in which the line manager and chair with the complainant will aim to seek an early resolution.
Following the appointment the line manager will confirm in writing the points of complaint and any actions agreed to resolve. The letter should also advise the complainant of their right to move to Stage 2 of process within 28 days, if they are still dissatisfied.The Local Authority Complaints Officer and the Service Manager for Children's Safeguarding should be informed of the outcome of Stage 1 and also receive a copy of this letter.
Personnel involved in this meeting will be the Team / Reviewing Manager and / or Service Manager for Children's Safeguarding.The Local Authority Complaints Officer should be kept informed of the progress of this complaint.
A Complaint Meeting at Stage 2 should be arranged and held within 28 days to attempt to resolve the areas of concern.
The Complaint Meeting should have access to and will consider:
The meeting should still aim to address areas of dissatisfaction and to resolve matters. Following the meeting the complainant should receive a letter to confirm what was agreed and to advise the complainant of their right to move to Stage 3 within 28 days, if they are still dissatisfied.
The Local Authority Complaints Officer should be informed of the outcome of Stage 2 and receive a copy of this letter.
The Local Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) Business Manager should also be informed if the complainant wishes to progress to an Appeal Panel.
When will the Panel meet: The Appeal Panel will be convened within 15 working days of receipt of written notification from Stage 2.
Chair of the Panel: The LSCP Chair or his/her nominee will chair the Panel.
Membership of the Panel: The Panel will be an interagency panel made up of at least two senior representatives from LSCP partner agencies, none of whom have previous or present direct line management responsibility for the case in question.
The LSCP Support Team will provide a minute-taker.
Advisor to Panel: The panel chair has the authority to co-opt other professionals where specialist advice is needed.
Quoracy: The Chair of the LSCP or his/her nominee (the Panel Chair) and at least two members of LSCP partner agencies.
Scope of Decision-Making: The Panel may make one or more of the following decisions based on a majority view:
N.B The Panel does not have the authority to reverse a Conference decision.
Within 5 working days of the Panel, the Panel Chair will ensure that the written decision / finding and / or minutes of the Panel meeting are sent to the complainant/appellant, to all who were sent minutes of the Child Protection Conference and a copy of the minutes will be given to the chair for any reconvened conference.
The chair of a reconvened Child Protection Conference must ensure that all those present have seen or are briefed at the start of the Conference about the decision and any recommendation(s) made by the Panel. Minutes of the Panel meeting will also be circulated.
A complainant / appellant who continues to be dissatisfied with the outcome of the above process could pursue their grievance via the Local Government Ombudsman or choose to seek legal advice about remedies such as judicial review.
Only valid for 48hrs