Child Protection Review Conference

The child protection review conference considers whether a child is still at risk of significant harm and therefore continues to need a child protection plan.  

This procedure is of relevance to anyone who may need to attend a child protection review conference.

The child protection review conference

 

Purpose of the review conference

 

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. The review conference will also consider whether the child protection plan should continue or be changed.

Timescales

 

Where the initial child protection conference (ICPC) was held in respect of an unborn baby, the first review conference must take place within 10 working days of the baby’s birth or within three months of the ICPC, whichever is soonest. The date will be set at the initial conference.

For all other children, the first review conference must be held within three months of the ICPC. The date will be set at the initial conference. 

Subsequent review conferences must be held within six months of the previous review conference until the child protection plan is removed. At the end of each review conference, the people in attendance will set the date for the next one.

Once agreed, review conference dates can only be changed by the Chair of Conference (or the chair’s manager). Requests to change the date of a review conference can only be made by the social worker (or the social worker’s manager) following consultation with the Core Group. The Core Group should consider a request to bring forward a review conference in the following circumstances:

Following a new and significant incident relating to concerns about child protection, usually involving a Section 47 enquiry; When there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family; When there are significant difficulties implementing the child protection plan

 

Attendance

 

Core group members should attend the review conference. If a core group member cannot attend, it is their responsibility to arrange and brief another professional from their agency who can attend on their behalf.

A review conference will only be considered quorate if there is a Chair of Conference, social worker and representatives from at least two other LSCB member agencies unless only one other LSCB member agency is involved (as may be the case with a new born baby).

 

Review conference report

 

Each local authority has their own requirements stating how agencies report into a review conference either through single agency reports or through a single report prepared by the social worker on behalf of the core group. Where the social worker is responsible for providing a single report to the review conference all members of the core group are responsible for providing information and assistance to the social worker so that the report is as comprehensive as possible. If primary care are not represented in the core group they should be asked to contribute to the report.

Reports should provide information 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. Reports should make a recommendation as to whether the child protection plan should be maintained or removed.

The social worker should have a professional discussion about the progress of the child protection plan with the Chair of Conference before their conference report is shared with the family.

The author of any report being shared at a review conference is responsible for sharing the report with the child and family, where appropriate, at least five days before the review conference.

 

Role of the Chair of Conference

 

The Chair of Conference needs to ensure the conference runs as smoothly as possible, that everyone is able to share their views and that the child’s wishes and feelings are considered. The Chair will be expected to explore any issues raised within the conference report(s) and debate the effectiveness of the plan by challenging all those present about their professional views. 

Anyone present at the review can seek expert advice and guidance from the Chair of Conference.

The decision about whether the child protection plan is maintained or removed is one that must be reached by all of the agencies present at the review conference. The Chair of Conference will ask each agency whether they think the child protection plan should be maintained or removed. Each agency’s view will be recorded.  If agencies are split equally between those who believe the child protection plan should be maintained and those who believe the plan should be removed, the Chair of Conference will have the final decision. This is the only circumstance where the Chair’s view will be able to influence the decision about whether a child protection plan is maintained or removed.  If there is dissent by any professional about the decision, then this should clearly be recorded during the conference and cannot be added to the minutes once the conference has finished.

Where the Chair of Conference is needed to make a final decision about maintaining or removing the child protection plan, they will need to justify their decision and record why they have reached it in their report following the review.

There may be times when the Chair of the conference is not in agreement with the majority of conference member’s decision to remove a child protection plan.  At this point, the Chair will recommend the conference be stood down prior to the final decision being made.  The issues will then be presented to the Service Manager with line management responsibility for the Chairs of conference.  The Service Manager will facilitate a critical evaluation meeting / discussion with senior safeguarding lead officers in the relevant organisations to determine an outcome. The Chair of the conference will receive the evaluation outcome and bring conference members back together within one month of the previous review meeting to feedback the decision.

 

Administrative duties following the conference

 

The conference administrator should take minutes which include:

The essential facts of the case A summary of the discussion at the conference which accurately reflects contributions made, decisions reached and the reasons for these

The conference administrator should circulate the following to all those who were invited to the conference within one working day of the conference taking place:

Decision as to whether the protection plan is being maintained or removed If the protection plan is being maintained, the category it is being maintained under i.e. risk of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect Any changes to the allocated social worker or core group membership

Within one working day of the conference, the conference administrator should update the IT system with the outcome of the conference and category or date of removal of the protection plan.

A copy of the full minutes, after approval by the Chair of Conference, should be sent to all those invited to the conference within 20 working days of the conference taking place. (If family members were excluded from parts of the conference the minutes sent to them should be edited appropriately). The minutes are confidential and should not be passed by professionals to third parties without the consent of the conference chair. (Also see "recording" sub-section in the initial conference report procedures).

If there is a delay in the minutes being sent out the Service Manager must notify the Head of Service that this has happened and why.

  

Complaints from service users

If parents/carers disagree with decisions made or any other part of the process, the Chair of Conference must discuss their concerns with them and explain their right to challenge and the process for this (for more detail on the process to be followed, see Complaints by Service Users

Flowchart: What Happens After The Child Protection Conference