Cross boundaries

Cross Boundary refers to children who are currently known to children’s social care, or where there is a need for involvement by children’s social care and, for whatever reason, the child’s circumstances involve more than one children’s social care department or more than one Police Force area.

N.B. This procedure has been developed in association with the 12 North East LSCBs.

Cross boundary procedure for North East England LSCB’s

Transfer of responsibility for children who move from one local authority area to another


This procedure is about those in need of protection and who have or may require a child protection plan, who move between Local Authority areas. It sets out the actions to be taken in relation to children and families who move across local authority boundaries, either on a temporary or permanent basis, where there is contact with the family by the statutory agencies, and there is some degree of concern for the child.

It is not about children who go missing from home or care, or who go missing with their parents. Separate protocols, procedures and guidance are available regarding children who run away or are missing from home or care.

Children to whom this procedure applies


When a child in need of protection moves between Local Authority areas it is essential that the transferring authority (i.e. one providing a service and holding information regarding the child and its family) notify the receiving authority (i.e. the one which they move to) of their concerns and the nature of their involvement and plans – and do so in accordance with this procedure and with existing information sharing protocols held by each Local Authority.

This procedure applies to any child who is currently:

  • Subject of a Child Protection Plan, or has been in the last six months;
  • Subject of enquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 – including an unborn child.
  • Assessed as being at risk of significant harm.
  • Subject of an allegation or concern in relation to an adult who works with children

If children and families about whom there are concerns move and cannot be contacted, this in itself will heighten such concerns and should lead professionals to consider that the children may be at risk of Significant Harm.

Procedures


Much of this procedure is addressed to staff in children’s social care. However, all involved agencies should ensure that they give timely and appropriately comprehensive information to their counterparts in other areas when a child or family moves. Additional information is provided for health and education professionals at the end of this procedure.

There should never be any delay in sharing information as all information about a child should be available to agencies where the child is residing.

The following should always be applied:

  • All child protection enquiries should be managed in accordance with Local Safeguarding Children Board Child Protection Procedures;
  • Immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both transferring and receiving authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries;
  • Case responsibility for child lies with the transferring authority;
  • Any emergency action should be taken by the receiving authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the transferring authority to take alternative action (e.g. if geographically close);
  • If concerns arise in relation to safe parenting (e.g. where parents are visiting a child in hospital, residential or boarding school), the transferring authorities Police Child Abuse Investigation Team and LA Children’s Social Care will lead the enquiry, involving the receiving authority where the child is placed;
  • Where concerns arise in relation to the child’s circumstances whilst placed outside their authority (e.g. abuse in school or placement), the LA Children’s Social Care where the placement is based will lead the enquiry, liaising closely with the transferring authority (the transferring  Police Child Abuse Investigation Team retain responsibility but may negotiate with their colleagues in the receiving area);
  • Where emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the receiving authority, responsibility for the child will revert to the transferring authority immediately thereafter. The transferring authority will also normally be responsible for the provision of any form of foster or residential care or other services to ensure the protection of a child found in a receiving authority. The welfare of the child will be the paramount consideration in this determination;
  • Negotiations about responsibility must not cause delay in urgent situations.

Child subject of a Child Protection Plan

Working Together sets the legal framework for these arrangements.

Notification


When families move frequently, it is more difficult for agencies to identify risks and monitor a child's welfare. It is imperative that the child / young persons Social Worker (or  Team / Practice Manager if the Social Worker is not available), is made aware of the change of address and that arrangements are made to ensure that all professionals are notified.

Professionals from all agencies must within 1 working day verbally notify and discuss with their counterparts any planned moves be it temporary or permanent. Within 2 working days this information should be confirmed in writing or via electronic information using secure email.

Professionals must do this within 1 working day of being made aware of a child / young persons change of address.

In all cases the Designated Manager (Children with a Child Protection Plan) of the transferring and receiving authority must be notified of children subject to a child protection plan who move This notification must take place when the authorities are aware a move is planned or has taken place. This should be followed up in writing within 2 working days.

Whether a temporary or permanent move is to take place an Operational Team Manager in the receiving authority should promptly confirm the notification with his /her counterpart in the transferring authority and agree who will have case responsibility verbally, or raise any questions or concerns about the proposed transfer.  This should be followed up in writing within 2 working days. Cases are deemed to have been transferred only after written confirmation has been received and both authorities have agreed that the transfer conference is not necessary or has taken place.

Transfer/sharing of information between authorities


The transferring authority must provide the receiving authority with the Child Protection Plan and all reports from the most recent conference 10 working days prior to the move. If this is not possible because the move has already happened or is imminent, the information should be provided on the day the move becomes known about.

Transfer Conference


The receiving authority should hold a Transfer Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of their receipt of notification from the transferring authority. Except where:

  1. the transferring authority agrees to continue to hold the Child Protection Review Conference, or 
  2. the child is due to move from the Local Authority within 15 working days or within a short space of time
  3. the child is only to be resident in the Local Authority for a short period with plans to move back to the original authority or a different authority, or
  4. the child is in temporary accommodation and it is not clear what the future arrangements will be.

In the event of a Child Protection Conference not being held, it is vital that agreement is reached regarding the case responsibility and actions to ensure the child’s welfare is safeguarded. Such arrangements must be recorded by both the transferring and receiving authority

The transfer Child Protection Conference should take place within 15 working days. Within the first 7 working days arrangements for the Child Protection Conference should be notified to the transferring authority and confirmed in writing – all efforts should be made to facilitate their attendance. The transferring authority must give priority to attending.  In exceptional circumstances attendance via video conference should be arranged.

The transferring authority should provide the receiving authority Team Manager with details of each agency’s named staff in order that reports can be requested.

The following information should be shared in all circumstances.

  • Any current assessment including risk assessments and core assessment.
  • The current Child Protection Plan, conference reports and minutes.
  • Any relevant legal order.
  • An evaluation of the implications of the move including the effect on risk increase/decrease as a result of the move.
  • Any identified special needs including health and education

If the transferring authority fails to forward copies of the above information, the receiving Team Manager should liaise with their counterpart in the transferring authority and follow up any verbal request in writing. If information is still not shared despite this request, the receiving Team Manager must raise this with their Service Manager. The receiving Service Manager should liaise with their counterpart in the transferring authority to ensure that all appropriate information is shared. This process should also be followed where there are difficulties receiving information from a transferring authority that is not one of the 12 North East LSCBs who have developed this procedure.

Where the transferring authority requests the receiving authority to undertake welfare visits prior to conference the manner in which that information will be recorded and presented at conference will be agreed.

It is the transferring authority’s responsibility to ensure the child protection plan continues to be implemented until formal transfer has been agreed at a transfer in conference. This includes core group activity and Lead Social Worker / Key Worker responsibility. Actions may be taken by the receiving authority on behalf of the transferring authority, and this should be agreed at team manager level and recorded by both authorities.

There should be no significant change in the child protection plan until the receiving authority has held a transfer in conference.

Temporary Moves


In all cases continued case responsibility should be clarified.

A temporary move could cover a range of situations from holiday stays to moves to relatives. the circumstances  should always be checked with the child’s Lead Social Worker.

Where it is known that the child has moved out of the area for a temporary period, however long or short, the area where the child is temporarily residing must be provided with the relevant information and contact numbers as follows:

  • The Lead Social Worker must contact the Designated Manager (Children with a Child Protection Plan) and the Children’s Social Care where the child is temporarily resident to provide them with the relevant personal details and the last Child Protection Plan.
  • The ‘transferring’ Designated Manager (Children with a Child Protection Plan) must write to the Designated Manager (Children with a Child Protection Plan) in the area of the temporary residence and include any relevant information
  • The child ‘s name and details will remain on the Record of Children Subject to Child Protection Plans in the transferring authority until the criteria for discontinuing the Child Protection Plan are met

A Child with a Child Protection Plan is about to Leave the Country


Where it becomes clear a child is going to leave the country in circumstances other than for a short holiday which has been planned, a Child Protection Review Conference must be convened to discuss how the child will be safeguarded.  If there is insufficient time to convene a CPRC a strategy meeting should be held in order to discuss how best to safeguard the child’s welfare.

Legal advice should be sought and consideration should be given to taking legal action to obtain a Court Order if this is felt to be the only way to safeguard the child.

The Designated Manager (Children with a Child Protection Plan) should always be notified if a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan is leaving the country.  If the child is moving to either Scotland or Northern Ireland a case transfer can take place as detailed above.  Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legal systems thus legal advice must be sought from the receiving authorities legal advisors.

If the child has already left the United Kingdom advice can be sought from:

The Foreign Commonwealth Office, Consular Department (Protection of Minors), Clive House, Petty France, London, SW1H 9HD, Tel: 020 72704116

The International Social Services of the United Kingdom, Tel: 020 77358941

The Child Abduction Unit, Tel: 020 7911 7047, Tel: 020 7911 7127

Re-Unite National Council for Abducted Children, Tel: 020 7271 8629

Child subject to Section 47 Enquiries

Action to be taken by Children’s Social Care


Where a child moves during the course of Section 47 enquiries, agreement should be reached that the investigation should be completed by the authority that commenced the enquiries. In some instances it may be necessary for the receiving authority to ensure the safety of the child in such circumstances the receiving authorities assessment should inform the transferring authorities Section 47 enquiry. 

The receiving authority must be notified of the enquiries as soon as the move, or any intention to move, is known. They will also be involved in any subsequent strategy discussions to determine the way forward, but ownership of the enquiries should remain with the transferring authority that instigated them.

If the outcome of Section 47 enquiries is that the child appears to be at risk of ongoing significant harm, the receiving authority will take responsibility for convening the Initial Child Protection Conference. They should do this within statutory timescales (15 working days).

The transferring authority will provide the receiving authority with a verbal report on the outcome of the enquiries on the day that the enquiries are completed, and confirm this in writing within 48 hours.

The receiving authority should also make enquiries as appropriate, and share these with the transferring authority to inform the overall assessment.

The family must be kept informed during the transfer period about case management transfer arrangements, and be provided with the details of a named lead professional as identified during discussion between the transferring and receiving authority team manager.

When there are ongoing section 47 concerns information must be shared about any adult who has been subject to MAPPA and / or MARAC arrangements and where there are current child protection concerns in relation to this person.

Responsibilities of Health Professionals

Information regarding children who meet the criteria outlined at the beginning of this procedure must be transferred in line with the particular NHS Policy regarding the transferring of records.

NHS Trust


If a child is the subject of a protection plan, the receiving Trust must be notified by telephone as soon as the move, or intention to move, is known and followed up straight away in writing.  The full child’s records, including all child protection information, must be transferred to the receiving Trust and the Trust asked to acknowledge receipt.

General Practitioner


In the case of General Practice, where a child, who is subject to a child protection plan leaves the Practice the Practice must follow the guidance provided by the commissioning body. This will generally include the Practice ensuring that the child’s GP notes clearly identify that the child is subject to a child protection plan and is flagged with the appropriate Read code.  Any child protection documentation must be transferred out along with the child’s medical notes. 

Practitioners from the transferring authority may be asked to provide a report or attend a transfer-in conference, this should be discussed and an agreement reached regarding a response that best meets the needs of the child/family.

Responsibilities of Education Professionals

Any information relating to a child that meets the criteria described at the beginning of this protocol must be transferred between schools or other education settings within 14 working days. If a child is subject of a Protection Plan the child’s academic and all other records must be transferred to the named school.

Depending on the admission arrangements, contact should be made with the relevant Admissions Authority to ensure that the child is registered at an appropriate school immediately. If it becomes known that a child has moved into an authority without a recent education history the child must be tracked through the DCSF school 2 school service.

Youth Offending Services

Where a Young Person subject of this procedure is an active case within the Youth Offending Service current protocols for case transfer and caretaking arrangement procedures must be adhered to in order to ensure all recent information is shared and available from the 'Transferring Youth Offending Service (YOS)' (the nominated YOS allocated responsibility in the Court Order documentation) to the Receiving YOS (where the Young Person may be temporarily or permanently residing).  

It is essential that the YOS are made aware by the LA (with responsibility for any Young Person subject of this procedure) of any impending transfer or temporary change in residence to another area. The Young Person may be the subject of a Court Order which will require additional actions with the Courts to be undertaken prior to that transfer/change of residence being made.

Probation

When an offender moves to another area an  ‘Exchange of Information Form’ (CPP3 2010) must be completed and sent to the Designated Officer of that Local Authority and Children’s Social Care to notify them of the change of address. CPP3 2010 forms are used to exchange information between Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust and Local Authority Children’s Social Care Agencies Staff from both agencies have a responsibility to ensure the form is completed with as much information as possible, particularly in relation to details of children, dates of birth and addresses and issues relating to risk of harm.

Please see local procedures.

Dispute resolution

In the first instance discussions should take place between the parties involved following reflective discussion of the situation with their Line Manager. Where agreement still cannot be reached the matter should be escalated to a Senior Manager who may act as an honest broker.

Complaints

Where a complaint is received regarding the transfer of a case the complaints manager of the authority receiving the complaint will be responsible for administrating it. This complaints manager will ensure that each authority responds to any complaint relating to services provided by them as required by their own complaint procedure.

Please refer to the Local Authority Complaints Procedure for that authority.

Flowchart - Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan who move

Please see link below