Transfer In / Out

This section of the procedure covers situations where a child subject to a protection plan moved from an address covered by a local authority in one geographical area to another

 Overview

Children subject to children protection plans who move area

Two processes are considered:

1.   Children subject to a child protection plan moving to a local authority from another area (“transfer in conferences”).

2.   Children subject to a child protection plan moving from local authority to another area. (“transfer out conferences”).

In such circumstances it is particularly important that multi agency services are carefully coordinated during the transfer process. As outlined below the current authority must NOT curtail their involvement until the case has been formally accepted by the new area.

Transfer in conferences

An initial or transfer-in child protection case conference will be held within 15 working days of receiving the referral.

Until the case conference, responsibility for the child’s plan remains with the originating local authority working in close liaison with the receiving local authority.

The exception to this would be where the local authority decide to continue to maintain responsibility for the child protection plan, eg, siblings living in different areas or when a child moves into the new area for a period of less than 15 days. In this case, the receiving local authority should be notified that a child who is subject to a child protection plan is temporarily residing in their area.

The receiving local authority is responsible for the conference. The originating local authority allocated social worker will be invited to the conference and write a report. The receiving local authority may wish to write its own report. Both reports will constitute the report for the case conference.

The originating local authority child protection plan will be reviewed with all relevant agencies from both originating local authority and new local authority areas being invited and if required, a new child protection plan drafted.

After the transfer in conference, the originating local authority should place a copy of the report along with the conference notes on the child's file, complete a closing summary and close the case.

Transfer in conferences

When a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan the family should be made aware of their responsibility to inform the allocated social worker if they are moving address. Any agency who becomes aware of such a move must inform the allocated social worker immediately. This section covers situations where the new address is in the area of another local authority.

Action upon receipt of information

The allocated social worker should inform the designated officer and make a referral to the receiving authority. The referral should be made immediately if the move has already occurred.

The new address should be recorded against the child’s record.

Transfer to the receiving authority/the child protection conference

The transfer of the case will occur following a child protection conference.

The conference will take place in the receiving authority. The receiving authority are responsible for organising the date, time, venue and chair of the conference and for ensuring the family and relevant professionals are invited. The conference will be organised within fifteen working days.

The report for the conference will be written by the allocated worker from the originating local authority. The report should be made available to the receiving authority within that authority’s timescales and requirements. Pending the conference the allocated social worker should take responsibility for liaising with receiving authority and for ensuring they are supplied with appropriate case work information and documentation.

The current allocated worker in the originating authority should attend the case conference.

The allocated worker in the originating authority will retain responsibility for the child and the child protection plan until the receiving authority assumes responsibility at the case conference. In the case of disagreement (for example, if there are issues over geographical boundaries or the permanency of the move) the allocated worker in the originating authority must retain responsibility until such issues are resolved. Under no circumstances should a child be left at risk of harm due to disputes over accountability.

Action following the conference

Handover arrangements including joint visits, should have occurred prior to the conference and/or be arranged at the conference. The allocated social worker should ensure they comply with recommendations made at the conference for handover/joint work.

The originating authority must not close the case until they have received confirmation in writing from the receiving authority that responsibility has been accepted.

Issues of significant harm surrounding a change of address

There may be circumstances in which there are increased concerns regarding actual or potential significant harm in regard to a change of address e.g. if the family has moved without informing the allocated worker or other professional, or the child and family move in with someone who is known to children's social care and about whom there is concerns. In such circumstances the authority of the new address must still be informed that the child is in their area but the originating authority should seek legal advice and initiate care proceedings if appropriate.

Circumstances where case responsibility is retained following a move to an address in another local authority area

There may be circumstances where the originating authority may retain responsibility even though the child is residing in the area of another authority. This could occur for example if the child is temporarily staying with a relative, is in a time limited specialist placement such as a mother and baby unit or is in temporary housing. In such circumstances the authority of the area in which the child is residing should be informed that the child is in their area and is subject to a child protection plan and should be supplied with appropriate case work information. Depending on the geographical location the designated manager in the originating authority may negotiate for assistance in carrying out the child protection plan during the period that the child will be resident in the new area.