Implementing the Child Protection Plan
5.1.1When a conference decides that a child should be the subject of a child protection plan, a BFSWS social worker must be appointed as the lead social worker to co-ordinate all aspects of the inter-agency child protection plan.
5.1.2The core group is the forum to co-ordinate this multi-agency work and the membership will have been identified at the initial child protection conference.
5.2.1The core group is responsible for the detailed formulation and implementation of the child protection plan, previously outlined at the conference. Agencies should ensure that members of the core group undertake their roles and responsibilities effectively in accordance with the agreed child protection plan.
All members of the core group are jointly responsible for:
- Collecting information to assist the lead social worker in completing the assessment;
- Participating in the compilation and analysis of the assessment;
- The formulation and implementation of the detailed child protection plan, specifying who should do what, by when;
- Carrying out their part in implementing the plan including the commitment of identified resources;
- Monitoring and evaluating progress against specified outcomes for the child of the detailed child protection plan;
- Making recommendations to subsequent review conferences about future protection plans and the child’s needs being met stipulating specific outcomes;
- Attending core group meetings and reviewing progress to ensure that there is no drift in achieving the aims of the Child Protection Plan;
- The core group must ensure that the child protection plan sets out the frequency for all core group members to see the child and the frequency of all contacts;
- All action points must be clearly recorded, analysis of the risk of harm to the child should be made and all the information should be shared with the lead social worker and the core group. All core group members are responsible for keeping a record of the outcome of the meeting.
5.2.2If the BFSWS lead social worker or any other involved professional has difficulty obtaining direct access to the child, the BFSWS team manager / should be informed, as well as other core group members. This must result in a plan of action agreed between core group members and the police including consideration of convening a review conference.
5.2.3Membership of the core group will have been identified at the initial child protection conference and must include:
- BFSWS social worker – chair
- The child if appropriate
- Parents and relevant family members;
- Professionals involved with the child and / or parent;
- Foster carers or residential care staff who will have direct contact with the family.
5.2.4Core groups are an important forum for working with parents, wider family members, and children of sufficient age and understanding. Where there are conflicts of interest between family members in the work of the core group, the child's best interests should always take precedence.
5.2.5The date of the first core group meeting must be within ten working days of the initial child protection conference. After that the core group should meet within six weeks of the first meeting and at a minimum frequency of once every two months following the first review conference. More regular meetings may be required according to the needs and age of the child.
5.2.6The first core group meeting date must be arranged at the end of the conference, along with the required frequency of subsequent meetings.
5.2.7Dates for future meetings must be agreed at the first core group meeting following each conference. Where a meeting needs to be rescheduled, this must be confirmed in writing to all concerned by the BFSWS lead social worker.
5.3Formulation of child protection plan^
Purpose of child protection plan
5.3.1The purpose of a child protection plan is to facilitate and make explicit a co-ordinated approach to:
- Ensure that each child in the household is safe and prevent them from suffering further harm;
- Promote the child's health and development (i.e. welfare);
- Provided it is in the best interests of the child, to support the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child.
5.3.2It must be clarified for parents:
- What the causes for concern are that have resulted in the decision that a child needs a child protection plan;
- What needs to change and contingency plans if not;
- What the intended outcomes of the intervention and services are;
- What is expected of them as part of the plan for safeguarding the child.
5.3.3Review of progress on achieving the outcomes set out in the child protection plan and consideration as to whether changes need to be made should be an agenda item at each review conference and core group meeting. Contingency plans should be made, if there is no evidence of change in relation to the child’s safety and welfare.
5.3.4The child protection plan may be used as evidence, in any legal proceedings, of the efforts that have been made to work in partnership (this must be made clear to parents).
For further details about the development of the CP plan, the interventions and services including the decision making see Part B, Best Practice Guidance for the Preparation of Child Protection Plans.
Detailed child protection plan - written agreement
5.3.5The BFSWS social worker must ensure that there is a record of the core group meetings and must ensure that they formulate the detailed child protection plan in the form of a written agreement. Each Local Safeguarding Children Board should ensure that standard arrangements for the recording of the written agreement are in place.
5.3.6The child protection plan / agreement should take into consideration the wishes and feelings of the child, and the views of the parents, insofar as they are consistent with the child's welfare. The BFSWS lead social worker should make every effort to ensure that the child/ren and parents have a clear understanding of the planned outcomes, that they accept the plan and are willing to work to it.
The completed child protection plan / agreement should be explained to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding. The child should be given a copy of the plan written at a level appropriate to their age and understanding, and in their preferred language.
5.3.7Professionals should ensure that the parents understand:
- The evidence of the child suffering significant harm, or likely significant harm, which resulted in the child becoming the subject of a child protection plan;
- What needs to change;
- What is expected of them in the plan to safeguard the child.
5.3.8If the parents' preferences have not been accepted in the plan / agreement about how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, the reasons for this should be explained. Parents should be told about their right to complain and make representations, and how to do so.
5.3.9All parties should be clear about the respective roles and responsibilities of family members and different agencies in implementing the child protection plan / agreement.
5.3.10Copies of the notes and the written agreement should be circulated to core group members within five working days of the core group meeting. Implementation of the child protection plan must begin immediately.
5.3.11Any disagreements should have been discussed at the core group meeting, recorded with reasons and reflected appropriately in the written plan / agreement. It is permissible to rely on electronic signatures or emails confirming acceptance of an agency's responsibilities under the child protection plan, but all such signatures and emails must be collected in the child's BFSWS social care record.
5.3.12The child protection plan / agreement should also be on the adult service user's record if the parent is known to BFSWS or health services.
5.3.13All agencies are responsible for the implementation of the child protection plan and all professionals must ensure they are able to deliver their commitments or, if not possible, that these are re-negotiated.
5.4The lead social worker role^
5.4.1It is important that the role of the BFSWS lead social worker is fully explained at the initial child protection conference and at the core group.
5.4.2At every initial or pre-birth conference, where a child protection plan is put into place, the conference chair must name BFSWS social worker to fulfil the role of lead social worker for the child.
5.4.3The BFSWS lead social worker should complete the assessment of the child and family, securing contributions from core group members and others as necessary. They should co-ordinate the contribution of family members and other agencies to plan the actions which need to be taken, put the child protection plan into effect, and review progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan.
5.4.4The BFSWS lead social worker should also regularly ascertain the child's wishes and feelings, and keep the child up to date with the child protection plan and any developments or changes.
5.4.5The BFSWS lead social worker should:
- See the child (infants and babies to be seen awake) as agreed in the child protection plan. The frequency of visiting must be determined in the child protection plan and reviewed by the core group;
- See the child on their own on at least alternate occasions;
- Explain the plan to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding and agree the plan with the child;
- See the child’s bedroom as agreed in the plan but not less than alternate occasions;
- Undertake direct work with the child and family in accordance with the child protection plan, taking into account the child's wishes and feelings and the views of the parents in so far as they are consistent with the child's welfare;
- Convene and chair / lead second and subsequent core group meetings.
- Provide a written record of meetings for all core group members
- Ensure that the outline child protection plan is developed, in conjunction with members of the core group, into a detailed multi-agency protection plan;
- Clearly note and include in the written record any areas of disagreement;
- Produce a written agreement from the protection plan to be maintained on the child's file and circulated to the core group members;
- Obtain a full understanding of the family's history, which must involve reading previous LA /SSAFA children's files as well as current records in use in BFSWS, including those relating to other children who have been part of any households involving the current carers of the child. Additional information should be obtained from relevant other agencies and local authorities;
- Complete the assessment of the child and family, securing contributions / information from core group members and any other agencies with relevant information;
- Co-ordinate the contribution of family members and all agencies in putting the plan into action and regularly reviewing the objectives stated in the plan.
- The BFSWS lead social worker must maintain a complete and up-to-date signed record on the child's current file, electronic or manual.
5.5Difficulties in implementing the child protection plan^
5.5.1Where any member of the core group is aware of difficulties implementing the protection plan, the BFSWS lead social worker must be informed immediately and a core group meeting / discussion co-ordinated to agree a reconsidered child protection plan. Alternatively a strategy discussion/meeting should be convened to consider the need for immediate emergency police action to gain access to a premises where appropriate, a s47 enquiry, legal action, and/or to bring forward the date of the review child protection conference. Arranging a legal planning meeting should be considered by the BFSWS lead social worker with their line manager.
5.5.2Circumstances about which the BFSWS lead social worker should be informed include inability to gain access to a child who is subject to a child protection plan, for whatever reasons, on two consecutive home visits (the second visit being a second attempt to see the child in close succession of the first attempt).
5.5.3If members are concerned that there are difficulties implementing the protection plan arising from disagreement amongst professional agencies or a core group member not carrying out agreed responsibilities this must be addressed by:
- First, discussion with core group members;
- Second, if required, involvement of respective managers / Service Manager /HoS named safeguarding children doctor / nurse, teacher or police);
- If the situation remains unresolved see SB Escalation Policy.