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1.5.6 Child Protection Review Conferences


Contents

1. Introduction and Purpose
2. Role of the Social Worker
3. Role of Agency Practitioners
4. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan
5. Consideration of an Early Child Protection Review Conference
6. Reports to Conference
  6.1 Social Work Reports
  6.2 Agency Practitioner Reports
7. Attendance
8. Administration
9. Outcomes
10. Dissent from Review Conference Decision
11. Minutes
  Also see Flowchart 5: What Happens After the Child Protection Conference, Including the Review Process?


1. Introduction and Purpose

A Child Protection Review Conference (CPRC) is held after a child has been made subject to a Child Protection Plan at an Initial Child Protection Conference.

The purpose of a Child Protection Review Conference is 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 and to consider whether the Child Protection Plan should continue or should be changed.

The review conference procedures for preparation, decision-making and other procedures are the same as those for an initial child protection conference – see Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Child Protection Conferences using the Strengthening Families Framework.

The first Child Protection Review Conference will be held within three months after the Initial Child Protection Conference and maximum of six monthly after that as necessary.

Where an unborn child has been identified as requiring a Child Protection Plan at a pre-birth conference, the first Review Conference should be scheduled to take place within 1 month of the child’s birth or within 3 months of the pre-birth conference whichever is the sooner – for more information see Safeguarding Unborn and Newborn Babies Procedure.

A Child Protection Review Conference will:

  • Receive the completed assessment from the Core Group at the first Child Protection Review Conference;
  • Review the safety, health and development of the child against planned outcomes set out in the Child Protection Plan and the Child's Assessment;
  • Ensure that the measures put in place to safeguard the child continue to be effective and appropriate;
  • Consider the child’s wishes and feelings if of sufficient age and understanding) and encourage their participation in the conference process;
  • Review and analyse information about the parent’s capacity to ensure and promote the child’s safety and welfare;
  • Consider whether the Child Protection Plan should remain in place or should be changed and agree desired outcomes and timescales; 
  • Examine and agree the current level of risk;
  • Examine and agree the strengths of the child and the family;
  • Determine the need for further assessment, including specialist assessment;
  • Monitor inter-agency co-ordination to ensure it is functioning effectively;
  • Make judgements about the likelihood of the child suffering Significant Harm in the future;
  • Consider if the child’s need for safeguarding can be met without a Child Protection Plan in place.

The Child Protection Review Conference must decide explicitly if the child is still at continued risk of Significant Harm and hence whether there is an ongoing need for a Child Protection Plan. The same decision-making procedure should be used to reach a judgment on this issue as is used at the Initial Child Protection Conference.

If the Child Protection Plan continues, the relevance of the Category of Significant Harm (physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect) must be reviewed.


2. Role of the Social Worker

Social workers with their managers should:

  • Prepare for and attend the conference;
  • Provide information based on the single assessment 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;
  • Share the conference information with the child and family beforehand;
  • Record conference outcomes;
  • Decide whether to initiate family court proceedings (all the children in the household should be considered, even if concerns are only expressed about one child) if the child is considered to be suffering significant harm.


3. Role of Agency Practitioners

All involved practitioners should:


4. Criteria for Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan

A child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan if:

Except In the case of the first criteria as listed above, it is permissible for the Head of Safeguarding (CYPS) to make the decision for the child not to be subject of a Child Protection Plan without the need to convene a Child Protection Review Conference only when s/he has consulted with relevant agencies present at the conference which first decided that a Child Protection Plan was required, in which case the decision and the outcome of the consultation should be recorded in the child’s file.

When a child is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan, notification should be sent, as a minimum, to all those agency representatives who were invited to attend the Child Protection Conference that led to the Child Protection Plan.

The Conference Chair should also write to the parents and the child (depending on his/her age and understanding) advising them of the decision. 


5. Consideration of an Early Child Protection Review Conference

An early Review Conference should be considered in the following circumstances:

  • Where there is a further incident or allegation of Significant Harm to a child subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • If the Child Protection Plan is failing to protect the child;
  • If there are significant difficulties in carrying out the Plan;
  • Where there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family not anticipated at the previous conference and with implications for the safety of the child;
  • Where the previous Conference was inquorate.


6. Reports to Conference

6.1 Social Work Report

The Lead Social Worker will provide a signed and dated written report including a chronology of significant events, using the Single Assessment template, which must be endorsed and counter signed by his or her manager.

Information on all children subject to the Child Protection Plan must have their own assessment report.

The Conference will require as part of a written report by the Social Worker:

  • Co-ordination by the Lead Social Worker of contributions by Core Group members (for practitioners, see Section 6.2, Agency Practitioner Reports);
  • Parental views;
  • View of the child if of sufficient age and understanding;
  • An evaluation of the progress made in reducing the risk to the child whilst the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • A copy of the full Child's Assessment, together with any specialist assessments that have been commissioned, an analysis of the assessment findings and recommendations for the Child Protection Plan;
  • A view from the Core Group as to whether or not the child continues to need a Child Protection Plan.

The report should be provided to parents and children of sufficient age and understanding where appropriate at least 10 working days before the Review Conferences at a Core Group Meeting, to enable any factual inaccuracies to be identified, amended and areas of disagreement noted. Comments or suggestions made by the child/parents as a result of seeing the report must be included or conveyed verbally to the conference.

In exceptional circumstances where confidential information cannot be shared with the child or parent(s) beforehand, the Lead Social Worker should seek guidance from their manager and the Conference Chair.

Where necessary, the report should be translated into the relevant language or medium, taking account of the language and any sensory or learning difficulties of the child/parents – for more information see Working with Interpreters and Others with Special Communication Skills Procedure.

6.2 Agency Practitioner Reports

All agency practitioners will provide an updated report - For more information see Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Reports from Partner Agencies.

The report should be provided to parents and children of sufficient age and understanding where appropriate at least 10 working days before the Review Conferences at a Core Group Meeting, to enable any factual inaccuracies to be identified, amended and areas of disagreement noted. Comments or suggestions made by the child/parents as a result of seeing the report must be included or conveyed verbally to the conference.

The report should be provided to the Conference Chair via the Safeguarding Unit at least 5 working days in advance of the Review Conference.


7. Attendance

Attendees should include the Chair and Core Group members.

As the police do not routinely attend Child Protection Review Conferences it is important that any Police involvement with the child, family or household between Conferences is brought to the attention of the Review Conference. Therefore the police must always provide written information to the meeting.


8. Administration

Members of the Initial Child Protection Conference will be informed at the end of the Conference of the date of the Review Conference, which will also be recorded in the minutes. 

The Safeguarding Unit will be responsible for the preparation of the minutes (see Section 11, Minutes). The Lead Social Worker will advise parents / carers and children.

If a Child Protection Review Conference decides that a child no longer requires a Child Protection Plan, the parents will be informed in person, if present at the meeting and in writing by the Conference Chair.

Any dissenting views or disagreements with this decision will be recorded in the minutes. For more information see Practice Resolution Protocol: Resolving Professional Differences of Opinion in Multi-Agency Working with Children and their Families.


9. Outcomes

Every Child Protection Review Conference should consider explicitly whether the child continues to be at risk of Significant Harm and therefore continues to need safeguarding through a Child Protection Plan

If not, then the child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

he Conference Chair will have the same decision making powers at the Child Protection Review Conference as at the Initial Child Protection Conferences – see Initial Child Protection Conference Procedure, The Role of the Conference Chair.

A child who is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan may still require additional support and services and discontinuing the Child Protection Plan should never lead to the automatic withdrawal of help. The Lead Social Worker should discuss with the parents and the child what services might be wanted and required, based upon the assessment of the needs of the child and family. A “step down” referral to Early Help or a Child in Need plan should be considered with the consent of the parents. For more information see Early Help Guidance: Integrated Working With Children, Young People and Families With Vulnerable or Complex Needs.


10. Dissent from the Review Conference Decision

Opportunities should be given for members of the conference to dissent from the decision made by the Chair, and this will be recorded in the minutes.

In cases where there is disagreement regarding the outcome of the Review Conference, the Conference Chair will attempt to facilitate the conference to reach a consensus. For more information see Practice Resolution Protocol: Resolving Professional Differences of Opinion in Multi-Agency Working with Children and their Families.

In exceptional circumstances where a consensus cannot be reached, the Chair is responsible for ensuring that decisions are made which, in the opinion of the Chair, most clearly reflect the interests of the child and these procedures. On this basis the Chair has the power to veto or override the decision. Contrary to the majority decision, the Chair may decide to make the child subject to a Child Protection Plan where, in his/her opinion, the criteria for significant harm are met, or decide not to do so. 

The Chair should minute the basis for this decision and there should be immediate management oversight of the decision within 24 hours, and a notification will be sent to the LSCB and consideration given as to whether a Multi-Agency Review Group (MARG) review process should be undertaken. .

If the Chair decides that the criteria are not met, the child would not be subject to a Child Protection Plan but would be “stepped down” to a Child in Need Plan or Early Help plan. If the Chair is of the opinion that the criteria are met, the child would remain subject to a Child Protection Plan.

If the Conference Chair is concerned that a practitioner (including a social worker) or agency fails to meet the expected requirements of a Child Protection Conference, the Conference Chair can initiate the formal Challenge Protocol – for more information see Practice Resolution Protocol: Resolving Professional Differences of Opinion in Multi-Agency Working with Children and their Families, Challenging practice Issues that Arise in Child Protection Conferences.

The Challenge Protocol is intended to ensure that all practitioners carry out their roles and responsibilities appropriately to safeguard and promote the welfare of children/young people who are subject of a Child Protection Conference. The Challenge Protocol does not replace existing reporting and accountability mechanisms or processes that already exist and are in operation within and between organisations.

If parents/carers disagree with the Review Conference decision, the Conference Chair must further discuss their concerns and explain their rights to appeal – see Appeals in Relation to Child Protection Conferences Procedure.


11. Minutes

All conferences will be minuted by administrative staff whose sole task within the Conference is to provide a written record of proceedings in a consistent format. The Conference Chair is responsible for ensuring that the minutes accurately reflect the discussion held and the decisions and recommendations made.

The Minutes should include:

  1. Name, date of birth, ethnicity and address of the subject/s of the conference, parents/carers and other adults in the household;
  2. Who was invited, who attended the conference and who submitted their apologies;
  3. Any breaks in the conference and anyone leaving or joining the meeting;
  4. The reason for the conference;
  5. A list of written reports available to conference and whether open to parents or not;
  6. Progress of the Child Protection Plan;
  7. A summary/update of the Child's Assessment;
  8. A summary of direct contacts with the child/ren;
  9. Views and wishes of each child;
  10. Views of parents/carers;
  11. Opinions of agencies using the Strengthening Families Framework for assessment and whether the child should continue to have a Child Protection Plan;
  12. Decision on the need for a Child Protection Plan with information outlining the reasons, including the identified category of Significant Harm or the reasons why the child no longer requires a Child Protection Plan;
  13. Any changes to the Child Protection Plan, if the child continues to require a Child Protection Plan, or a Child in Need Plan where appropriate;
  14. Confirmation of name of Lead Social Worker if child continues to have a Child Protection Plan;
  15. Members of the Core Group if child continues to have a Child Protection Plan and the date of the next Core Group meeting;
  16. Date of next Child Protection Review Conference.

A record of the decisions and recommendations made will be sent to all those who attended the conference within one working day.

The minutes of the conference, signed by the Conference Chair, will be sent to all professionals who attended, or were invited, and to relevant family members as soon as possible after the Conference, within 20 working days.

Copies of the minutes should be given to the parents, child (if old enough) and the child’s advocate by the Lead Social Worker where appropriate.

Where parents and/or the child/ren have a sensory disability or where English is not their first language, steps must be taken to ensure that they can understand and make full use of the minutes.

Where a parent or child has been partly or fully excluded from the conference, the decision on what information they should receive will be taken by the Conference Chair in consultation with other conference members.

Where a supporter, solicitor, other family member or observer has attended a conference, the minutes will not be distributed to them unless they have a role in the Child Protection Plan and the conference agrees it appropriate.

Where a child has attended a Child Protection Conference, the Lead Social Worker must arrange to see her/him and arrange to discuss relevant sections of the minutes.

Conference minutes are confidential and should not be passed to third parties without the consent of the Conference Chair and/or Lead Social Worker or by a Court Order.

End