Cumbria County Council Logo


Top of page

Size: View this website with small text View this website with medium text View this website with large text View this website with high visibility

1.3.6 Allocation of Work and Transfer between Teams

RELATED CHAPTER

Child Protection Enquiries (Cumbria Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was extensively updated in February 2016 and should be read throughout.


Contents

  1. Context
  2. Principles
  3. Safeguarding Hub
  4. Support and Protection Teams
  5. Children Looked After & Leaving Care Team
  6. Children with Disabilities Team
  7. Adoption Support
  8. S47 Enquiries
  9. Miscellaneous

    Appendix 1: Checklist for Managers and Workers When Handover is Necessary

    Appendix 2: The Role of District Transfers Team Manager Meetings

    Appendix 3: Transfer Good Practice Summary, Under the Thresholds, Triggers & Workflow Between Teams Procedure


1. Context

In Cumbria there are 3 districts, Carlisle & Eden, Allerdale & Copeland and Barrow & South Lakeland. In each area there are the following teams; Children Support and Protection Teams, Children with Disabilities (CWD), Children Looked After (CLA) and Leaving Care. There is one Safeguarding Hub which takes all new contacts for all Social Care requests for a service.

In addition there is a County Adoption Support Team who also have case holding responsibility.

This document sets out a framework for the management of the allocation of cases-holding responsibility in the above teams.


2. Principles

See also Appendix 1: Checklist for Managers and Workers When Handover is Necessary.

  • Changes of worker within teams must only occur when unavoidable or for good reasons which must be recorded and evidenced as part of the child’s Care Plan;
  • All case transfers should be discussed at District Transfer Team Managers meeting. See Appendix 2: The Role of District Transfers Team Manager Meetings;
  • There should not be outstanding tasks on ICS at the time of the case transfer;
  • Transfer meetings should be held to ensure all information is in place and tasks completed. Transfers must include introductions/handover for the child;
  • It is essential to minimise the number of times children and family are required to tell their story and the new worker must pay due attention to previous assessments and life events for the child and parents before engaging in work with them;
  • Any work transferring between teams must have an updated plan;
  • Until a case is formally transferred via ICS then the team still noted as responsible must ensure that all statutory requirements are met. Meeting children’s needs and keeping them safe must not get lost when transferring between teams.

A case should not be transferred at any crucial point in the child’s journey.

See also Appendix 3: Transfer Good Practice Summary, Under the Thresholds, Triggers & Workflow Between Teams Procedure.


3. Safeguarding Hub

All contacts where there are concerns regarding a child’s welfare or a consultation by any other agency about what to do when you are worried about a child, will go through the Safeguarding Hub.

The Safeguarding Hub will log all contacts for Child Protection or a Child in Need with parental consent onto ICS.

The Safeguarding Hub operates as a single access point for all contacts to Children's Services Social Care Teams. Contacts coming into the Safeguarding Hub will reflect varying levels of need and risk and will require an appropriate and proportionate response.

All concerns are RAG rated within 24 hours and actioned accordingly.

All potential concerns about the immediate safety of a child will be assessed on the day generally within 3 hours and will be sent to the relevant district Support and Protection Team to undertake an urgent assessment and initiate a Strategy Discussion where necessary.

Child in Need concerns are dealt with by the Safeguarding Hub within 48 Hours and sent to the relevant team.

Others that are less urgent e.g. private fostering are dealt with within 3 days.

A contact to the Safeguarding Hub may result in the following:

  • No further action needed;
  • Information and advice given;
  • Early Help - Where a professional raises concerns about a child which appears suitable for early help (i.e. there is no Child Protection concern but there are additional needs that may well require a multi-agency response) the referrer will be asked to complete an assessment for early help;
  • Child and Family Assessment – if an assessment is deemed necessary this will be sent to the relevant Children and Families Team to complete. The Safeguarding Hub does not undertake assessments.

Requests from Courts for Section 7 and 37 Reports

Where such reports are requested from local authority by the courts:

  • If the case is already open the allocated worker should complete the report;
  • If the case is not open the Safeguarding Hub should accept it as a referral and pass any direction for S37 Reports to the relevant Support and Protection Team for completion. The Team should notify legal services;
  • If the case is not open and there has been active casework within the previous month of a request for a Section 7 Report then this should transfer to the team who last had the involvement, otherwise such reports are compiled by CAFCASS in accordance with national protocol.

Adoption and Permanence Related Contacts

  • Applications for CAOS and Special Guardianship Orders

    If the child is currently Looked After by the Authority the case will be dealt with by the team who has case responsibility.

    If the case is not already open, the Safeguarding Hub would be the first point of contact the family should be advised to seek legal advice. Where a child is identified as being in need (S17) then Children Services Teams may have an involvement in private law proceedings, Legal and Placement panel;

  • Non-agency Adoptions

    The initial referral should be taken by the Safeguarding Hub who will then pass this to the Support and Protection Team who will deal with the request and undertake the assessment if deemed appropriate. If this is an application by a Foster Carer, it would normally be an agency adoption of a known child, and there would be a joint visit between the CLA team SW and the Adoption and Fostering Assessment Team to assess the viability of this;

  • Overseas Adoptions

    There is a service level agreement with a voluntary agency in the North West and advice should be sought from the adoption advisor;

  • Step Parent Adoptions

    Step parent adoption requests are transferred to the Support And Protection Team from the Safeguarding Hub;

  • Requests by parent(s) with PR or Guardian(s) to the LAAA to place baby for adoption

    Where a parent makes a request for a child to be adopted the case should transfer to the CLA and Leaving Care Team from the Safeguarding Hub;;

  • Adoption Support

    If the Safeguarding Hub decides a contact may need the services of the Adoption Support team, then they will consult with the Team Manager Adoption Support to determine whether a specialist adoption assessment is required or whether to proceed by way of a single assessment. The Adoption Support Team will be responsible for undertaking the adoption support assessment if it is agreed an Adoption Support Service is required;

  • Private Fostering

    Arrangements for private fostering are the responsibility of district Children’s Services who will respond to private fostering situations either on receipt of formal notification or becoming aware of a private fostering arrangement in accordance with the current See Private Fostering.

The child and carer must be visited within 7 days to ensure the child’s immediate welfare and safety set in process the arrangements for checks regarding the suitability of the arrangement. If the case is open, responsibility for completing the private fostering assessment rests with the district team that has the case.

If the case is not open, the responsibility for the first visit and assessment rests with the relevant Support and Protection Team. If appropriate, on-going visiting and support responsibilities would remain in the Support And Protection Team.


4. Support and Protection Teams

Transfer in

The Safeguarding Hub will transfer cases to the Support and Protection Team where the child is felt to be at immediate risk of Significant Harm. The Team will be responsible for undertaking the Child and Family Assessment and initiating a Strategy Discussion if needed.

If the Manager decides that a Strategy Meeting is not required or the outcome of the S.47 is provision of short term services, the team would still complete the assessment and plan.

The Safeguarding Hub has assessed that the child needs a statutory child and family assessment.

Transfer out

Where children are no longer subject to Child Protection Plans, there should be a robust exit strategy planned with other agencies or other teams as needed at the final child protection conference. There is no automatic “3 month monitoring/continuous assessment” period after a Child Protection Plan ends.

  • Case is stepped down to early help. A lead coordinator is identified and a team around the child is established. The multi-agency support plan and continuing team around the child will be agreed with the lead professional at the final CP conference. The Early Help Assessment will be registered with the Safeguarding Hub;
  • Case closed as no services or further intervention is required (or single agency intervention only);
  • The child becomes looked after and therefore remains in the Support And Protection Team until longer terms decisions are taken at the second review after 4 months for any S.20 episode. There after transfer to the CLA team will occur;
  • Cases will transfer from the Support And Protection Team/s to the CLA team/s at the end of care proceedings unless there is a plan for adoption and an adoptive placement has been identified. The child permanence report will be completed on the CP team prior to any transfer to the CLA team.


5. Children Looked After & Leaving Care Team

Transfer in

The Children Looked After & Leaving Care Team will become involved as necessary around the time of the secondary statutory review of the child who becomes looked after. The CLA Manager and Support And Protection Manager will hold a management planning discussion prior to this review to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the respective teams.

The CLA team will hold case responsibility for all children with a plan for long term foster or residential care. They may also hold case responsibility for a child with a plan for adoption where the place is not imminent.

Cases will transfer from the Support And Protection Teams for leaving care support plans after a joint visit has occurred with a leaving care advisor when the child is 15 years and 6 months and the Social Worker has completed the Pathways assessment, or have had at any age up to the age 18 the statutory length of time to qualify for leaving care.

If a “relevant” child is held by a leaving care adviser and the risks increase to a level which Social Worker interaction this will be overseen by a qualified staff member in the CLA team.

Transfer out

Most children or young people will leave care via adoption, special guardianship orders or as they become of an age to leave care.

Where Special guardianship support plan has been agreed by legal & placement panel, then the plan of support will be overseen by a Support And Protection Team, the case will be transferred once the final hearing has occurred and the orders made.


6. Children with Disabilities Team

Access to the Children with Disabilities Team is via the multi-agency Safeguarding Hub team criteria. The CWD team will undertake all child and family assessments for children who fall within the eligibility criteria for their service other than those at risk of significant harm. If the outcome of the assessment identifies that the needs of the child meet the CWD eligibility criteria a worker will be allocated to complete a child in need plan and this will be reviewed in line with CWD procedures.

Where there appear to be Child Protection issues and Child Protection procedures are initiated, for example a strategy discussion, the Team Manager of the CWD team must inform the Support And Protection Team Manager who will arrange and chair the strategy meeting. The Child Protection processes will be the responsibility of the Support And Protection Team and if the child progresses to be subject to a Child Protection plan the CWD Team Manager will then ensure the allocated worker is changed to an ‘involved ‘worker who will work alongside the Social Worker from Support And Protection Team who will then be the allocated worker and have case responsibility.

Child with a disability who are accommodated under Section 20 or subject to care proceedings will be subject to joint working between the CWD and Support And Protection Teams and will transfer to the CWD at the end of proceedings or at the 4 month review if they are accommodated and their plan is for performance in public care.

Children with disabilities teams are case holders for children with disabilities who are accommodated under section 20, Section 20 short breaks and children who are looked after.


7. Adoption Support

If the case needs to remain open to any district team due to Child Protection or other concerns the allocated worker will be from those teams, and the Adoption Support Service will, if appropriate, be provided by an “involved” worker from the Adoption Support Team.

If the Child Protection concerns become apparent on an open case to the Adoption Support Team then the Adoption Support Team Manager will consult with the Team Manager for the Support And Protection Team. If required the Support And Protection Team will allocate a worker with case responsibility who will take the lead on these issues and the Adoption Support Team Worker will remain ‘involved’ to provide support/guidance on the Adoption Support issues and continuity for the child/family.

When any team have completed work on the case and propose to cease their involvement where the Adoption Support Team are involved there must be consultation with the Team Manager for Adoption Support about this issue and the proposal that the worker from the Adoption Support team becomes the allocated worker.

When A looked after child is to be adopted and the case closes to the responsible team, but there is a need for post adoption support from the Adoption Support team, a representative of the Adoption Support Team must contribute to the adoption support plan and also attend the final CLA Review.


8. S47 Enquiries

These enquiries are joint-worked with the Child Support And Protection Social Worker taking lead responsibility for the enquiries when concerns have originated from open cases in CWD teams and Adoption Support teams. If, following a Child Protection Conference, a Child Protection Plan is required, the Key Worker will be the CP Social Worker.

Within CLA and Leaving Care Teams Strategy Discussions and S.47 enquiries will be undertaken by these teams and not by the Support And Protection Teams.


9. Miscellaneous

Access to Records / Subject Access Requests

This is outlined in the Access to Records / Subject Access Requests Procedure.

Disagreement resolution

In all circumstances the relevant Team Manager should resolve any dispute between themselves or their team members.

Team Managers are responsible for ensuring their staff complete records prior to transfer, but this should not hold up transfer between teams as case drift is not acceptable.

In the event of serious disputes that cannot be resolved, despite clear discussions about the child’s need and relevant professional judgements, then the Team Manager should discuss options for resolution with their Service Manager.


Appendices

Appendix 1: Checklist for Managers and Workers When Handover is Necessary

Appendix 2: The Role of District Transfers Team Manager Meetings

Appendix 3: Transfer Good Practice Summary, Under the Thresholds, Triggers & Workflow Between Teams Procedure

End