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2.1 Case Recording

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This document sets out the way in which recording should be achieved and maintained throughout Children's Services. All practitioners will adhere to the standards detailed in this document. Case recording is now done electronically on Liquid Logic and must be completed this way. Liquid Logic is the primary care record, not files.

Please also refer to "Information on how to record on Liquid Logic" Guidance (to follow).

This guidance addresses core management issues in a way that takes into account recommendations from evaluation of case files and recording procedures, feedback from Inspectors, National Standards and incorporates requirements of the Data Protection Act 1999.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Access to Records Procedure

Confidentiality Policy

Greater Manchester Safeguarding  Children Board Inter-Agency Procedures Manual, Underlying Principles and Values, Section 6, Case Recording

RELATED LOCAL GUIDANCE

Practice Guidance: Ensuring the Child’s Voice is Clearly Heard in All Work

THE DIRECTOR MUST BE INFORMED IMMEDIATELY IF A FILE GOES MISSING OR IS STOLEN.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2016 to add three new appendices: Appendix 8: Guidance on Completing a Case Summary, Appendix 9: Home Visit Case Note Recording Template, Appendix 10: Core Group Meeting Agenda.


Contents

  1. Definition Of Case Recording
  2. The Purpose Of Case Records
  3. Definition of A Case File
  4. Policy
  5. Standards

    Appendix 1: Recording Guidance Summary

    Appendix 2: Guidance to Staff Relating to Confidentiality, Sharing of information in Relation to Case Records

    Appendix 3: Information Security and Confidentiality Guide

    Appendix 4: Definition of Documents to be Routinely Copied to Users

    Appendix 5: Case Closure Form - Staying Safe

    Appendix 6: A Good Practice Guide Case Recording Protocol

    Appendix 7: Case Recording Requirements from Climbie

    Appendix 8: Guidance on Completing a Case Summary

    Appendix 9: Home Visit Case Note Recording Template

    Appendix 10: Core Group Meeting Agenda


1. Definition Of Case Recording

The case record, which is primarily electronic, is the account of all Staying Safe work with an individual or family. (See also Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children Board Inter-Agency Procedures Manual, Underlying Principles and Values).

The paper record will only consist of items that cannot presently be stored electronically: e.g. pages from any electronically stored document that require signatures; or incoming correspondence and reports.

The Case Records will detail:

  • All contacts with the user including times when the child has been seen alone;
  • All contacts with parents/carers;
  • All contacts with those involved in advising, supporting, assessing or treating the user and/or carer;
  • The assessment of need;
  • The plan of work to be undertaken and services required to meet that need;
  • The objectives to be achieved;
  • The process and timescales to achieve the objectives;
  • All decisions taken in the case and the reasons for them, including supervisory decisions;
  • How the plan will be reviewed;
  • The outcome of the intervention;
  • User/carers views, wishes and feelings; and
  • Any complaints, formal or informal, i.e. nature and outcome of the complaint;
  • Any person who has used the records for any reason e.g. to undertake a complaint investigation or to provide information for a Subject Access Request.


2. The Purpose Of Case Records

Case Recording is a method of describing essential activity in respect of service provision and is, in itself, an integral part of the services provided by Staying Safe. Its purpose is:

  • To provide accurate, current, comprehensive and concise information about service users, their carers and the services provided by Staying Safe;
  • To provide easy access to a chronology of event and activity, planning processes, the reason for any decision made and intended outcomes;
  • To provide a framework for the efficient assessment of need, effective planning and delivery of services, and their periodic review;
  • To support and inform standard setting/quality assurance assessment and performance audit;
  • To enable service users to access important 'historical' information about aspects of their involvement with the department that may not be held in any other records;
  • To provide an accountable framework for the actions taken by staff;
  • To enable the transmission of information to relevant staff for the duration of the service.


3. Definition of A Case File

The main case file is the electronic file, which contains information about an individual or family referred to Staying Safe, which is accepted as a case for allocation and longer term action.

The main case file is held and maintained by the worker with key responsibility for the case (case file holder). This will usually be a social worker/care manager but may also be a member of staff from within a provided service if the case is not subject to care management.

The complementary case file(s) is/are those held by other services working on the same case e.g. residential establishment or specialist team.

All the Departments service areas will maintain case records in the order prescribed below.

When a provider service is no longer required or the piece of work is completed a summary of involvement and outcome of intervention should be placed on Liquid Logic. The complementary paper case file should then be returned to the appropriate fieldwork team office for storage with the main case file.


4. Policy

  • Case files and information contained therein are confidential documents, and should be treated as such. See Appendix 1: Recording Guidance Summary;
  • Case records/files and any material contained within them are the property of the local authority;
  • All files, electronic and paper, should be kept secure at all times, in line with data protection and Caldicott principals (see Appendix 2: Guidance to Staff Relating to Confidentiality, Sharing of information in Relation to Case Records);
  • Paper files should only be removed from the office with line management agreement, 'booked out' with Administrators prior to removal, and 'booked in' on return. This should be recorded on Liquid Logic. When files are removed from the office staff must take all reasonable precautions to keep them secure;
  • Electronic files must be kept secure by users of the system who have their own unique password to access information, by ensuring that they log off the system whenever they leave the office. Electronically shared information should only be printed off when absolutely necessary and destroyed after use;
  • Children's Services staff should enter observations directly onto Liquid Logic;
  • The Laming Report states that all managers should regularly read all files. Each time a file is examined by a manager, whether for supervision, review or audit purpose, the manager should record this on Liquid Logic. This should be entered as an Observation (Class = Record and Type = Team Leader Monitoring);
  • Electronic records should never be amended without the approval of the author. Information recorded on Liquid Logic once saved can be changed in Observations, unless there is a tick in the box to state 'completed'.


5. Standards

All case files will contain a record of every contact with a user/carer or those supporting the service by staff. Where that contact is on a one off basis a record of every contact must be kept. When it is continuous contact (e.g. residential) a record must be kept of all significant events. Similarly with regular services like Day Services unplanned absence should be recorded. These records will be entered in Observations on Liquid Logic.

A record of contact must:

  • Be completed immediately following contact, or in exceptional circumstances within five working days;
  • The entry should cover, as a minimum, date of contact, names (titles) of those involved, where/how contact occurred and a very brief statement of key issues and actions agreed.

Some contacts will require detailed recording or 'write ups' which will be entered in Observations on Liquid Logic as soon as is practicable after the event and no longer than 10 working days.

NB. It is recognised that some cases may not be maintained as expected due to unforeseen circumstances, e.g. sickness absence. However, the recording should be brought up to date as soon as possible after this.


Appendix 1: Recording Guidance Summary

Click here to view the Appendix 1: Recording Guidance Summary.


Appendix 2: Guidance to Staff Relating to Confidentiality, Sharing of information in Relation to Case Records

See also Confidentiality Policy, and Access to Records Procedure.

  • Personal information given in confidence has to be respected, and the privacy of clients and others with whom the Departments staff come into contact have to be protected, i.e. a Duty of Confidence;
  • Personal information should not, therefore, in usual circumstances, be shared with others without the clients/persons informed consent;
  • However, there is also a duty on staff of the Department to share information on a 'need to know basis' to ensure an appropriate service for the client;
  • There are also exceptional circumstances, detailed below, when the right to confidentiality is overruled by the need to protect public interest. For example, in mental health and child protection when information needs to be shared for the benefit and safety of all concerned. In these cases the Duty of Care overrides the Duty of Confidence;
  • Informed consent needs to be obtained at the earliest opportunity and recorded on the case file. The means of soliciting informed consent does not need to be formal, but part of a shared understanding with the service users and in the context of forming the care plan. A copy of "Your Personal Records" must be given and explained to service users, and this fact must be recorded on the file.

Listed below are the key issues which need to be borne in mind by staff.

  1. Case files and records (for all teams and services) and all the information contained therein are confidential documents and should be treated as such. Records may be manually or computer generated;
  2. Information (however shared) can only be disclosed in the following circumstances:
    • With the service user's informed consent, i.e. when the person to whom the file relates has given their permission in these circumstances;
    • The information shared will be on a need to know basis, i.e. to enable other workers to carry out an effective/efficient service to the service user.
    In some exceptional circumstances it is necessary to share information without the persons consent, i.e:
    • To protect the health and welfare of the service users (e.g. child protection);
    • To protect the health and welfare of a worker;
    • Where disclosure is required by law and when failure to disclose would prejudice or delay the detection or prosecution of a criminal act.
    Decisions to disclose information against the wishes of an individual should be fully documented and the public interest justification stated.

    If there is any doubt as to whether this information should be disclosed then your line manager must always be consulted;
  3. Information within the case records supplied by a third party cannot be made available to the service user or any other agency without the express consent of the third party.

    A third party is another public agency or independent social care worker or organisation or members of a multi-disciplinary team.

    In most circumstances the request to disclose third party information should be made in writing. However, certain circumstances may make this inappropriate.

    There may be a situation where the consent of a third party is not available and cannot be obtained. In the following circumstances consent could be overridden and information shared on a need to know basis;
  • Where there is a risk to service user/family member or worker from any agency
    * Where it is part of a criminal investigation;
  • As previously mentioned decisions to disclose information against the wishes of an individual should be fully documented and the public interest justification stated.

    If there is any doubt as to whether this information should be disclosed then your line manager must always be consulted.


Appendix 3: Information Security and Confidentiality Guide

Caldicott was a review commissioned within the NHS in 1997 to investigate ways in which confidential personal information is used.

The review made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the way in which the NHS handles and protects personal information. Ministerial approval was given in 2000 for these recommendations to be extended to Social Services Departments.

The recommendations provide a framework of standards that can be summarised by six Information Management Principles:

  1. Justify the purposes(s) of using confidential information;
  2. Only use it when absolutely necessary;
  3. Use the minimum that is required;
  4. Access should be on a strict need to know basis;
  5. Everyone must understand his or her responsibilities;
  6. Everyone must understand and comply with the law.

What is the Data Protection Act 1998?

The Data Protection Act 1998 became law in March 2000. It sets standards which must be satisfied when obtaining, recording holding, using and disposing of personal data.

As well as information held on computers the Data Protection Act covers most manual records e.g.:

  • Social care records;
  • Finance;
  • Health records;
  • Suppliers;
  • Occupational health records;
  • Contractors;
  • Personnel;
  • Volunteers.

The Act is summarised by eight Data Protection Principles:

Personal data must be:

  1. Processed fairly and lawfully;
  2. Processed for specified purposes;
  3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  4. Accurate and kept up to date;
  5. Not kept for longer than necessary;
  6. Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects;
  7. Protected by appropriate security (practical and organisational);
  8. Not transferred to a country outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection.


Appendix 4: Definition of Documents to be Routinely Copied to Users

  1. Copy of Assessment Documents, such as Initial and Core Assessments;
  2. Current Care Plans;
    Risk Assessment;
    Child Protection Plans;
    Child In Need Action Plans;
    Current Risk Assessment to Foster Carers;
  3. Minutes/Actions of Reviews;
  4. Minutes of Child Protection Conferences;
  5. Investigation Officers Reports as part of the documentation of a complaint unless expressly decided against by AD;
  6. Copies of relevant Legal Orders.

It must be recorded that a copy of any of the above has been provided.

General Publications to be provided to users as part of the process:

  1. Complaints procedure - generic leaflet;
  2. Service Standards of the relevant service;
  3. Specific information leaflets relevant to the service area, e.g. What Happens Now - Case Conference Information for Parents/Children; Appeals Against Conference Decisions; Your Personal Records.

It must be recorded that a copy of any of the above has been provided.


Appendix 5: Case Closure Form - Staying Safe

Click here to view Case Closure Form - Staying Safe.


Appendix 6: A Good Practice Guide Case Recording Protocol

CASE RECORDING

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

STATEMENT:

Good Case Recording is Important

It is not optional - nor is it a peripheral, low priority task. It is important because it enables staff to keep a record of accountable actions. It helps focus the work and builds partnerships with users and carers. It ensures work is documented and therefore monitored by managers. It enables information to be collected by the organisation to inform future service developments and it makes decision making easier when caseworkers are not around or change.

Good case recording benefits you the worker, your colleagues covering for you; service users who have a legal right of access to information written about them; and the organisation you work for.

Acquiring good recording habits is essential to being a good worker.

EXPECTATIONS

Recording should be accurate, fair, clear, concise, relevant and timely.

Accurate and Fair

Accuracy is key, particularly in terms of electronic records, which can be more difficult to correct. Errors can occur in the collecting of and in the entering of information. No changes should be made to a record without the author's consent. If there are corrections to be made on the Liquid Logic system, seek advice.

Initial Contact, Assessment and LAC forms should provide prompts in terms of information required, so nothing should be missed. Take the time to check its accuracy, especially with the people who know - the service users - e.g. spelling of names, dates of birth, relationships, disability, ethnicity, religion, language. Do not forget the CiN (Children in Need) code. Ethnicity, dates of birth and CiN code are essential requirements for the CiN census. Guessing, assuming or omitting is not good enough. Remember, a benefit of service users sharing in the process is they will act as a quality control, correcting errors and omissions, and it also given them the opportunity to record their views (a very important part of the process - particularly recording the child's views).

GOOD PRACTICE BOX

With formal assessment documents (e.g. Fostering and Adoption Form F's, Initial, Core or Parenting Assessments) a major advantage is that they are routinely shared with the service user. Family Support Centres also share all their recordings with families. (MAKE SURE THESE DOCUMENTS ARE SIGNED AND DATED BY SERVICE USERS AND THAT YOUR RECORD ON OBSERVATIONS ANYTIME A SERVICE USER IS GIVEN A COPY OF A DOCUMENT OR AN ESSENTIAL LEAFLET LIKE ACCESS TO RECORDS OR COMPLAINTS LEAFLET.)

When sharing information, be careful with issues of third party information, confidentiality and data protection. Check any protocols for sharing information with other agencies. Refer to the relevant procedures on Access to Records Procedure and Confidentiality Policy or seek advice if in doubt.

Fairness means recording positive and not just negative information. It also means having an understanding of the special needs of service users, e.g. literacy problems, age and understanding, different first language, disabilities in learning, sight or how you share recording with others, e.g. audio tapes, use of interpreters, sign language, picture card systems, Braille, etc.

Unfairness is often an unintended outcome of not thinking rather than a deliberate action, but the result is the same. What may be second nature to a disability worker but may not occur to a mainstream worker. Remember that there are resources and expertise out there. Network and seek advice.

Knowing that the recording will be read by others (service users, managers, senior managers and inspectors) should help concentrate the mind on remaining professional and careful about offensive or discriminatory language. Also, remember that a jokey, informal message at the end of an otherwise formal email could find its way onto the file, much to everyone's embarrassment.

However, the facility of Liquid Logic to record directly on to other worker's case observations should in future reduce the need for printed email messages to go on file.

CLEAR, CONCISE AND RELEVANT

Ask do we really need to know this? Distinguish fact from opinion. Source your information. Quote research. Analyse. Come to some conclusions. Explain who people referred to are. Cut out jargon. Explain abbreviations. Imagine reading through the file in five years time, would it be easily understandable?

A good principle is to record only once. Liquid Logic helps in populating other forms from one entry (hence need for accuracy).

Fostering and adoption Form F's and Assessment Framework Forms also help since the assessment document is the recording (backed up by date entries of contacts). You usually do not need to duplicate this by keeping separate "write ups". It is understandable there is some concern in wanting to cover everything in case you are legally challenged but it should only be necessary in exceptional cases.

If you record a routine event, e.g. parental contact, the need for detail may change over time. What is the purpose? Is it still required for formal assessment or court? Do you really need to record the same content over and over again or just record what has changed? In residential care are you recording a particular child slept well or ate well because it is significant or it is just something to say?

A GOOD PRINCIPLE: RECORD IT ONLY ONCE

SINGLE FILE

There is an expectation that information will be kept on individual children rather than families.

Tip - use copy and paste techniques provided by Liquid Logic to record what is common on to the individual files.

This is also possible in terms of central services (such as Family Placement, Child Protection, Family Support, Leaving Care or Residential) entering or sending appropriate parts of their observations on individual children to the central record on Liquid Logic. However, if you do this, remember to let the caseworker know or better still discuss with them first.

Timely - Timescales are set down in this Case Recording procedure with a standard that recording takes place immediately after contact or by the latest five working days after the event. All visits must be recorded. All checks undertaken for a Child Protection referral must be recorded. (Remember you must read the procedure itself in conjunction with this Appendix.

Minimum content requirements are date, names, and titles of those involved. Where and how contact happened and very brief statements of key issues and agreed actions.

RECORD AND FILE IN STRICT DATE ORDER

(Liquid Logic will of course do this for you, provided you put each observation in separately for each date). This makes life so much easier if someone has to read the file.

If a manager is involved in a decision (e.g. in Supervision), then record that. The Team Leader is responsible for the overall recording of supervision, and recording on decisions and outcomes on case records. Team Leaders enter an observation to agree assessments, actions plans or decisions, including case closures or transfers (out of borough ones should have written acceptance of responsibility from receiving council). Record discussions/decisions regarding children's discharges from hospital. Record the purpose of any referrals to other agencies.

Remember to record when things don't happen and why. Not seeing a child within 24 hours of a child protection referral. Decisions not to take a course of action (e.g. not to seek legal advice or not to use an interpreter). Unfulfilled plans especially when decisions change as a result. Failed appointments. Not in visits. Missed deadlines. Unanswered telephone calls. Record when you are unavailable due to holidays or sickness. It can explain gaps in the recording.

If more detailed observations are required e.g. around child protection investigations or complaints, then these should be completed no longer than 10 working days after the event. Remember the five and ten days are the exceptional maximums and not when you first start to think about doing the recording.

If you are co-working a case agree at the outset who is doing the recording or how the task will be divided up. If you can't agree - see your Manager.

Ensure, that all meetings are recorded with time, date, attendance, discussion, decisions and action points with timescales and person responsible for actions identified. A review date for these actions must be agreed and recorded (these were specific recommendations of a recent Child Protection Case Review and are restated in the Victoria Climbié Inquiry - which requires guidance to be in place for the operation of and recording of Strategy Discussions. Bolton's is in the Child Concern Guidance).

If two agencies make their own notes, agree which one is the one true record, and deal with any discrepancies at this stage rather than in the court arena. Only one record of a strategy meeting must be taken if Police are involved.

It is always better to record as soon as possible after the event whilst it is still fresh in the mind.

Tip - develop a system that works for you.

  • Copy techniques from more efficient colleagues;
  • Set aside some free time every day to record events of previous day e.g. 1st half hour of the day - that's 2 and a half hours recording per week;
  • Try entering some things directly on to the screen e.g. just completed phone calls;
  • Use a Dictaphone to make notes prior to entry onto Liquid Logic or for longer recording that will need to be typed;
  • Try to reduce the number of times you record information, i.e. rough note to hand-written copy to typed to corrected etc. Type from your rough notes straight on to Liquid Logic.

(If you use rough notes destroy them after observations are entered on Liquid Logic)

  • Keep a folder on your desk with separate sheets for each child/family so you can turn to them when the phone rings. It helps keep your notes in chronological order and you won't lose them before entry on to Liquid Logic.

A GOOD CASE FILE IS ONE THAT SOMEONE NEW TO THE CASE CAN PICK UP AND QUICKLY GET THE STORY.

They can understand the past through the chronology (which must be at the front of each case file) and any summaries, the present through the recent observations, and the future through the care plans/reviews. Further, there aren't any puzzling or frustrating gaps.

The Victoria Climbié Inquiry Report states "Directors... must ensure that every child's case file includes, on the inside of the front cover, a properly maintained chronology.

A chronology is a headline list in date order of the significant events in a child's life, and can be both illuminating in terms of understanding and powerfully diagnostic of the need to intervene in order to protect.

A good case file should also record desired outcomes and if they have been met, (remembering always to include the user's views on these as well). The Joint Review noted:
"all files would benefit from outcome-based care plans which incorporate all inputs, including the family as well as other agencies". An outcome is simply "the difference expected as a result of the service provided".

All case files must now address health and Safety issues and include an up to date Risk Assessment.

See also Completing a Chronology Procedure.

OTHER KINDS OF RECORDS

Remember recording is about someone's life and for children a very important part of their lives. Whilst case recording as advocated in this document may seem very clinical and minimalist to meet the needs of the organisation for efficiency and effectiveness, there will always be a need for the recording of the "softer" information e.g. photos, videos, certificates, souvenirs, life story books, and memories.

When people come back to read their records they want the factual information, but they also want to have a sense of who they were, and what they were like. Case records are possibly not the best way to convey this. The other things mentioned above are. Carers in particular need to be trained, encouraged, and resourced to routinely collect this kind of information. It also needs to be saved for the young person to keep. An adoptee is much more taken with a letter actually written by a parent than a note on file to say letter received.

"That's all very well but.......
What happens if I get behind with my recording?"

First thing examine yourself. Is this a particular difficulty for you? Do you lack the necessary discipline? Is it a mind set? I do the work I don't need to record it (wrong - you do). I'm no good with computers (everyone can learn). Ask for further Liquid Logic training/assistance.

Are you a perfectionist/obsessional and write or want to write too much? (Let go a little. It might be liberating). Data Protection Principle 3 "staff need to make sure they only collect and record the information they require to enable them to do their job." In other words - the pared necessities.

Try some of the techniques mentioned above. Recording should be a daily habit just as much as the mid morning brew or cigarette. It should also be part of a team's culture, so induction of new staff is by example.

What happens if it's got beyond a quick fix? Then get help from your manager. They need to give you time and space to sort it out. Remember managers are required to read through case records as part of supervision and record that they have done so. So they should be aware of problems at an early stage. The Victoria Climbiè Inquiry Report also now requires Senior Managers to audit a sample of case files and supervision notes every three months. Training also has a role. It is envisaged that this document will form part of Induction training for all new staff (along with leaflets on Data Protection and Access to files). It will also be the basis of team-based workshops on case recording, combining it with Liquid Logic training.  In that way best practice can be shared, and over time consistency of recording will be achieved.

For specific developmental needs other kinds of training may be available e.g. report writing, time management, extra or refresher computer skills. These can be identified through the annual Personal Development Plan process with your line manager.

AUDIT TRAIL OR AUDIT TRIAL?

Your case recording will be monitored, audited, inspected by team managers, senior managers, complaints investigators, and inspectors of every persuasion and hue.

What will they be looking for? Well if you've read the leaflet there won't be any surprises. The detail may depend on your team and its function, but the general principles will remain the same and they will of course be working to written standards that will be shared with you. But expect the following:
(Deep breath)

Are the user details and the case recording complete and up to date? Are dates and names of allocation clear? Do records identify dob, ethnicity, gender, religion, language and disability? Is there a note that leaflets on complaints and access to records have been given to users? Are there regular case summaries (good practice)? Is there a chronology? Is a needs assessment completed? Is there a risk assessment? Are all records signed, dated and in date order? Do records distinguish between fact and opinion? Is there evidence that Team Leaders (and other managers) have read records and recorded their decisions? Is there a record of users/carers/parents' views and feelings in own words or by worker? Is there a record of user's agreements to actions? Are the appropriate LAC documents completed and do the users/carers/parents have copies? Is there a Personal Education Plan or a Pathway Plan?
Are there written Child Protection Conference and Review Reports and an updated protection plan and agreement? Do parents, carers and agencies have copies? Is there a case transfer or closure summary (agreed by Team Leader)?


Appendix 7: Case Recording Requirements from Climbie

Standard 1 - Referral

Rec39

1.1 All front line staff must be trained to pass all calls about the safety of children through to the appropriate duty team without delay, having first recorded the name & address of the child, and the nature of the concern. If the call cannot be put through immediately, further details from the referrer must be sought (including name, address & contact number), and this info must be passed verbally and in writing to duty team within hour.
Rec 48
1.7 All referrals by Social Services to other agencies for additional services must be recorded contemporaneously on the case file.

Standard 2 - Assessment

Rec 53

2.3 All Social Services staff working with children must be properly supervised and all findings and decisions in respect of the assessment process must be recorded on the child's file.

Rec 34

2.4 All home visits must be written up in the case file (see Appendix 9: Home Visit Case Note Recording Template).
2.5 Ensure all records are checked and the Child Protection Register is consulted following each referral where there are welfare concerns, and all decisions and outcomes from these checks are recorded on the file.

Rec 18

2.6 If the services of an interpreter are dispensed with, the reason for doing so must be recorded in the file.

Rec 35

2.7 Children who are the subject of allegations of deliberate harm must be seen within 24 hours of the allegation being communicated to Social Services. If this timescale is not met, the reason for the failure must be recorded on the file.

Rec 22

2.8 If Social Services place a child in temporary accommodation, an assessment must be made of the suitability of that accommodation, and the results of that assessment must be recorded on the case file. If the accommodation is unsuitable, the senior housing officer must be notified and this is must be recorded on the file.

Rec 25

2.11 All Social Services assessments of children and families, and any action plan drawn up as a result, must be approved in writing by a manager. The views of the child and his/her carer must also be recorded on the file.

Rec 36

2.13 No emergency action on a case concerning an allegation of deliberate harm to a child should be taken without first obtaining legal advice. If legal advice is not sought, the reason for this must be recorded on the file.

Rec 56

2.15 Children in hospital, about whom there are child protection concerns, must be subject to further assessment of their needs whenever their circumstances substantially change, to establish that it is safe for the child to return home. This assessment must be recorded and should include discussions with medical staff, and result in decisions being agreed with the consultant responsible for the child's care in hospital.

Standard 3 - Allocation, Service Provision and Closure

Rec 58

3.1 Directors of Social Services must ensure that an up to date chronology is available on each child's file.

Rec 54

3.2 The number, nature and reasons for unallocated cases must be reported to the Social Services committee on a monthly basis.

Rec 55

3.4 Decisions on case closure and the views of the child/carer must be recorded.

Rec 38

3.7 The transfer of responsibility of a case between local authorities must be recorded on the case file of both authorities, and must be confirmed in writing by the authority to which responsibility for the case has been transferred.
3.8 If Social Services place a child in accommodation in another local authority area, they must notify that local authority's Social Services department. Unless specifically agreed in writing (and recorded on the file) at team manager level by both authorities, the placing authority must retain responsibility for the child.
3.10 Clear guidance for the operation and recording of strategy meetings must be in place in accordance with Working Together, and must be checked through routine monitoring and audit.

Standard 4 - Guidance

Rec 38

4.4 The transfer of responsibility of a case between local authority Social Services departments must be recorded on the case file of each authority, and must be confirmed in writing by the authority to which responsibility for the case has been transferred.

Standard 6 - Organisation & Management

Rec 50

6.3 Directors must ensure that the work of staff working directly with children is regularly supervised. The manager's observations and any recommended actions must be recorded on the file.
6.5 Senior managers must inspect, at least once every three months, a random selection of case files and supervision notes.

Standard 7 - Governance

Rec 49

7.5 When a professional from another agency expresses concerns to Social Services about their handling of a particular case, the file must be read, and reviewed, the professional concerned met and spoken to, and the outcome of this discussion must be recorded on the file.


Appendix 8: Guidance on Completing a Case Summary

Click here to view Appendix 8: Guidance on Completing a Case Summary.


Appendix 9: Home Visit Case Note Recording Template

Click here to view Appendix 9: Home Visit Case Note Recording Template.


Appendix 10: Core Group Meeting Agenda

Click here to view Appendix 10: Core Group Meeting Agenda.

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