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1.3.4 Transfer of Cases Protocol

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter identifies the key processes and procedures across all teams when transferring their work to other Teams identified as more appropriate to have the case. Adherence to these protocols are key to avoid delays in progressing a child' plan.

RELATED GUIDANCE

North West Pre-Care and Care Proceedings Notification and Transfer across Local Authority Boundaries Procedure

RELATED CHAPTERS

Transfer of Child Protection Plans From/To Other Local Authority Area.

Children in Need moving across Local Authority boundaries.

AMENDMENT

In March 2020, Section 1, Referral and Assessment Team to Safeguarding Team was updated throughout in line with local practice, and that section should be re-read.


Contents

  1. Referral and Assessment Team to Safeguarding Team
  2. Safeguarding Team to the Looked after Team
  3. Transfer of cases from Looked after Children to Leaving Care Team


1. Referral and Assessment Team to Safeguarding Team

Safeguarding cases

  • Social Worker from the Safeguarding Team attends the Initial Child Protection Conference and the Initial Core Group. A manager from the Rand A will attend the conference;
  • Cases are to be transferred to the Safeguarding Team at the Initial Core Group;
  • A handover/transfer meeting with the Referral and Assessment Team, Safeguarding Team and the family should take place either on a joint visit or a meeting prior to the start of the Initial Core Group;
  • The Referral and Assessment worker needs to record this prior to transfer;
  • The C and F assessment should be completed within 45 working days and passed through to the Safeguarding Team when completed. This should not delay the transfer of the case;
  • An audit of the file will take place by the Referral and Assessment Manager at transfer. The case may be selected for a Quality Practice Audit (QPA) by the Head of Service before transfer;
  • The Safeguarding Social worker and Team Manager should record they have read the file at point of transfer.

Care Proceedings/PLO

  • All cases being considered for PLO/care proceedings should be presented to the Legal Gateway Panel following HOS approval.

    Exception to this procedure would be emergency situations where immediate action is necessary. This would require HOS agreement. At this stage allocation of case to a safeguarding worker will be considered to ensure a timely handover;
  • Referral and Assessment Social Worker and their manager will attend the first Pre-Proceedings Meeting in PLO. The allocated Safeguarding Social Worker should also be available for this meeting. Transfer should take place at the Pre-Proceedings meeting for PLO cases;
  • In cases where a decision is made to issue care proceedings. The Referral and Assessment Social Worker and manager should be present at the PLO meeting and the Safeguarding Social Worker should attend. The Referral and Assessment Team should complete necessary legal documentation and attend the First Case Management Hearing (FCMH); this will involve SWET, and chronology assessment. The Referral and Assessment worker should also ensure where necessary all LAC documentation is completed. The transfer to the Safeguarding Team should occur at the first Looked after Child Review. If the decision is made to issue care proceedings on a pre-birth case and the case has transferred to the Safeguarding Service at the time of the birth, then the Safeguarding Social Worker will be responsible for producing the SWET;
  • The Safeguarding worker should be available for the FCMH to ensure correct timetabling of intervention is planned;
  • The Referral and Assessment Team should ensure that a Personal Education Plan meeting is arranged and attended within 20 school days of the child/young person being accommodated;
  • A handover/transfer meeting with the Referral and Assessment Team, Safeguarding Team and the family should take place either on a joint visit or a meeting just prior to the start of the first Statutory Review;
  • If a child is to be placed with an extended family member and care proceedings is to be issued, then the Referral and Assessment Social Worker will ensure a referral has been made to the Kinship Care team for a viability assessment.

Pre-birth Risk assessment

  • If the pregnancy is between 26 - 34 weeks and the likely plan is PLO/care proceedings transfer at this point can occur to the Safeguarding Team and a joint handover is required to ensure transition of evidence and care planning;
  • If the pregnancy is beyond 34 weeks, the case remains in the Referral & Assessment Team. The Referral & Assessment Social Worker is responsible for completing SWET and other legal documents and attends the first court hearing with the Safeguarding Social Worker;
  • If the plan is to arrange a Child Protection Conference the Referral & Assessment team should ensure this is clearly recorded in the plan at transfer point. The Safeguarding Service will then arrange the Initial Child Protection Conference when the pregnancy is at least 34 weeks;
  • A handover/transfer meeting with the Referral and Assessment Team, Safeguarding Team and the family should take place either on a joint visit or a meeting just prior to the start of the initial core group.
(See also Public Law Outline Procedure, Good Practice Steps)

Child in Need Cases

  • Cases to be transferred to the Safeguarding Team on the completion of the C&F Assessment and a plan in place;
  • A handover/transfer meeting with the Referral and Assessment Team, Safeguarding Team and the family should take place either on a joint visit or just prior to the start of a Child Action meeting;
  • The Referral and Assessment Social Worker should record the handover meeting before transfer;
  • The Safeguarding Social Worker and manager should record they have read the file at the point of transfer.

(See Children in Need moving across Local Authority boundaries Procedure, Annexe A: North West Children in Need Moving across Local Authority Boundaries Procedure)


2. Safeguarding Team to the Looked after Team

Final Care Plans

  • Cases to be transferred to LAC Teams on conclusion of final hearing;
  • Long-term fostering/residential placements, SGO and Care and Supervision order cases;
  • Young people on the edge of care due to their behaviour/family breakdown where there are no other siblings and safeguarding issues prevalent for the siblings;
  • Rehabilitation plans (not including ‘testing out’ cases during proceedings);
  • All files should be up to date including an up to date C&F assessment;
  • Audit of case will be undertaken by Safeguarding management team at point of transfer.

Referral & Assessment Team to Looked After Team (LAC Team)

  • Cases to be transferred to LAC Team at the first Statutory Review (Section 20);
  • C and F Assessment should be completed within 45 working days and passed through to the LAC Team;
  • The Referral and Assessment Team should ensure that a Personal Education Plan meeting is arranged and attended within 20 school days of the child/young person being accommodated;
  • A handover/transfer meeting with the Referral and Assessment Team, LAC Team and the family should take place either on a joint visit or a meeting just prior to the start of the first Statutory Review;
  • The Referral and Assessment worker should record the handover before the transfer, and ensure an up to date case summary.

Private Fostering Arrangement Cases

  • Referral and Assessment Team Manger will highlight to LAC manager prior to completion of C and F assessment any PF cases. LAC manager will identify allocation of LAC worker in a timely fashion;
  • Case to be transferred to the LAC Team on the completion of a C and F Assessment;
  • A handover/transfer meeting should be arranged and recorded by the referral and Assessment Team social worker and LAC worker prior to completion of C and F assessment.

All Files

  • Managers to meet on a regular basis to ensure regular discussions of proposed transfer of cases;
  • All cases being transferred between teams must be audited by the Manager prior to transfer. This should not delay transfer;
  • The receiving Team Manager and Social Worker must read the file and record this on ICS.


3. Transfer of cases from Looked after Children to Leaving Care Team

Leaving Care Team Protocol

  • ONE Support to send monthly Leaving Care CLA report to Leaving Care Team Manager;
  • Pathway Plan allocated to Leaving Care worker 5 months prior to young person’s 16th birthday;
  • A joint visit to the young person between the LAC Social Worker and Leaving Care Social Worker will be undertaken;
  • Pathway planning commences; Allocated Social Worker and Leaving Care Social Worker work together to aim for a smooth transition;
  • Allocated Social Worker should update and provide as much information, written and verbal, as possible to Leaving Care Social Worker so they are able to get to know the young person well;
  • Cases to be transferred to Leaving Care Team when a young person is 16; in exceptional cases where this is not possible, discussion and agreement to take place between Team Managers;
  • LCT & LAC teams have clear guidance for transition; this is to be followed.

Good practice points

  • LAC Team Managers to inform LCT Team Managers of potential areas of difficulty so that an earlier or later transfer can be agreed, e.g. GCSE’s, complex needs, etc;
  • LAC TM to identify in supervision young people due for transfer so that timely preparation and update can be made;
  • LAC TM to audit file for transfer to ensure it is fit for purpose and up to date;
  • All cases are a work in progress and we should aim to avoid completing files just at the point of transfer;
  • Teams should aim for timely transfer as a late transition impacts upon deadlines for LCT reports.

End