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BexleyChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Amendments

April 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Assessments

This chapter has been amended to change the link to ‘Revised Process for Child Protection Conferences: CP consultations from front door to conference/Re-referrals for Initial Conferences/Child in Need Reviewing.’

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

Section 4.2, Case Analysis has been updated to reflect the ‘permanence provisions’ of the Care Plan added by s. 8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 (amending section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

A note has been added to identify that records must be updated as information becomes available or at the latest within 72 hrs. However, where the information is significant or concerning, this information must be recorded within 24 hours. (See Records Must be Kept up to Date).

Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a court judgement on Ordinary Residence that was included in DoH, Care and support statutory guidance (December 2016). (See Section 12, Funding Issues - Ordinary Residence). A link has also been added into Further Information to guidance on SEND: 19- to 25-year-olds’ entitlement to EHC plans (DfE 2017). See Section 15, Further Information and Statutory Guidance.

Guidance for Staff in Children's Social Care - Working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

This chapter has been amended to acknowledge the impact of the Children and Social Work Act 2017. A link to the new ‘Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery, DfE (2017)’ is also included, (see Related Guidance).

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

Section 2.1.1 The Care Plan – Contents has been amended to reflect the additional ‘permanence provisions’ of the Care Plan (s. 8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.

Additionally, a link to the 'Bexley Looked After Children & Leaving Care Strategy 2017 – 2020 #a mile in my shoes' has been added. Over the Summer of 2017 the Young Director undertook some engagement work with looked after children. A survey for under 11’s and another for over 11’s was used to gain some insight into how young people felt Bexley had delivered on our Bexley Pledge that we had included in our previous Strategy for Looked after Children. The document includes a summary of these comments, together with the views of the Independent Reviewing Officers, and this provides the backdrop to Bexley’s vision, which includes Bexley’s 'Commitments'.

Permanence Planning Guidance

In Section 5, Assessing and Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional ‘permanence provisions’ of the Care Plan (under s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

Section 2, Exceptions has been revised to set out more clearly the circumstances where visiting requirements differ from those set out in Section 1, Normal Frequency.

Advocacy and Independent Visitors

This chapter has been updated to add a link to the Children’s Society ‘Advocacy services for children and young people – a guide for commissioners’. This guide outlines the legislative requirements of local authorities in the provision of advocacy support to children in need and looked after children.

Looked After Reviews

This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review guidance and regulation with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive. (See Frequency of Looked After Reviews).

Change of Name of a Looked After Child

This chapter has been significantly changed throughout and now provides information on a change of name by Deed Poll.

Leaving Care and Transition

This chapter has been updated to a link to the Bexley Looked After Children & leaving Care Strategy 2017 – 2020 #a mile in my shoes. Over the Summer of 2017 the Young Director undertook some engagement work with looked after children. A survey for under 11’s and another for over 11’s was used to gain some insight into how young people felt Bexley had delivered on our Bexley Pledge that we had included in our previous Strategy for Looked after Children. The document includes a summary of these comments, together with the views of the Independent Reviewing Officers, and this provides the backdrop to Bexley’s vision, which includes Bexley’s ‘Commitments. (Note however, this is separate from the care leavers ‘Local Offer’).

Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers

Section 8, After the Panel Recommendation has been updated to clarify the decision as to the suitability of the applicant must be made within 7 working days of receipt of the panel’s recommendation and final set of panel minutes – The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4 and Standard 14 (14.9) Fostering panels and the fostering service’s decision-maker.

Placement for Adoption

This chapter has been amended to emphasise ‘procedural fairness’ as a key aspect of the adoption planning process in respect of ensuring parents are provided with information throughout, including the dates of placement/proposed changes of a child’s Status, etc. This follows the outcome of a judicial review ([2017] EWHC 1041 (Admin)). (See new Section 4.2, Procedural Fairness).

Also, Section 1, Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by section 9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 1(4)(f) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002) into the list of considerations that whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.

A link to 'Bexley - Has adoption been identified as the plan for your child? (Information for birth parents)' is also provided (see Note above).

Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters

Section 4.1, Duty to Consider Fostering for Adoption Placement has been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by section 9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 into the list of considerations whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.

Missing

This chapter has been replaced with an updated version.

Child Sexual Exploitation

This chapter has been amended to add a new ‘For Information’ section which links to additional information for reference:

  • Children’s Commissioner, ‘Preventing Child Sexual Abuse’ (2017);
  • College of Policing, ‘Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation;
  • Home Office, Tackling child sexual exploitation: Progress report (2017);
  • LGA, Child sexual exploitation: A resource pack for councils (2017).
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details

Social Care Quality Assurance Framework

This new chapter seeks to describe the process whereby Bexley seeks to evidence how effectively Children’s Social Care is delivering services to keep children safe, promote positive outcomes and identify where improvements should be focused. It reflects the Signs of Safety model that Bexley employ and describes the quality assurance method and the audit process within this. The audit tool explores 4 key areas of practice to identify that standards are being achieved in practice as well as establishing ‘what good looks like’ through the stages of a referral. A flowchart describes the audit and moderation process.

Please reference.

Bexley Children's Social Care Supervision Policy

This policy emphasises the importance of supervision and its impact on a number of fronts and focusses on four standards: Frequency and Conditions; Preparation; Recording and a policy on Group Supervision. The chapter has a range of tools and information on Further reading. Please reference.

Positive Journeys - 99 Ways

A new Section of the Manual has been created to focus on Children and Young People’s involvement. This document imaginatively identifies 99 ways ‘for professionals top build positive relationships with looked after children and young people and their families’ and highlights 6 Commitments to Looked After children. Nevertheless, many of ‘the ways’ and ‘commitments’ apply to all children - whatever the context of professional involvement.

Allegations Against Persons Who Work with Children

This procedure describes the role of the Local Authority Designated Officer and provides information about dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers who have contact with children and young people in their work or activities. It recognises the role and responsibilities of employers and organisations who have responsibility for providing services to children, young people and adults who are parents or carers. It identifies key practice issues in the process that distinguishes this area of work as different from the same or similar concerns in other circumstances, whilst reflecting also that the Department’s procedures will remain in terms of assessing those concerns and risks to children. Please reference.

Case Management Review, Legal Planning Meeting and Pre-Proceedings Protocol

This protocol seeks to provide a guide to social workers about the procedures to be followed when preparing for an application to Court for Care or Supervision Orders. A Flow chart is provided for ease of reference, together with template letters to assist in the process. The chapter is structured to cover: The Case Management Review process; the Legal Planning Meeting and the Pre-Proceedings Meeting. All sections describe the criteria for each meeting, referral processes and documentation, etc. and includes a section on Immediate and Emergency Actions.

Template letters are included, together with Legal Planning and Case Management Review referral forms.

Please reference.

Internal Children's Services Escalation Procedure

This policy has been developed to encourage a culture managers and practitioners can feel confident in raising concerns or questions regarding a case’s direction, where they believe it may compromise the safety or well-being of a child and to ensure there is every possible opportunity to carefully consider any issues officers may have before a child’s plan is carried out.

Children Missing Education and Pupils Missing Out On Education

This guidance sets out Bexley’s policy and procedures for identifying, registering, tracking and locating children missing education and local arrangements and school responsibilities for pupils missing out on education.

It also explains the statutory responsibility of schools and local authorities. The chapter includes links to key guidance, including ‘Children missing education - Statutory guidance for local authorities, DfE (2016)’ as well as other key documents. Please reference.

Elective Home Education Policy

This policy covers those parents who chose to educate their child at home. The policy provides the principles for working with parents and children who make this choice and provides procedures for its officers including some parents may make this choice to negate their proper parental obligations. The procedure acknowledges the Local Authority’s safeguarding role and has a section on special educational needs. It provides a number of essential contact details. Please reference.

Child Protection

This brief chapter highlights key relevant legislation together with objectives and is based on the Signs of Safety model of working. Please reference.

Local Contacts

This has been introduced into the manual and contains links to key organisation, including the LSCB, CAMHS, Clinical Commissioning Group and Police.

Removed Chapters
  • Threshold Document - Continuum of Help and Support.

Next Update: October 2018

Archive

2017 Amendments