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BexleyChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Amendments

October 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Children's Services Policies, Values and Principles

A new Section 2, Corporate Parenting has been added in response to the DfE Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers – Statutory Guidance (Feb 2018). It includes the seven corporate parenting principles set out in the guidance.

Social Care Quality Assurance Framework

This chapter has been updated by adding Case Audit Moderation Guidelines, (which seeks to provide a framework for Social Care Quality Assurance Framework. See Appendix 1: Case Audit and Moderation) and Delegate Case File Audit Actions, (which provides detail action with respect to the electronic recording system of the audit process).

Bexley Children's Social Care Supervision Policy

This chapter has been updated to add the Children’s Services Managers' Standards which is a ‘self-assessment’ checklist of 9 standards.

Children’s Consultation and Participation

This chapter has been reviewed and updated to ensure it reflects current Bexley processes and social work tools.

Contacts and Referrals

This chapter has been amended to add a link to the Bexley MARAC Process.

Assessments

Section 6, Communication has been updated to include reference to parents with learning disabilities.

Child in Need Plans and Reviews

This chapter has been updated by adding a new Section 4, Children in Need Moving to Another Authority - Principles. Information and communication is important between the respective local authorities to ensure appropriate services continue for the child and family and, where relevant, any risk of harm is recognised and identified with the receiving local authority. It should be noted that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found.

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to provide some emphasis on parents who lack capacity and added links to the President of the Family Division, Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability note, and a relevant link to working with parents who have a learning disability, (see Section 2.1, Pre-proceedings and Practice Direction 3aa - Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings) and Giving Evidence. (See case management in Section 4, Documentation).

Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

This chapter has been amended in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children. Note that Serious Case Reviews are called Child Safeguarding Practice Review. Nevertheless, the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form remains. The Notification will go to Ofsted, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and the DfE.

Bexley Serious Incident Notification Policy

This chapter has been fully amended:

  • Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need) Procedure has been updated in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form;
  • Serious Incident Notification Template has been updated;
  • Children’s Services Serious Incident Notification Policy has been updated;
  • A new Notification Categories chart has been added to promote clarity and consistency of reporting.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Case Records and Retention

Section 1, The Case Record, has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which permits the transfer of a copy of the child’s case record (or part of that record) to another adoption agency when the local authority considers this to be in the interests of the child.

Access to Records / Subject Access Requests

This chapter has been substantially amended, updated and re-titled to reflect the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Confidentiality Policy

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery

The chapter has been updated and replaces a previous, similar chapter and was developed to reflect the ‘Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Modern Slavery - Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (2017)’ – which itself replaced statutory Guidance of 2014 regarding Unaccompanied asylum Seeing children. The chapter contains a link to the updated statutory Guidance and also includes a link to the NRPF network, Securing British Citizenship for looked after children (‘Project for Registration of Children as British Citizens’) – see Section 10, Further Information.

Relinquished Children

Section 5, Consent and Competency has been updated to include additional information on parental capacity to consent, in line with High Court case-law.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

This chapter has been amended to identify that when children become looked after, the decision and care plan must be presented to the Permanence Panel. (See Section 1.4, Actions Required After a Decision to Look After is Made and Children’s Social Care Resource Panel; Children’s Social Care Permanence Panel Protocol and Terms of Reference). Additionally, information has been added in to Section 1.3, Section 20 Accommodation, in line with recent case-law.

Ceasing to Look After a Child

This chapter has been adjusted to acknowledge that when a child has been looked after for more than 20 days, the decision to cease looking after a child should be endorsed by the Permanence Panel before being agreed to by the Nominate Officer. (See Section 2.2, Decision Making).

Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings

This chapter has been amended by linking to the Bexley Disruption Meetings policy and process. The Bexley Policy deals in some detail with the aims of the meeting; the process and post-disruption meeting actions. The link contains Appendices providing guidelines that promote joint working between the children’s and supervising social workers Signs of Safety framework for disruption meetings as well as a flow chart of the process.

Placements with Parents

This chapter has been amended to reflect that the DBS has no eligibility for a standard or enhanced check for birth parents or other adults living in the household. However, the Local Authority has a requirement under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England Regulations) 2010 to obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions before placing a child back with parents. (See Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement). Also to acknowledging the role of the Permanence Panel in endorsing the child’s Plan and placement. (See Section 1.3, Recommending the Plan and Section 1.4, Approval of the Placement).

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

This chapter has been updated to set out more clearly the circumstances where visiting requirements differ from those as set out in 'Normal Frequency' (see Section 2, Exceptions) and to add a new section 6, Consequences of Visits to identify that where there is concern that a placement does not appear to meet a child’s needs, Regulation requires the IRO is informed and that the local authority reviews the child’s plan.

Looked After Reviews

Section 9, The Role of the Looked After Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child has been amended to reflect the outcome of a High Court Judgement in respect of children who were subject to Section 20 and where there were concerns of significant delays in their planning for permanence. The court noted the IROs’ recognition and action over a number of reviews but acknowledged that a more robust response had been needed.

Notifications of Significant Events

This chapter has been updated to take account that from June 2018 local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.

Contact with Parents/Adults and Siblings

Section 2, Different Types of Contact has been updated to take account of the use of mobile communication with regards to contact.

Health Care Assessments and Plans

A new Section 3.5, Consent to Health Care Assessments has been added.

Policy to Promote the Welfare of Young Adults Leaving Care

This chapter has been comprehensively amended to both reflect the Children and Social Work act 2017 and provide detail on local policies and practice. Please re-reference.

Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers

This chapter has been updated by adding the Bexley Post Approval Induction Protocol for Foster Carers, (see Relevant Guidance).

Supervision and Support of Foster Carers

This chapter has been amended to add Appendix 1: Bexley Foster Carer Visiting Template Form.

Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

This chapter has been updated by adding Appendix 1: Bexley Annual Review of Foster Carer’s Approval Report Form.

Managing Allegations and Serious Concerns about Foster Carers

This Bexley chapter comprehensively deals with the context and definition of this area of work and seeks to describe the multi-agency roles, as well as providing practice guidance on the investigation, process and implications around the events. The chapter also reflects the importance of providing support and information to the carers at this time. Please re-reference.

Adoption Panel

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Inter Country Adoption

Section 8, Home Study has been updated to include a link to GOV.UK Benefits.

Adoption Case Records

Section 3, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency’s functions as an adoption agency.  

Further information has been added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.

Gangs

This chapter has been updated to update the Bexley and Metropolitan Police Service Joint operational procedure which has been fully reviewed and includes updated references guidance. Three other links to: ‘Young People Involved in Gangs: Identification Arrangements and Monitoring System and Flow Chart’; ‘Early Notification Form Referral Form for Individuals Suspected of Being Vulnerable to or Involved in Gang Related Activity’ and ‘Serious Violence Prevention Panel Referral Form’ have also been included.

New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details

Early Help: Family Wellbeing Procedure and Practice Guidance

This chapter has replaced a similar chapter and notes the importance of the impact that early help can have on a child and family. The chapter describes the eligibility thresholds; assessments and procedures; partnership arrangements; the specialist work that is provided; quality assurance framework and tools that promote and guide the work and outcomes for children.

Please reference.

Having a Child Through Surrogacy

This new chapter is a link to a DHSC site and contains to guidance: one sets out the surrogacy pathway and legal guidance for intended patterns; the other offers guidance for health care professionals. Please reference as required.

Bexley Corporate Complaints Procedure

This chapter ‘does what it says on the tin’ and identifies the framework for dealing with all complaints regarding its services, establishing who and how complaints can be made (including anonymous complaints); the stages of dealing with a complaint; vexatious complaints and unreasonable ‘customer’ behaviour and further avenues and supports for complainants. Please reference.

Deprivation of Liberty

A person's capacity (or lack of capacity) refers specifically to their capacity to make a particular decision at the time it needs to be made and the lack of capacity to make a decision is caused by an impairment or disturbance that affects how the mind or brain works.

Within the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice, 'children' refers to people aged below 16. 'Young people' refers to people aged 16-17. This differs from the Children Act 1989 and the law more generally, where the term 'child' is used to refer to people aged under 18.

This is a live online resource; updated by tri.x as and when it needs to be in response to changes in legislation, case law and best practice. Please reference when required.

Mental Capacity

This resource seeks to support practitioners working in statutory social care and provider services to understand the Act and practice confidently when supporting young people to make decisions, assessing mental capacity and applying the Best Interests principle.

This is a live online resource; updated by tri.x as and when it needs to be in response to changes in legislation, case law and best practice. Please reference when required.

Education Briefing for Social Workers (for Children in Need)

This brief chapter tabulates the education Key Stages, Ages and School Stages with comments regarding Attainment and Progress. The chapter will provide clarity for practitioners in this important area of children’s lives. Please reference.

Permanence Panel Protocol and Terms of Reference

This policy separates the current functions of the Resource and Care Panel into its separate functions.  This avoids possible confusion between focusing on good care planning for a child without the tensions of resource allocation or availability.  Resource implications do not negate a child’s need for support. Having a distinct focus enables decision-making if other avenues for the support a child or family needs can be accessed.  Good care planning does not always mean additional resources are required.

The referral form to this panel will mirror the Signs of Safety framework currently used by the Case Management Review panel and referral to Legal Planning Meeting. Please reference.

Virtual School

This chapter contains links to key documents and policies relevant to the Virtual School regarding exclusion and the Pupil Premium Plus i.e. Exclusions and Looked After Children; Potential Interventions for Looked After and Post-Looked After Children using Pupil Premium Plus; Pupil Premium Plus for Looked After Children Policy; Application Form for Pupil Premium Plus. Please reference.


Next Update: April 2019

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2018 Amendments

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