Bradford Council Logo

Bradford Children's Services Online Procedures

Specialist Placements Process/Complex Care Panel


The specialist placement process (Complex Care Panel) exists to bring scrutiny and challenge to decisions to place young people in specialist placements - wherever they may be. The Panel involves, as decision makers, senior representatives from children's social care, health and education.

All decisions to place a child or young person in a specialist placement will only take place when all internal options have been ruled out, and where there is agreement from two of the three agencies involved.

The guiding principal of the process is that, wherever possible, young people are best served in Bradford district.

See also Bradford Complex Care Panel Terms of Reference.


  1. Specialist Placement Process
  2. Specialist Placement Referral
  3. Decision Making
  4. Emergency Situations
  5. Monitoring and Review of Specialist Placements
  6. Evaluation

1. Specialist Placement Process

Where a placement has been requested for a young person and this cannot be identified via in-house resources, or where a young person is already in placement and their needs are not being met, a pre Complex Care Panel meeting should be arranged.

The Pre Complex Care PanelĀ (CCP) Meeting

The pre - CCP is held fortnightly on a Friday afternoon, the meeting is chaired by a Head of Service or their deputy. The meeting is also attended by decision makers from Education and Health.

Referrals to pre - CCP must be submitted to by Wednesday on the week of the meeting.

During the meeting, the following agreed set of questions will be referred to:

  • What resources have been tried locally?
  • Has there been a Team Around the Child Meeting?
  • Could additional resource sustain the current placement?
  • What does the young person want?
  • What has worked for this young person?
  • What type of placement is required?
  • Why is this felt to be the case?
  • What evidence supports this?
  • What would good outcomes look like for this young person?
  • How would you know they were able to access a local resource?

The aim of the meeting is to challenge the planning for the young person to ensure that all internal options have been explored and where possible to enhance local provision.

If it is clear that an internal option is not suitable, then agreement should be sought from all agencies that a specialist option should be explored.

Permission is now in place for a specialist placement referral to be completed by the social worker and submitted to Placement Coordination.

2. Specialist Placement Referral

A specialist placement referral form should be requested from

The specialist placement referral should be completed in full this will include:

  • Information on the outcomes that are expected to be achieved;
  • A summary of analysis of assessed need; and
  • Views of the parent, carer and young person.

Placement Coordination will then undertake a search for a placement, available options will be considered with the allocated social worker, team manager and colleagues in Education and Health.

Once a placement is identified and agreed between Placement Co-ordination and the social worker, the detail will be added to the request for resource form and be tabled at the next weekly Complex Care Panel meeting for ratification.

3. Decision Making

The Complex Care Panel (CCP) meets every Thursday to agree timely and integrated plans for children and young people following assessments for:

  • Single education health and care plans;
  • CCHDT; and
  • Children's Continuing Care.

The group will also consider specialist placement referrals when they are tabled. The referral to the CCP must include placement detail, a breakdown of costs per agency and outcomes expected to be achieved.

Any agreement will be subject to a fixed review period.

4. Emergency Situations

Where placements are made out of district in an emergency or where a specialist placement changes at short notice, the decision will need to be ratified in retrospect at the next available Complex Care Panel.

Paper work should be submitted to the next CCP as described in Section 2, Specialist Placement Referral.

5. Monitoring and Review of Specialist Placements

Placement Coordination will send a specialist review form to the allocated social worker.

All specialist placement decisions agreed at the Complex Care Panel will be subject to a review period so that the expected outcomes can be monitored closely, the result being either:

  • Remain in placement long term;
  • Bolster placement with additional resource;
  • Source new placement (pre-Complex Care Panel meeting); or
  • Return to in house resources.

Placements will be agreed for fixed periods with the social worker expected to complete the review form and submit to the Placement Coordination administrator (e-mail: or consideration at the next Complex Care Panel for continued approval.

If the circumstances of the provider change as a result of either:

  • Concern about provider;
  • Failing statutory inspection.

An exception visit will be commissioned from the Quality Standards Manager to investigate the issues.

6. Evaluation

  • All specialist placement cases will be reviewed against the original aims and outcomes on a 6 monthly basis;
  • Cumulative quarterly and annual management reports will be provided which include:
    • Number of cases considered and recommendations made;
    • Progress/outcomes for those children/young people placed out of District, social worker to complete paper review on request of placement coordination admin to be addressed at the Complex Care Panel meeting;
    • Progress/outcomes for those children/young people maintained within local resources;
    • Expenditure by each agency on support arrangements or placements made;
    • Current placement list showing individual child/young people by unit, which can be considered and updated by Panel members;
    • Trends and patterns in referrals and placements;
    • General commissioning/contracting information;
    • Best Value and Clinical Governance considerations.