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Bradford Children's Services Online Procedures

Procedure for Transfer of Cases in Children's Social Care

AMENDMENT

In January 2018, this guidance was updated throughout and should be read in full.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Principles
  3. Transfer Standards
  4. Transfer of Cases from Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and Initial Assessment Team
  5. Transfer of Cases from Children and Young People's Team
  6. Mechanism to Resolve Disagreements
  7. Case Closure

    Appendix 1: Targeted Early Help Pathway

    Appendix 2: Abbreviations

1. Introduction

The aim of this transfer procedure is to ensure that cases are being worked with at the right level of service and for cases to move swiftly to the team best equipped to deal them, keeping the welfare of the child at the centre.

As a rule the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) provides advice to referrers and has responsibility for making decisions about whether a case meets the criteria for Children's Social Care involvement. Cases should not stay in MASH longer than necessary and decisions, must be made on referrals within 24 hours of receipt.

The function of the Initial Assessment Team (IAT) is to provide crisis and initial support to new cases and undertake high quality assessments to determine whether medium to longer term social work intervention is required.

CYP Teams undertake work with children and families requiring medium to long term intervention, including Children in Need, those subject to Child Protection Plans and those Looked After.

Through Care and After Care (TCAC) teams undertake work with children who have a permanency plan of remaining in local authority care; children who are entitled to Leaving Care provision and 16/17 years old homeless young people, who require housing advice and support.

2. Principles

Child focus – The child's needs should be central to the process. Children, families and professionals should be involved in the transfer process and advised where possible in writing, by the sending team, once the transfer has been affected, with details of the new staffing arrangements and contact details.

Case transfer arrangements should be predicated on the promotion of a child/family's best interests, clarity of case management responsibility, continuity of service provision, effectiveness of multi-agency communication and consultation with Service Users.

No delay – Transfer of cases should not cause delay to social work intervention with children and families. Throughput is essential to maintain flow of work and to ensure that each team is working with the children and families that it is best able to support. Therefore, all cases should move to the new team once the transfer point has been reached. When a case meets the criteria for Transfer, it must be accepted, regardless of capacity issues (which may require separate resolution).

Flexibility – The process outlined below must be used flexibly and with discretion between managers. It aims to provide guidance, not a rigid rule. There may be exceptional circumstances where it is preferable for a case to remain within the existing team, for example to complete a discreet piece of time limited work. In such cases individual decisions should be based on the child's best interests.

One Service – A family will receive a service from one team and one social worker with case holding responsibility. Maintaining consistently high quality standards of service delivery across Children's Social Care is the responsibility of all managers and staff.

Crisis - Cases should not be transferred when the family are in crisis, e.g. when a Court application is imminent. The transfer should be affected as soon as the crisis has abated.

Prepared - Receiving Teams will be fully prepared prior to transfer to ensure that staff are able to safely manage the case once transferred. For this to happen, all assessments, plans and CLA documentation must be completed. Files should be up to date and administrative tasks (Liquid Logic) completed. A case summary must be completed and a joint visit should be facilitated between the sending and receiving social workers to introduce the new worker to the child and family.

The process of transfer is the most vulnerable time for children and their families so clarity of management responsibility must be secured at all times. Service provision by the sending team should not be disrupted during the transfer process.

Assessment & Plan – All cases will have an up to date assessment (or review report for CLA cases) and plan.

Disagreements - The needs/risks to children should not be compromised by professional disagreements in managing the transfer process and it is expected that Heads of Service will adjudicate expediently in these circumstances.

3. Transfer Standards

  • Demographics to be updated e.g. address, telephone numbers etc.;
  • Case summary to be updated;
  • Involvements to be updated;
  • Chronology – should be fit for purpose and tell the child's story/history;      
  • Supervision records and management involvement/discussion;
  • Legal Status – ensure it is correctly recorded on LCS;
  • Core assessment – completed and shared with children and families;
  • Care Plan & Pathway Plan – should be clear and record needs, outcomes and who is responsible for doing what action;
  • Education to be updated EPEP;
  • Health  Assessment & Dental – HA and Dental check recorded on LCS;
  • Legal bundle scanned on CIVICA;
  • Green file with original care order, birth certificate other relevant documents;
  • Finance – recorded on case summary i.e. transport, contact, on-going payments;
  • Contact arrangements – Clearly recorded on case summary;
  • Placement Plan – completed and add information if the placement has been matched;
  • Case notes - to be updated and finalised on LCS;
  • Life Story Work – to be clarity on work already completed and outstanding.

The case records are essential but can only provide part of the picture. Case discussions and attendance at key meetings will provide further insight and understanding. It is good practice for workers to meet and share information as well as information being recorded on case file.

4. Transfer of Cases from Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and Initial Assessment Team

Once a decision has been made that a case meets the criteria for Children's Social Care intervention, a case must be transferred from MASH to IAT.

Subject Access Requests - Such requests will come into social care admin, who will follow relevant procedures and will forward requests out to relevant teams on a rota basis. The rota includes the Bradford CYP Service A and B, Keighley CYP Service, TCAC and CCHDT. Subject Access requests will not go to IAT as the service provision has already been defined. The rota is held within social care admin and will be updated by Service Manager group.

Re-referrals – All referrals will go to the Children's Contact Centre and IAT, however if the case has been closed by CYPT within the last 6 weeks, and the presenting issues are similar to those dealt with previously, the case will be passed to the same CYPT to respond to the re-referral. The IAT will determine the appropriateness of the referral using their normal procedures.

Private Law cases – Requests for Section 37 Report will be passed to the relevant CYPT. Requests for Section 7 Report will be completed by IAT.

Step-parent adoption – Requests for Step-parent adoption will be passed to the relevant CYPT.

Children's Complex Health and Disability – All referrals in respect of Children's Complex Health and Disability will passed to CCHDT, when it is clear that the referral fits with the criteria for CCHDT (see CCHDT protocol in the Documents Library, Children with Complex Health or Disabilities).

The Children's Contact Centre provides 'call centre' function for disabled children and those with complex health needs and, where the enquiry fits the CCHDT's criteria, will transfer straight into that service.

Requests for assessments from CCHDT will go directly to the SEND single point of access and not the Contact Centre. It is not anticipated that the Children's Contact Centre will do anything other than ensure the necessary Liquid Logic Children's System (LCS) work is undertaken and that there is clarity in relation to the diagnosis and issues presented.

Immigration and Asylum – The Children's Contact Centre will be passed referrals to IAT, which require assessment in relation immigration issues only. All assessments subject to section 17 and section 47 should be referred to IAT.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – refer to protocol for UASC. The IAT will undertake initial assessment, including Age Assessment prior the case being transferred to TCAC.

Private Fostering – refer to protocol for Private Fostering.

Care Proceedings and Accommodated CYP – IAT Manager to inform the relevant CYPT Manager as soon as decision is made to instigate care proceedings or accommodation in respect of a child in order that a case holder from CYPT can be identified at the beginning of the process.

It will be important for the incoming social worker and IAT social worker to work together during first few days in order to ensure a smooth transfer of case responsibility immediately after the first court hearing or in respect accommodation cases will transfer at the LAC review. IAT social worker will remain responsible for the case until an Interim Care Order has been obtained at the first court hearing.

Under the Public Law Outline (PLO) procedures, the IAT social worker will be responsible for pre-proceedings documents such as the court application, chronology, initial care plan, initial social work statement, genogram, assessments and the submission of any relevant evidence e.g. medical reports.

CYPT social worker will assist and support the IAT social worker, and will be responsible for statutory visits, PEP, arranging LAC review and other on-going work LAC care planning.

Homeless or Accommodated 16/17 years old – Requests to support and assist young people or accommodated aged 16/17 years old should passed directly to TCAF Teams.

Children subject to Child Protection Plan – The IAT should alert the relevant CYPT Managers to the forthcoming ICPCC in order for them to identify a suitably experienced social worker to take the case and ensure the allocated social worker from CYPT attend the ICPCC. If the child is made subject to a Child Protection Plan, the case will transfer immediately after the ICPCC, including situations where the decision to make the child subject to a child protection plan has been deferred.

The same process will apply in relation to children at risk of sexual exploitation. The IAT will undertake Single Assessment to identify the children's service needs. The case will transfer immediately following completion of the assessment and plan.

Children in Need – The IAT will hold responsibility until the completion of the Single Assessment and Plan and if further work is identified will then transfer case responsibility of the relevant CYPT, TEH or any other service provider as identified in the assessment.

Pre-birth – The IAT will complete pre-birth assessment and plan prior to case transfers to CYPT, unless Bradford CSC has removed or was involved in care proceedings over the last 12 months, in this situation cases should back to the previous social worker or Team Manager. Pre-birth cases should not transfer if the expected delivery date within the six weeks of transfer.

Step up/down – refer to Targeted Early Help procedures.

Transfer process

  • IAT Manager should inform the relevant CYPT Manager by completing the transfer template on a weekly basis;
  • Weekly workflow meeting between IAT and CYPT Managers should be held to share and discuss cases transferring. However, where this is not possible, cases ready for transfer should still transfer to the relevant CYPT;
  • IAT Manager should audit cases transferring out of his/her team and enter a management case note to confirm this prior to cases transferring from their team. TM should refer to the standards outlined in this document;
  • CYPT Manager should also audit cases to ensure cases are transferring in a good state;
  • CYPT Manager should inform IAT Manager of any outstanding tasks in writing;
  • IAT Managers to ensure tasks identified is completed within five working days (unless other timescales agreed between managers). Any disagreements or failure to complete the identified tasks within the agreed timescale should be escalated to the relevant Service Managers.

5. Transfer of Cases from Children and Young People's Team

The Through Care and After Care Team work with Children Looked After whose permanency plan is that they will remain in the Local Authority's care and young people entitled to leaving care provision from the Local Authority. The majority of these children will be over seven years old, however there may be younger children where the permanency plan is for long term fostering.

Placement with Parents is not deemed to be a permanency plan for children in the Local Authority's care, consequently PWP case will remain with CYPT. However, on an exceptional basis the relevant Service Managers may agree PWP cases to be transferred to TCAC Team.

Children placed with Family and Friends carers under a Care Order should only transfer to TCAC, if it is anticipated that SGO will not be achieved over the next six months and confirmed in CLA Review.

The overriding principle is that if siblings are Looked After, case responsibility should not be split TCAC and CYPT. However, if the care plans are significantly different, consideration should be given to the merits of separate case holding.

If a young person has a disability and CLA, there needs to be a discussion between TCAC and CCHDT/Transition Team to determine the most appropriate team to support the children. 

Transfer Process

  • CYPT Managers should inform the relevant TCAC Managers by completing the transfer template on a monthly basis. CYPT and TCAC Team Managers will hold monthly workflow meeting, which will identify a team in TCAC;
  • CYPT Manager will inform TCAC Team Manager as soon as assessments completed and proposed permanency plan for children to remain in the Local Authority's care and request a social worker from TCAC to be allocated, if appropriate to attend the CLA review;
  • Case responsibility will transfer to TCAC Team immediately after the final hearing and courts approval of the permanency plan;
  • CYPT will ensure case file is ready for transfer following the final hearing. Cases must transfer as soon as case file is ready;
  • CYPT Manager will audit the case file and will ensure the standards outlined above is met, he/she will enter a case note to confirm this. Timing of introduction visit to be agreed between CYPT and TCAC Team Managers;
  • TCAC Team Manager should also audit cases to ensure cases are transferring in a good state;
  • TCAC Team Manager should inform CYPT Manager of any outstanding tasks in writing;
  • CPYT Manager to ensure tasks are identified is completed within five working days (unless other timescales agreed between managers). Any disagreements or failure to complete the identified tasks within the agreed timescale should be escalated to the relevant Service Managers. However, incompletion of outstanding tasks should not prevent a case transferring to TCAC.

6. Mechanism to Resolve Disagreements

If there is a difference of views about which team is best placed to meet the needs of a child or about the point of transfer, attempts should be made to resolve it by dialogue between the respective Team Managers. Face to face discussion is often the most effective way of reaching a solution. However, if the difference remains, it may be escalated to more senior managers including Service Managers or Heads of Service to reach a resolution.

7. Case Closure

Child in need cases may be closed or stepped down if the child or young person no longer needs the service. Closure should be brought about through discussion between the child, family and professionals involved.

The decision to close a case is made by the Team Manager following discussion with the worker in supervision. It is important to gain the views of and keep other professionals informed. This may be done by discussing the case closure at a core group or child in need review.

Once the decision to close the case is made, the worker will notify all core group members and other professionals involved with the family; the child (if appropriate); the parents or carers and other relevant family members. There is not a standard pro forma closure letter to these parties: the social worker will need to write a letter to the child (if appropriate) and family members. It is important to observe the following points:

  1. A letter stating that case closure is taking place must not come as a surprise to the family. Appropriate discussion and, if necessary, preparation must have taken place;
  2. Other professionals involved with the family should be made aware that the cases is to be closed by Children's Social Care;
  3. The formal closure letter must always point out to the service user how to contact the service again (usually the header address), or provide details of other appropriate support agencies.

A Case Closure Summary should be completed and recorded on the Liquidlogic record. When a case is closed, if there is a new referral within 6 weeks the case responsibility should be held by the team that last held it. A re-referral on a case closed longer than six weeks would be the responsibility of the IAT.

Support Post Case Closure

When a case is to be closed by Children's Social Care, consideration should be given in discussion with the child (if appropriate) and family to whether or not further support from targeted or universal services is needed. The family's views should be sought as to whether they can access the services they need or whether they need some support to do so. It may be appropriate for the Lead Professional role to be transferred from the social worker to a professional from targeted or universal service who knows the family. See Appendix 1: Targeted Early Help Pathway regarding referrals to Targeted Early Help.

Appendix 1: Targeted Early Help Pathway

Click here to view Appendix 1: Targeted Early Help Pathway.

Appendix 2: Abbreviations

Abbreviation Definition

MASH

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

IAT

Initial Assessment Team

CYP

Children and Young People

CYPT

Children and Young People's Team

TCAC

Through Care and After Care

CCHDT

Children's Complex Health or Disability Team

IAU

Immigration & Asylum Team

TM

Team Manager

SM

Service Manager

HOS

Head of Service

ICPCC

Initial Child Protection Case Conference

CSE

Children involved in Sexual Exploitation

CIN

Children in Need

UASC

Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

LCS

Liquid Logic Children's System

PLO

Public Law Outline

CSC

Children's Social Care

PWP

Placement with Parents

SGO

Special Guardianship Order

CTLD

Community Team for Learning Disability

(E)PEP

(Electronic) Personal Education Plan

CLA

Children Looked After