Amendments

September 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Children's Services Policies, Values and Principles A new section has been added on Corporate Parenting 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 Work Practice Standards This chapter has been amended in to acknowledge the expectations on staff when changing/cancelling meetings or appointments with children or families; at least 24 hours’ notice should be offered.
Assessments A new Section 16, Re-assessment of Children in Care Cases has been added. Section 4, Communication was updated to include reference to parents with learning disabilities. Please re-reference.
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 Pre-proceedings and Practice Direction 3aa - Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence in Section 4, Documentation). Please reference as required.
Provision of Accommodation to Homeless 16 and 17 Year Olds who may be Homeless and/or Require Accommodation This chapter, a link to government guidance, has been replaced following the joint issuing of new guidance from the Ministry of Housing and the Department of Education. It has been updated to reflect the changes in children’s legislation and regulation and also of homelessness itself.
Permanence Planning Guidance This chapter has been reviewed; minor amendments to text were made by tri.x.
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. A new section ‘Consequences of Visits’ has been added.
Health Care Assessments and Plans A new section 3.5 Consent to Health Care Assessments has been added. Please reference.
Leaving Care and Transition

This chapter has been substantially amended to reflect the Children and Social Work Act 2017 on the Leaving Care Services and Care leavers. Particularly:

  • The Local Offer - all local authorities must publish up-date information about the services it offers for care leavers and other services which may assist care leavers in, or preparing for, adulthood and independent living.
  • Corporate parenting: the Children and Social Work Act 2017 establishes 7 Corporate Parenting Principles, which should include and involve not only the Local Authority providing Children’s Social Care services, but also District Councils (where appropriate) and partner agencies.
  • Continuing Support Up to the Age of 25: all Care leavers between the ages of 21 and up to 25 will be entitled to support irrespective of whether they are in education or training. Even when they may not initially choose such support, they can return and seek support, which can be provided on specific issues or on a more comprehensive basis where this is needed.

Please re-reference.

Placement for Adoption and Matching This chapter has been adjusted to reflect local policy and practice and the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Monitoring and Supervision of Adoptive Placements This chapter has been reviewed.
Disruption of Adoptive Placements This chapter has been reviewed.
Inter Country Adoption This chapter has been reviewed and significantly changed to simply note all inter country Adoptions are dealt with by a service commissioned by Adoption 22 (Nugent Care) for Local Authorities within the region.
Non Agency Adoption This chapter has been reviewed and adjusted. Please reference when required.
Intermediary Services This chapter has been adjusted to reflect local policy and practice.
Life Journey Books Guidance This chapter has been adjusted to reflect local policy and practice. Please re-reference.
Later Life Letters This chapter has been reviewed and adjusted.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters This chapter has been reviewed and adjusted. Please reference when required.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Pre-Birth Procedure

This chapter identifies that babies are particularly vulnerable to abusive environments and where the potential for this is understood and an early help assessment is important at the pre-birth stage.

Note that providers of health services, in particular those providing midwifery services, may have their own detailed agency specific guidance which should be read in conjunction with this guidance. Please reference.

North West Notification and Transfer of Children Subject of Child Protection Plans Across Local Authority Boundaries This chapter provided by the North West ADCS seeks to ensure the safe and effective transfers of children subject to Child Protection Plans across the region by promoting consistent standards, responses and actions between authorities. Please reference.
North West Children in Need Moving Across Local Authority Boundaries This chapter provided by the North West ADCS seeks to ensure the safe and effective transfers of children when a child is known to the Children’s Social Care service of one local authority area, and moves to stay in another local authority area, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.
North West Pre-Care and Care Proceedings Notification and Transfer Across Local Authority Boundaries This chapter provided by the North West ADCS seeks to ensure the effective transfers of children subject to care proceedings across the region by promoting consistent expectations, responses and actions commonly agreed between authorities. The chapters should be read in conjunction with the North West Children in Need Moving across Local Authority Boundaries Procedure. Please reference.
Wirral Council Procedures and Guidance for Social Care's Role Within the Education Health Care Process This chapter provides comprehensive information and guidance in respect of undertaking an Education Health and Care assessment and specifically focusses on the Children’s Specialist Care service role. Appendices provide additional relevant support in understanding the role and tasks that the assessment process requires, including a good practice example, together with a Resources Appendix which includes relevant links to the Council for Disabled Children as well as a Team Manager Checklist. Please reference.
Education, Health and Care Plan Quality Assurance Framework This chapter describes the purpose of ensuring the quality standards that have been developed support improvement of practice in the assessments of children and young people who have Education, Health and Care Plans. It highlights the key processes and provides a template proforma, (Appendix 1). Please reference.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery The chapter 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. Please re-reference.
Sexual Health Policy for Staff Working with Young People Under 19 Years This chapter was refreshed and updated and includes reference to NCB/Hamblin, Practice guidance: supporting young people with HIV testing and prevention, (2016). A note has also been added with regard to the Serious Crime Act (2015) which introduced an offence of sexual communication with a child, (see Appendix 2: The Sexual Offense Act 2003) and Mental Capacity Act (2005), (Appendix 3: Gillick and Fraser Guidelines) with regard to acknowledgement of the issue of deprivation of liberty. (See also Mental Capacity Act, Summary, Children Under 16 and Deprivation of Liberty chapter.

Next Update: September 2018


August 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Wirral SCB: Multi-agency Thresholds This chapter has been replaced with a link to the Wirral SCB: Multi-agency Thresholds.

March 2018

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
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.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Section 3, Assessment has been updated with regards to in advance of undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities was added. The statutory guidance has been updated to link to the 'DfE 2017 Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery – statutory guidance for local authorities'. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is referenced in relation to age assessments.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning Section 2.1, 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.
Permanence Planning Guidance 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.
Placements with Parents This chapter has been updated 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 Assessment and Checks before Placement).
Contact with Parents/Adults, Siblings and Connected Persons Section 2, Different Types of Contact, has been updated to take account of the use of mobile communication with regards to contact.
Leaving Care and Transition This chapter was amended on an interim basis to add a note with regard to the impact of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 which comes into force in April for Leaving Care Services. Further changes as a result can be expected providing additional information and detail and as a result the chapter is currently under review.
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 Section 1, Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional consideration, (added by section 9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 which 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.
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.

List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers

This chapter has been replaced with a link to the Local Resources. Please reference as required.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Deprivations of Liberty

A new Section has been added on Deprivations of Liberty and Mental Capacity. This procedure should be used by practitioners working with children and young people aged 16 and over, where a deprivation of liberty may be occurring.

It applies to all social care practitioners carrying out any social care function with children who are receiving care or treatment in any setting.

A deprivation of liberty occurs when there has been a breach of a child or young person’s, Article 5 (European Convention on Human Rights).

Deprivations of liberty requiring authorisation by a Court of Law that have not been authorised are unlawful and a breach of a child or young person's basic human rights, (European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5).

The Chapter identifies the key issues for those under 16 and those 16 and 17 year olds and older.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is pertinent to those young people over 16; the chapter seeks to offer guidance on key and relevant issues.
Mental Capacity

September 2017

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Private Fostering An amendment has been made to add a point of clarity with respect of children under 16 years who spend more than two weeks at school in holiday time. (See Section 4, A Child is Not Privately Fostered).
Short Breaks (Overnight) This chapter has been updated to add a link to The Children’s Society, Friendship For All - Increasing friendship in the lives of children (see Relevant Guidance).
Children's Homes Regulation 44 Visits Guidance and Procedures This chapter has been updated in line with The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015. Links to the Quality Standards have been added.
Personal Care and Relationships This chapter has been updated by adding the DfE definition for Child Sexual Exploitation and a link to the DfE Child sexual exploitation: definition and guide for practitioners (2017). (See Section 10, Sexual Exploitation).
Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children This chapter has been updated to highlight that up to £4128 pa can be saved in a Junior ISA. (See Section 1.4, Can Additional Payments be Made?).
Safe Caring Policy Guidance This chapter has been amended to note the changes in the Rules around the use of booster seats and babies who now need to stay in rear facing seats until 15 months. (There has been a change to the technical standards of booster seats and cushions for manufacturers from 9 February but this does not affect existing models of booster seats and cushions). (See Section 11, Travelling by car).
Scheme of Delegation This chapter has been updated to reflect current roles and responsibilities.
Contacts This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Performance Management and Quality Assurance Framework

This chapter replaces the previous ‘Quality Assurance Framework’ and ‘Performance Management Framework’ chapters and builds on them to bring these together as a single approach to: understand how well the service is doing; evaluate the impact on outcomes and to enable Wirral to learn and develop its service for children. It is at the heart of providing the best possible services to children and their families in Wirral. The chapter identifies key processes and actions and provides relevant tools in the Appendices to provide additional information.

Deleted Chapters
  • Quality Assurance Framework.


April 2017

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Initial Contacts and Referrals This chapter has been amended to reflect changes in the initial referral system and process. Note the Central Advice and Duty Team (CADT) has been replaced by the Integrated Front Door (IFD) and reflects changes in the consultation and decision-making process with respect to the threshold criteria.
Allocation of Work and Transfer Between Teams This chapter has been updated throughout to reflect the changes in the organisational structure and to highlight the transfer points from the Integrated Front Door (IFD) and to clarify the nature of work to be held in specific teams. Amendments with regard to decision-making in respect of unallocated cases has also been updated (see Section 6, Unallocated Cases).
Child in Need Procedure

This chapter has been updated throughout to reflect the changes in the organisational structure and systems and to recognise the Strengthening Families Enhancing Futures model of working. Additional or updated material has been in added in:

  • Section 2.10, Making Effective Child in Need Plans;
  • Section 2.11, Timings and Frequency; and
  • Section 3.3, De-escalating a Case from Child in Need to Team Around the Family.
Please re-reference as required.

March 2017

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Single Assessment Policy and Guidance

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted ‘good practice steps’ to undertaking assessments and issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth, including the assessment process. (See Section 3, Purpose of a Single Assessment and Section 5.1, Pre-birth 'Good Practice Steps').

A link has also been added to the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU). This itself contains a link to the DfE Form and guidance to this with regard to the ICACU.
Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted what were thought to be ‘good practice steps’ to issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth. (See Section 1.4, Pre-birth Planning and Proceedings).
Sexual Health Policy for Staff Working with Young People Under 19 Years This chapter has been updated by adding a link to 'NCB/Hamblin, Practice guidance: supporting young people with HIV testing and prevention, (2016)'. An update note has also been added with regard to the Serious Crime Act (2015) which introduced an offence of sexual communication with a child (see Appendix 2: The Sexual Offence Act 2003) and Mental Capacity Act (2005) with regard to acknowledgement of the issue of deprivation of liberty (see Mental Capacity Act, Summary, Children Under 16).
Case Records for Looked After Children This chapter has been amended to acknowledge the requirements of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to retain files whilst the Inquiry is sitting or unless otherwise advised by it (see Retention and Safekeeping of the Child’s File).
Private Fostering

This chapter has been substantially amended throughout to update the assessment, review process and procedures. New sections have been added:

  • Section 21, Immigration Status;
  • Section 22, Requirements;
  • Section 23, Prohibitions;
  • Section 24, Appeals process for Private Fostering;
  • Section 25, Notifications to Other Authorities;
  • Section 26, Death of a Privately Fostered Child.
Please re-reference.
Private Fostering Statement of Purpose This chapter has been updated to add the current Statement of Purpose - Private Fostering (September 2016 - September 2018).
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds This chapter has been updated by adding a link to NRPF network which enables access to news, information & guidance and training from NRPF.
Sufficiency Strategy The Sufficiency Strategy has been fully updated with some emphasis on ‘delivering differently’; analysis with comparative authorities and an ‘Action Plan’. Please re-reference as required.
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been amended to acknowledge the President of the High Court’s judgement regarding applications in English courts for Secure Accommodation placements in Scotland. Also the link to the Secure Children's Homes has been updated. As from May 2016 referrals for secure welfare placements are made through the National Secure Welfare Unit (NSWCU) (see Section 4.1, Placement Request, Identification and Approval).
Delegation of Authority Policy This chapter has been added updated by adding a link to BMA Consent Tool Kit, (see Section 10.1, Medical Consent and Treatment). Please reference as required.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated to note The Law Society guidance ‘Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings’ and their Code of Conduct where the child or family who attend reviews are supported by a legal representative (see Section 7, Attendance at the Review Meeting).
Consent to Medical Treatment in Foster Carer Placements This chapter has been updated by adding a link to BMA Consent Tool Kit, (see Section 2.1, Consent to Treatment). Please reference as required.
Scheme of Delegation This chapter has been updated to reflect current roles and responsibilities.
New Chapters and Features
Name of Chapter Details
Managers Practice Standards This chapter seeks to describe and establish the standards required of managers with regard to leadership, oversight and supervision and highlights the importance of this with regard to practitioners and work with children and families themselves. All staff should be familiar with the expectations of the department.
Social Work Practice Standards

This detailed and comprehensive chapter seeks to describe and establish the standards required of social workers with regard to practice and includes key aspects and expectations for working with children and families subject to a variety of situations and through a variety of processes. It highlights the importance of being clear about the wishes and feelings of children and what life is like for them in the family or care environment they are in. Also identified - recording, having SMART plans and the role of supervision. The chapter links to a range of chapters within the Wirral Procedure Manual to promote access to additional information.

Please fully read.
NICE Guidance - Postnatal Care up to 8 Weeks After Birth (2015) This chapter is a direct link to the NICE guidance. The guidance includes ‘Planning the content and delivery of care’; Maternal health’; ‘Infant feeding’; and Maintaining infant health’ – which itself includes a comment about sudden death infant syndrome. Please reference as required.

September 2016

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Whistleblowing This chapter has been amended by adding a link to ‘Whistleblowing to Ofsted about Children’s Social Care Services (2016)’. Whistleblowing is when someone who is working in or for an Organisation has concerns about the practice(s) or policies of the organisation and passes the concern on to a senior manager, a regulatory body or relevant government department. It would always be hoped that concerns can be raised with a line manager. However, sometimes people can have concern for themselves if this is done, or there is a lack of confidence that the issues will be taken seriously and acted upon. Whistleblowers have legal protection for their actions.
Access to Records This chapter has been amended to reference the Information Commissioner. A link to ‘Information Commissioners Office – Guide to Data Protection’ is included. A note to add that the local authority will consider direct descendant of a care leaver if information about family history is being sought, (see Section 7, Applications by Care Leavers).
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been updated to add a link to the ADCS/Cafcass Practice Guidance for the Use of Section 20 Provision in The Children Act 1989 in England and the Equivalent S76 of the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 in Wales.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated by adding a link to DfE, The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations – Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015) in the Related Guidance section.
Procedure and Guidance: Personal Education Planning to Promote the Educational Attainments of Children in Care

This chapter has been updated by adding a link to DfE, Mental health and behaviour in schools (2016).

Internet Safety This chapter has been updated by adding a link to Child Safety Online: A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media.
Adoption Support This chapter has been updated to add a link to the Mott Macdonald/DfE Adoption Support Fund.
Special Guardianship Orders This chapter has been updated to add a link to the Mott Macdonald/DfE Adoption Support Fund.
Scheme of Delegation This chapter has been updated to reflect current roles and responsibilities.
New Chapters and Features
Name of Chapter Details
Managing Vexatious and Unreasonable Communication

This chapter seeks to provide a framework for those individuals who communicate with the department and staff in a way that is abusive, disproportionately demanding and persistent. However, emphasis is made to acknowledge that individuals can have legitimate complaints and are unhappy with the outcome of services and are often under great personal stress and as such should not be seen within the context of being vexatious.

The process described includes a ‘warning’; setting boundaries and prescribing communication for the individual and a ‘review’ process. Template letters are provided to assist communicating these stages to clients.

March 2016

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Single Assessment Policy and Guidance This chapter has been updated to reference the process of the ‘Single Assessment ‘and to amend the time frames for the different parts of the process. After the first review (5 working days), a second review is to scheduled if assessment is going to extend beyond 15 working days - to be clear as to why and what impact upon the child and family. The maximum timescale is 30 days, (45 working days for exceptional cases).
Complaints Policy and Procedure This chapter has been updated to reflect the role of the Complaints manager in developing an action plan on the recommendations for each complaint, (see Section 9, Investigation (Stage 2)).
Record Keeping in Children's Specialist Services This chapter has been updated to reflect relevant links for the ICS throughout the process. Note also the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry under Section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Case Records for Looked After Children This chapter has been amended to provide additional detail with regard to the Care Plan for a child (see Establishing a Child’s Case Record).
Access to Records This chapter has been updated to add a new section on Applications by Care Leavers with regard to seeing their file. In addition, the section on ‘Rights of Access’ Applications by Parents (and Appeals process have been refreshed and updated). It remains important to acknowledge that even if a child does not have the capacity to understand the implications of a data request about them, it is still their personal data and belongs to no-one else.
Producing Chronologies and Recording Significant Events (with ICS Guidance) This chapter has been amended to update locating the Chronology in ICS (see Section 8, How to Access the Chronology in ICS).
Short Breaks (Overnight) This chapter has been fully updated to bring it in line with the Children and Families Act 2014, 'DfE, Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years Statutory Guidance for Organisations who work with Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (2015)' and 'DfE, The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)'.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children This chapter has been amended to link to the ADCS good practice documents which have been devised jointly with the Home Office (see Section 4, Social Work Assessment of Need).
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been updated to reflect The President of the Family Division of the High Court’s concerns about the use of Section 20 (1989 Children Act) with regard to obtaining Parental Consent, (see Section 2.3, Obtaining Parental Consent to a Looked After Child) and delay in progressing a matter to court where this is required, (see Section 2.5, Considerations before a Decision is Made). Additional local guidance is also provided with respect to the Care Plan and Placement Plan. (See Section 2.7, Summary of the Looked after Children (LAC) Documents That Must Be Completed and Given to the Carer(s) before a Child is Placed in Care).
Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews This chapter has been updated to emphasise the importance of the review focussing on the criteria for secure accommodation and ensuring relevant communication of the outcome is undertaken promptly and includes the child.
Staying Put Procedure This chapter provides specific guidance with respect to enabling young people to remain with their former foster carers when they reach 18 years. A young person may remain under the Staying Put arrangements until they are 21 and it is the duty of the Authority to monitor and to provide advice, assistance and support to such arrangements.
Special Guardianship Orders Section 2.6, Court Report, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance This chapter has been completely re-written and should be re-read fully.
Scheme of Delegation This chapter has been updated.
Contacts This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Name of Chapter Details
Performance Management Framework This chapter details the Wirral Council’s approach to performance management. Providing a framework and tools supports the continuous improvements to the service delivered to children, young people and their families in Wirral. The framework is a system that should be applied across the Council and the Directorate at all levels.
Quality Assurance Framework This chapter details the Quality Assurance process and procedure for Children’s Specialist Services in The Wirral. It represents an important part of raising standards and focuses on the outcomes for children as a result of intervention. The chapter fully outlines the expectations and programme for undertaking audits and provides a range of Audit tools to be used. All staff should be familiar and aware of the process and ensure they are clear about their role in this. Please fully read.
Workload Management Scheme This chapter details the Wirral Children’s Services Workload Management Scheme, which seeks to ensure that best use is made of an individual’s time and skills, ensure staff have a manageable workload and provide management information. The chapter includes a workload management spreadsheet for Team Managers.
Young Carers

This chapter reflects the Young Carers (Needs Assessments) Regulations 2015 and provides a framework with regard to the person undertaking the assessment and the key issues that that need to be undertaken as part of that assessment.

Young Carers are defined as anyone who is under 18 years who provides practical or emotional support to another member of the family, whether this is an adult or child.

The local authority is expected also to undertake reasonable steps to identify ‘young carers’ in their area.

Please fully read.
Ceasing to Look After a Child

This chapter reflects the statutory guidance ‘Ceasing to look after a child’ in ‘Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (2015)’ as amended by the ‘Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2015’ together with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

The Local Authority has a duty to ensure that when children have been Accommodated under Section 20 (Children Act 1989) and are discharged from, or leave care, that the discharge is in their best interests and that they will be safeguarded and their welfare will be promoted. Where a child has been Accommodated for 20 days or more, the decision should be made by a Nominated Officer, or Director of Children’s Services if the child/young person is 16/17 years and has been Accommodated under Section 20, before discharge.
Joint Merseyside Protocol For The Provision of Local Authority Accommodation This chapter has been added to the manual; please reference as required.
Leaving Care and Transition

These procedures apply to young people who are or have been in care and are entitled to support after their 16th birthday.

There are three categories of those leaving care all of whom are entitled to support after their 16th birthday. The categories are Eligible, Relevant, and Former Relevant.

These Procedures also refer to Qualifying Young People who may receive support, advice and assistance after their 16th birthday.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters This chapter reflects the process whereby adoptive applicants can be temporarily approved as foster carers when a child’s plan is likely to be one of adoption. The Children and Families Act (2014) imposed a duty upon local authorities to consider a placement with dually approved carers whenever it is considering adoption or where the decision has been made that the child ought to be placed for adoption. This process seeks to ensure that a child’s attachment to a carer, that in the long term becomes their permanent carer, is promoted.
The Fostering Network, Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol England (2015) This chapter is a link to the Fostering network site and reflects good practice guidance for when approved foster carers wish to transfer to another agency. The guidance has been undertaken with ADCS approval.
Removed Chapters
  • Case File Audit Guidance;
  • Joint Protocol Between Wirral Youth Offending Service and Children and Young People's Department.

September 2015

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Information Security This chapter has been amended to provide a link to 'Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2015)'.
Supervision in Children's Specialist Services This chapter has been amended to provide an additional note on 'Reflection' and 'Frequency' (See Section 6, Frequency Content of Supervision). Some links have also been updated.
Allocation of Work and Transfer Between Teams This chapter has been updated to ensure it reflects the organisational structure and to highlight the transfer points from CADT and to clarify the nature of work to be held in specific teams.
Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to add links to: 'DfE, Court orders and pre-proceedings for local authorities (2014)'; 'ADCS, Court Orders and Pre-Proceedings Guidance 2014'; 'Ministry of Justice, Practice Direction 25B - The Duties of an Expert, The Expert's Report and Arrangements for an Expert to Attend Court, 2015'. Please reference as required.
Private Fostering This chapter has been updated to reflect an updated process, organisational structure and electronic record system. A link to Statutory Guidance 'National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering (2005)' has also been added. Please re-read.
Private Fostering Statement of Purpose This chapter has been updated with the updated version of the Wirral Fostering Statement of purpose.
Short Breaks (Overnight)

This chapter has been updated to add a link to the Wirral Council Short Breaks and Short Breaks Statement. A link to 'Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)' has also been provided.

Note also: Section 7, Short Break Settings has revised links to new Quality Standards for Children's Homes, and residential special schools and Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds This chapter has been amended in line with the Care Act 2014. A new section on Independent Family Returns Panel has been added. Please re-read.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning This chapter has been updated to add a link to 'DfE, Children missing education – Statutory guidance for local authorities (2015)'. Please reference as required.
Permanence Planning Guidance This chapter has been updated to reflect the 2015 Statutory guidance 'The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)'.
Placements in Foster Care This chapter has been updated to reflect the 2015 Statutory guidance 'The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)'. A new Section 9, Long-Term Foster Placements has been added.
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been updated in by adding a link to the 'DfE, Secure children's homes: how to place a child aged under 13 (2015)'.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children This chapter has been updated to reflect the revised visiting requirements in respect of long term foster placements as set out in 'The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)'. (See Section 4, Placements in Residential and Foster Care).
Health Care Assessments and Plans This chapter has been updated in line with the 'DfE/DoH, Statutory Guidance on Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children (March 2015)' (a link to which has been included). There are new sections in: Introduction, including 'Principles'; 'Good Health Planning'; 'Strength and Difficulty Questionnaires' and 'Out of Area Placements' have been added. Please re-read.
Internet Safety

This chapter has been updated bay adding a note in respect of the Serious Crime Act 2015: an offence of sexual communication with a child has been introduced. This applies to an adult who communicates with a child and the communication is sexual or if it is intended to elicit from the child a communication which is sexual.

A note is also added with respect to on-line extremist material (see Safe Care – Reporting Abuse).
Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children This chapter has been updated a note above has been added identifying Child Trust Funds could be transferred into Jnr ISAs. Also that the maximum limit for paying into a Jnr ISA in any year is £4080.
Fostering and Adoption, Adoption and Permanence

As part of its continuous improvement of chapters within the Manual, amendments have been made some to the following chapters:

  • Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters;
  • Adoption Panel;
  • Placement for Adoption and Matching;
  • Adoption Support;
  • Adoption Reviews;
  • Special Guardianship Orders.
Scheme of Delegation This has been fully updated.
Contacts This has been fully updated.

March 2015

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Supervision in Children's Specialist Services This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full.
Initial Contacts and Referrals This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full.
Family Group Conferences Section 1, Introduction has been amended and Section 5, The Family Group Conference Practice Standards and Section 6, Family Group Conference Procedure have been added.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children A link to the Department for Education's Care of Unaccompanied and Trafficked Children has been added in Related Guidance.
Decision to Look After and Care Planning A link to the Department for Education's Looked-After Children: Contact with Siblings has been added to the Related Guidance.
Sufficiency Strategy This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been updated in line with the revised 'Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (supplement) - Looked After children and Youth Justice application of the care planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 to Looked After children with Youth Justice Services' (April 2014) and a link to the guidance itself is included. Additional information has been added throughout the chapter, and it should be re-read in full.
Staying Put Policy This chapter has been amended throughout and should be re-read in full. Additionally, The 'Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning transition to adulthood for care leavers (January 2015)' update has been added above in Related Guidance.
Staying Put Procedure This chapter has been amended throughout and should be re-read in full. A link to 'Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning transition to adulthood for care leavers (January 2015)' has been added.
New Chapters and Features
Name of Chapter Details
Achieving Permanency for Children in Wirral Policy This new chapter reinforces the belief that each child has their own individual needs, which include issues around their identity, and on-going contact with friends and relatives. It also seeks to ensure that when a child comes into care, there is a plan which will, in the shorter or longer term, provide them with a permanent carer or carers to whom they can attach.
Delegation of Authority Policy This new chapter applies to all who provide placements for children and young people in the care of Wirral Council either 'in-house' or via Independent Fostering Providers.
Discharge of Care Order This new chapter refers to children and young people who are subject to a Care Order under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 and the Local Authority are looking to discharge the order because assessments confirm that the Local Authority no longer needs to share parental responsibility.
Fostering Services, Alcohol, Drugs and Solvents Policy This new chapter addresses the need for Foster Carers and children to have access to up to date information, guidance and advice on the risks and strategies that may be adopted in relation to alcohol or other harmful drugs and substances.
Updated Terminology
Statement of Special Educational Needs References to 'Statement of Special Educational Needs' have been updated with 'Education, Health and Care Plans'.

September 2014

Updated Chapters
Name of Chapter Details
Child Friendly Service User Involvement Policy This chapter replaced the previous version in entirety and details why service users should become involved in participating in the development of services, how this can be achieved and what sort of support they should expect to help them to do this.
Family and Friends Carers Policy This chapter has been updated to reflect the introduction of the 'Child Arrangements Order' introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014 which amended section 8 of the Children Act 1989 and replaced the 'Residence Order'.
Supervision in Children's Specialist Services The current chapter has been replaced with a link to the Intranet. All staff should be aware of the changes to practice and process here.
Children in Need Threshold Criteria This diagram of the 'Continuum of Need' has been simplified and brought up to date to focus on levels 2 – 4 which are likely to involve the Children and Young Peoples Department.
Court Proceedings This chapter has been updated to include a new section on Parallel Criminal Investigations with Care Hearings and by adding links to 'Statutory Guidance on court orders and pre-proceedings for local authorities (2014)'.
Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to reflect the updated Public Law Outline came into effect on 22nd April 2014, alongside the statutory 26-week time-limit for completion of care and supervision proceedings under the Children and Families Act  2014.
Sexual Health Policy for Staff Working with Young People Under 19 years

This chapter has been updated to include information on the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, which is designed to provide members of the public with a formal mechanism to ask for disclosure about people they are concerned about.

Additionally, links to 'DfE, Sex and Relationship Education Guidance for Head teachers, Teachers & School Governors' and 'Brook / PSHE Association, Sex And Relationships Education (SRE) For the 21st Century', (which should be read together) have been created. Please reference as required.
Record Keeping in Children's Specialist Services Note that the Case File Audit Procedure is now referred to as the Case File Audit Guidance.
Case Records for Looked After Children Note that the Case File Audit Procedure is now referred to as the Case File Audit Guidance; a table of statutory timescales for retention of records has also been added.
Access to Records Note that the Case File Audit Procedure is now referred to as the Case File Audit Guidance
Issuing Privacy Notices (Formally Fair Processing) Notices in Children's Specialist Services This confirms the 'Information about You' leaflet is now obtained from the Practice Improvement Team.
Family Group Conferences This chapter has been changed through the removal of the section describing 'Lead Professionals' referring to this service.
Families with No Recourse to Public Funds This chapter has been amended to add a link to 'No recourse to Public Funds Network: Practice Guidance for Local Authorities Assessing and Supporting Children & Former Looked-after Children who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) for Support from Local Authorities under the Children Act 1989'. Please reference as required.
Permanence Planning Guide This chapter has been updated to include 'Child Arrangements Orders', introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. This amended Section 8 of the 1989 Children Act and replaced 'Residence Orders'. A re-written Section 3.7, Child Arrangements Orders details this.
Placement Planning This chapter has been amended to reflect the Children and Families Act 2014 with regard to Child Arrangements Orders which has replaced the 'Residence Order'.
Placement Stability Procedure Although there have been no content changes, this chapter has been 'formatted' which has helped to make the chapter more accessible – particularly the Appendices.
Children cared for by Family and Friends This chapter has been updated to acknowledge the introduction of the 'Child Arrangements Order' which replaced the Residence Order under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Notification of Placement Move of Children in care (in and outside of the Local Authority) This chapter has been updated to further specify the procedure in Wirral with regard to  the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013 in relation to notifications received from children's homes of children admitted to/discharged from the Home.
Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children This chapter has been updated to identify that the maximum amount that can be saved in a Junior ISA is £4000 pa.
Fostering Service Non Smoking Policy This chapter has been updated to include the Children and Families Act 2014 restriction on smoking in vehicles when a person under 18 is present.
Child Arrangements Orders This chapter has been updated following the introduction of Child Arrangements Orders in April 2014 by the Children and Families Act 2014 (which amended section 8 Children Act 1989). They replace Contact Orders and Residence Orders in private law proceedings.
Smoking Policy for Adopters This chapter has been updated to include the Children and Families Act 2014 restriction on smoking in vehicles when a person under 18 is present.
New Chapters and Features
Name of Chapter Details
Child Friendly Complaints and Comments Policy This chapter replaced the previous version in entirety and details how service users can make a complaint and what support they can receive in making. Further, where to go if the Department doesn't agree with your concerns – particularly in respect of how the complaint itself has been dealt with. It recognises too that it is helpful to know what interventions have helped, so that other service users can benefit too.
Procedure and Guidance: Personal Education Planning to Promote the Educational Attainments of Children in Care This chapter replaces the previous 'Education of Looked After Children'. The focus of the chapter is on the Personal Education Plan and its importance in promoting the educational attainments of looked after children.
Staying Put Policy This chapter details the criteria and process which enables a young person to remain with their (former) foster parent up to the age of 21. The Policy has recently been enhanced through the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010, Planning Transition into Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance and Government Staying Put Guidance (2013) and the Children and Family Act 2014. Links to the HM Government Guidance, 'Staying Put ' have been added. Please fully read.
Staying Put Pilot Procedure This new chapter provides specific guidance with respect to enabling young people to remain with their former foster carers when they reach 18 years. A young person may remain under the Staying Put arrangements until they are 21 and it is the duty of the Authority to monitor and to provide advice, assistance and support to such arrangements. Please fully read.
Child Friendly 'Staying Put Procedure' This is a version of the Staying Put Procedure designed for young people's use.
The Right Side of Care: Wirral Corporate Parenting Strategy 2014 - 2016 A new part in the manual, Corporate Parenting has been created and the Wirral corporate Parenting Strategy is now available on the Manual. Please fully read.
Updated Terminology
Residence Orders / Assisted Residence Orders Throughout the Manual Residence Orders / Assisted Residence Orders have been changed to Child Arrangements Orders as a result of the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014.
Team Around the Child Throughout the Manual Team Around the Child has been replaced with Team Around the Family.
CAF Throughout the Manual 'CAF' has been replaced with 'Family CAF'.
UK Border Agency Throughout the Manual The UK Border Agency has been replaced with UK Visas Immigration.
NHS Direct Throughout the Manual The term 'NHS Direct' has been deleted.
Vulnerable Adults Throughout the Manual The term 'Vulnerable Adults' has been replaced with 'Adults at risk'.