Allocation of Work and Transfer Between Teams
1. Allocation of New Cases in CIN/CP Teams and Children in Care
The Duty Social Worker is responsible for checking the team work tray and keeping the Children In Need / Child Protection Team Manager up to date.
The Team Manager has overall responsibility for overseeing the team work tray.
The Integrated Front Door will launch contacts to the appropriate teams.
Allocations of Cases from 1st Response Team to Child in Need / Child Protection Team
Child Protection Cases
The Team Manager from the First Response Team emails the respective Team Managers in the district and identified TSOs with the details of the ICPC.
The First Response Social Worker attends the Initial Child Protection Conference with their report. The receiving Team Manager and identified Social Worker attend the conference. The First Response Social Worker completes the request for case transfer and the Team Manager completes a case audit to ensure that the case is up to date with a completed LL chronology and all case notes and visits have been inputted. The case is placed in the work tray of the receiving team on the date of the Conference.
Child in Need Cases
The Team Manager from the First Response Team emails the respective Team Managers in the district and identified TSOs with the details of the initial Child in Need meeting.
The Team Manager from the First Response Team attends and chairs the initial Child in Need meeting with the outline plan, the receiving Team Manager and allocated Social Worker attend and take the minutes in order that the CIN plan can be updated and distributed to all involved.
The First Response Social worker completes the request for case transfer and the Team Manager completes a case audit to ensure that the case is up to date with a Completed LL chronology and all case notes and visits have been inputted. The case is placed in the work tray of the receiving team on the date of the CIN meeting.
Referrals from IFD will transfer to the Children In Need / Child Protection Teams at the point of:
- Level 4 decision for a Single Assessment;
- Section 47 Assessment;
- Section 37 and Section 7 reports;
- Children with Disability. There must be a clear threshold for service into CWD.
Children in Care
The Team Manager from the First Response Team will notify the Team Manager for the Children in Care Team of their intention to issue proceedings and invite the Children in Care Team to the first hearing. If the Local Authority secures a court order, then the case will transfer to the Children in Care Team. Should a Care Order not be secured then the case should transfer to the CIN/CP Teams.
All contacts transferred will appear in the receiving team task list.
The Duty Social Worker will discuss the contact with the Team Manager and where necessary make further investigations including following up any outstanding multi-agency request for service forms.
The Team Manager will make a decision on what action is required within 24 hours of receiving the contact.
Where the Team Manager is unavailable the Duty Social Worker will discuss the case with the manager covering during their absence. The duty manager will make the decision about allocation of cases with the advice and support of the Advanced Social Work Practitioner.
Where there are no concerns the Duty Social Worker will send a letter to the referrer explaining the outcome based on the rationale of the Team Manager.
The case will be recorded on LiquidLogic as 'progressed to referral' and then case closed on advice from the Team Manager.
A letter will also be sent to the child's parents/carers and the child if they are 12 years or over, informing them of the information that has been recorded and the 'information about you' leaflet, unless this would be likely to cause serious harm (e.g. Domestic Violence and Abuse or prejudice to a Child Protection Plan).
Where action is required, the Team Manager will allocate the case based on individual caseload, developmental needs and capacity (annual leave, training, etc). If the case cannot be allocated, the unallocated case procedure (see Section 6, Unallocated Cases) will need to be followed.
The Team Manager will ensure that the case is appropriately progressed to referral on LiquidLogic and include the decision for allocated and unallocated cases. This can be completed by the Team Support Officers through the use of the LiquidLogic amendment form. Through the use of this form, Team Support Officers will be able to place information regarding allocation, siblings, type of assessment, involvements and other information on LiquidLogic.
After the Social Worker is advised that the case is being allocated to them for assessment, the information then appears on the Social Worker task list.
Upon conversion of a contact into a referral the person tasked with undertaking a Single Assessment will be the allocated worker and recorded as such on LiquidLogic.
Contact Information for Open Cases
The Duty Social Worker must also check the work tray for contact information from IFD relating to open cases. If the allocated Social Worker for the case is not available the Duty Social Worker must discuss the information with the Team Manager for them to decide if any urgent action is required.
2. Feedback on Outcome of Referral
The Integrated Front Door or the social work team must send a written acknowledgement of a written request for services within 24 hours of a decision being made. If the referrer has not received an acknowledgement within 5 working days, they should contact the Integrated Front Door.
In the case of a referral by a member of the public, feedback should be provided in a way which will respect the confidentiality of the child.
When an allegation against a person who works with children is received, the relevant Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) must be notified.
3. Transfer of Cases Between Teams
When the Children in Need/Child Protection Team is Ending its Involvement
If assessed as Level 2: A final social work meeting is to be arranged in order to agree an action plan with any tasks allocated to the 'single' agency.
If assessed as Level 3: A final Social Worker meeting is to be arranged. The Area Team Manager is to be informed of the meeting. A new Lead Professional is to be appointed to coordinate the plan (see details below).
If still level 4: A case transfer should be agreed at a District transfer meeting with the new social work team (Children in Care Team / Adoption / etc). Other agencies should continue to be involved in assessments and any meetings (CIN/statutory reviews etc). Any minutes must be sent to all parties.
When (Children in Care Team / Adoption) end involvement they should follow level 2 or level 3 processes as above.
Children in Need / Child Protection to Children in Care
Cases held with the Children In Need / Child Protection Team:
- Supervision Orders;
- Court proceedings to first Hearing;
- Children subject to CIN Plans/CP Plans;
- Pre proceedings cases;
- Section 7 / 37 reports;
- Regulation 24's jointly completed with worker.
Cases held with the Children In Care Team
Relinquished babies into Children In Care (CIC) at 1st Review or 1st Care Planning Meeting to Adopt.
- Relinquished babies;
- Section 20 cases at the 2nd review where a plan for permanency is made;
- S38 Interim Care Orders at first hearing of the application;
- S31 Care Orders;
- Special Guardian support plans;
Cases should be transferred to the Children in Care team (CIC) from Children in Need/Child Protection when the assessment has been completed and all the information i.e. the chronology, case notes, client details, statutory visits, reports, and transfer summary (including contact details, transport and financial arrangements, forthcoming reviews, meetings, Core Groups, etc.) is up to date in accordance with the recording procedure.
Where the child is subject to Child Protection proceedings the case will remain with the Children In Need / Child Protection Team. Where the Child is in care case transfer should take place at the first Child Looked After Review.
Cases for transfer should be taken to the planned district transfer meeting and a plan with timescales agreed for the transfer to take place which should usually be within 2 weeks of the transfer meeting. The meetings should take place in two parts. The first part should focus on cases that will transfer from assessment to care management teams Child In Need/ Child Protection to Children In Care. The second part should be attended by the Area Team Manager and should focus on cases that need to be considered to step down from CIN to TAF from either the care management teams or assessment teams.Team Managers must maintain a tracking tool to ensure that the relevant tasks are completed to enable the transfer of cases within the required timescale.
4. Legal Gateway Meetings and Case Transfer
The Child in Need/Child Protection Team should initiate legal proceedings following the legal gateway meeting and attend the initial hearing. The identified Children in Care Team Social Worker should also attend the initial hearing. The Children in Care team manager should be consulted about the appropriate timescales for completing legal reports.
The case should transfer once the initial order is made.
Following the District Transfer Meeting
Following the District transfer meeting the following must take place within two weeks:
- The receiving Social Worker to be identified by the Team Manager of the team receiving the case;
- A transfer meeting to take place between the receiving Social Worker and the current Social Worker;
- A joint visit to be made by both the current and receiving Social Worker;
- A request for transfer is completed on LiquidLogic and sent to the receiving Team Manager;
- The transferring Team Manager must audit the case record;
- A transfer summary completed on LiquidLogic;
- The receiving Team Manager must review the audit and ensure they are received in accordance with the above procedure;
- If the procedure has not been followed the receiving Team Manager will communicate with the transferring Team Manager to rectify the issues prior to completion of transfer.
At the end of the two week period if no receiving Social Worker has been identified the case must be transferred to the receiving team as an unallocated case, and the Team Manager must follow the unallocated cases procedure (see Section 6, Unallocated Cases).
On transfer the receiving team must amend LiquidLogic with regards to the transfer of the case (closing to transferring team and Social Worker and allocation to receiving team and Social Worker).
Between Children in Need/Child Protection Teams
Where a case needs to transfer between Children In Need/Child Protection Teams across districts, each District is to have a named principal Group Manager contact. The transferring principal Group Manager is to contact this person with the name and details of the status of the case (CIN, CP, LAC). The named principal Group Manager is to take the case to the regularly held district transfer meeting for allocation.
The receiving Team Manager is to contact the transferring Team Manager to arrange transfer.
A transfer meeting must take place within 2 weeks of a request.
If a receiving team has not been identified, it is the responsibility of the Group Manager for the receiving district to identify the name of the receiving team within one week of the district transfer meeting. If this issue is not resolved it should be escalated to the appropriate district senior manager.
The process following the District transfer meeting as detailed above must be followed.When the Integrated Front Door receive a transfer request from another Local Authority, the contact must be launched to the receiving team's Team Manager's work tray and followed up by a phone call to ensure that the Team Manager and the Group Managers are aware of the request. It is then the Group Manager's responsibility to liaise with the transferring Local Authority.
5. Case Closures
The procedure explains the process required to close a child's record / referral when there is no transfer to the Team Around the Family (TAF) and outlines the role and responsibilities of Partner Agencies. The procedure also outlines the process to be followed when a case transfers from Specialist Services to TAF.
Case Closure (Where There is no Transfer to TAF)
Case closure with no transfer to TAF will be the exception and in such cases the Social Worker must clearly demonstrate that they have considered TAF with the family and other agencies and explain the rationale for not pursuing this option in the closing summary. The Team Manager must approve this decision in their own rationale in LiquidLogic.
TAF is a voluntary process and requires the consent of parents / carers and young person as appropriate. Refusal to consent to TAF must be taken into account when the decision is taken to close the case.
In instances of parents not co-operating with a CIN Plan, but not meeting the threshold for a Child Protection Plan it may be necessary to close a case. Such decisions should only be taken following consultation with the Safeguarding Unit regarding Child Protection thresholds and a clear analysis of all factors and the reasons why the case is to be closed must be carefully recorded.
When the lead Social Worker considers a case ready for closure when a child has been subject to a CIN Plan they must arrange a CIN review meeting - inviting all multi-agency practitioners including GP's involved with the child and family. At this meeting the lead Social Worker must outline the reasons why the case is ready to be closed, giving partners the opportunity to question and/or comment. When all evidence has been considered the views of those present should be recorded by the Social Worker.
Following the case closure / CIN review meeting, once case closure is planned the lead Social Worker will notify the Team Manager that the child's record/ referral is ready for closure, reporting the views of the other agencies recorded at the case closure review meeting. With the agreement of the Team Manager, the lead Social Worker will ensure that:
- All agencies currently working with the child/ family, including the General Practitioner, are notified in writing of the intended case closure and that their views have been reported to the Team Manager and recorded in the case notes. Any agency not represented at the case closure review meeting should be invited to comment / question the decision at this stage. Any comments or disagreements should be noted and reported to the Team Manager. If agencies are in disagreement they should follow the Escalation Process (see Professional Disagreement and Escalation - Wirral Local Safeguarding Children Board);
- Within seven days of agreeing with the Team Manager that the child's record is ready for closure the Social Worker will visit the child's home, will see and speak to the parents/carers, see and speak to the child alone and will see the accommodation in which the child is living. A record of the visit will be recorded in case notes using the title 'closure visit' and will record the carers / parents view of closure;
- The chronology, core person details and all areas of the child's record are up to date;
- If agencies are in disagreement they should follow the Escalation Process (see Professional Disagreement and Escalation - Wirral Local Safeguarding Children Board).
The Team Manager will read the child's record within five days of the notification and record their rationale on case note discussion/ decision of whether the closure is agreed or if further action is required, and if any disagreement has been expressed using the heading Managers Decision.
The Team Manager will check that there is evidence on the child's record that the lead Social Worker has completed all the actions above.
The child, parents, carers and other professional commissioned by CYPD to provide a service will be issued with a letter confirming the case closure.
Following the Team Manager confirming closure agreement within five days the lead Social Worker will complete all the sections of the child's record required to close the referral. A closing summary will be completed using the closing summary case note; this will be launched to the Team Manager for approval. It will appear on their task list. The Team Manager will read the closing summary and case audit form. The Team Manager will audit the case and if work has been completed to the required standard then close the case.
Case Closure (where the Case Transfers from Specialist Services CIN to TAF - Level 3)
A transfer to TAF can occur when there is no longer a role for Specialist Services and the criteria for TAF are met. The Social Worker must convene a multi-agency meeting so the transfer can take place and parents, carers and the child / young person must agree to becoming involved in the TAF process.
TAF is a voluntary process and requires the consent of parents / carers and young person as appropriate. If a case is to be closed by Specialist Services and a multi-disciplinary response (level 3) is still required the following steps must be followed:
- Cases that have been subject to Child Protection Plans, Looked After Children plans or long term Child in Need must be considered for de-escalation to Team Around the Family at the point that Children's Specialist Services are considering closing the case. The Social Worker must explain and obtain consent from the young person and/or parent(s) to use the Team around the Family model. If consent is given the Social Worker must consider who would be most appropriate to be the next Lead Professional taking into account the views of the young person and/or parent(s);
- The Social Worker must then contact the preferred Lead Professional and discuss this with them. Usually, the Lead Professional will already be a practitioner who is familiar with the case and has supported the child or young person during Specialist Services intervention. If individuals have any difficulties about taking on the Lead Professional role they can request support and/or attendance at TAF from an area Social Worker and likewise from the Area Team Manager if they are unsure about the process of TAF;
- The Social Worker must then arrange a final case closure/review meeting and invite all practitioners currently involved and the young person and/or parent(s). The Area Team Manager is to be informed of the meeting and provided with written confirmation;
- The Social Worker will chair the final case closure/review meeting and explain why the case will be closed to Specialist Services and that support will continue using the TAF process. The Social Worker reconfirms the consent of the young person and/or parent(s). If there is agreement then the TAF process will commence;
- The Social Workers closing summary and the action plan from the most recent Initial or Single Assessment or CIN plan will be distributed at the meeting. Before the meeting ends the Social Worker must photocopy and distribute the action plan to everyone present and a date for the next TAF meeting must be set;
- Following the meeting the Social Worker must send letters of closure to all agencies involved and the parent(s) and/or young person. TAF meetings will continue to allow for reviews of the plan to take place. The TAF case will be closed only when all needs have been met or consent withdrawn;
- The process for closing a case to Children's Specialist Services must be followed as outlined above.
6. Unallocated Cases
The principle is that there must be no unallocated cases. It is the responsibility of the Team Manager to ensure that cases are allocated according to skills, experience and capacity.
If a Team Manager believes that they are not able to allocate work, this must be raised immediately with the Group Manager. The Group Manager must look with the Team Manager at the reasons why work cannot be allocated (e.g. sickness, vacancies, workload pressures etc.) and look at solutions to address the problem to ensure children's cases are still allocated. If the situation is not resolved this should be escalated to the Senior Manager.
However, if this is not feasible the following process must be followed:
- Child Protection work and Court work must be allocated. All other cases (CIN and LAC) must not be de-allocated without an assessment of the complexity and risk in each case. This to be undertaken jointly by the Team Manager and the Group Manager;
- Once this risk assessment has been completed, a report is to be provided for the Senior Manager and Deputy Director outlining the numbers and details of cases proposed to be unallocated, specifying how those cases will be monitored by the Team Manager until allocation and the plan for how allocation will be achieved;
- The Deputy Director is the only person who can authorise any plan to unallocated children's cases;
- A weekly report on the progress of allocation must be provided to the Senior Manager and Deputy Director. A review of the unallocated cases must continue on a weekly basis based on the contents of the report;
- The Team Manager is to ensure that if a case is unallocated, that all agencies and the family involved are informed in writing. Agencies will be asked to increase their monitoring of the child and family and given contact details in the team if there are concerns;
- The Team Manager is to ensure that statutory duties in relation to statutory visits, LAC reviews, CIN meetings - are still met and are managed by the duty system in a planned manner and confirm to the Group Manager that these duties are still being met in their weekly report.
Allocation of Work when a Social Worker is Absent
When a Social Worker is absent from work for longer than one week the Team Manager will identify when statutory visits and reviews are to be undertaken for the cases allocated to this worker and oversee that the visits take place.
The visits and reviews and completion of the paperwork will be undertaken by the Duty Social Worker in the team during the period of absence.
The Duty Social Worker will report back directly to the Team Manager after any visits or reviews.
If a Social Worker is absent from work for longer than 3 weeks all cases will be reallocated for the period of absence.
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