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Amendments

Shared Board Amendments

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Added new definition of a bully (The Diana Award).

08-11-2018

Updated information sharing link

08-11-2018

Updated government guidance on information sharing (2018)

08-11-2018

Updated government guidance on information sharing (2018)

08-11-2018

Sharing information between professionals and local agencies is essential to provide effective early help and to put in place child protection services. Often it is only when information is shared that it becomes clear a child may be at risk of significant harm. Indeed, Serious Case Reviews have shown that poor information sharing has contributed to deaths or serious injuries of children.

Consent to share information should always be sought unless doing so is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay, or the parent's actions or reactions, or lead to the loss of evidential material. Information may be shared without consent if it is to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.

All professionals should ensure that they understand the guidance on information sharing in Part 2 of these procedures.

It is also worth reading the government guidance on information sharing: Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (July 2018).   

This outlines the seven golden rules to sharing information:

  1. Remember that the Data Protection Act 1998 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.
  2. Be open and honest with the individual (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
  3. Seek advice from other practitioners if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
  4. Where possible, share information with consent, and where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to having their information shared. Under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 you may share information without consent if, in your judgement, there is a lawful basis to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case. When you are sharing or requesting personal information from someone, be clear of the basis upon which you are doing so. Where you do not have consent, be mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared.
  5. Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions.
  6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
  7. Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.

No professional should assume that someone else will pass on information which they think may be critical to keeping a child safe. If a professional has concerns about a child’s welfare and believes they are suffering, or likely to suffer, harm, they should share the information with children’s social care in the relevant local authority.

Also see the information sharing confidentiality protocol.

Updated 'Seven golden rules to sharing information' and links to government guidance on information sharing (updated 2018).

08-11-2018

Added Department of Education guidance: Approaches to preventing and tackling bullying

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018)

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

08-11-2018

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

08-11-2018

Updating Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018.

08-11-2018

Each LSCB must ensure that a review is undertaken of every child death in their area by a Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP).

The death of a child is a tragedy and enquiries should keep an appropriate balance between forensic and medical requirements and supporting the family at a difficult time. Professionals supporting parents and family members should assure them that the objective of the child death review process is not to allocate blame, but to learn lessons that could help prevent further child deaths.

The responsibility for ensuring a review takes place rests with the LSCB for the area where the child is normally resident. (If it is unclear in which area the child normally resided, the relevant CDOP Chairs should negotiate and agree who will lead the review.)

Other LSCBs or local organisations who have had involvement in the case should co-operate in jointly planning and undertaking the child death review.

In the case of a looked after child, the LSCB for the area of the local authority looking after the child should take lead responsibility for conducting the child death review, involving other LSCBs with an interest or whose lead agencies have had contact with the child.

Clich here for national CDOP templates.

Added link to national forms / DfE website.

29-10-2018

Updated link to DVRIM website.

02-08-2018

Updated link to current guidance in 'Protection and action to be taken'

09-05-2018

Added Early Help Assessment (EHA) as an alternative to Common Assessment Framwork (CAF)

09-05-2018

Responding to concerns about a child

Anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care. This includes professionals who work with children and their families but could also be the child themselves, family members or members of the public.

The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold which justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children. Section 47 of the Act places a duty on local authorities to make enquiries, or cause enquiries to be made, where it has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm.

It is therefore important that all professionals working with children and families understand the concept of significant harm and also what constitutes abuse and neglect.

Responding to risks of harm to an unborn child

In some circumstances, agencies or individuals are able to anticipate where an expected baby is likely to suffer significant harm (e.g. domestic violence, parental substance misuse or mental ill health).

These concerns should be addressed as early as possible before the birth so that a full assessment can be undertaken and support offered to enable the parent/s (wherever possible) to provide safe care. For more information, see the pre-birth procedures.

Responsibilities of agencies and organisations

Each organisation should have internal child protection procedures which are compliant with these regional procedures: the 10 Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) within the wider West Midlands area are responsible for confirming agencies and organisations have these procedures in place.

Each organisation’s own internal child protection procedures must provide instruction to professionals in:

  • identifying potential or actual harm to children
  • discussing and recording concerns with a first line manager/in supervision
  • analysing concerns by completing an assessment
  • discussing concerns with the organisation’s designated safeguarding lead (who should be able to offer advice and decide upon the necessity for a referral to local authority children's social care).

Professionals in all organisations should be sufficiently knowledgeable and competent to contact local authority children's social care or the police about their concerns directly and to complete the appropriate referral form. Where advice is required, professionals should feel comfortable contacting their local authority children’s social care or Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (if one exists in the area) to discuss the case.

If it appears that the child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, a formal referral to local authority children's social care, the police or emergency services (for any urgent medical treatment) must not be delayed by the need for consultation with management or the designated safeguarding professional lead, or the completion of an assessment.  

Responsibilities of professionals

Professionals in all agencies and organisations (including public services, commissioned provider services and voluntary organisations) who come into contact with children, who work with adult parents/carers or who gain knowledge about children through working with adults, should:

  • be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect
  • be alert to the risks which individual abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to children
  • be alert to the impact on the child of any concerns of abuse or maltreatment
  • be able to gather and analyse information as part of an assessment of the child’s needs.

The law empowers anyone who has care of a child to do all that is reasonable in the circumstances to safeguard their welfare. Accordingly, professionals in all agencies should take appropriate action wherever necessary to ensure that no child is left in immediate danger, e.g. a teacher, foster carer, childminder, a volunteer or any professional should take all reasonable steps to offer a child immediate protection (including from an aggressive parent).

Duty to co-operate and refer

All professionals in agencies with contact with children and members of their families must make a referral to local authority children's social care if there are signs that a child or an unborn baby:

The timing of such referrals should reflect the level of perceived risk to the child or unborn baby and should be within one working day of identification or disclosure of the harm or risk of harm.

In urgent situations out of office hours the referral should be made to the local authority children's social care emergency duty team/out of hour’s team.

Where a child or unborn baby has an allocated social worker and a professional has new or additional information this must be documented and passed without delay to the allocated social worker or case manager for consideration by children's social care.  In the event the allocated scial worker and/or case manager are unavailable the person holding information should follow the arrangements for passing on information to the relevant team.  As above, if it is outside of office hours the local authority children's social care emergency duty team/out of hours team should be contacted if the concern is high.  In emergencies, such as if a child is in immediate danger, the Police should be called for assistance.

Listening to the child

Whenever a child reports that they are suffering or have suffered significant harm through abuse or neglect, or have caused or are causing physical or sexual harm to others, the initial response from all professionals should be limited to listening carefully to what the child says to:

  • clarify the concerns
  • offer re-assurance about how the child will be kept safe
  • explain what action will be taken and within what timeframe.

Additional measures may be required for a child with communication difficulties e.g. in consequence of a disability.

The child must not be pressed for information, led or cross-examined or given false assurances of absolute confidentiality, as this could prejudice police investigations, especially in cases of sexual abuse.

If the child can understand the significance and consequences of making a referral to local authority children's social care, they should be asked their view.

However, it should be explained to the child that, whilst their view will be taken into account, the professional has a responsibility to take whatever action is required to ensure the child's safety and the safety of other children.

Consulting parents  

Where practicable, concerns should be discussed with the parent and agreement sought for a referral to local authority children's social care unless seeking agreement is likely to:

  • place the child at risk of significant harm through delay or the parent's actions or reactions
  • lead to the risk of loss of evidential material. For example in circumstances where there are concerns or suspicions that a serious crime such as sexual abuse or induced illness has taken place.

Where a professional decides not to seek parental permission before making a referral to local authority children's social care, the decision must be recorded in the child's file with reasons, dated and signed and confirmed in the referral to local authority children's social care.

A child protection referral from a professional cannot be treated as anonymous, so the parent will ultimately become aware of the identity of the referrer. Where the parent refuses to give permission for the referral, unless it would cause undue delay, further advice should be sought from a manager or the nominated child protection adviser and the outcome fully recorded.

If, having taken full account of the parents' wishes, it is still considered that there is a need for referral:

  • the reason for proceeding without parental agreement must be recorded
  • the parent's withholding of permission must form part of the verbal and written referral to local authority children's social care
  • the parent should be contacted to inform them that, after considering their wishes, a referral has been made.

Considering diversity

At all stages of the child protection process, consideration must be given to issues of diversity, taking into account:

  • the impact of cultural expectations and obligations on the family
  • the family's knowledge and understanding of UK law in relation to parenting and child welfare
  • the impact on the family if recently arrived in the UK and their immigrant status
  • the need to use safe and independent interpreters for discussions about parenting and child welfare, even though the family's day-to-day English may appear/be adequate.

The analysis of the child’s and families cultural needs must not result in a lowering of expectations when applying standards of good practice to safeguarding the child.

Seeking urgent medical attention

If the child is suffering from a serious injury, the professional must seek immediate medical attention from emergency services and must inform local authority children's social care, and the duty consultant paediatrician at the hospital.

Where abuse is alleged, suspected or confirmed in a child admitted to hospital, the child must not be discharged until:

  • the local authority children's social care for the area where the hospital is located and for the child's home address are notified by telephone that there are child protection concerns. (This may be two different local authority children's social care teams)
  • a strategy meeting/discussion has been held, if appropriate, which should include relevant hospital and other professionals.

Responding to concerns raised by members of the public

When a member of the public telephones or approaches any agency with concerns, about the welfare of a child or an unborn baby, the professional who receives the contact should always:

  • Gather as much information as possible in order to make a judgement about the seriousness of the concerns.
  • Take basic details:
  • Name, address, gender and date of birth of child
  • Name and contact details for parent/s, educational setting (e.g. nursery, school), primary medical practitioner (e.g. GP practice), professionals providing other services, a lead professional for the child.
  • Discuss the case with their manager and the agency's designated safeguarding professional lead to decide whether to:
    • make a referral to local authority children's social care
    • make a referral to the lead professional, if the case is open and there is one
    • make a referral to a specialist agency or professional e.g. educational psychology or a speech and language therapist
    • undertake an assessment.
  • Record the referral with the detail of information received and given, separating out fact from opinion as far as possible.
  • Inform the referrer about what happens next.

The member of the public should also be given the number for their local authority children's social care and encouraged to contact them directly. The agency receiving the initial concern should always make a referral to local authority children's social care (and to the lead professional if there is one) in case the member of the public does not follow through (a common occurrence).

If there is a risk that the member of the public will disengage without giving sufficient information to enable agencies to investigate concerns about a child, the NSPCC national 24 hour Child Protection Helpline (0808 800 5000) and Childline (0800 1111) can be offered as an alternative means of reporting concerns.

Individuals may prefer not to give their name to local authority children's social care or the NSPCC. Alternatively they may disclose their identity, but not wish for it to be revealed to the parent/s of the child concerned. Wherever possible, professionals should respect the referrer's request for anonymity. However professionals should not give referrers any guarantees of confidentiality as there are certain limited circumstances in which the identity of a referrer may have to be given (e.g. the court arena).

Local publicity material should make the above position clear to potential referrers.

Local authority children's social care should offer the referrer the opportunity of an interview.

Addition to 'Duty to co-operate and refer'

Where a child or unborn baby has an allocated social worker and a professional has new or additional information this must be documented and passed without delay to the allocated social worker or case manager for consideration by children's social care.  In the event the allocated scial worker and/or case manager are unavailable the person holding information should follow the arrangements for passing on information to the relevant team.  As above, if it is outside of office hours the local authority children's social care emergency duty team/out of hours team should be contacted if the concern is high.  In emergencies, such as if a child is in immediate danger, the Police should be called for assistance.

 

08-05-2018

The decision to discontinue a child protection plan will normally be made by a Review conference. A child may no longer need a child protection plan if:

  • the review conference judges that the child is no longer likely to suffer significant harm and no longer requires safeguarding by means of a child protection plan
  • the child has moved permanently to another local authority and a Transfer-in conference has taken place and, where appropriate, local authority children’s social care in the new area has confirmed responsibility for case management in writing)
  • the child has reached 18 years of age (to end the child protection plan, the local authority should have a review around the child's birthday and this should be planned in advance)
  • the child has been judged to have permanently left the UK (unless there are specific concerns that require the plan to continue)
  • the child is no longer deemed at risk of significant harm due to becoming a Looked After Child (this decision could be made at a Review Conference or via formal correspondence with conference members (e.g. letter) dependant on local process)
  • the child has died.

It is permissible for the local authority child protection manager to agree the discontinuing of a child protection plan without the need to convene a child protection review conference if one of these criteria has been met AND they have consulted with all relevant agencies present at the conference that first concluded that a child protection plan was required. The decision to discontinue the child protection plan must then be clearly recorded in the local authority children's social care child's record.

When a child protection plan is discontinued notification should be sent to all the agencies represented or who were invited to the initial child protection conference that led to the plan.

The discontinuation of the child protection plan does not necessarily mean that the family is no longer in need of services and/or support. When a decision is made to discontinue a child protection plan arrangements should always be in place to consider with the family what further help and support might be offered through a child in need/family support plan.

  • the child is no longer deemed at risk of significant harm due to becoming a Looked After Child (this decision could be made at a Review Conference or via formal correspondence with conference members (e.g. letter) dependant on local process)
08-05-2018

Whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, a strategy meeting/discussion should be held.

Strategy discussions should ideally be face-to-face but telephone discussions (for example, by a conference call or virtual meeting) may be adequate in some circumstances.

Strategy meetings should be multi-agency as far as possible and should involve all key professionals known to, or involved with, the child and family. Local authority children’s social care, health and the police should always attend. Where the child is in hospital, the appropriate clinician should also be included.

 

Added 'health' to the list of agencies that should always attend strategy meetings

08-05-2018

Added Yoti app for reporting explicit images into the further information section.

27-02-2018

Changed 'sexting' to 'youth produced sexual imagery', as per UK Council for Child Internet Safety guidance

27-02-2018

Changed 'sexting' to 'youth produced sexual imagery', as per UK Council for Child Internet Safety guidance

27-02-2018

Changed 'sexting' to 'youth produced sexual imagery', as per UK Council for Child Internet Safety guidance

27-02-2018

Changed 'sexting' to 'youth produced sexual imagery', as per UK Council for Child Internet Safety guidance

27-02-2018

Added Department for Education guidance.

27-02-2018

Added NICE guidance to end of section on Indicators.

27-02-2018

Added NICE guidance to end of Definitions section.

27-02-2018

Changed 2014 statutory guidance to 2017 statutory guidance

27-02-2018

Changed the name and link of statutory guidance 2014 to updated guidance 2017

27-02-2018

Updated statutory guidance from 2014 guidance to 2017 guidance.

27-02-2018

Removed Solihull reference

04-07-2017

Children are best protected when professionals are clear about what is required of them individually and understand how they need to work together. Research has also demonstrated that every day counts for children who need additional help and co-ordinated multi-agency action can be crucial to safeguard and promote their welfare.

This document describes the core procedures that should be followed by professionals (including unqualified staff and volunteers) and managers in agencies who provide services for children, families or parents in the participating LSCB areas.

For these purposes a child is defined as any child or young person who has not yet reached their 18th birthday and the participating LSCB areas cover the following nine local authority areas: Birmingham, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.

These procedures are in line with the guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children (March 2015) and underpinned by two key principles:

  1. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part.

Children live in families and communities so everyone potentially has information that is important including: the child, family, neighbours, school, early years, NHS, and other services involved including adult services, private and third sector organisations, housing, police and probation services.

  1. A child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.

Working Together to Safeguard Children defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children's health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Removed Solihull and changed 10 boards to nine

04-07-2017

For more detailed information on child protection enquiries, see the West Midlands Joint Protocol: Child Protection Enquiries and Related Criminal Investigations or West Mercia Police and Children Services Protocol - Section 47 Enquiries and Criminal Investigations (please note that this document is under review during 2017).

 

Changed text regarding review of West Mercia Police and Children's Servcies Protocol in 'Summary'

31-03-2017

Please select a board to see additional information:

This page is correct as printed on Tuesday 11th of December 2018 03:05:47 AM please refer back to this website (http://westmidlands.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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