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5.4 Children and Families in Need Moving Across Safeguarding Children Board Boundaries

AMENDMENT

Some terminology was updated in September 2014 in regards to Early Help Assessments.

Contents

1. Definitions

The increasing numbers of families moving or being moved across boundaries presents difficulties in terms of safe, reliable and consistent delivery of services.

The universal services offered by health and education are delivered to a child in the area where (s)he is living. Arrangements for delivery of Children’s Services vary more and the remainder of this section seeks to make them more explicit in defined circumstances.

Without regard to their specific role, staff in all agencies must be alert to the possibility that a child or family who comes to their attention may not be in receipt of universal services.

Staff should make efforts to explore this possibility - e.g. seeking information about the child / family (full names, dates of birth, GP’s name, if attending any school etc.), offering information about relevant services and following up any concerns which emerge with relevant agencies.

The following procedures address case responsibility and apply to all children in need, including those in need of protection.

The procedures below are based on an assumption that for the majority of children, it is in their interests to receive support or protection from agencies, in particular local health, social care and education services, which are local to where the child is living.

This section provides critical information and defines inter county/borough responsibilities where a child and/or her/his family have moved to a different local authority - e.g. a:

  • ‘Travelling’ family;
  • Child living with a parent in a refuge or homeless persons’ accommodation;
  • Child and/or family moving into, or out of Surrey from elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

These procedures do not distinguish between temporary or permanent moves or to the nature of the accommodation in which the child and/or family are living - e.g. private or public housing.

For the purposes of these procedures the terms ‘originating authority’ refers to the borough / authority where the family previously lived, and ‘receiving authority’ to the borough / authority to which the family has moved.

This section addresses the provision of Surrey Children’s Services but excludes the local authority provision of housing to families or the provision of accommodation/subsistence costs included in a Family Action Plan. These remain the responsibility of the originating authority until the housing issue is resolved although the receiving authority may become responsible for other parts of service delivery.

The section provides information and instruction about:

  • Indicators of risk for children who move or are moved across borough/authority boundaries;
  • Best practice for information sharing;
  • Surrey Children’s Services case responsibility and transfer of information when the child and/or family have moved to the receiving authority;
  • A child arriving in Surrey from overseas;
  • Responsibility for Section 47 Enquiries.

2. Indicators of Risk

When families move frequently, it is more difficult for agencies to identify risks and monitor a child’s welfare.

All agencies, which come into contact with families who have moved, must ensure that they establish basic information regarding previous address(es), registration with a doctor and the child(ren)’s enrolment in school and notify the relevant agency if they encounter a child not appropriately registered / enrolled.

Along with the indicators of risk of significant harm set out in Recognition of Significant Harm Procedure, the following circumstances associated with children and families moving across borough boundaries are a cause for concern:

  • A family not being registered with a GP;
  • Children missing from a school roll or persistently not attending;
  • Homelessness, in so far as it impacts on the welfare of the child;
  • Information held across a network of agencies with no single agency holding the whole picture of a family history;
  • A & E departments offering treatment to child who appears not to be engaged with primary health groups.

 

3. Best Practice for Information Sharing

Particular care must be exercised by all agencies in contact with children and families moving across borough/county boundaries to collect accurate information on any child in need and share this with other agencies e.g.:

  • Ensuring that all fore names and surnames used by the family are provided, and clarification is obtained about the correct spelling;
  • Ensuring that accurate dates of birth are obtained for all household members, where at all possible;
  • Obtaining the previous full addresses, and earlier addresses within the last 2 years;
  • Clarifying relationships between the child and other household members, if possible with documentary evidence;
  • Asking the child/family with which statutory or voluntary organisations they are in contact.

Professional staff in originating authorities must ensure that their counterparts in the receiving authority have been sent a copy of all relevant records within 5 days of being notified of the move.

Professional staff in receiving authorities must ensure that they request relevant records from their counterparts in originating authorities when notified of the move.

All attendance of children at A&E departments should be communicated to community based staff via paediatric liaison services.

4. Inter-Authority Arrangements for Section 47 Enquiries

A local authority has a legal duty under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 to conduct enquiries regarding suspected or actual Significant Harm to a child who lives, or is found in its area.

The term ‘home authority’ refers to the authority holding case responsibility, or if the child is not known to Children’s Services, the authority for the area where the child is living (this could be either an originating or receiving authority).

The term ‘host authority’ refers to the authority where a child may be found, is visiting for a short break or in receipt of specified services (e.g. education) (this could be either a receiving authority without case responsibility or an entirely different authority).

In situations where the child is found, staying in or receiving a service from a ‘host’ authority other than her/his ‘home’ authority where (s)he usually lives, it is not always clear which authority is responsible for protecting the child and conducting enquiries.

The following are examples of these circumstances:

  • A child found in one authority but subject to a Child Protection Plan in another area;
  • A child Looked After in another local authority;
  • A child attending a boarding school in another area;
  • A family currently receiving services from another local authority;
  • A child staying temporarily in the area but whose family remain in the ‘home’ authority;
  • A child remanded or sentenced to custody at a prison service establishment (including privatised facilities) in another authority;
  • A family who have moved into the area, but where another authority retains case responsibility temporarily;
  • A child suspected of being abused - e.g. by a paedophile operating in the host authority.

Attribution of Responsibility for Section 47 Enquiries

Where more than one authority is involved with a child, the Children’s Services with responsibility for Section 47 Enquiries will depend on whether the allegations or concerns arise in relation to the child’s circumstances within her/his ‘home’ authority or within their ‘host’ authority.

The following principles must be applied:

  • Immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both host and home authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries;
  • Responsibility for the establishment, foster-home or service rests with the host authority, unless owned, run or approved by the home authority;
  • Case responsibility for the child lies with the home authority;
  • Any emergency action should be taken by the host authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the home authority to take alternative action - e.g. if geographically close;
  • Where allegations arise in relation to the child's home circumstances, the home Police Public Protection Investigation Unit (PPIU) and Surrey Children’s Services will lead the Section 47 Enquiry, involving the host authority where the child is placed;
  • Where allegations arise in relation to the child’s circumstances within the host authority, - e.g. abuse in school or placement, the host Children’s Services will lead the enquiry liaising closely with the home authority (the home Police PPIU retain responsibility but may negotiate with their colleagues in the host area);
  • Where emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the host authority, responsibility for the child will usually revert to the home authority, following negotiations;
  • Negotiation about responsibility must not cause delay in urgent situations.

Procedure

There must be immediate contact between home and host authorities, initiated by the authority that receives the referral.

The home and host authority will agree initially:

  • Any need for urgent action;
  • Responsibility for any urgent action and enquiries in accordance with the above principles;
  • Responsibility and plans for a Strategy Meeting;
  • Responsibility for liaison with other agencies.

The following must be told, and sent written confirmation, of the referral:

  • The social worker for the child(ren) or the relevant manager where there is no allocated social worker;
  • The Safeguarding Managers for both home and host authorities;
  • (Where relevant) the placement officers of both authorities;
  • Other local authorities using the service or placement;
  • The appropriate Regulatory Authority;
  • The local authority where an alleged perpetrator lives and/or works.

If agreement cannot be reached within the working day, Children’s Services where the child is found has the responsibility to undertake the Section 47 Enquiry and take any protective action necessary.

Strategy Meetings

Strategy Meetings must be held within the time scales set for all Strategy Meetings (see Strategy Discussions and Section 47 Enquiries Procedure, Strategy Discussions and Meetings) and be convened, administered and chaired by the responsible Children’s Services as defined above.

Attendance at the Strategy Meeting must include:

  • A managerial representative of the service provider (unless suspected of involvement in the child protection concerns);
  • Home authority Children’s Services responsible for the child(ren);
  • Host authority Children’s Services;
  • Representatives of other agencies and authorities as decided by the responsible Children’s Services (in consultation with the other authority).

Information provided to the Strategy Meeting will depend on the source of the concern, but must include basic details of the child(ren) and family as well as relevant information about:

  • Family and (where applicable) placement history of the child;
  • Basic details about alleged abuser (where applicable) employment history for the staff member/ foster carer/ volunteer etc.;
  • Registration history for the establishment or service.

The minutes of the Strategy Meeting must include decisions, actions, responsibility for actions, time scales and process for review and closure.

Outcome

The outcome must be conveyed in writing by the social worker to:

  • All local authorities with children affected;
  • All local authorities using the same service or placement;
  • All agencies and organisations involved;
  • The child(ren) where appropriate;
  • Parents, carers and any others with Parental Responsibility;
  • The employee, foster carer, volunteer or other worker involved in the concerns;
  • The appropriate Regulatory Authority;
  • The DoH or Department for Education as appropriate.

Families Moving Whilst Section 47 Enquiries are being conducted

In the event that a family moves whilst a Section 47 Enquiry is being made - e.g. to a refuge in another authority, the originating authority should convene a Strategy Meeting within 72 hours which includes the receiving authority.

The originating authority retains responsibility until the completion of the Section 47 Enquiry unless an alternative is agreed. If a Child Protection Conference is required it should be convened in the receiving authority.

Prior to a closure of the case the originating authority should inform the receiving authority of any ongoing needs (education, health, etc.)

Role of Officers Responsible for Placements

Where allegations or concerns about a placement are the subject of Section 47 Enquiries, the officers responsible for placement in both the host and the home authorities (or the responsible Manager in the case of Independent Sector provision) must:

  • Consider the implications for other children and must pass relevant information to other placing social workers;
  • Consider whether it is necessary to halt new placements until the Section 47 Enquiry is concluded and the outcome evaluated;
  • Inform the Regulatory Authority of the placement;
  • Having considered the outcome of the Section 47 Enquiry, decide the implications for future placements and confirm in writing to the establishment or foster carer the outcome and implications for future use of the placement;
  • Follow up any other matters as appropriate in relation to the establishment or its management, staffing or registration.

5. Case Responsibility Following Move

Responsibility for the provision of Surrey Children's Services normally rests with the authority in which the child is living or found, regardless of whether the residence is regarded as temporary or permanent by either professionals or family.

Specific qualifications and exceptions apply when the child is:

  • Subject to a statutory order in the originating authority;
  • Accommodated by the originating authority;
  • Subject to a Child Protection Plan in the originating authority;
  • In receipt of services from the originating authority other than rent and subsistence.

Where housing and any subsistence costs are being provided by the originating authority as part of a Family Action Plan, these costs should continue to be borne by the originating authority until the housing needs are resolved. Other Surrey Children's Services are to be provided by the receiving authority in accordance with the following procedures.

6. Child Subject to Statutory Order in the Originating Authority

ase Responsibility

Children subject to a statutory order remain the responsibility of the originating authority until the order is discharged, or expires, unless transferred to the receiving authority.

The receiving authority may, (and this must be confirmed in writing by first line manager or above), agree to provide required services on behalf of the originating authority, but the legal responsibility remains with the originating authority.

Responsibility to Provide / Obtain Information

The social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child’s move (and in addition to informing relevant agencies within the originating authority) inform the receiving authority of the child’s placement and ensure that appropriate agencies in that authority are aware of her/his needs.

It is the responsibility of health and education authorities in the originating authority to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority. Where this has not arrived it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies to request the information in writing.

If this information has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies (once they become aware of the child’s arrival) to request the information.

7. Child Accommodated by the Originating Authority

Responsibility

An Accommodated child remains the responsibility of the originating authority until:

  • (S)he is discharged from accommodation; or
  • Agreement is reached, and confirmed in writing by its first line manager, that the receiving authority will accommodate the child(ren).

Responsibility to Provide/Obtain Information

The social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child’s move (and in addition to informing relevant agencies in the originating authority), inform the receiving authority of the child’s placement and ensure that relevant agencies in the receiving authority are aware of the child’s needs.

It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the originating authority, prior to the child’s move, to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority.

Where this has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies to request the information.

8. Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan in the Originating Authority

Responsibility

If housing provision is assessed as being required for a family with a child subject to a Child Protection Plan, all efforts should be made for the provision to be within the originating authority unless a move is part of the Child Protection Plan. This applies to both temporary and permanent housing provision.

The responsibility for a child subject to a Child Protection Plan remains with the originating authority until the receiving authority's Transfer Child Protection Conference.

The receiving authority must record that the child(ren) is subject to a Child Protection Plan under a ‘temporary’ category from the actual date of the move or when informed (if this is later). In Surrey, this is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Children Unit.

Where the originating authority is some distance away, the receiving authority must agree in writing between first line managers, to implement the Child Protection Plan, on behalf of the originating authority, from the date of the move.

The Transfer Child Protection Conference must be convened by the receiving authority within 15 working days of being notified in writing of a child subject to a Child Protection Plan elsewhere having moved into its area, when the originating authority confirms in writing that this is a permanent move.

Only when a decision has been made about the need for a Child Protection Plan by the receiving authority and management responsibility has been transferred, can the child's name be removed from the record of children subject to a Child Protection Plan in the originating authority.

Responsibility to Provide/Obtain Information

If a worker from any agency establishes that a child subject to a Child Protection Plan is planning to move, or has moved out of / into the area (s)he must inform the Lead Social Worker /Social Care Team immediately, and confirm this information in writing, whenever practicable on the same day.

The Lead Social Worker must inform all other professionals involved in the case and the Surrey Safeguarding Children Unit. If the move has occurred already the Key worker must complete this task immediately. If the move is to be within the next 14 days, the Key worker must complete this task within 1 working day.

Any requests to transfer case responsibility to Surrey through the Child Protection Conference process must be referred immediately to the Surrey Safeguarding Children Unit.

The Surrey Safeguarding Children Unit will inform the Head of Safeguarding or their equivalent of both originating and receiving authorities of the proposed move and will provide relevant information, including conference records, reports, Core Group minutes, plans and current assessments.

Where a child moves into Surrey, the Surrey Safeguarding Children Unit will obtain full identifying information, including names, dates of birth and previous addresses from the originating authority. The information required as above will also be obtained and copies provided to the relevant Team in Surrey Children’s Services.

It is the responsibility of each agency in the originating authority to try to ascertain that:

  • Its reciprocal agency in the receiving authority receives detailed information and is made aware of the need to fulfil its role in the protection plan;
  • The Lead Social Worker is informed of the name and details of staff in the receiving area and the details are provided to the Safeguarding Children Unit or equivalent;
  • The Lead Social Worker is notified of any factors affecting the Child Protection Plan and these are brought to the attention of the Team/first line manager and the Independent Chair, Safeguarding Children Unit.

The Lead Social Worker in the originating authority must:

  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being provided satisfies the requirements of the Child Protection Plan;
  • Discuss any difficulties with her/his line manager;
  • Initiate use of any of the local authorities statutory powers made necessary by the move;
  • Provide a report and attend the Transfer Child Protection Conference.

The Safeguarding Children Unit or equivalent will confirm the date, time and venue of the conference. The requirement for the Lead Social Worker in the originating authority to provide a full report 48 hours prior to the conference and to present the report, in order that the conference has all the relevant information required to make fully informed decisions, will be confirmed in writing. If these requirements are not met, Surrey, as the receiving authority, will not be able to accept transfer of case responsibility.

When case responsibility is to be transferred the Lead Social Worker must inform all agencies of the arrangements so that staff can transfer records and attend and provide information to the receiving authority's Transfer Child Protection Conference.

The receiving authority must ensure prior to the Transfer Child Protection Conference that it has received sufficient relevant information from the originating authority to clarify details of the case, responsibility for the child and plans.

Staff from agencies in the receiving authority must ensure prior to the Transfer Child Protection Conference, that where they have not already received it, they seek information from their counterparts in the originating authority.

Role of Transfer Child Protection Conference

The Transfer Child Protection Conference may recommend that although case responsibility is transferred to the receiving authority, joint work continues for a time limited period with staff from agencies in the originating authority.

Families should be made aware that information will be shared with the receiving authority.

When a planned transfer of responsibility for a case is being arranged a representative of the Surrey Children's Services of the originating authority will be invited to attend the Transfer Child Protection Conference by the receiving team (transfer into Surrey), along with any other significant contributors to the Child Protection Plan. The invitation letter from the Safeguarding Children Unit will then confirm that the arrangements for the conference.

Each of the receiving local agencies must ensure that the Transfer Child Protection Conference has all the relevant information required to make fully informed decisions and develop a proper Child Protection Plan, including information from the originating authorities agencies.

Exceptional Retention of Child Protection Responsibilities by the Originating Authority

Where the Child Protection Plan specifies a move out of an authority for a defined and time limited period, the originating authority should retain case responsibility, but may require the assistance of the receiving authority to carry out the Child Protection Plan.

Examples of these circumstances are where:

  • The child temporarily stays with friends or family in another authority;
  • A parent together with baby is provided with a time limited placement in a parent and baby unit in another authority;
  • A parent will be supported for a time limited period to live with a specified person - e.g. relative or friend in another authority.

Another exception, which may justify individual arrangements, is when a family constantly moves and no one authority is able to adequately monitor the welfare of the child.

Whenever any of the above circumstances apply, the Lead Social Worker must:

  • Agree with her/his team manager that the originating authority should, in the best interests of the child, retain case responsibility;
  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being/to be provided satisfies the requirements of the Child Protection Plan. Any difficulties will be negotiated by line managers;
  • Inform the Safeguarding Children Unit in Surrey, who will then inform the Head of Safeguarding or equivalent of both authorities and request that the child is recorded as being subject to a Child Protection Plan in the receiving authority.

The Safeguarding Children will provide the receiving authority with written information on the child and the Child Protection Plan.

Both first line managers must:

  • Confirm in writing their agreement to case responsibility being retained by the originating authority for a specified period;
  • Ensure that the arrangements made satisfy the requirements of the protection plan.

The Local Authority Child Protection Adviser or equivalent of the receiving authority must record that a child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan. If first line managers are unable to immediately agree case responsibility, they must refer to their respective Head of Safeguarding Unit, who should determine case responsibility.

9. A Child (not Subject to a Child Protection Plan or Looked After) in Receipt of Services from the Originating Authority

Attribution of Responsibility

Where a child and/or family in receipt of Children’s Services move to another authority, it is the responsibility of the originating authority to notify the receiving authority in writing of their circumstances.

In response to notification by the originating authority, Surrey Children’s Service will undertake an Assessment and will be responsible for making the decision on the eligibility for service provision based on an assessment of need. This assessment will be undertaken by the local Assessment team and will take place within 28 days.

On receipt of the referral, the Assessment team will write to the originating authority and confirm receipt of referral and that an assessment will be undertaken and the originating authority informed within 28 days of the decision of whether or not Surrey will accept case responsibility. The letter will also make explicit that case responsibility remains with the originating authority unless and until Surrey provides confirmation in writing that they have accepted case responsibility.

Once the assessment is completed (within 28 days), the Assessment team will confirm in writing to the originating authority that they have accepted case responsibility.

Exceptional Arrangements

The only exception to the above is where the originating authority provide a copy of a Child in Need Plan or Family Action Plan which includes an intention to continue to offer a service for a defined period e.g. subsistence payments, housing costs, completion of a Assessment.

In these circumstances, the receiving authority should undertake an assessment in the month prior to the date on which those services are due to cease.

Examples of circumstances suitable for this exception are where:

  • The originating authority are providing a time limited service which requires consistent professional input;
  • An Assessment is being completed;
  • A family constantly moves and no one authority is able to assess the needs of the child/children;
  • The originating authority is providing a specified package of support such as housing / subsistence for a defined period - e.g. family members are ‘over-stayers’ within the terms of Immigration legislation or subject to Benefit/housing restrictions under ‘habitual residence’ regulations, or housed by the originating authority having been deemed ‘intentionally homeless’.

Any Section 47 Enquiry which may arise in respect of the child / family is the responsibility of the authority as outlined in Section 11, Inter-Authority Arrangements for Section 47 Enquiries, Procedure

Once such Section 47 Enquiries have commenced, the originating authority ceases to have responsibility for the child / family other than in respect of funding of the Family Action Plan originally formulated.

The receiving authority will assume responsibility for the provision of the service and the originating authority will meet the costs in full, in accordance with the services and time-scale specified in the Child in Need Plan or Family Action Plan.

Responsibility to Provide/Obtain Information

Where children in need are receiving services, but are not looked after or subject to a Child Protection Plan, Children’s Services in the originating authority must (in addition to informing other relevant agencies in the originating authority) inform Children’s Services in the receiving authority in writing of the plan, with intended date of move and details of the child/children’s identified needs.

The receiving authority is responsible for ensuring it has full information from Children’s Services in the originating authority, including information from other agencies, where appropriate.

It is the responsibility of health and education authorities in the originating authority to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority. Where this has not arrived it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies to request the information in writing.

Where a housing authority have been involved in the move of the child/children and family, the originating housing authority must inform the originating and receiving Children’s Services, education and health of the move.

10. A Child (With or Without Carers) Arriving in Surrey from Outside the UK

The following procedures apply to all children moving into Surrey from outside the U.K., whether unaccompanied, with their family / relatives or with other adults (see also Trafficked and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure).

Responsibility for Recognition of Child in Need

All agencies that come into contact with the child must consider her/his welfare and whether or not they might be a Child in Need and justify a referral to Surrey Children’s Services (see Contacts and Referrals Procedure).

The agencies include:

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI);
  • Refugee council;
  • Housing services;
  • Health services;
  • Education services;
  • Children’s Services.

See Trafficked and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Procedure.

Assessment

Surrey Children’s Services receiving the referral must undertake an Assessment of any child who appears to be a Child in Need in accordance with the Children Act 1989.

They should notify local Health Services and the Education Welfare Services of such a child.

As part of the Assessment, social workers should ensure that they:

  • Use an interpreter if required;
  • See the child alone, where possible;
  • Obtain a full history of the child/children and carers including place of birth, date of birth, relationships, where the child has been living with addresses and any significant events;
  • Obtain records from other agencies in this country;
  • Consider the possibility of obtaining information and/or records from abroad, including the use of Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB), Red Cross), unless initial enquiries suggest that this may create or exacerbate danger for the child and her/his family;
  • Understand what significant events have occurred in the child’s life, the impact of these and any consequent therapeutic needs of the child.

Professionals from such agencies as health, social care services or the police should request this information from their equivalent agencies in the country/countries in which the child has lived. Information about who to contact can be obtained via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the appropriate Embassy or Consulate based in London.


This page is correct as printed on Saturday 18th of November 2017 01:04:54 AM please refer back to this website (http://surreyscb.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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