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Local Policies and Procedures

Safeguarding Children

Procedures and Guidance

 

Reports to Conference

This report template is to be used by services preparing a report for an Initial Child Protection Conference.

 Report to Review Conference

This report template is to be used by services preparing a report for a Review Child Protection Conference.

 

Complaints in relation to Child Protection Conferences (parents)

Eligibility to use this Procedure

Parents, children (with sufficient understanding) and significant family members who have been invited to attend a Child Protection Conference may make a complaint under this procedure where they have concerns about one or more of the following aspects of the meeting:

  • The process of the conference, for example that the arrangements and conduct of the conference were not consistent with the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board’s Procedures (as set out in this Manual); or that significant information, which should have been made available, was not presented to the conference, and this affected the decision made;
  • The outcome – i.e. the decision whether the child should or should not be subject to a Child Protection Plan; and/or
  • The Category of Significant Harm on which a decision that the child should be subject to a Child Protection Plan was based.

Those wishing to make a complaint must be made aware that this complaints process cannot itself change a Child Protection Conference decision and that during the course of a complaints consideration, the decision made by the Conference stands.

Children who wish to complaint must be offered the services of an independent advocate and arrangements must be made for an advocate to be appointed where requested.

Complaints about individual agencies, their performance and provision (or non-provision) of services should be responded to in accordance with that agencies own complaints process and do not come within the terms of this procedure.

Where any member agency who has involvement with the child wishes to raise any issues in relation to the Child Protection Conference, whether or not they took part in the decision, they should do so under the procedure set out in the Managing Professional Disagreements Procedure.

Immediate Resolution

An expressed concern about the conference itself which arises in the course of the meeting must be noted and an attempt made by the Conference Chair to resolve it with the child or parent.

Every attempt must be made to resolve the issue and avoid the need for a complaint wherever possible.

If this initial attempt to resolve matters fails, the child or parent should be reminded of this complaints process by the Conference Chair, and be invited (and if necessary assisted by the social worker) to write within 14 days of the receipt of the Conference decisions and recommendations, to the Manager, Review/Child Protection.

To assist this process, where it is known that a person wishes to make a complaint, the Conference Chair will arrange for a copy of Form WSS626a ‘Complaints Against Child Protection Conferences’ to be sent with the Conference decisions and recommendations of the conference.

Time Limit for Complaints

Complaints must be submitted in writing within 14 days of the receipt of written confirmation of the Conference decisions and recommendations.

It may be but does not have to be submitted on Form WSS626a ‘Complaints Against Child Protection Conferences’.

The written complaint should be sent to the Manager, Review/Child Protection Unit.

It will be the decision of the Manager, Review and Child Protection and the Consumer Relations Officer (Children’s Social Care Services) whether the complaint process will take place if the form is received later than 14 days.

Visit to Complainant

Where a complaint is received and accepted, the Manager, Review and Child Protection will pass a copy of the complaint to the Consumer Relations 0fficer (Children’s Social Care Services) along with any other relevant information.

The Consumer Relations Officer will then visit the complainant to establish:

  • Does the reason for the complaint fall within the criteria for a complaint under this procedure? and/or
  • Should the person be advised to make a complaint to one of the agencies represented on the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board?

The Consumer Relations Officer will then advise the Manager, Review and Child Protection of the outcome of the visit and they will make a joint decision whether the complaint falls within the criteria under this procedure for a Complaint Panel hearing to take place.  If there is disagreement, the matter will be referred to the Chairperson of the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board.  A Complaint Panel hearing will take place where the complaint falls within this procedure and it has not been possible to resolve the issues raised to the satisfaction of the complainant.

If a person has initiated a complaint in respect of an agency, or it seems to the Consumer Relations Officer that such a complaint is appropriate, then a Complaint Panel will not be convened until that agency’s complaint process has been completed.

The Manager, Review and Child Protection will write to the complainant to inform him/her when a Complaint Panel will be convened and the date of this or the reasons it has been decided that a Complaint Panel will not be convened.

NB If the Manager, Review and Child Protection chaired the relevant Child Protection Conference, the relevant Head of Service will undertake the Manager’s functions under this procedure.

Complaint Panel

If it is decided to convene a Complaint Panel, the Consumer Relations Officer will contact or visit any other parent or carer, to ascertain their views, to inform them of the Complaint Panel hearing, and invite them to attend.

The child’s social worker/Keyworker will be informed that a Complaint Panel has been convened.

The Complaint Panel will consist of an Independent Chair and 2 members of the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board or their nominees, none of whom were present at the Child Protection Conference. The Manager, Review and Child Protection will make arrangements for the Complaint Panel to meet, will provide the conference minutes and any other relevant papers and will inform the complainant and will act as professional adviser to the Panel.

The Complaint Panel should be convened within 10 working days of the decision that a Complaint Panel hearing is warranted.

The Consumer Relations Officer will provide a report to the Complaint Panel and the complainant, clarifying the reasons for the complaint, and stating the outcome of any other complaint process.

The complainant, and the other parent, will be invited to attend the hearing and be present throughout the meeting. A friend, relative or someone to help them express their views can accompany the complainant. Solicitors may attend in this capacity, but will not be formally invited by the Chairperson of the Panel to attend the hearing.

The Chairperson of the Complaint Panel will determine who else will attend the hearing. It will be expected that the Conference Chair (of the relevant Child Protection Conference) will be present throughout the hearing to answer points made by the complainant in respect of the conduct of the Conference.

The Manager, Review and Child Protection will be present to advise the Chairperson on issues relating to the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board procedures.

Having heard the points of view and read the papers, the Complaint Panel members will then ask everyone else to withdraw whilst they reach a decision.

The Panel will decide on one of the following outcomes:

  • A new Child Protection Conference will be convened with a different Conference Chair;
  • The Child Protection Conference with the same Conference Chair will review the case earlier than planned;
  • There is no action to be taken, despite the complaint.

The Chairperson of the Complaint Panel will then invite the other persons to return and inform them of the decision also stating the reasons for their decision.

The Manager, Review, Performance and Child Protection will confirm this in writing to those who attended.

If the decision of the Complaint Panel is that a further conference is required, the Manager, Review and Child Protection will make arrangements with the child’s social worker/ Keyworker for the invitations to be sent. The conference should take place within 14 working days.

There is no further appeals process.

 

If you wish to make a complaint about a Child Protection Conference please use the following policies and procedures.

 

Core Group Guidelines

Click here for best practice guidelines.

 

The Walsall Exploitation Pathway Walsall Safeguarding Partnership Exploitation Pathway Flowchart FINAL and Guidance Pathway Guidance Ver 2.5 FINAL can be accessed using these links.

Walsall’s Exploitation Assessment Guidance Exploitation Assessment Guidance Ver 1.6 FINAL and assessment tool Exploitation Assessment Form Jan 2022 are included here.

To watch a webinar about the Walsall assessment tool and pathway click here

The national Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit can be accessed here.

To create a transparent/standardised process that sets out how professional disagreements should be dealt with between partner agencies, disagreements should be resolved quickly, at the earliest possible level, through person-centred discussion between agencies. This FaST Policy  outlines the process to be followed when professionals are unable to agree about what is in the best interests of the adult or child.

Further information can be found on the Professional pages for FaST

 

Disagreements at Child Protection Conferences

The procedure for decision making at Initial Child Protection Conferences is dealt with in Categories of Significant Harm of Initial Child Protection Conference Procedure.

If the Conference Chair is unable to achieve a consensus as to whether or not the child should be made subject to a Child Protection Plan, s/he will make a decision and note any dissenting views within the child protection conference minutes. The person(s) with the dissenting view(s) must ensure that the wording is a true reflection of the opinion given at the conference.

The agency or individual who dissents from the Conference Chairs decision must determine whether s/he wishes to further challenge the result.

If the dissenting professional believes that the decision reached by the Conference Chair places a child at (further) risk of Significant Harm, it is expected that s/he will formally raise the matter with the Manager, Review and Child Protection.

The Manager, Review and Child Protection will liaise with the Conference Chair and either:

  • Uphold the decision reached by the Conference Chair; or
  • Require that the conference be re-convened.

A record of the managers decision should be kept on the child’s file.

Safer Employment & the LADO (Allegations)

Allegations against people working with children

To discuss an allegation against a person working with children, please contact:

Belinda Crowshaw – Walsall’s Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

Office number: 01922 652322

Email for initial contact: lado@walsall.gov.uk (referral to be made below via the online referral form)

Email: Belinda.Crowshaw@walsall.gov.uk

The full procedure regarding allegations against people working with children can be viewed within the child protection procedures.

Making a referral

All statutory partner agencies are required to report all allegations to the LADO within one working day. Referrals should be submitted through the portal if the threshold for LADO procedures has been met. Please see the guidance on how to make a referral.

If you are unsure about referring to the LADO please speak to your Designated Safeguarding Lead or manager in the first instance and read Walsall LADO Info all agencies to ensure threshold is met.

If you still require some guidance you can contact the LADO once you have submitted the online referral, we first need the referral to be submitted via the online form in order for any advice from the LADO to be recorded.

Allegations against staff / LADO

If you have concerns regarding someone who works with a child including foster carers and volunteers these should be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). This applies to all paid, unpaid, volunteers, casual, agency employees or anyone working in a self-employed capacity.  These individuals are considered working/volunteering in positions of trust.

What must be reported?

As outlined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ the LADO must be informed of all allegations against adults who work with children.

The LADO is located within Children and Families Services and should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against children, or related to a child
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates that they may not be suitable to work with children

What will happen next?

The LADO will record all concerns, including allegations or offences emanating from outside of work. They will provide advice and guidance and help determine that the allegation sits within the scope of the procedures.

The LADO is involved in the initial phase of the allegation through to the conclusion of the case and will provide advice and guidance to Senior Managers on the progress of cases to ensure they are resolved as quickly as possible. In addition, the LADO will help co-ordinate information sharing with the right people. They will also monitor and track any investigation with the expectation that it is resolved as quickly as possible.

When making a referral to Walsall Children’s Services, please use the form below.

This form should always be completed by all agencies when making a referral. This is to allow the sharing of information with other agencies and secure the appropriate response.

All urgent child protection referrals should in the first instance be made by telephone to the MASH –0300 555 2866Out of Hours 0300 555 2922. In an emergency call the Police on 999

Click here for the MARF

Safeguarding unborn children: pre-birth assessment protocol

Introduction

This guidance has been developed to support all practitioners using the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board Procedures in relation to safeguarding unborn babies and, in particular, managing risks following birth.

 Pre-birth Tools & Pathway

The Multi-Agency Guidance on the Continuum of Need is our multi-agency guidance for delivering effective support for children, young people and their families

Black Country Notification of a Child Death:

Walsall are now using an electronic managements system called ‘eCDOP’

To submit a notification of a death go directly to the following link:

https://www.ecdop.co.uk/BlackCountry/Live/Public

Input the details and press the green submit button. This system is completely secure and the submission will go directly to the CDOP Co-ordinator to generate a ‘case’.

This link is for all notifications of death for children in the Black Country (Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley).

The Step Up Step Down Protocol – Working Together Converstaions & Joint Practice Guidance.

The Flowcharts have been designed to support the Partnership’s Step Up / Step Down Procedure.

Agencies should use the Rapid Review Referral Form to contact the Safeguarding Partnership about any serious incidents that they think should be considered for a CSPR.

For further information please refer to the following documents:

The Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) defines the arrangements for processing data between members of the Safeguarding Partnership, to facilitate and govern the efficient, effective and secure sharing of good quality Information for the purposes of complying with our safeguarding obligations and duties for the provision of Safeguarding within Walsall. It also defines the arrangements for safeguarding partners to share information with the Safeguarding Partnership or Business Unit.

For further information read the new guidance published by the Information Commissioner: 10 step guide to sharing information to safeguard children.

West Midlands MARAC Operating Protocol 2019

Operating protocol for Walsall Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) for high risk victims of domestic abuse.

Referral Form for MARAC West Midlands MARAC Referral Form

This Supervision Principles outlines the core principles of effective supervision to which the Walsall Safeguarding Partnership require all relevant and statutory agencies to implement.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and partners have launched a new strategy on tackling sexual abuse in the region.

Strategy document.