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2.4 Notification and Transferring Information


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Key Actions for all Agencies and Organisations

    Appendix 1: Children’s Social Care Responsibilities in Relation to Children/Young People who move between Local Authority Areas

    Amendments to this Chapter


1. Introduction

All agencies agree that the effective and timely sharing of information is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. This applies not only to those who are subject to a child protection plan or are looked after but also to those for whom welfare concerns or needs have been identified.

Each agency or organisation will have its own records and transfer protocols and procedures. Practitioners should refer to their own agency or organisation guidance where this is not attached as an appendix to this procedure.

This procedure sets out the principles and expectations for the efficient and effective notification and transfer of information between agencies and across authorities in order to safeguard children and all agencies should ensure that their own agency guidance incorporates these expectations and principles.


2. Key Actions for all Agencies and Organisations

On receiving information that a child or their family, who is currently known, is moving or has moved, that practitioner is responsible for informing other involved agencies within a timescale commensurate with the level of concern for the child, but at least within 5 working days. See also Children and Families Moving Across Local Authority Boundaries Procedure.

Where a practitioner has reason to suspect that a child and their family have moved and their whereabouts is either not known or concealed, they have a duty to follow up with other involved agencies as soon as possible, to see if their whereabouts can be verified or agree action commensurate with the level of perceived need or concern.

Other Inter-Agency Safeguarding protocols regarding children who are Missing or Missing Education (in each LA) should be followed.

Practitioners working with children and young people will be aware of the risks of child trafficking (see Trafficked Children Procedure) and forced marriage which may lead to a child or young person’s whereabouts being concealed.

Where immediate notification of a child / family’s move is made verbally to another agency this must be confirmed in writing within 2 working days.

There should be a discussion, at the appropriate level of management, with the receiving area agency regarding continuing or relinquishing responsibility for the child / family. Where agreement cannot be reached the matter should be referred to a senior manager for resolution.

Comprehensive information (written documents e.g. assessments, plans) should be sent to the receiving authority as appropriate to the case in accordance with own agency guidelines on information sharing and transferring records. Information should be sent within timescales commensurate with the level of concern for the child in accordance with own agency guidelines and at least within 10 working days of informing the receiving agency.

There is a presumption that the service user’s (child and family) consent to sharing information will be sought unless the risks justify sharing without consent.


Appendix 1: Children’s Social Care Responsibilities in Relation to Children/Young People who move between Local Authority Areas

Introduction

To facilitate a process whereby children/young people who move between local authority areas can be safeguarded the following guidance should be followed.

Children/young people for whom welfare needs have been identified but no Child Protection concerns

Whenever a child/young person, for whom on-going needs are identified following an assessment, moves to another authority area, it is the responsibility of the originating authority to:

  • Seek and obtain the consent of the parent/carer, and the young person, where appropriate to share information for the purpose of making a referral to the receiving authority and having achieved this:
    • Confirm in writing any referral to the receiving authority, within 10 working days, including a copy of the (most recent) assessment, chronology and any plan as appropriate; and
    • Seek and obtain written confirmation of receipt of the referral information from the receiving authority.

Children/young people about whom there are welfare concerns who move to a different local authority

The originating local authority has a responsibility to ensure that the move to another local authority is appropriately assessed in relation to future risk, e.g.

  • Assessment of the permanence of the move to another Local Authority;
  • Young person moving to a private fostering arrangement which might break down and lead to the child returning or needing to become looked after;
  • Family arrangements that should fall under fostering regulations of a child placed to avoid them becoming looked after;
  • Child / family moving into a situation of risk e.g. moving in with a family known to have CP risks.

This risk assessment should inform a decision about whether the case responsibility should remain with the originating local authority. The principle of the child’s welfare being paramount will sometimes mean that authorities will need to continue work across boundaries for a period.

In all cases the originating local authority should:

  • Notify the receiving Local Authority of the move and whether the originating authority is requesting a transfer of case responsibility;
  • Confirm the referral in writing to the receiving authority as soon as possible and at least within 10 working days of notifying the receiving authority of the move;
  • Enclose copies of all relevant information and documents including; the assessment, the chronology, any plan for the child and any other relevant documentation.

Children/young people about whom there are welfare concerns  who are ordinarily resident in a different authority

It is important to note that Section 47 (12) of the Children Act 1989 stipulates that “where a local authority is making enquiries under this section (S47 (1)(b)) with respect to a child who appears to them to be ordinarily resident within the area of another authority they shall consult that other authority who may undertake the necessary enquiries in their place”.

Whenever there are concerns about the welfare of a child/young person, at any stage, i.e.

  • Following receipt of a referral; and/or
  • During subsequent enquiries; and/or
  • Whilst services are being offered to the child/young person/family; and

    That child / young person / family moves from one authority area to another, it is the responsibility of the authority where the child / young person is physically present, regardless of where s/he actually lives, to:
  • Initiate a strategy discussion to decide whether there is evidence to support commencing Section 47 enquiries or to apply for an emergency protection order;
  • Continue with enquiries and/or an assessment;
  • Provide services as appropriate;

    unless

    Appropriate alternative arrangements have been made with Children’s Social Care in the authority area where the child originates.

In these circumstances, who takes lead responsibility will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Where the child is going to continue to be living in the near future;
  • Practical issues such as distance between authority areas; and
  • Whether the allegations relate to a person living or working in the same area as the child is living.

Following completion of any necessary enquiries/assessments by an authority where a child / young person is physically present, a transfer of statutory responsibility to the child’s originating authority, where this is appropriate, should be negotiated at the time the child returns and agreement reached between the authorities as to how the case will be managed before lead responsibility is relinquished.

Such action should be endorsed by a team manager and confirmed in writing with the authority where the child is ordinarily resident and written confirmation of receipt obtained.

Children/young people about whom there are welfare concerns  where the receiving authority cannot be identified / is unknown

In a small number of cases, children / young people and their families about whom there are concerns, move between local authority areas, and few or no details of their intended location / future address are known to the agencies. This is particularly likely to occur with travelling families.

In these circumstances a strategy discussion/meeting should be held in the originating authority, which in addition to the tasks and purpose of strategy discussions should:

  • Collate information about the current and potential concerns for the child/young person;
  • Determine the degree of concern / potential future risk to the child/young person and as a result;
  • Agree a plan of action setting out:
    • What attempts should be made to establish the location of the child/young person and their family via the tracking of transferred school / health records;
    • To whom the information about the fact the child / young person / family are missing is circulated;
    • Whether a plan to actively trace the child/young person / family should be put in place with the police.
If a child / young person / family is located the notifications above, will be made.

Movement of Child / Young Person subject of a Child Protection Plan between authority areas where the move is considered to be permanent

The prevailing principle is when a child / young person subject of a Child Protection Plan moves into the area of a different authority, on being informed:

  • The receiving authority has the immediate duty to make enquiries, followed by any necessary action, to satisfy itself that the child is adequately safeguarded in their new situation;
  • Add the child/ren’s names as temporary CP plans;
  • To hold a child protection conference within 15 working days.

Child / young person subject of a Child Protection Plan moving into Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole

Whenever Bournemouth, Poole or Dorset Children’s Social Care receive information that a child subject of a Child Protection Plan of another authority area has moved into their area, they should:

  • Ensure there is an exchange of information, including written information, with the Children’s Services in the child's originating authority area;
  • Enter the child / family details on the RAISE system;
  • Undertake a Local Authority agreed assessment of the situation (which may be an IA);
  • Assist with any enquiries about protecting the child which need to be made;
  • Make any enquiries as necessary to satisfy themselves that the child is adequately safeguarded in his/her new situation;
  • Make contact with the child/parent as applicable, which may include a visit.
  • Assist with any requirement to protect the child;
  • Notify the Child Protection Administrator so that the child's details can be added to the Child Protection Plan list as a temporary plan;
  • Confirm in writing with the social worker / team manager in the originating authority area, agreed actions and clarify key worker responsibilities and monitoring arrangements between authorities;
  • Ensure all necessary arrangements are made for relevant agencies to be informed of the move;
  • Convene and prepare for a transfer-in child protection conference within 15 working days of being notified of the move by:
    • Seeking the attendance of the originating authority at the transfer-in child protection conference;
    • Obtaining a report for the conference from the originating authority;
    • Where the latter is not available prepare a report for the conference setting out the previous concerns and new information;
    • Prepare a report in respect of any new information received following the move to the receiving authority.
  • Following the transfer-in child protection conference implement the recommendations as set out in the child protection plan/action plan agreed at the conference.

Children/young people subject of a Child Protection Plan moving to another local authority area from Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole

When a child, subject of a Child Protection Plan in Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole, moves to another authority area the key worker should:

  • Make contact with Children’s Services in the area where the child has moved and ensure that all information in relation to the child and their family is exchanged, including written material (this should include as a minimum a copy of the assessment, a copy of the most recent child protection conference minutes and the child protection plan and any other relevant documentation);
  • Clarify with the social worker / team manager in the receiving authority any action which needs to be taken to protect the child, including who is responsible for the action;
  • Confirm in writing responsibility for any protective action and expectations regarding the management of the case pending the transfer-in child protection conference;
  • Obtain written confirmation of the receiving authority’s acceptance of responsibility for the management of the case;
  • Notify other practitioners and agencies in Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole who have contact with the child, in order for them to ensure that they notify their colleagues in the receiving area of the child's move;
  • Notify the Child Protection Administrator of the move in order for a request to be made to the receiving authority for the child's name to be included on that authority's child protection register (In Dorset an LSCB 5 should be receipt e-mailed or faxed to the Safeguarding Unit as soon as possible and normally within one working day, and a hard copy sent by post);
  • Assist as appropriate in the preparation for a transfer-in child protection conference in the receiving area, including the provision of written reports as appropriate;
  • Attend the transfer-in child protection conference as appropriate;
  • Contribute to the decision making process in the receiving authority and in the originating authority in relation to continued registration/de-registration.

A child’s child protection plan may be discontinued in line with the guidance and procedures set out in Child Protection Conferences Procedure and Child Protection Plans and Core Groups Procedure.

Movement of children/young people subject of a Child Protection Plan between local authority areas where the move is considered to be temporary

There are occasions when a child/young person subject of a Child Protection Plan moves temporarily into another local authority area, and it is anticipated at the outset that the duration of their stay in the receiving authority area will be short term i.e. move to bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday, Looked After Child placement, placement in a refuge.

In these circumstances it is the duty of the originating authority to:

  • Inform the receiving authority of the move;
  • Make any necessary enquiries to ascertain whether the child/young person in the new location is safeguarded;
  • Advise the receiving authority of the outcome of those enquiries; and
  • Advise what action/response if any is required by the receiving authority.

The receiving authority has a legal duty to undertake enquiries and any action required to protect the child / young person, satisfying themselves that the child is adequately safeguarded.

It is the responsibility of the receiving authority to record on their system that the child is subject of a child protection plan for the duration of the child’s stay.

In circumstances where there is a perceived risk to the child / young person in the receiving authority area, the receiving authority should follow the procedures set out above.

The decision in respect of which authority will have responsibility for the management of the case and whether to hold a transfer-in conference will be the subject of negotiation between the originating and receiving authorities based on good practice.  Such discussions will need to take into account:

  • The particular circumstances of the child/young person/family;
  • The plan;
  • The anticipated duration of their stay in the receiving authority area; and
  • The practicalities of on-going involvement by the originating authority.
Where it is deemed unnecessary to hold a transfer-in child protection conference because there is no perceived risk to the child / young person in the new area, the decision should be taken in accordance with each authority’s agreed decision making procedures (see above for Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset).

In All Cases where child / young person is subject of a CP Plan

A child may remain subject of a child protection plan in more than one authority area where there is a perceived risk in each of these areas.

A move out of an authority area does not discontinue the child protection plan for that child. The child will remain the subject of a child protection plan in the originating authority area at least until the transfer-in child protection conference in the area to which the child has moved has been held.

In circumstances where a child(ren) subject of a Child Protection Plan moves to another authority area within practical travelling distance of the child's originating authority the requirement set out above in relation to the receiving authority satisfying itself that the child is safeguarded remains. 

A child protection conference in the receiving authority may not be recommended if the originating authority has accepted responsibility for the management of the case and has joined all relevant agencies in the receiving area into the protection plan and child protection conferences.

The responsible team managers in each authority must confirm expectations and agreements about the monitoring, management and reviewing of cases in writing. This would also apply in cases where the stay in another authority area is expected to be of limited duration.

Where it is felt that a transfer-in conference is inappropriate the relevant manager for the receiving social work team, in consultation with their counterpart in the originating authority, must record this decision on the case file.

Managing disagreements between Local Authorities

Where agreement cannot be reached between team managers of two authority areas as to:

  • Whether a child is safeguarded in their new/changed situation;
  • The responsible authority (e.g. the permanence of the move);
  • The adequacy of the arrangements to safeguard the child;
  • The need to convene a child protection conference.

The concerns must be passed to a senior manager for resolution with senior managers in the other authority.

When the move is because a family have taken up residence in a refuge the permanence of the move is harder to establish. If the adult has no tenancy in any other area then the move should be considered permanent. If the adult has registered and been accepted for housing in that Local Authority then the move should be considered permanent. If the distance between the originating authority and the receiving authority make visiting and social work impractical then the receiving authority should accept the case as their own. The principle of the child’s welfare being paramount will sometimes mean that authorities will need to continue work across boundaries for a period.

Where disagreement arises because one LA considers that another has not acted appropriately prior to the child / young person’s move then the escalation process should be used to facilitate an agreement as quickly as possible.

Child / young person who is both Looked After and subject of a Child Protection Plan

In circumstances where a child is both looked after and subject of a Child Protection Plan, the originating authority retains responsibility for the looked after status. However, the receiving authority should determine whether there may be child protection issues in the receiving authority and where this is the case a transfer-in child protection conference should be convened.

Children/young people who have lived overseas

Social workers should seek information from relevant services if the child and family have spent time abroad. Practitioners from such agencies as Health, Children’s Social Care or the Police should request this information from their equivalent agencies in the country(ies) in which the child has lived.  Information about who to contact can be obtained via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 020 7008 1500 or the appropriate Embassy or Consulate based in London (you can obtain contact information about all the Embassies in London - the London Diplomatic List, ISBN 0 11 591772 1 - from the Stationery Office on 0870 600 5522 or from the FCO Website).

Transfer of cases where a Supervision Order is in place

Where a child is moving to another Local Authority and is subject to a Supervision Order there will need to be communication with the receiving Local Authority about the transfer and a transfer of the responsibility for the Supervision Order will need to be negotiated through Court.

Notification of children looked after placed in another Local Authority

When a child in care is placed with carers outside of the Local Authority it is the responsibility of the allocated social worker to notify the other Local Authority giving details of:

  • The child’s name;
  • DoB;
  • Address where they are living;
  • The contact details of the carers with whom the child will be living;
  • The date the placement will commence;
  • The date the placement is anticipated to end (if known);
  • The responsible local authority;
  • The allocated social worker and team manager with their contact details.

If there are any particular risk factors such as a risk of absconding etc the allocated social worker should make the other Local Authority aware.

When the placement ends, the same details should be forwarded again, confirming the end date of the placement.

Maintaining a list of children looked after placed by other Local Authorities

Local Authorities have a responsibility to maintain a list of children in care placed in their authority who are not their responsibility.

This list should be updated with each new notification and reviewed annually with contact made to confirm arrangements continue for each child who remains on the list.

Glossary

Originating authority - the authority area where the child is ordinarily resident.

Receiving authority - the authority area to which the child is moving.


Amendments to this chapter

This chapter was reviewed and updated in August 2016. There has been a small number of clarifying amendments which have, however, not changed the content of the chapter.

End.