Chairing Conferences

The Chair of the conference has an important role in ensuring that all relevant information is available to the conference and that decisions are made about how the case should proceed. They also need to ensure that all participants have the chance to make their views known through constructive participation whilst keeping the welfare of the child paramount.

The chair of the conference is a manager within Social Care and is  accountable to the Director of Children's Services.  The role of the chair includes meeting the family before the conference to ensure that they understand what will happen during the conference.  During the conference they must ensure that the parents and children (if present) fully understand what is being said and have an opportunity to comment on each agency's input into the conference.

Decision of the conference

In order to aid the decision making process the Chair should ensure that information is summarised so that the key issues are identified. The views of each agency present must be sought, however the decision about whether the child should be subject to a child protection plan is that of the Chair and they are not bound by the views of others.

Where the decision of the conference is that a child requires a child protection plan, the Chair must ensure that a key worker is appointed from Social Care and that a core group of professionals and the family identified with the first meeting date arranged so that it is held within 10 working days of the conference.

Outline Plan

Before the conference comes to a close, should the decision be that a child protection plan is required then the Chair is responsible for drawing up the outline plan.  This will usually take its lead from the draft plan that is in the social worker's report to the conference.  The Chair should ensure that the parents and children (if present) understand the outline plan.

If the decision is made not to make a child protection plan then the Chair should ensure that a child in need plan is drawn up, or that recommendations are made as to what should be in the plan.

Location of conference Chairs and their support team

The Chair for Child Protection meetings is based at Perruque House, Rue de la Perruque, Castel GY5  7NT, telephone number: 256923.  

 

Actions

No.

Action

Person responsible

Timescale

Prior to conference

1.

Offer to meet with the child if they choose not to attend but are eligible to attend.

Chair

Prior to the day of the conference

2.

Should there be concerns about the need to exclude a member of the family this decision should be made (seeking legal advice if necessary).

Chair

Where enough notice has been given to the Chair, this decision to be made at least 2 working days prior to the conference

3.

Where the decision is to exclude a parent a letter is to be sent explaining the decision, informing the parent of their rights under the complaints process and how to make their views known

Chair

Where enough notice has been given, this letter to be sent at least 2 working days prior to the conference

4.

If there is an apparent conflict of interest between children and parents, planning of conference to be looked at to ensure needs of the child remain paramount

Social worker and Chair of conference

Where enough notice has been given to the Chair, this decision to be made at least 2 working days prior to the conference

5.

If a decision has been made previously to exclude a parent then this should be reviewed prior to all subsequent conferences for as long as the parent is excluded, with the above processes being completed if the decision is made for continued exclusion.

Social worker and Chair of conference

At least 10 working days prior to each subsequent conference

On the day of the conference

1.

Meet with parents / child before conference to ensure that they understand the process and function of a conference.

Chair

Before the conference starts

2.

Ensure that the conference is quorate.  If not a decision must be made about whether to proceed or reschedule.

Chair

At start of conference

3.

Formalise a decision about whether a child protection plan is required and in what category of harm.

Chair

Following discussion about risks and protective factors.

4.

If a parent has been excluded the Chair should decide whether the parent receives a copy of the record of the conference.

Chair of conference

Immediately following the conference

If child protection plans are made or continue

1.

Formulate outline plan

Chair and conference members

At end of conference

2.

Identify a key worker within Social Care

Chair and social worker

At end of conference

3.

Identify membership of core group

Chair and conference members

At end of conference

4.

Ensure that date is set for first core group to meet (within ten working days of the conference)

Chair and core group members

At end of conference

5.

Book date of next review conference (timescale dependent on where in process and whether pre-birth)

Chair

At end of conference

6.

Copy of outline plan signed by the chair to be sent out to all who attended and were invited. To include information about decisions, recommendations, name of key worker and information about how to complain

Chair / Business support

Within 1 working day of conference

7.

Conference report, signed by the Chair to be sent to all those who attended.

Chair / Business support

Within 15 working days of conference

If child protection plans are not made or come to an end

1.

Ensure that there is a discussion around follow-up support and that a child in need plan is formed or recommendations made as to what should be in such a plan.

Chair

At end of conference

2.

Copy of agreed plan signed by the chair to be sent out to all who attended and were invited. To include information about decisions, recommendations, name of key worker and information about how to complain

Chair / Business support

Within 1 working day of conference

3.

Conference report, signed by the Chair to be sent to all those who attended.

Chair / Business support

Within 15 working days of conference