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5.9.3 Pathway Planning and Reviews


The chapter was reviewed in July 2017 and notes that Pathway Plans for after care leavers who are 18 + will be undertake annually. (See Section 4.1, Over 18 Reviewing of Pathway Plans).


  1. Definitions
  2. Preparation and Assessment
  3. Pathway Plan
  4. Review of Pathway Plan

1. Definitions

1. Eligible Young People

Eligible Young People are aged 16 or 17, have been Looked After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and they are still Looked After. (This total does not include a series of pre-planned short-term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the Parent or for a disabled child where care was for respite purposes only.) There is a duty to support these young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

The statutory definition and requirements to undertake a needs assessment, prepare a Pathway Plan, keep the Pathway Plan under review and appoint a Personal Adviser are now covered by Regulations 42, 43 and 44 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

2. Relevant Young People

Relevant Young People are aged 16 or 17 and they are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young Person when they were Looked After. However, if after leaving the Looked After service, a young person returns home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a parent or adult relative and the return home has been formally agreed as successful, he or she will no longer be a "Relevant Young Person". A young person is also "Relevant" if, having been looked after for three months or more, he or she is then detained on or after their 16th birthday either in a hospital, a remand centre, a young offenders' institution or a secure training centre. There is a duty to support relevant young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

The statutory definition and requirements to stay in touch with the young person, undertake a needs assessment (unless this was done when the young person was ‘Eligible’), prepare and keep the Pathway Plan under review, appoint a Personal Adviser (unless this was done when the young person was ‘Eligible’) and provide accommodation and assistance to meet his or her needs in relation to education, training or employment are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.

3. Former Relevant Young People

Former Relevant Young People are aged 18 to 21 (or up to 25 if attending an agreed course in further or higher education), and have left the Looked After service having been previously either "eligible", "relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people wherever they are living.

4. Qualifying Young People

Qualifying Young People are over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, (or up to 25 if in full-time further or higher education, see 3, above), and have been Looked After or, if disabled, Privately Fostered but do not qualify as Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant. They may receive support, advice and assistance wherever they are living.

The statutory duties to stay in touch with the young person, keep the Pathway Plan under review, continue the appointment of a Personal Adviser and provide financial assistance near where the young person is employed or is seeking employment or to enable the young person to pursue education or training remain unchanged. They are now covered by Regulations 4 to 9 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010. These duties continue until the young person becomes 21 or, where the Pathway Plan sets out a programme of education or training beyond 21, they continue so long as the young person pursues the programme. The duty to pay a higher education bursary also continues, as before. (See also 16-19 Bursary Fund).

The duties of Local Authorities are extended in relation to Former Relevant Young People who inform the Local Authority of their wish to take up a programme of full time further or higher education after the age of 21 and under the age of 25. In relation to these young people, the Local authority has a duty to:

  • Appoint a Personal Adviser;
  • Carry out an assessment of their needs to determine what assistance (if any) it would be appropriate to provide;
  • Prepare a Pathway Plan;
  • Give assistance to the extent that the young person’s educational or training needs require it. The kinds of assistance are: contributing to expenses incurred by the young person in living near the place where s/he is, or will be, receiving education or training; or making a grant to enable the young person to meet expenses connected with his education and training.

The duties of the Local Authority remain for as long as the young person pursues the programme of education or training in accordance with the Pathway Plan. The Local Authority may disregard any interruption in the education/training if it is satisfied that the young person will resume their training or education as soon as is reasonably practicable.

In each case where a care leaver requests this support, the Local Authority will need to assess the appropriateness of the course and how it will help the young person to achieve his or her ambitions. The extent of the practical and financial assistance provided will reflect the type of course, whether full- or part-time, and the young person’s existing income.

5. Personal Adviser

A Personal Adviser is the person appointed to work with every Looked After young person, from the young person's 16th birthday. They have a key role in providing support to the young person after he or she reaches 18. The Personal Adviser will be responsible for the planning and review of services as set out in the Pathway Plan (see Personal Advisers Procedure).

6. Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan sets out the route to the future for young people leaving the Looked After service and will state how their needs will be met on their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed until they are 21; or up to 25 if completing an agreed course of education or training that begun before they were 21.

2. Preparation and Assessment

All Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant Young People must have a Pathway Plan Assessment and Pathway Plan in place which outlines what advice, assistance and support they will need when leaving the Looked After service.

If the young person is a Disabled Child, the Personal Adviser (allocated by the Leaving Care Service) will work with the Children’s Disability Team to advise and record how the Pathway Plan Assessment will be linked to the existing needs assessments.

Where a young person has significant mental health problems, CAMHS will work with the Social Worker and Personal Adviser to inform the Pathway Plan Assessment and co-ordinate referral or transfer to adult services.

The Pathway Plan Assessment will follow the format set by up in the Leaving Care Service. The young person's Social Worker will be responsible for coordinating and recording this.

In preparation for the assessment, the Social Worker will arrange for the young person to be provided with information about services available for care leavers.

Assessments will take place between 15 3/4 and 16 1/4 yrs, with the completion date no earlier than the young person's 16th birthday and no later than 3 months after this date. Where young people become Looked After over the age of 16, the assessment will begin when they become Eligible and be completed within 3 months.

The young person will be invited to any meetings held in connection with the assessment.

However where there are complex needs, the Leaving Care Team Manager will request a professionals' meeting be held to co-ordinate roles and tasks. The young person will be advised of the meeting and a record of the meeting and any recommendations will be shared with the young person. The young person’s social worker or Personal Adviser will also explain the reasons for the meeting being held.

The Pathway Plan Assessment should take account of the views of the following:

  1. The young person;
  2. The Parents or other relevant family members e.g. a sibling or spouse;
  3. The current Carer, and their Supervising Social Worker;
  4. The school/college and the education service;
  5. The CareerConnect worker, mentor, youth service worker who supports the young person;
  6. The Independent Visitor;
  7. The Independent Reviewing Officer;
  8. Any person providing health (including mental health) care or treatment for the young person;
  9. The Personal Adviser;
  10. In the case of a young person with additional needs, the relevant Transitions Worker;
  11. Where the young person is a Parent, representative of any service supporting their child.

A decision not to include significant people must be recorded in the young person's file.

Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.

Where the young person refuses to engage in the assessment process, this should be recorded, together with any actions taken to ascertain the young person's views.

The Pathway Plan Assessment will inform the development of the Pathway Plan. The Pathway Plan replaces the Looked After Care Plan.

Where the young person continues to be Looked After, there must be a Placement Plan, which describes what arrangements have been made within the Home to support the Pathway Plan.

3. Pathway Plan

The young person's Social Worker or their Personal Adviser will be responsible for drafting and distributing the Pathway Plan.

The Pathway Plan must be prepared within six weeks of the Pathway Plan Assessment being completed, and this should be no later than 3 months after the young person becomes eligible i.e. by the time they are 16 years and 3 months old.

Each young person will be central to drawing up their own Plan setting the goals and identifying with the Personal Adviser how the local authority will help meet them.

Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.

The Pathway Plan for under 18's will be finalised at the next Looked After Review. For over 18's, the Pathway Plan will be finalised at a meeting set up and recorded by the Personal Adviser and attended also by the young person and any other agreed appropriate person where lead responsibilities will be agreed.

In the case of an Eligible or Relevant Young Person, the Social Worker will retain lead responsibility for progressing all areas of the Pathway Plan.

In the case of Former Relevant Young Person, the Personal Adviser will have lead responsibility.

Where a Former Relevant young person has an Adult Services Social Worker the Personal Adviser will ensure the Pathway Plan links with and complements the existing plan.

The Pathway Plan will include a date for the next Review.

The Pathway Plan must include:

  • The plan for the young person’s continuing education or training when he/she ceases to be looked after - where the young person is no longer of statutory school age, the Pathway Plan may need to incorporate the goals and actions that were previously included in the PEP;
  • How the Responsible Local Authority will assist the young person in obtaining employment or other purposeful activity or occupation, taking into account his/her aspirations, skills and educational potential;
  • The financial support to be provided to enable the young person to meet accommodation and maintenance costs; taking into account his/her financial capabilities and money-management capacity, along with strategies to develop skills in this area;
  • The nature and level of contact and personal support to be provided, and by whom, to the young person;
  • Details of the accommodation the young person is to occupy (including an assessment of its suitability in the light of the young person’s needs, and details of the considerations taken into account in assessing that suitability);
  • Details of the arrangements made by the Responsible Local Authority to meet the young person’s needs in relation to his or her identity, with particular regard to their religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.

The Personal Adviser will ensure that the young person has details of the plan in a format suited to their individual needs and understanding.

The Social Worker or Personal Adviser with lead responsibility must contact all relevant individuals or agencies so that they are aware of their role within the Plan and responsibility for implementing the plan effectively. These may include:

  1. Family members, significant friends or mentors;
  2. Foster Carers, Supervising Social Worker or residential workers;
  3. The education service, for example the named significant adult for education;
  4. The school, college or training establishment;
  5. CareerConnect;
  6. The Youth Offending Service or National Offenders Management Service (formerly Probation Service);
  7. Housing providers;
  8. Health organisations;
  9. Any service supporting a young person as a Parent or providing a service to their child;
  10. Voluntary organisations including activity or interest groups with whom the young person is involved.

Where the young person's primary need is for a specialist service e.g. mental health or disability, the plan should specify who has responsibility for referring to Adult Services and liaising with them to ensure a smooth transition.

On completion and approval of the Pathway Plan as above, all parties involved including the young person should sign the plan.

Those who have a role in implementing the plan should have a copy, at least, of the part which relates to their contribution.

4. Review of Pathway Plans

Reviews of the Pathway Plan should take place at no less than six monthly intervals.

For an Eligible Young Person, the date for the first review will be set to coincide with the young person's next Looked After Review after the Pathway Plan has been drawn up.

For a Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will, if possible, be set at the last Looked After Review before the young person ceases to be looked after and in any case within six months of becoming a relevant young person.

For a Former Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will take place within six months of the young person's 18th birthday.

Whilst the young person is Eligible the Independent Reviewing Officer will chair reviews or support the young person to chair. For Relevant young people the Leaving Care Service Team Manager will chair reviews, or support the young person to chair, after the young person ceases to be looked after; this will usually be the Social Worker's supervisor. For Former Relevant young people their Personal Adviser will chair review.

If a change of circumstance requires the Pathway Plan to be significantly amended if the young person request a review, the review can be brought forward.

The review will check whether the goals remain appropriate and are being met, and whether the levels of support are adequate and are being delivered.

Review participants should include the young person, their Personal Adviser or their Social Worker (where the young person remains Eligible or Relevant) and any other significant person.

The record of the Looked After Review will include the review of the Pathway Plan.

For former relevant young people the Personal Adviser will be responsible for recording the review.

In the event of a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person ending contact and/or not engaging with the agreed support and advice being offered, a review of the Pathway Plan may take place by telephone, e-mail or letter. This should always be agreed in advance by the Chair of the Review, the Social Worker and the Personal Adviser. In these circumstances the Personal Adviser will attempt to negotiate a revised plan that is acceptable to all parties.

Where contact is lost, the emphasis of the Pathway Plan Review will switch to recording how attempts will be made to re-establish contact and these efforts will be reviewed within the established system. The Team Manager should be made aware immediately if contact is lost A route back for the young person to seek support in the future should be kept open where possible, for example by sending birthday cards and appropriate festive greetings, and ensuring that the young person receives any circulated information about services or events in which they may have an interest.

4.1 Over 18 Reviewing of Pathway Plans

When a young person who has been Eligible for Care Leaving Services reaches 18 the (IRO) will continue to review the Pathway Plan. They will no longer close their involvement down on ICS. The IRO will need to arrange another date for a review. These plans will be reviewed yearly.

The plans will be reviewed but these will not require a formal meeting but will be a review of the plan. The exception being young people who are receiving financial support plan from the Local Authority e.g. Staying Put arrangements/children with disabilities. These young people will require a meeting with those concerned with their plan. These are to be held yearly. These meetings will need to ensure that the current arrangement is meeting the needs of the young person and, if required, a clear transition plan is in place.

These reviews will be arranged by the Personal Advisor in YPT. The QAU will NOT be responsible for sending invites or arranging reviews.

The Personal Advisor will be expected to complete a pre-meeting report for the meeting and within 15 days of the review, will be expected to update the Pathway Plan.

The IRO can call a meeting if they have concerns in relation to the Pathway Plan but this should be the exception rather than the rule.