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1.2.10 Complex Case Discussion Terms of Reference

This chapter seeks to deal with a multi-agency/professional process which is designed to promote fresh thinking and an approach in those cases that perhaps challenge traditional and ‘typical’ processes and practice in terms of intervention and resolution strategies. Note the relevant Appendices.

This chapter was added to the manual in June 2019.


Contents

  1. Purpose of Complex Case Discussion
  2. Chairing of a Complex Case Discussion
  3. Professionals attending a Complex Case Discussion
  4. Recording of a Complex Case Discussion
  5. Complex Case Discussion Model

    Appendix 1: Complex Case Discussion Form

    Appendix 2: Knowsley Decision Making Model


1. Purpose of Complex Case Discussion

During the assessment process, or at any time a child is open to Children’s Social Care, a Team manager, Social worker or any Professional can request a Complex Case Discussion.

The complex case discussion is not a vehicle to escalate a case or a decision as in this scenario there is the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board procedure (see Multi-Agency Escalation Policy Procedure) that should be followed. A case can be identified at the practitioner’s request because they may feel ‘stuck’, or, their manager can suggest a case is put forward for a complex case discussion to help generate new ideas.

It contributes to building a collective, structured, consistent approach and culture for processing and thinking through case work, encouraging shared responsibility for risk.

It encourages curiosity and creativeness, finding ways to work with families that maintain the focus on child safety and wellbeing. Group members benefit from hearing other people’s perspectives and can learn from other people’s approaches.


2. Chairing of a Complex Case Discussion

All complex case discussions should be chaired by a Children’s Social Care Head of Service.


3. Professionals attending a Complex Case Discussion

Professionals attending complex case discussions should come prepared to the complex case discussion, also professionals in attendance should be those at the appropriate level, who can or have the authority to make a decision i.e.

  • Children’s Social Care, a Team Manager;
  • Police, an Inspector;
  • Health, a Safeguarding Nurse.


4. Recording of a Complex Case Discussion

A complex case discussion should be recorded on a child’s Children’s Social Care electronic record (ICS) using the complex case discussion form (see Appendix 1: Complex Case Discussion Form) and all participants involved in the discussion should receive a copy of the discussion.


5. Complex Case Discussion Model

The Knowsley Decision Making Model (see Appendix 2: Knowsley Decision Making Model) should be followed when a complex case discussion in convened. The Model has been adopted to assist professionals in the decision making process.


Appendix 1: Complex Case Discussion Form

Click here to view Appendix 1: Complex Case Discussion Form


Appendix 2: Knowsley Decision Making Model

Click here to view the Knowsley Decision Making Model

The model can be used to assist any professional make a decision when intervening in a child’s life; it is not exclusively for use by social workers in the decision making process.

Code of Ethics

Throughout a situation, decision makers should ask themselves:

  • Is what I am considering consistent with the social work Code of Ethics and the Council vision for children?
  • What would the child, family or community affected expect of me in this situation?
  • What is my statutory duty? i.e. Working Together to Safeguard Children;
  • Would my decision stand up to scrutiny?

Information - Gathering information

During this stage the decision maker defines the situation i.e.) defines what is happening or has happened historically and to date.

Decision makers should ask themselves:

  • What is happening?
  • What do I know so far?
  • What do I need to know?
  • What further information do I want / need at this moment?

Assessment - Assess risk and develop a working strategy

This stage involves assessing the situation, the risk of harm and the protective factors. Amongst other things decision makers should consider the voice of the child and the views of the parents and carers.

To develop a working strategy the decision maker needs to ask:

  • Do I need to take action immediately?
  • Do I need to seek additional information?
  • Is the risk of harm significant?
  • What are the protective factors?
  • Is that level of risk acceptable and manageable?

Powers and Policy

This stage involves considering the powers, policies and legislation that could apply in this particular situation.

Working Together, CSE Supplementary Guidance, Children Act 1989, Children Act 2004, CSE Protocol, Child Protection Procedures.

Decision makers should ask themselves:

  • What legal powers might be required or should legal advice be taken first?
  • Is there any national guidance covering this type of situation?
  • Do any local organisational policies or protocols apply?
  • What legislation might apply?
  • Is there any research evidence?

Options – Identifying options

This stage involves considering the different ways to make a particular decision that safeguards the child/ren.

Decision makers should consider the options that are available based upon their knowledge, experience and skills. The decision is proportionate, legitimate, necessary and ethical and is reasonable given the present circumstances.

Develop the Plan and Contingency Planning

This stage has 2 distinctive steps:

  1. The decision maker will record the plan and the rationale identifying who is responsible for completion and associated timescales;
  2. Record a contingency plan.

The plan needs to be SMART and reviewed in line with policy and procedures.

End