Cancellation of Conferences and CLA Reviews


This chapter was reviewed and amended in June 2023. It acknowledges that there should be agreement with the Service Manager - Safeguarding Quality Assurance.

1. Introduction

Child Protection Case Conferences (both initial and review) and Child Looked After Case Reviews are a vital part of the arrangements for the protection and support of children and for the review of the plans that have been drawn up to promote their welfare.

The plan that relates to the child must be reviewed regularly and independently to ensure that the agencies involved in the child's life continue to meet the child's identified needs. The process also ensures that any drift or delay in the progress of the case is minimised and any safeguarding concerns are shared.

It is critical that social workers prioritise these statutory meetings, as they provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of plans and they are a forum for information sharing. The IRO or the Conference chair has the authority to postpone the meeting if the required documentation is not available and has not been shared with the child or young person and their family where appropriate and agreed with the Service Manager - Safeguarding Quality Assurance.

(See Section 2, Cancellations and Adjournments).

The child's social worker with the support of their Team Manager is responsible for ensuring that the meetings are provided with the proper representation (see Section 3, Arrangements to be made in the Absence of the Social Worker or Meeting Chair) and that the meeting has the required reports.

The social work reports for both Child Protection Conferences and Children Looked After Case Reviews must be available 3 days (72 hours) before the meeting.

2. Cancellations and Adjournments

Child Protection Conferences and Child Looked after Case Reviews may not be cancelled or adjourned unless there are genuinely exceptional circumstances. The Team Manager responsible for the child's case must discuss the reasons for requesting an adjournment with the Conference Chair or the IRO. The request should outline the circumstances and the measures that have been taken to support the meeting taking place. The request should then be discussed with the Service Manager – Safeguarding Quality Assurance who makes the final decision. There may also be instances where the Conference Chair or IRO requests an adjournment, this request must be made to the Service Manager – Safeguarding Quality Assurance. In all cases, the reasons and decisions must be made in writing and recorded on the child's file.

An alternative date must be set immediately with every effort being made to hold the meeting within the statutory timescales.

3. Arrangements to be made in the Absence of the Social Worker or Meeting Chair

The Team Manager who is responsible for the child's case should attend the meeting in the absence of the social worker. If the Team Manager is satisfied that another person is sufficiently familiar with the case, they can be nominated as a deputy. However, they must be prepared to share detailed information and to contribute to the decision making.

If the Conference Chair or IRO is unable to attend the meeting, the Service Manager – Safeguarding Quality Assurance must make every effort to allocate an alternative chair. If this is not possible, the meeting will be adjourned and rearranged with an emphasis to maintaining the statutory timescales.

4. Tracking

A fundamental aspect of the IRO and CP chair is to track the case, ensuring there is no delay or drift and that the plan for the child meets all of their needs. Through the ICS system chairs are expected to make use of the IRO contact, IRO tracking and dispute/challenge case note options to record their involvement with a case plan.