Knowsley Multi-Agency Permanency Panel - Terms of Reference


This chapter details the purpose, structure and membership of this Panel, which scrutinises and makes recommendations in respect of a range of permanency decisions for children in Knowsley.


Permanency Policy and Care Planning Procedure


In December 2019, this chapter was reviewed locally and refreshed where required.

1. Purpose

The aim of the permanency panel is to ensure that Children Looked After, have appropriate Permanency Plans that are implemented in a timely manner to avoid drift and delay, in line with the Permanency Policy and Care Planning Procedure (June 2015). This panel will also approve any support plans, including financial commitments for children with plans for permanence via Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement Orders. As such the panel will have six functions:

  • To scrutinise and approve Special Guardianship Order (SGO) placements and support plans;
  • To track plans for children with a primary or contingency plan for adoption;
  • To review all placements that have not been approved as long term to ensure children and young people have the right placement to meet their needs and that the permanency plan for the child is being implemented;
  • To match and approve long term fostering placement / Staying Put / Residential and SGO placements;
  • To ensure that children and young people's needs are considered in a holistic manner, in order for implications of permanent placements and placement moves, including impact on health and education are fully considered;
  • To scrutinise placements to ensure they are providing agreed outcomes according to Independent Placements Agreements (IPAs) ensuring this is value for money.

Membership: In line with its function the panel will be multi-agency. Representative will comprise of:

  • Head of Service - Chair;
  • Administrator;
  • Team Manager CLA 1 and 2 (as required);
  • Team Manager, YPT (as required);
  • Specialist Nurse CLA;
  • Virtual School Head;
  • Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • Team Manager, Friends and Family Fostering Service;
  • Team Manager, Adoption Service;
  • Team Manager - Access to Resources Team;
  • Accountant, Finance Team.

Membership will vary according to the needs of Panel, for example, the Team Manager YPT and Virtual Head will not be required for Part 1 below. Team Manager, Adoption will not be required for part 2/3 below.

If anyone is unable to attend they should send a representative.

Expert advisors will be invited to Panel as required, for example, legal advisors.

2. Panel Structure

The Panel will meet for three hours, once a month. The meeting will be divided as follows:

Part 1) Adoption tracking. This section of the meeting will ensure that all blocks and barriers to achieving a successful adoption placement within timescales are addressed. All children on the adoption tracker or who are subject to a Placement Order will be considered. (45 minutes).

Part 2) Matching and approval / recommendation of placements as requested by Social Workers. The Panel will consider requests from Social Workers proactively progressing plans for permanency, as agreed in the child's review, this will include long term fostering, Staying Put, SGO/ Child Arrangements Orders (CAO).

The Panel will approve in house placements, Staying Put and friends and family SGO's. Any plans involving IFA, residential placements, SGO to existing carers, permanent foster care matches to be considered for approval, following a panel recommendation, by Assistant Executive Director. The Panel administrator will be responsible for forwarding such requests the Assistant Executive Director.

Capacity: 4 x 15 minute slots.

Part 3) Scrutiny of plans and placements identified by panel as in danger of drift and delay. Such decisions will be made based on performance information:

  • Children in residential care;
  • Children not in permanent placements;
  • Care Leavers.

Social Workers will be invited to panel to discuss cases and outline plans, addressing any blocks or barriers to implementation. Actions will be agreed with specific timescales. The cases will be tracked by Panel as required.

Capacity: 4 x 15 minute slots.

Part 4) Agree next agenda (15 minutes).

3. Administration

For requests for SGO/ CAO/ Private Fostering: Social Workers will be required to submit the most recent assessment, support plan, and financial assessment.

For requests for Long term fostering matches: Social Workers should submit a recent Single Assessment, review minutes and Care Plan. Supervising Social Workers should submit a Form F and foster carer review. Minutes of the matching meeting should also be submitted.

For placement scrutiny: Social workers should submit the Independent Placement Agreement, most recent review minutes and Care Plan, in addition to the most recent Single Assessment.

All reports should be submitted one week in advance of panel to the panel administrator. Team Managers are responsible for ensuring that reports are provided on time. Team Managers and Social workers will be aware of the agenda as it is agreed at the previous meeting.

Consolidated reports will not be considered. All reports must be for individual children.

Following the meeting a case note summarising the outcome of the panel should also be recorded by the Social Worker, and if agreeing permanence minutes should be uploaded on to ICS.

The role of the administrator is to:

  • Compile and distribute agendas and papers;
  • Take notes in meetings;
  • Develop and maintain a tracker for cases discussed;
  • To distribute minutes with 2 weeks of panel meeting.