SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
All children should be supported by the appropriate team and social worker to best meet their needs. When case responsibility needs to change, this should be done in a timely and appropriate manner to meet the needs of the child.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in December 2021 to acknowledge that the fortnightly transfer meeting will be chaired by a Service Manager and to note that Placement with Parents will remain with the Child Protection / Child in Need Service rather than transfer to the Child Looked After Teams, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a plan for adoption.
The purpose of the case transfer policy is to ensure the effective transfer of cases between social care teams and to ensure that children, families and professionals are kept informed of such changes.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the pre - proceedings and PLO procedures (see Pre Proceedings and Public Law Outline (PLO) Procedures and Practice Guidance).
2. Process for Transfer of Cases
Once a case is identified as requiring transfer and the case file is up to date, the case is discussed at the fortnightly transfer panel to identify the receiving team. The panel will be chaired by the Service Manager. The transferring team should provide a brief synopsis of the case at the transfer panel. This synopsis should include any pre-proceedings work that has taken place, the court timetable and the permanence plan should be considered. The process will be tracked and supported by an electronic spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will be reviewed and updated at every meeting. Once a case has been accepted at panel, the receiving team will be identified and a transfer meeting will be scheduled within two weeks. Any issues about the appropriateness of otherwise of transfer will be considered by the panel, and if this cannot be resolved is should be discussed with Heads of Service.
The panel consists of all Team Managers from the child protection and children looked after services.
Cases will transfer within the children looked after service when a young person who is looked after reaches the age of 14 years and between the child protection service and the children looked after service when care proceedings have been issued or exceptionally when a young person is looked after under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and have a clear permanence plan. Care Orders at home will remain with the Child protection/ Child in Need service unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a plan for adoption.
For cases that are likely to conclude with SGOs and be closed or for those were the plan is Supervision Order the case should not transfer. More detailed information is set out below.
The ICS transfer form should be completed at the case transfer meeting, which takes place between the Team Managers and Children's Social Workers, fostering social worker, IRO and when the case is in care proceedings a representative from Legal must be present. A Transfer date will be agreed as will clear information about tasks to be undertaken be recorded. This should include:
- Case recordings being up to date;
- Family time and financial arrangements recorded;
- Dates of meetings arranged;
- Court filing and hearing dates;
- The date of the last statutory visit and PEP completed;
- Permanence tracker being up to date;
- Any complaints that have been made;
- Audit actions should also be noted and completed;
- Supervision undertaken and any significant case activities should also be noted;
- New into care medicals should be requested by the transferring team and
- In cases where children are 5yrs or under an adoption medical should also be requested by the transferring team, to assist in reducing any delay in the court process.
- DBS and Medicals should be requested as soon as a positive viability is completed.
When a case has been subject to the Pre Proceedings protocol, parenting assessments, viabilities and family group conferences should be complete before the point of transfer. The proposed Care Plan should be shared with the receiving Social Worker and Manager. The pre proceedings activity and proposed care plan will be considered by the transfer panel.
The role of legal representative within the transfer meeting (where appropriate) is to ensure that timetabling is clearly documented and any challenges that the courts may have is highlighted at the earliest opportunity for the Local Authority to implement plans and support that may be required.
It is expected that case files will transfer in good order and it is the responsibility of the transferring team manager to ensure this is the case. Each transferred case will have:
- An up to date case summary;
- An up to date social work Chronology;
- An up to date Genogram;
- Up to date case notes, statutory visits and records of supervision;
- Other relevant paperwork, e.g. PEP, PIR, health assessment, Section 47 Enquiry documentation, permanence tracker and my memories account should be set up;
- Child's record should have an up to date Children looked after care plan recording desired outcomes of the child within timescales;
- Social Worker from each team to meet prior to the transfer meeting to share history and any other relevant information that will assist in a smooth handover of the case;
- My Memories log in details;
- Delegated Authority forms;
- Sec 20 agreements added to the file;
- Court Orders to be attached;
- Risk matrix;
- Up to date photograph of the child.
All documentation on case files and ICS, identified in the documentation checklist and all recording, should be up to date when a case is transferred. Any identified outstanding tasks should be completed by the transferring social worker before the case is transferred.
The responsibility for setting up the case transfer meeting sits with the transferring team. The transferring social worker or team manager will be responsible for completing the ICS transfer form.
An introductory joint visit with the existing and new social worker must take place to the child and family.
On the agreed date for transfer and when the tasks as agreed have been completed, the receiving manager will accept the transfer on ICS to allocate to the new social worker.
If the transfer does not occur within two weeks of the agreed transfer date, the transfer meeting should be reconvened to provide the receiving team with an update.
3. When do Cases Transfer Between Teams?
3.1 Child Protection Team to Child Looked After Team and Young Persons Team
- Children Looked After, subject to an Interim Care Order, will transfer from the Child Protection team to Children Looked After (CLA) team, except for Care Orders at home. and or if the plan is Special Guardianship Order with no involvement or a Supervision Order. The transfer policy should be followed to ensure that children subject to an Interim Care Order are transferred as soon as possible after the making of the Interim Care Order;
- Where children are subject to Section 20 and it is agreed at the second Looked After Review that rehabilitation has been ruled out (such as unaccompanied Minors), and a Permanency Plan has been ratified, the case will transfer to the CLA team, following agreement from the respective Heads of Service;
- When a child is looked after transfer to the Young Person's Team (YPT) will be around the young person's 14th birthday if there is a plan for permanence;
- When a young person is remanded to care they will transfer to the young person's team once they have been in care 13 weeks and have entitlement to leaving care support.
3.2 Child Looked After Team to the Child Protection Team
On completion of Care Proceedings where no order has been granted or a Supervision Order or Child Arrangements Order has been granted, or where child is not deemed as a Child Looked After, the case will remain with the Children Looked After Team for consistency.
3.3 Children with Disabilities
The Children with Disabilities Team (CWD) usually work across CIN, CP and CLA. They will allocate cases at referral and will keep them until closure. However, on occasions children will be identified as having a disability because of assessments. In such circumstances transfer will be considered and the process outlined above should be followed.
Transfer within teams or between Children looked after / Child in Need Teams. In order to ensure that the receiving Social Worker has a full understanding of the children's history, plan and any outstanding actions the transfer should happen at a meeting chaired by a team manager. The team manager is required to put a management oversight on the file evidencing this meeting took place and what information was communicated. Joint visits between the Social Workers should take place for the purposes of introduction to the child and family.
It is the responsibility of the transferring Social Worker to notify Quality assurance and safeguarding unit and any other key professionals of the transfer and the name of the newly allocated Social Worker.
3.4 Private Fostering
If MASH receive a referral for a private fostering notification then these children will be allocated to the Fostering Service for a Private Fostering Assessment and decision making. However, should a child that is open in another team become a child within a privately fostered arrangement then a transfer meeting to the Fostering Service is required once the assessment is completed and Private Fostering Arrangement is in place.
NB Should a child protection incident occur whilst open to the Fostering Service then the social worker will remain the allocated social worker however, a Child Protection Social Worker will be allocated as a co worker to support with the completion of a Section 47 Assessment. The case will only transfer to Child Protection Service if a Child Protection Plan is implemented and the transfer point is at the Initial Child Protection Conference.
4. Issues Resolution
The transfer of a case should not be delayed by dispute over the appropriateness of the transfer. Where the transferring managers and receiving managers do not agree on the case transfer or the proposed plan for a child / young person and where the disputed issues cannot be resolved, this must be promptly referred to the relevant Head of Service.