Strategy discussions are multi-agency meetings called by Children’s Social Care (CSC) to plan an effective course of action for a child where there are child protection concerns.
|1||Strategy discussions are convened whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, signiﬁcant harm.||The need for a strategy discussion will be identiﬁed: |
At any point there is a concern that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, this may include but not be limited to:
– If there has been an incident and a child is open to support services
– The point of referral
– During an assessment-
– During the inter-agency checks and information gathering stage
In line with best practice strategy discussions are more effective when carried out face to face or virtually, and should always be convened where possible. However, this should not delay a strategy discussion taking place at the earliest opportunity, e.g. by conference call.
|2||Membership is appropriate to the needs of the child or their situation||Convened by Children’s Social Care (CSC)|
Essential attendance – The Local Authority social worker, their manager, health professionals and a Police representative should, as a minimum be involved in the strategy discussion. However it is recognized that on occasion there may be a need for an urgent strategy discussion to take place which must at a minimum include CSC and the Police. This should only be in exceptional circumstance.
CSC will invite all other agencies which hold or need to be given relevant information about the child – The professional or agency that made the referral, the child’s school or nursery and any other health services.
|3||Strategy discussions are held within agreed timescales||After agencies have taken whatever steps necessary to protect the child or young person, an immediate strategy discussion between Children’s Social Care, the Police, Health and other agencies as appropriate should take place within 3 working days. Where there are immediate safeguarding concerns the strategy should be held within one working day.|
|4||Strategy discussions will have an agenda, noting all requirements laid out in the NYSCP child protection procedures||Share relevant information and take appropriate action to obtain further information that is required. |
Consider whether a referral should be made to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). This should be within one working day.
Decide whether a Section 47 enquiry should be undertaken. If agreed, then agree:
– What other actions may be needed to protect the child or provide interim services and support
– The need for medical treatment/examination
– The conduct and timing, if initiated of any criminal investigation
– The scope of the enquiry, including siblings and other children at possible risk of harm
– Name of social worker who will visit the child and a timescale for any visits
– Whether an ABE interview will take place with the child
– How the child’s wishes and feelings will be ascertained
– Who other than the family should be interviewed, by whom, when and for what purpose
– What information may be shared, with whom and when
– Any implication for disciplinary action, e.g. use of evidence statement
– Any legal actions required
– Whether an assessment should be initiated or continued if it has already begun
– How the parents will be involved
Section 47 enquiries should be completed within 5 working days of the decision to initiate the enquiry.
|5||Strategy discussions will formulate SMART actions and outcomes||Action will include timescales, agency and individual responsibility for each agreed action, including the timing of police investigations and relevant methods of evidence gathering |
The mechanism and date for reviewing the completion of agreed actions (i.e. further strategy meetings in complex cases).
|6||The outcome of the Section 47 enquiry will be shared with the relevant multi-agency professionals including members of the strategy discussion.||Outcomes will be shared in a number of ways: |
(a) Reconvene strategy discussions where:
– The circumstances are particularly complex or unknown
– Enquiries have been delayed
Through an Initial Child Protection ConferenceBy phone/email where the above does not apply Any signiﬁcant change to the outcome of the Section 47 enquiry must be endorsed by the original strategy discussion members.