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8.1 Children Looked After Review Challenge


Contents

  1. The Purpose of CLA Review Challenge Meeting
  2. Frequency of CLA Review Challenge Meeting
  3. Chairing of Reviews
  4. Convening CLA Review Challenge
  5. Invitations and the Child's Participation
  6. The Role of the Social Worker
  7. Supporters and Interpreters
  8. Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities
  9. The Role of the CLA Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child 
  10. Recording of CLA Review Challenge
  11. Monitoring of Review Decisions


1. The Purpose of CLA Review Challenge Meeting

1.1

The purpose of the Review Challenge is to:

  • Ensure that appropriate plans are in place to safeguard and promote the overall welfare of the Looked After child in the most effective way and achieve permanence for him or her within a timescale that meets his or her needs;
  • To monitor the progress of the plans and to ensure they are being progressed effectively;
  • To make decisions, as necessary, for amendments to those plans to reflect any change in knowledge and/or circumstances.
1.2 It is important that decisions taken at CLA Review Challenge are implemented and responsibility for actions clearly defined.
1.3

The key plans that must be considered at a CLA Review are:

1.4 The review must also take account of the child's Placement Information Record and any other plans or strategies (e.g. behaviour management strategy), ensuring that they are up to date, or that arrangements are in place to update them.


2. Frequency of CLA Review Challenge Meetings

2.1

Normally, CLA Reviews must be convened at the following intervals:

  • An initial CLA Review must be conducted within 28 days of the child becoming Looked After;
  • The second CLA Review must be conducted within three months (91 days) of an Initial CLA Review;
  • Subsequent CLA Reviews must be conducted not more than six (183 days) months after any previous review.
2.2

CLA Reviews must be brought forward in the following circumstances:

  • As soon as practicable where a child is moved from one placement to another on an unplanned basis or a significant change in the circumstances of a child suggests his/her placement is no longer appropriate;
  • Where a significant change to the child's CLA Plan is required;
  • Where the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO's) agrees that such a review must be convened, for example, upon the request of the child, parent(s) or any other significant person.


3. Chairing of Reviews

3.1 Independent Reviewing Officers will chair reviews. The IRO's responsibilities are outlined in Section 8, Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities.
3.2 If the allocated IRO cannot attend the meeting and it is important that the review meeting is not delayed, the meeting will be chaired/ attended by a substitute IRO.


4. Convening CLA Reviews

4.1 Arranging the First Review

4.1.1 As soon as a child becomes Looked After, the child's social worker must notify the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit by telephone and/or email. This will trigger the appointment of an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) for the child.
4.1.2 The Secretary from the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit will contact the social worker to discuss the practical arrangements for the CLA Review - i.e. the venue, when, where and how the child will be consulted and seen by the IRO before the meeting. The secretaries responsible for arranging the reviews will invite professionals recorded within the child/young person’s case file under the involvements section.

4.2 Arranging Second and Subsequent Reviews

4.2.1 At the end of each review the IRO will set the date, time and venue of the next review, taking account of what is convenient for review participants. The next review must be convened within statutory timescales.
4.2.2 Review dates cannot be rearranged unless requested by the young person or a family member. Or if there are other exceptional circumstances. If a young person or family member requests the review to be held outside of statutory timescales then approval for this is required by a Senior manager.
4.2.3 In the event of a key participant being ill or unable to attend the review, the meeting will go ahead and the decision making will be shared with those attendees who were absent.
4.2.4 Should the child cease to be Looked After before the review date, the child's social worker will notify a secretary from the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit who will formally cancel the meeting if it has been arranged and end the involvement of the IRO on Protocol.


5. Invitations and the Child's Participation

5.1 The child and parents who will be formally invited to the review by the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit must also be informed that they may bring a supporter or interpreter if they wish.
5.2

The following people must be invited:

  • The child. There is a presumption that the child will attend the review. A child's disability must not be a bar to the child's attendance;
  • The parents, carers and any significant people or specialists involved in the child's case;
  • The supervising social worker, if the child is placed with foster carers;
  • The Link Worker if the child is in residential care;
  • A representative from the child's school;
  • If required, an interpreter.
5.3 Consideration must also be given to inviting the Children's Guardian if one has been appointed.
5.4 A balance must be struck in relation to who the child wishes to be present and the need for information and input from the professionals and family members involved. Efforts must be made to keep the number present at the review as small as possible. It may be appropriate to request written contributions from agencies rather than invite them to attend.
5.5 Children and parents must also be informed that they can arrange to see the IRO separately if they wish or bring a supporter or interpreter to the review.
5.6 Where the child does not wish to attend the review, the IRO must at the very least speak to the child before the review - wherever possible in a face to face meeting.
5.7 The child's social worker must ensure that children and families have been given information about the Comments, Compliments and Complaints Procedure. They must provide the child with details of independent advocacy services who may provide support if the child requires it. See Section 7, Supporters and Interpreters.
5.8 A decision by the IRO not to invite a child or parent(s) to a review must only be made in exceptional circumstances, prior to the review. The decision must be recorded, together with reasons, on the review document and child's record.
5.9 Where any other invited person cannot attend, the IRO may agree that a delegate attend instead.


6. The Role of the Social Worker

6.1 The child's social worker must discuss the purpose of the review with the child, parents and Carers and consult the child about invitations.
6.2 Should the child wish to chair his or her own review, the social worker must inform the IRO.
6.3 In all cases, the child and parent(s) must be encouraged and supported by the social worker to prepare for the review, in writing or other ways if they wish, for example by seeing the IRO separately. The social worker must agree with the IRO how this will be achieved. This requires early consultation between the social worker and the IRO, and must be part of a thorough preparation of all the key issues for the review.
6.4 The child's social worker must also ensure the child's IRO is kept informed of any significant changes in the child's circumstances and the outcomes of any other meetings held as part of the review process, which consider aspects of the child's CLA Plan. In addition, the social worker must notify the IRO if he or she believes that decisions made at a review are no longer appropriate because of a change in circumstances.
6.5 Where the child has been or is the subject of Court proceedings, the social worker must ensure the IRO has clear information of the child's legal status and the Court timetable.
6.6 Prior to the review, the social worker must ensure the child's records and plans are up to date, for example, that they include records of the placement visits and the last date when the child's sleeping accommodation was seen. Any changes in household membership need to be clearly recorded.
6.7

The social worker must send the IRO the following documents 3 working days before an Initial Review and 5 working days before a subsequent review:

6.8 Copies of these documents must be brought to the review by the social worker. The social workers pre meeting report should have been shared with the young person and family in advance of their meeting.
6.9

In addition, the child's social worker must bring to the review the following documents for the IRO:

  • Health Care Plan;
  • Any other relevant reports by professionals.
6.10 It is not necessary to copy these for all participants. The IRO may have a pre meeting with the social worker to review the relevant aspects of the Health Action Plan. The IRO will then summarise any other documents during the review and provide information about the discussion with the social worker as appropriate.
6.11 After the review, the social worker is responsible for updating the CLA Plan and Permanence Plan, and Health Care Plan. Arrangements for a Pathway Plan to be completed or updated, if relevant, should be made.
6.12 The social worker must also ensure that the child's Placement Information Record is updated.


7. Supporters and Interpreters

7.1 The social worker and IRO must consider prior to the review whether either the child or parent(s) would benefit from the presence of a supporter or advocate and if so, the social worker must ensure the necessary arrangements are made. A supporter may be either an advocate on behalf of the child/parent(s) or a person with specialist skills or knowledge.
7.2 It may also be necessary for the social worker to make arrangements for an interpreter to attend. Special needs, for example those arising from disability, must always be considered and appropriate assistance arranged where relevant.
7.3 Any request by the child or parent(s) for their legal adviser to attend as their supporter must be notified to the IRO prior to the review and arrangements made where appropriate for the attendance at the review of a departmental legal adviser.


8. Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities

8.1 The IRO's role is to monitor the appropriateness of the CLA Plan, its implementation and to establish whether the milestones set out in the plan are being achieved in a timely way.
8.2 A key task for all IRO's is to ensure that the review process is child and family centred and that the child's views are heard. They must be satisfied that Disabled Children's contributions are obtained and effectively presented in the review.
8.3 When possible, the child should be encouraged to chair the meeting and in these circumstances the IRO will assist the child. In all other cases, the IRO will chair the review - see Section 3, Chairing of Reviews.
8.4 More than one meeting may be required (known as a series of meetings) to ensure the views of relevant people inform the review without the meeting becoming too large. For example it may be appropriate to hold a meeting involving the child prior to a meeting involving the parent to obtain information and ascertain the views of both where the child does not wish to attend a review with his or her parents present.
8.5 The IRO is responsible for ensuring that all relevant people, including the child and parents, understand the purpose of the review and have been given appropriate opportunities to contribute and express their views. The IRO must also ensure that relevant consultation has taken place with those professionals who are not in attendance at the meeting.
8.6 Where participants' views are not followed, an explanation of the reasons why needs to be provided by the IRO and/or the social worker. Any differences of opinion must be recorded in the minutes. 
8.7 If the parent(s) or the child brings a supporter, the IRO will need to explain his or her role, ensuring that the supporter understands that he or she may clarify information but may not cross-examine any contributor.
8.8 The agenda for each review will be agreed at the beginning of the meeting and each participant will be invited to contribute their own items to the agenda and have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.
8.9 The IRO will decide on what actions in principle are necessary to meet the child's reviewed needs and make recommendations as to how these must be achieved.
8.10 Where a review considers that adoption or long term fostering is the most appropriate way to meet the child's needs, the review would ratify this decision made by the department within permanence panel. It would be the social worker that would advise the adoption or fostering panel of the permanence panel decision and subsequent ratified plan from the review recommendation is then submitted to the Adoption Panel for consideration.
8.11

It will be necessary for the IRO to ensure decisions are clear and establish who is responsible for action and the timescales agreed for completion. The IRO must ensure that the following are considered and accounted for during the review:

  • Whether all the required plans (including plans for Permanence) are in place, detailing how the child's needs are to be met, and whether they are up to date. See Section 9, The Role of the CLA Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child;
  • The extent to which the aims and objectives of the child's CLA Plan, Health Action Plan, or Pathway Plan have been achieved and any relevant changes in circumstances which have a bearing on the case;
  • The need for the child to continue to be Looked After and where a Care Order exists, whether an application to discharge the Care Order must be made;
  • Whether the plans fully cover the necessary actions to meet the following responsibilities:
    • To protect the child's safety and welfare, preferably within his/her own family or community;
    • To ensure the child's placement is appropriate to meet the child's needs and that a relevant Placement Information Record is in place;
    • To promote the educational needs of the child. In this respect the IRO must ensure that the child's personal education plan is relevant and up to date;
    • To promote the health and well-being of the child. In this respect the chairperson must ensure that the child's health care plan is relevant and up to date;
    • To ensure that the child maintains contact with his/her family and significant friends and that the arrangements are appropriate, or, where there is no contact between the child and his/her family, that there are good reasons for this;
    • To provide advice, assistance and other support for children with a view to promoting their welfare and preparing them for independence and adulthood;
    • Where the child is reaching the age of 16, to ensure that work has started on the child's Pathway Plan;
    • To establish whether any additional, specialist or therapeutic assessments or interventions are necessary to meet the child's needs;
    • To clarify whether a claim for criminal injuries compensation has been made or must be considered;
    • To ensure children and families are aware of the right to complain about either the service or plans and understand the processes available to do so if they require.
8.12 After the review, the IRO will record the way in which the child participated in the review, together with the outcome and the date for the next review.
8.13 Where there is evidence of poor practice, the IRO will consider what action is needed to bring this to the attention of the relevant and appropriate managers - see Section 11, Monitoring of Reviews.
8.14 It is the responsibility of the IRO to focus on conflict resolution. For additional information see The Isle of Man Safeguarding Children Board (SCB) Inter Agency Child Protection Procedures, Resolving Professional Differences Procedure.


9. The Role of the CLA Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child

9.1 The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) must check that the child's CLA Plan includes a Permanence Plan with measurable milestones and a Contingency Plan must the preferred plans not materialise. See also Permanence Planning Guidance Procedure. At the point of an initial CLA Review it is the responsibility of the IRO to complete the Permanence Tracker document and at each subsequent review of the care plan the tracker must be updated.
9.2 At the second CLA Review, there is a requirement to focus on the Permanence Plan, to ensure it provides permanence for the child within a timescale which is realistic, achievable and meets the child's needs.
9.3 If it is considered that the chosen avenue to permanence is not viable, the IRO must ensure that the social worker arranges as a matter of urgency to consider the most appropriate permanent alternative.
9.4 At the second CLA Review there will be a need for a Twin Track/Parallel Plan to be made where a Permanence Plan has not been achieved. For example where a plan for rehabilitation of the child has not been achieved, the Review must seek to establish whether the lack of progress is as a result of drift or whether there are valid child-centred reasons, properly recorded and endorsed by the social worker's manager. No further rehabilitation plan must be recommended unless there are exceptional reasons justifying such a plan or where further assessment is specifically directed by the Court. In this case, the Parallel Plan must include the active pursuit of an alternative placement for the child.
9.5 All subsequent Reviews must review the progress and validity of the Permanence Plan.


10. Recording of CLA Reviews

10.1 It is the responsibility of the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) to record the review. The CLA chairperson’s outcome document will be completed and circulated by the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit to all participants within 3 working days of the meeting.
10.2 The minutes will be completed within 15 working days of the review. The Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit will send copies out to all relevant parties who have provided their full name and address on the attendance sheet.
10.3 Once the chairs report has been completed by the IRO the document is sent out by the SAQAU as per procedures written by the secretarial manager within SAQAU.
10.4 Where a person was excluded from but informed of the Review, the IRO will inform him or her in writing as appropriate of the outcome of the Review.
10.5 Where a child is placed in a foster home, the foster carer's copy of the minutes will be sent by the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit to the Fostering Service.


11. Monitoring of Reviews

11.1 The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) plays an important part in the quality assurance function of the department’s service for Looked After children, it is important that they recognise and report on good practice by individuals or teams.
11.2 It is important for the IRO to have a collaborative relationship with the social workers and their managers.
11.3 Where there is evidence of poor practice, the IRO must, wherever practicable, address these issues through the normal channels, contacting the social worker's manager and where necessary the Head of Statutory Social Work Services.

End