Skip to main content
Caption: floating buttons
 
spacer_valid
View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership
spacer_valid 2
View Working Together View Working Together
Caption: main heading
 

4.11.1 Looked After Reviews

NOTE

Please note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Section 6, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required templates.

RELEVENT CHAPTERS

Provision of Staying Put Arrangements and Supported Lodgings Procedure

AMENDMENT

In November 2018, Section 9, The Role of the Looked After Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child is new.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Purpose of Looked After Reviews
  3. Factors to be Considered when Reviewing Each Case
  4. Children with Child Protection Plans
  5. Looked After Reviews Concerning Children in Long Term Foster Placements
  6. Frequency of Reviews
  7. Adjourning Reviews
  8. Short Pre-Planned Placements
  9. The Role of the Looked After Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child
  10. Consultation Prior to the Review
  11. Participation of the Child/Young Person
  12. Attendance at Reviews
  13. Review Decisions
  14. Record of Reviews
  15. Procedures for Conducting Looked After Reviews


1. Introduction

Safeguarding and providing for the child/young person’s welfare should be examined and monitored at every review. Their plan should be amended as necessary, to reflect progress and any significant change. This will require consultation with various people, information gathering on a continuous basis, discussion of information gathered and amendments to the plan as necessary.

A Looked After Review must take place before any significant change is made to the child’s Care Plan, unless that is not reasonably practicable. A Review must also be held before an Eligible Young Person moves into semi-independent accommodation, and evaluate the quality of the assessment of the young person’s readiness and preparation to move.

Looked After Reviews should normally be conducted at a meeting although this may not be required in respect of a child who has been in a designated Long-term Foster Placement for over 12 months (see Section 5, Looked After Reviews Concerning Children in Long Term Foster Placements).

Reviews must include consideration of progress in implementing the plan, the need for changes in approach in service provision, a possible reallocation of tasks or a change in the status of the child i.e. the need for care proceedings or discharge of a Care Order.


2. The Purpose of Looked After Reviews

A review is different from a Child Protection Conference, although Child Protection Conferences could provide information to be considered in a review. A Child Protection Conference is a multi-disciplinary meeting, called under the East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures and Guidance. Where, however, the discussion at a child protection conference combines consideration of wider issues affecting the plan for the child/young person, or constitutes part of a review it will fall within these Procedures.

A review also differs from a case discussion as part of line management. Managers, amongst other things will review the performance of staff at this type of case discussion.

A review of an individual child/young person's case is held solely to make plans in the interests of safeguarding and promoting that child/young person's welfare.

The Review System is designed to provide for:

  • The full participation of children, young people and parents in the decision making process;
  • A structured, coordinated approach to the planning of child care work in individual cases, in order that the agreed day to day arrangements continue to meet a child's need, and the overall Care Plan is still appropriate; and
  • A monitoring system for checking the operation of the review process and to see that the work required to meet the objectives is being undertaken.

For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following their 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put arrangement (whereby the young person remains in the foster home after the age of 18) should be an option.


3. Factors to be Considered when Reviewing Each Case

  • The effect of any change in the child’s circumstances since the last review, any change made to the Care Plan, whether decisions taken at the last review have been successfully implemented and if not the reasons;
  • Whether any change should be sought in the child’s legal status;
  • Whether there is a plan for permanence;
  • Arrangements for contact/whether there is any need for changes to the arrangements in order to promote contact between the child and parents/other connected persons;
  • Whether the placement continues to be the most appropriate available, whether any change to the placement agreement or any other aspect of the arrangements is likely to become necessary before the next review;
  • The child’s educational needs, progress and development and whether any change is likely to become necessary or desirable before the next review, including consideration of their most recent assessment of progress and development; whether the arrangements are meeting the child’s educational needs; whether the child has a PEP and whether its content provides a clear framework for promoting educational achievement;
  • The child’s leisure interests and activities and whether the arrangements are meeting their needs;
  • Health report, and whether any change in health care arrangements is likely to be necessary or desirable before the next review; whether the content of the Health Plan provides a clear framework for promoting the child’s health; whether the arrangements are meeting the child’s health needs;
  • Whether the child’s needs related to identity are being met and whether any change is required having regard to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural background;
  • Whether the arrangements for advice, support and assistance continue to be appropriate and understood by the child;
  • Whether any arrangements need to be made for the time when the child will no longer be looked after;
  • The child’s wishes and feelings and the views of the CISRO about any aspect of the case and in particular about any changes made since the last review or proposed to be made to the Care Plan; whether the plan fulfils the duty to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and whether it would be in the child’s interests for an Independent Visitor to be appointed; and
  • Where the child is placed with parents before an assessment is completed, the frequency of the social worker’s visits.

In addition, for a young person in foster care the first Looked After Review following their 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put arrangement (whereby the young person remains in the foster home after the age of 18) should be an option.


4. Children with Child Protection Plans

Where a looked after child remains the subject of a Child Protection Plan, there should be a single planning and reviewing process, led by the CISRO, leading to the development of a single plan.

Consideration should be given to the CISRO chairing the Child Protection Conference where a looked after child remains subject to a Child Protection Plan. Where that is not possible, it will be expected that the CISRO will attend the Child Protection Review Conference.

The timing of the review of the child protection aspects of the Care Plan should be as in Frequency of Reviews above.

The Looked After Review, when reviewing the child protection aspects of the plan, should consider whether the criteria continue to be met for the child to remain the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Consideration must be given to ensuring that the multi-agency contribution to the review of the Child Protection Plan is addressed within the review of the Care Plan.


5. Looked After Reviews Concerning Children in Long Term Foster Placements

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review sets out that where a child is placed in a designated long-term foster placement and has been in this placement for more than a year consideration should be given to whether it is necessary to hold a meeting as part of each review.

The guidance requires that the social worker should consult the CISRO and the child (where appropriate to age and understanding) in reaching a decision on whether to hold a meeting. Where it is agreed that a meeting will not be held as part of every review a meeting should be held at least once a year. The factors leading to a decision to hold review meetings on a less frequent basis must be recorded in the child’s Care Plan.

Where a decision is taken that the review process will not include a meeting the CISRO must ensure that full consultation with all relevant individuals, including the child, has taken place to inform the review of the child’s case.


6. Frequency of Reviews

The first review should take place no later than 20 working days after the date on which the child begins to be looked after.

The second review should take place no longer than 3 months (91 days) after the date of the first review. Thereafter reviews should take place at 6 monthly (183 days) intervals.

This frequency is a minimum standard and a review of a child/young person's case should take place as often as the circumstances of the individual case requires.

Reviews must take place sooner if:

  • The Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer (CISRO) requests one;
  • As a result of a visit, the social worker’s assessment is that the child’s welfare is not being adequately safeguarded and promoted;
  • A review would not otherwise occur before the child ceases to be detained in a YOI or secure training centre, or accommodated on remand;
  • The authority proposes to cease to provide accommodation for a looked after child;
  • The child is, or has been, persistently missing from the placement;
  •  The placement provider, parents or area authority are concerned that the child is at risk of harm;
  • The child so requests, unless the Children’s Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer considers that the review is not justified.

Any request for an additional review from a parent or child should be considered and discussed by the designated social worker, the Line Manager and the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer (CISRO). The decision should then be recorded on the case file.

If it is decided not to hold a review, the reasons should be noted on the case file and the parent and child/young person informed in writing (with a copy kept on file).


7. Adjourning Reviews

The CISRO may adjourn a review meeting once, for not more than 20 working days, if s/he is not satisfied that sufficient information has been provided by the local authority to enable proper consideration of any of the factors to be considered (see Factors to be Considered when Reviewing Each Case).

The CISRO should consider the effects on the child of delaying the meeting, and seek the wishes and feelings of the child, carer and parents where appropriate.

No proposal under consideration at the review can be implemented until the review has been completed.


8. Short Pre-Planned Placements

Regulation 11 allows for a defined series of short pre-planned placements to be treated as a single placement. In such cases all the requirements of the Review Regulations apply, but they need not be repeated for each episode of accommodation so long as:

  1. All the periods are included within a period which does not exceed 1 year;
  2. No single period is for a duration of more than 4 weeks;
  3. The total duration of the periods does not exceed 90 days; and
  4. All the placements take place with the same carer (for a family placement) or at the same establishment (for a residential placement).


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

The Children’s Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer (CISRO) must check that the child's Care Plan includes a Permanence Plan with measurable milestones and a Contingency Plan should the preferred plans not materialise.

At the second Looked After 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.

If it is considered that the chosen avenue to permanence is not viable, the CISRO should ensure that the social worker arranges as a matter of urgency to consider the most appropriate permanent alternative.

At the third Looked After 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 should 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 should 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.

All subsequent Reviews should review the progress and validity of the Permanence Plan.

Children who are Section 20 Accommodated (Children Act 1989): CISROs should pay particular regard to children accommodated under S.20 to ensure there is appropriate progression of their plans and that there are no delays in respect of them having ‘permanence’, (which should include a return home). A High Court judgement (see Herefordshire Council v AB [2018] EWFC 10 rtf) was critical of protracted delay in a child’s planning and failure to respond to a parent’s request to have a child return home to their care under S. 20(8). Further, that the CISRO, whilst recognising the issues of delay and planning, and highlighting these to managers, did not respond more robustly.

The judgement considered that in circumstances where the threshold criteria (for Care/ Supervision Orders) under Section 31 Children Act 1989 are met, (i.e. where a child is at risk of significant harm, or the likelihood of significant harm), then care proceedings should be issued without delay.


10. Consultation Prior to the Review

Under the Care Planning, Review and Placement Regulations, 2010 local authorities must have a written policy on Reviews, and provide a copy to the child (unless this is not appropriate having regard to the child’s age and understanding), the parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility and any other person whose views the Authority considers relevant. This should include information on the role of the CISRO and action that can be taken in the event that decisions made at a Review are not implemented.

Regulation 7 (1) requires that before conducting any review the designated officer on behalf of the responsible authority should obtain and take account of the wishes and feelings of:

  1. The child/young person (subject to age and understanding);
  2. The child's parents;
  3. Any person who is not a parent but who has Parental Responsibility; and
  4. Any other person whose views are considered to be relevant e.g. current carer, health care professionals, GP, social worker from another local authority in whose area it is proposed that the child will be looked after;
  5. The officer with lead responsibility for implementing the authority’s duty to promote the educational achievement of its looked after children;
  6. The most appropriate teacher at the child’s school which, where appropriate, should be the designated teacher for looked after children;
  7. Any other person with a legitimate interest in the child e.g. health care professional, GP, a representative from the local authority in whose area it is proposed that the child will be placed; (Such attendance should always be discussed with the child before invitations are made and their views obtained)
  8. The Independent Visitor, if one has been appointed.

Any other person may include:

  1. Their current carer (residential care officer or foster carer);
  2. The independent visitor (if applicable);
  3. The Children’s Guardian (where one has been appointed);
  4. The relevant health care professionals;
  5. The child/young person's GP;
  6. Any other local authority if the child is looked after outside of the East Riding of Yorkshire e.g. if a placement is being supervised by another authority;
  7. The local education authority;
  8. The child's teacher (if relevant);
  9. Any other person who views need to be sought e.g. a representative from a voluntary organisation.


11. Participation of the Child/Young Person

The child's social worker will discuss with the child who they wish to attend the review and where they wish it to be held at least 20 working days before the date of the Review.

In addition, a member of the Children’s Participation and Rights Team will contact each looked after child, aged 5 or over, before the review meeting and arrange to visit them (usually in their placement) to go through with them the Viewpoint questionnaire. This is to facilitate the full involvement of the child/young person in the review process. If the child agrees to complete the questionnaire a copy will go to the CISRO and any other person that the child agrees. It will be explained to the child, however, that the CISRO will have to raise any issues of concern at the review - even if the child does not wish copies of the questionnaire to be circulated.

If the child declines to complete the Viewpoint questionnaire, the Children’s Participation and Rights Team will send the child or young person the booklet "My Review About Me" to be completed and returned to them in a free post envelope.

The child will also be asked if they wish to chair the review meeting and if so, the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer will assist the child to chair the meeting and ensure that the meeting considers the child's Care Plan and all aspects of the child's case. Otherwise the CISRO will chair the meeting.


12. Attendance at Reviews

Invitations to reviews and consultation documents should be sent out to all those participating in the review at least 10 working days before the meeting.

Only in exceptional cases should a parent or a child/young person not be invited to a review meeting: The involvement of the child/young person will be subject to their understanding and welfare. The possibility of a child/young person being accompanied to a review meeting by a person who is able to provide friendly support should be considered.

Where a child/young person's welfare would be prejudiced by their parents' attendance at the same time, separate attendance may be arranged. The attendance of the child and their parents at a meeting to review the child's case will be the norm rather than the exception. It is expected that the parents and the child will be present at the whole of the review, but this will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. See also the Role of the Children’s Safeguarding and Reviewing Officer (CISRO) Procedure.

There may be exceptional circumstances where the child’s social worker, in consultation with the CISRO decides that the attendance of the carer at all or part of the review meeting will not be appropriate or practicable. Where this is the case, a written explanation of the reasons should be given and other arrangements made for the carer to contribute to the review process. Details of the reasons why a carer is excluded and a record of their input should be placed on the child’s case record.

If the parent(s) or the child brings a supporter, the CISRO will need to explain their role, ensuring that the supporter understands that they may clarify information but may not cross-examine any contributor.

Where the ‘supporter’ is a legal representative then the CISRO should note The Law Society guidance ‘Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings’ and related Code of Conduct (2011).

All solicitors attending these meetings should be aware of the local policies and procedures in respect of Children Act Meetings and of their role in terms of ‘Working Together to safeguard Children'.


13. Review Decisions

Local authorities should have a system in place for a designated senior member of staff, for example a team manager, to consider the decisions made at each Looked After Review within 5 working days of receiving them, and to advise the CISRO and all those who attended the review if they are unable to agree them.

If no response is received the decisions should be considered agreed by the local authority and should be implemented within the timescales set out in them.

If the senior member of staff disagrees with any of the decisions within that initial 5 working day period, this should be notified in writing to the CISRO and all those who attended the review.

In the first instance the CISRO should attempt to resolve the issue informally. If this is not successful the CISRO can consider activating the local dispute resolution process.


14. Record of Reviews

Following a review:

  • The CISRO should produce a written record of the decisions or recommendations made within 5 working days of the completion of the review, and a full record of the review within 15 working days of completion of the review;
  • The full record should contain an accurate and comprehensive record of the meeting, or meetings, which constituted the review and of the views of all those who attended or were consulted as part of the review process. The record should also reflect the review process for a designated long term foster placement where a meeting did not take place;
  • The full written record of the review, including the decisions, should be distributed within 20 working days of the completion of the review;
  • The decisions should have any identifying details removed as necessary, for example, exceptionally, the address of the placement;
  • Where parents do not attend the review/part of the meeting and contribute their views in some other manner, a discussion should take place between the social worker and the CISRO as to whether it is in the child’s interest for the parents to receive a full record of the review and, if not, what written information should be sent to them. Examples of where this should be a consideration are where there is a ‘no contact order’ or supervised contact only;
  • Within 10 working days following the completion of the review, the social worker should update the Care Plan in relation to any changes to the Care Plan agreed at the review.


15. Procedures for Conducting Looked After Reviews

The social worker should give the child (subject to age and understanding), their parents or person with Parental Responsibility, and anyone else agreed as relevant, a copy of the Looked After Review Policy.

Before the review is arranged, the designated Social Worker responsible for the case, in discussion with the child and the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer (CISRO), should identify who should be invited.

The CISRO must be satisfied that the wishes and feelings of the child’s parents, any person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility and the current carer (foster carer or registered person in respect of a children’s home) have been taken into account as part of the review process.

Any decision to exclude the child or the parents from a meeting (or part of a meeting) should be discussed and agreed with the CISRO.

If a parent or child is excluded from a review, a written explanation should be given to the parent or child with a copy placed on the child's case record on other arrangement made for their involvement of the review.

The child or young person should be consulted regarding their views on the venue for the Review meeting - this will be carried out by a member of the Children’s Participation and Rights Team. This should take place at least 20 working days before the Review about who the child would like to attend the meeting and where the meeting will be held.

The child/young person should fill in the Viewpoint questionnaire with the assistance of a member of the Children’s Participation and Rights Team, unless they decide that they do not wish to do so.

Invitations to reviews and consultation documents should be sent out to all those participating in the review at least 10 working days before the meeting.

There is no request on these booklets for a signature or date. The child/young person and person completing the forms must sign and date the final page.

Following the Consultation Papers being sent out, the designated Social Worker should set up a direct meeting with the parents to discuss their views.

The views of other relevant professionals are to be sought 2 weeks prior to the date of the Review, recorded in writing and passed to the Children's Independent and Safeguarding Reviewing Officer 7 days before the Review.

The Review of Arrangements must be completed by the Social Worker (Section 1-22) following the consultation. Additional comments should be noted in Section 23, 0-5. The remaining sections are completed by the CISRO.

The reference number is completed with the SSID Party Identification number (PIN).

The Review of Arrangements form should be completed and passed to the CISRO 7 working days before the Review.

The Referral and Information Record, Placement Plan and Care Plan need to be updated and available at the Review together with a copy of the last Review Form and copies of the Summary of Work to be undertaken from the last completed Assessment and Action Record.

Prior to the Review the CISRO will examine the case file.

The CISRO will complete the Review of Arrangements form (Question 23 to 26) within 10 working days after the Review.

A full copy of the Review of Arrangements is to be kept on the child/young person's file.

Completed copies of Section 23 'Issues for Discussion, Record of Discussion and Review Decisions' need to be distributed to:

  • Child/young person in placement;
  • Child/young person's parent/person with Parental Responsibility;
  • Foster carer/children's home;
  • The Fostering Team;
  • The officer with lead responsibility for implementing the authority’s duty to promote the educational achievement of its looked after children;
  • Any other person thought to be relevant, e.g. current carer, social worker from another local authority in whose area it is proposed that the child will be looked after, health professionals including GP;
  • The most appropriate teacher at the child’s school which, where appropriate, should be the designated teacher for looked after children;
  • The Independent Visitor if one has been appointed;
  • Other Review participants;
  • Other persons consulted prior to the Review.

The CISRO should produce a written record of the decisions or recommendations made within 5 working days of the completion of the review, and a full record of the review within 15 working days of completion of the review. The full written record of the review, including the decisions, should be distributed within 20 working days of the completion of the review.

The Care Plan must be updated if changes are made as a result of the Review.

A copy of the updated Care Plan must be sent to the residential homes if relevant.

If the senior member of staff disagrees with any of the decisions within that initial 5 working day period, this should be notified in writing to the CISRO and all those who attended the review.

In the first instance the CISRO should attempt to resolve the issue informally. If this is not successful the CISRO can consider activating the local dispute resolution process.

End