Cross boundary Procedure for North East England LSCB’s

Cross Boundary refers to children who are currently known to children’s social care, or where there is a need for involvement by children’s social care and, for whatever reason, the child’s circumstances involve more than one children’s social care department or more than one Police Force area.

N.B. This procedure has been developed in association with the 12 North East LSCBs (Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland South Tyneside, Redcar, Stockton on Tees, Gateshead, Sunderland)

Children to whom this procedure applies

When a child in need of protection moves between the Local Authority areas as detailed above, it is essential that the transferring authority i.e. the one where the child was/is living notify the receiving authority (the one which they are moving or have moved to) of their concerns and the nature of their involvement and plans – and do so in accordance with this procedure and with existing information sharing protocols held by each Local Authority.

This procedure applies to any child who is currently:

  • Subject of a Child Protection Plan.

  • Subject of enquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989

  • Subject of an allegation or concern in relation to an adult who works with children

  • Public Law Outline (Letter Before Proceedings LBP)

  • Children placed by a Local Authority in an another area

    There may be times when a family under Child in Need moves to another area and this escalates the concerns. This may lead to the transferring authority undertaking a S47 enquiry which would then come under the above criteria.

    This procedure is not about children who go missing from home or care, or who go missing with their parents. Separate protocols, procedures and guidance are available regarding children who run away or are missing from home or care.

    The following principles should always be applied:

  • All child protection enquiries should be managed in accordance with Local Safeguarding Children Board Child Protection Procedures;

  • Immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both transferring and receiving authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries;

  • Case responsibility for any child lies with the transferring authority until the strategy meeting (or if a strategy meeting is not within the receiving authorities procedures) the Transfer in Conference takes place

  • Any emergency action should be taken by the receiving authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the transferring authority to take alternative action (e.g. if geographically close);

  • Where concerns arise in relation to the child’s circumstances whilst placed outside their authority e.g. abuse in school or placement, the host authority where the placement is based will lead the enquiry, liaising closely with the home authority. The home Police Child Abuse Investigation Team retain responsibility but may negotiate with their colleagues in the host area;

  • Where emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the receiving authority, responsibility for the child will revert to the transferring authority immediately thereafter. The transferring authority will also normally be responsible for the provision of any form of foster or residential care or other services to ensure the protection of a child in a receiving authority. The welfare of the child will be the paramount consideration in this determination;

  • Negotiations about responsibility must not cause delay in urgent situations.

Notification

 

Whether a temporary or permanent move is to take place a Children’s Services Operational Team Manager in the receiving authority should promptly confirm the notification with his /her counterpart in the receiving authority and agree who will have case responsibility verbally, and to respond to any questions or concerns about the proposed transfer. This should be followed up in writing within 2 working days. Cases are deemed to have been transferred only after written confirmation, or attendance at a meeting, and both authorities have agreed that the transfer conference is not necessary or has taken place.

Professionals from all other agencies involved with the child and/or parents in the transferring authority must within 1 working day of receipt of notification that a child has moved/is moving to another area verbally notify and discuss with their counterparts in the receiving authority the reason for their involvement and the work currently been undertaken with the child/family. This information must be followed up in writing/email within 3 working days. Also any other pertinent information should be sent that will assist their counterpart in protecting the child and ensuring the family receive the right support.

Child Subject to S47 Enquiries

Action to be taken by Children’s Social Care

Where a child moves during the course of Section 47 enquiries, agreement should be reached that the investigation should be completed by the authority that commenced the enquiries. In some instances it may be necessary for the receiving authority to ensure the safety of the child. In such circumstances the receiving authority’s assessment should inform the transferring authority’s Section 47 enquiry.

The receiving authority must be notified of the enquiries as soon as the move, or any intention to move, is known. They will also be involved in any subsequent strategy discussions to determine the way forward, but ownership of the enquiries should remain with the transferring authority that instigated them.

If the outcome of Section 47 enquiries is that the child appears to be at risk of on-going significant harm, the receiving authority will take responsibility for convening the Initial Child Protection Conference. They should do this within statutory timescales (15 working days).

The transferring authority will provide the receiving authority with a verbal report on the outcome of the enquiries on the day that the enquiries are completed, and confirm this in writing within 48 hours.

Any reports for conference will be the responsibility of the transferring authority and the receiving authority must receive these within 10 working days of the S47 commencing.

The receiving authority should also make enquiries as appropriate, and share these with the transferring authority to inform the overall assessment.

The family must be kept informed during the transfer period about case management transfer arrangements, and be provided with the details of a named lead professional as identified during discussion between the transferring and receiving authority team manager.

When there are on-going section 47 concerns information must be shared about any adult who has been subject to MAPPA and / or MARAC arrangements and where there are current child protection concerns in relation to this person.

Child subject of a Child Protection Plan

Working Together sets the legal framework for these arrangements.

Transfer/sharing of information between authorities

The transferring authority must provide the receiving authority with the Child Protection Plan and all reports from the most recent conference 10 working days prior to the move. If this is not possible because the move has already happened or is imminent, the information should be provided on the day the move becomes known about.

Transfer Conference

The receiving authority should hold a Transfer Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of receiving written confirmation of the transfer except where:

  1. the transferring authority agrees to continue to hold the Child Protection Review Conference, or

  2. the child is due to move from the receiving Local Authority within 15 working days or within a short space of time

  3. the child is in temporary accommodation and it is not clear what the future arrangements will be.

    In the event of a Child Protection Conference not being held, it is vital that agreement is reached regarding the case responsibility and actions to ensure the child’s welfare is safeguarded. Such arrangements must be recorded by both the transferring and receiving authority

    Following the strategy discussion and within 3 working days all professionals involved in the receiving authority must contact their counterparts in the transferring authority to inform them that a transfer Child Protection Conference will be taking place. There is an expectation that all the professionals in the transferring authority attend the conference. If this is not possible then the following information should be shared in all circumstances.

  • Any current assessment including risk assessments and single assessment.

  • The current Child Protection Plan, conference reports and minutes.

  • Any relevant legal order or Public Law Outline (LBP) Minutes

  • An evaluation of the implications of the move including the effect on risk increase/decrease as a result of the move.

  • Any identified special needs including health and education

    If the transferring authority fails to forward copies of the above information, the receiving Team Manager should liaise with their counterpart in the transferring authority and follow up any verbal request in writing. If information is still not shared despite this request, the receiving Team Manager must raise this with their Service Manager. The receiving Service Manager should liaise with their counterpart in the transferring authority to ensure that all appropriate information is shared. This process should also be followed where there are difficulties receiving information from a transferring authority that is not one of the 12 North East LSCBs who have developed this procedure.

    There is also a requirement for other professionals involved to challenge their counterparts and/or raise the matter with more senior management if this is not resolved.

    Where the transferring authority requests the receiving authority to undertake welfare visits prior to conference the manner in which that information will be recorded and presented at conference will be agreed.

    It is the transferring authority’s responsibility to ensure the child protection plan continues to be implemented until formal transfer has been agreed at a Transfer in Conference. This includes core group activity and Lead Social Worker / Key Worker responsibility. Actions may be taken by the receiving authority on behalf of the transferring authority, and this should be agreed at team manager level and recorded by both authorities.

    There should be no significant change in the child protection plan until the receiving authority has held a transfer in conference.

    Child Subject to Public Law Outline (LBP)

    Where a child is subject to the Public Law Outline (LBP) the following will need to be provided by the transferring authority before a case will be accepted for transfer by the receiving authority.

  • Copy of the Letter Before Proceedings
  • Copies of Legal minutes
  • An up to date chronology
  • Any viability assessments
  • Copy of current Single Assessment
  • Copy of any specialist assessments commissioned
  • Any other documents that will assist

If the child is not subject to a Child Protection Plan but is subject to Public Law Outline (LBP) the above information still needs to be provided by the transferring authority before a case will be accepted. Good practice recommends a formal Child In Need planning or review meeting will be held within 20 working days between the transferring and receiving authority.

If there has been a decision made to issue Care Proceedings the case will not be transferred. If the family move and this increases concerns, a legal meeting should be held and if it is decided that Care Proceedings should be issued, then the case will not be transferred.

Temporary Moves

In all cases continued case responsibility should be clarified.

A temporary move could cover a range of situations from holiday stays to moves to relatives. The circumstances should always be checked with the child’s Lead Social Worker.

Where it is known that the child has moved out of the area for a temporary period, however long or short, the area where the child is temporarily residing must be provided with the relevant information and contact numbers as follows:

  • The Lead Social Worker must contact the receiving authority where the child is temporarily resident to provide them with the relevant personal details and the last Child Protection Plan.

  • The child‘s name and details will remain on the Record of Children Subject to Child Protection Plans in the receiving authority until the criteria for discontinuing the Child Protection Plan are met

A Child with a Child Protection Plan is about to Leave the Country

Where it becomes clear a child is going to leave the country in circumstances other than for a short holiday which has been planned, a Child Protection Review Conference must be convened to discuss how the child will be safeguarded. If there is insufficient time to convene a CPRC a strategy meeting should be held in order to discuss how best to safeguard the child’s welfare.

Legal advice should be sought and consideration should be given to taking legal action to obtain a court order if this is felt to be the only way to safeguard the child.

If the child is moving to either Scotland or Northern Ireland a case transfer can take place as detailed above. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legal systems thus legal advice must be sought from the receiving authority’s legal advisors.

If the child has already left the United Kingdom advice can be sought from:

  • The Foreign Commonwealth Office, Consular Department (Protection of Minors), Clive House, Petty France, London, SW1H 9HD, Tel: 020 72704116
  • The International Social Services of the United Kingdom, Tel: 020 77358941
  • The Child Abduction Unit, Tel: 020 7911 7047, Tel: 020 7911 7127
  • Re-Unite National Council for Abducted Children, Tel: 020 7271 8629

Dispute resolution

In the first instance discussions should take place between the parties involved following reflective discussion of the situation with their Line Manager. Where agreement still cannot be reached the matter should be escalated to a Senior Manager who may act as an honest broker.

Complaints

Where a complaint is received regarding the transfer of a case the complaints manager of the authority receiving the complaint will be responsible for administrating it. This complaints manager will ensure that each authority responds to any complaint relating to services provided by them as required by their own complaint procedure.

Please refer to the Local Authority Complaints Procedure for that authority.