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1.3.2 Procedure for the Transfer of Cases Between Social Work Teams within the Children and Families Services

AMENDMENT

This chapter was added to this manual in March 2013.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. General Principles Case Transfer
  3. General Principles Case Closure
  4. Assessment Team
  5. Transfer to Assessment Team from Triage/MASH Team
  6. Transfers to Children
  7. Transfer to Children with Disabilities Team
  8. Summary

    Appendix 1: Threshold Response Table


1. Introduction

This document attempts to provide guidance about the process of transferring and closing cases. We are committed to providing a consistent service to children and families in Havering and it is key to this that when issues that arise on open cases they are, wherever possible, dealt with by the existing team. This Protocol should be read alongside the Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure, that, together, set out the context for much of our work.

Cases regularly move between teams and it is the purpose of these notes to try and ensure that there is a clear understanding of how a case should move from one team to another. The objective is to ensure that there is both continuity of care and clarity of responsibility at each stage of the process.


2. General Principles Case Transfer

  • Cases for transfer will be discussed at a weekly Allocations Meeting when a date for transfer will be agreed and a management action sheet completed;
  • All cases will transfer with an Assessment and or LAC documents and Transfer Summary and a clear plan;
  • If Practice Managers cannot attend, their Senior Practitioner should deputise for them;
  • The Transfer Meeting will be chaired by the Practice Manager for Assessment Team, in her absence, a nominated Practice Manager or Senior Practitioner;
  • Transfer information will be manually recorded in an Allocations book and kept in the office of the Assessment Team;
  • All teams across the service will operate a duty system for cases that cannot be immediately allocated and to take urgent action on cases where the allocated worker is absent on annual or sick leave;
  • Cases held on duty in each team will be reviewed and prioritised 3 weekly by the Team Manager or, in their absence, the Senior Practitioner;
  • The purpose of reviews will be to ensure known risk and service provision is reviewed, duty action planned, and that statutory visits are being maintained.

Before a case can be transferred from one team to another, certain requirements must be met.

The CCM entry for all family members must be up to date. This should include:

  • All personal details, ie name, date of birth, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability address including postcode All professional contacts known, ie health visitor, GP, school, school nurse, teacher;
  • All family composition, appropriately cross referenced, in involvements;
  • When re-allocated, a new involvement must be created between the social worker/service user and the old one closed;
  • All old activities must be closed.

Consent to information sharing should be confirmed in Assessment Team if the case is one of CIN or the decision to override consent recorded by the Team Manager.

Capacity issues need to be raised by the Receiving Team Manager with the Service Manager. A lack of workload capacity in the receiving team will not prevent the transfer of any case according to these procedures.

Preventing transfers is not part of Workload Management. Similarly case stability is not a legitimate reason to prevent case transfer and reference to Team criteria is not a block. The originating Team decides which Team are to receive the case. If that manager disagrees the case is held on the receiving team duty until they have discussions with other managers. In all circumstances cases transfer when ready.

The reason for the case transfer, the date of transfer is to be recorded in the profile notes on CCM and must reflect the discussion with the Receiving Team Manager.

Cases will be audited by the Practice or Team Manager (or Senior Practitioner in their absence) the day prior to the transfer meeting. Each file should have:

  1. An up to date chronology should be available both in hard copy and, to facilitate updating, electronically;
  2. A transfer summary, an up to date and complete Assessment and completed Section 47 if appropriate. Full LAC documents updated if appropriate;
  3. The file must be in good order with all existing papers appropriately electronically scanned onto the electronic file.


3. General Principles Case Closure

Before a case can be closed, certain requirements must be met:

  1. The CCM entry must be up to date and should include:
    • All personal details, ie name, date of birth, ethnicity, gender, religion, address including postcode (see previous explanation);
    • All professional contacts known, ie health visitor, GP, school, school nurse, teacher;
    • All family composition, appropriately cross referenced, in involvements;
    • All team/social worker details in the 'service tab' must be checked and, where appropriate, closed;
    • All Documents in the 'package' must be closed;
    • All relationships, activities and events must be closed down;
    • All 'co-resident documents' must be closed down, before the actual 'package' of co resident can be closed down.
  2. An up to date chronology must be available on CCM to facilitate updating, electronically;
  3. A closing summary, completed assessment or completed Section 47 pack, signed in all cases by the team manager;
  4. The team closing a case will be responsible for archiving the file if there is one;
  5. Unless CCM has been updated to record the case closure, the case remains the responsibility of the team should any new referrals be received;
  6. Any new referrals that have been open (within the previous three months) should be immediately re-allocated to is previous allocated team. The Triage/MASH team will enter the referral outcome into CCM and pass the case to the relevant social worker in the relevant team.

All referrals to the Children and Young Peoples Service are, in the first instance, passed through the Triage/MASH team (see Assessment Handbook and Referral Pathway). Triage/MASH acts of the first point of contact for all referrals to Havering Children and Young Peoples Service.

It is the responsibility of the Triage/MASH Team to screen all new referrals within 24 hours of receipt and add the details to the CCM system.


4. Assessment Team

Where there appears to be a prima facie case that a child or children are In Need, then a decision will normally be taken to undertake an Assessment, the criteria of 'being in need' is taken from the definition set out in the Children Act 1989 - Section 17 (10)

'A child shall be taken to be in need of.............'

  1. He is unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority;
  2. His health or development is unlikely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired without the provision for him of such services; or
  3. He is disabled.

The Assessment team will undertake assessments of all children who are deemed to be 'in need'.

There is a non-exhaustive list of examples distinguishing situations requiring a S47 enquiry and for those which require an Assessment, please refer to Threshold Response Table at Appendix 1: Threshold Response Table.

All referrals to the Children and Young Peoples Service are, in the first instance, passed through the Triage/MASH team (see Assessment Handbook and Referral Pathway). Triage/MASH acts of the first point of contact for all referrals to Havering Children and Young Peoples Service.

It is the responsibility of the Triage/MASH Team to screen all new referrals within 24 hours of receipt and add the details to the CCM system.

Those cases that do not meet the criteria for either an Assessment or S47 enquiries will be if meeting the Tier 3 threshold will transfer to early help services or closed after advice; information and, where possible, an explanation for the decision will be shared with the referrer. The referrer will be informed that no further action will be taken on such cases.

Once a referral has been screened, the Manager MASH/Triage team will be responsible for determining which cases have meet the threshold for an Assessment and passing it on the Assessment Team. The Assessment Team will complete the assessment and in discussion with Senior Practitioners and Practice Manager decide if the criteria for transfer to one of the other Social Work teams within Havering Children and Young People's Service is necessary, for instance short breaks or 16-18 homeless young people.

The main options are:

  1. No further action;
  2. Referral to external agency or S47;
  3. Assessment within the Assessment team;
  4. Assessment by Children with Disabilities team;
  5. Homeless assessments or After care support from Leaving Care team;
  6. Assessment of Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers and transfer to the appropriate team within the Children and Families Service (post April 2013 this could be LAC 14+);
  7. In cases concerned with a family's habitual residence, ie where the family cannot get access to benefits and are destitute, the family should initially be assessed by Assessment Team. If appropriate, S17 resources are to be used to enable the family to return to their home country if they are unable to provide this for themselves.


5. Transfer to Assessment Team from Triage/MASH Team

The Assessment Team will complete all;

  • Assessments;
  • Joint and Single agency Section 47 investigations;
  • New referrals up to Initial Child Protection Conference;
  • Looking after children up to the point of gaining court orders;
  • Looking after children with no Orders, Section 20. transfer to the relevant team under or over 12s or Disability.

The assessment practice manager will ensure that case is fit for transfer and sign off on the transfer summary.

Any delay in the assessment process should be documented by the Practice Manager or Senior Practitioner

If the child has already been subjected to an Assessment previously, then a new or updated assessment will be completed.


6. Transfers to Children

A case transferring from any other team should follow the general transfer principles, but in addition, an Assessment must be in place and a Children in Need, or Child Protection, or Looked After Children Plan.

All transfer summaries should include background information; analysis of the current situation and risk; and key forthcoming dates.

Where a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, discussion should take place between the Team Managers. Where possible, a representative from the receiving team should attend Core Group or Case Conference convened by the transferring team. A handover meeting should take place between a representative from the receiving team and the social worker from the transferring team. An introduction visit to the child and family should take place.

Where a child is a Child in Need or Looked After, the above procedure should be followed if possible.

Where a child is Looked After by the Local Authority, discussion should take place between Team Managers. A representative from the receiving team should attend the Looked After Review convened by the transferring team if possible. A handover meeting should take place between a representative from the receiving team and the social worker from the transferring team. An Introduction visit to the child and family should take place. All Looked After Children forms should be up to date, hard copies on file and electronically on CCM, including PEP if possible.

If the placement is one of Connected Persons/ family and friends then the appropriate referrals to the Adoption and Fostering Service should be completed.


7. Transfer to Children with Disabilities Team

All new referrals will be received by the Triage/MASH team including requests for information to inform Education, Health and Care Plans for 0-25 years.

The Triage/MASH team will gather information relating to the needs of the child, including a letter from Paediatricians confirming any diagnosis and any Education, Health and Care Plans for 0-25 years.

When there are cases for transfer to Children with Disabilities, then the Team Manager, Triage/MASH team will notify the Team Manager, Children with Disabilities team and invite to meet with them or their representative.

The need for medical information to evidence the child's disability should not delay the assessment process.

If medical evidence is not forthcoming within 7 days, but there is good reason to believe the child's disability is as detailed in the referral a transfer to Children's with Disabilities Team will be actioned if appropriate. In cases where the situation is not clear then discussions will take place with the Service Manager.

At present, cases are transferred to the Children with Disabilities team when they fit the definition of disability and the family have complex social care needs. This does not include children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

There are cases where young people are both Leaving Care eligible and possibly Community Care eligible. In such circumstances, the young person's care should be presented to the adult transition panel. If Adult Services deem the young person not eligible for services under the Community Care Act, then the case will transfer to the Leaving Care POD for post 18 support. This should happen no later than the young person being 17.5. This will address the current inequality of the transfer system for young people who have a mild disability or mental impairment and are entitled to Leaving Care Act services.


8. Summary

Each case which presents for transfer to another team should not be delayed as this causes drift and creates an inequalities in service provision to the Service User.

All Team Managers should give the transfer process priority and be flexible in their approach. Cases do not fit neatly into teams as each service user is unique and individual.


Appendix 1: Threshold Response Table

Click here to view Appendix 1: Threshold Response Table

End