Responsibilities of the Core Group
The Core Group is responsible for:
• Developing the Child Protection Plan into a detailed working tool
• Implementing the Child Protection Plan
• Completing an assessment of the family
• Meeting regularly to monitor progress
• Providing an evaluation of their work for the Child Protection Review Conference
• Requesting a new conference if the plans cannot be achieved or need to be significantly altered
HOW TO DO IT
Membership of the Core Group
Membership should include the lead professional, who leads the Core Group, the child if appropriate, parents and/or carers and any significant others who have direct contact with the family.
The First Core Group Meeting
The first Core Group Meeting will take place on the date set at the Initial Child Protection Conference. This will be within 10 working days of the conference.
Using either the full minutes of the Child Protection Conference, or a copy of the decisions and recommendations, the Chair of the Core Group must help the group to complete the detail of the Child Protection Plan. The Core Group must also consider what steps need to be taken to complete the Core Assessment if this has not already been done.
The detailed Child Protection Plan, together with any other decisions made and actions agreed at the Core Group should be written up on the Pro Forma for Core Group Minutes and the Child Protection Plan must be circulated by the lead professional.
The Chair of the Core Group will set the dates of the next two Core Group meetings which must be held prior to the first Child Protection Review Conference.
Subsequent Core Group Meetings
The Core Group should meet within the timescales agreed (at the Initial Child Protection Conference) to facilitate working together, monitor actions and outcomes against the Child Protection Plan and make any necessary alterations as circumstances change.
Core Group Meetings will usually continue to be chaired by the lead professional or their manager/supervisor.
Recording Core Group Meetings
Core Group meetings should be recorded on the Pro Forma for Core Group Minutes and the Child Protection Plan.
Copies of the notes and written agreement must be circulated to Core Group Members within three working days of the Core Group meeting.
A copy must be sent to the Quality and Assurance Manager.
The lead professional should also ensure that the Child Protection Plan is amended as necessary and this updated Child Protection Plan is entered onto the child’s electronic record.
Agreement of detailed Child Protection Plan
All members of the Core Group have equal ownership of, and responsibility for the Child Protection Plan; they should co-operate to achieve its aims.
Core Group members must agree a plan which adds detail to the outline Child Protection Plan agreed at the Initial Child Protection Conference.
The Core Group should not alter any of the specified outcomes agreed at the conference, although they can agree additional outcomes if required.
The Roles and Responsibilities of Core Group Members
Child Protection Plans should be formulated with the specific roles of the Core Group members in mind so that everyone is clear about the individual and shared responsibilities.
Although the lead professional has the lead role, all members of the Core Group are jointly responsible for the formulation and implementation of the Child Protection Plan, refining the plan as needed and monitoring progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan.
Supervision and/or managerial and professional support to individual Core Group members remain with their agency. However, the Child Protection Conference Chair may provide advice to the Core Group on any remaining inter-agency problems which the Core Group is unable to discuss complex case work issues.
The specific responsibilities of individual Core Group members are to:
• Accept that the child’s needs remain paramount and maintain a child centred focus
• Contribute to multi-agency assessments
• Make suggestions or approaches, if appropriate, for the involvement of other specifically skilled professionals or agencies seen as relevant
• Attend and participate in Core Group meetings or other relevant meetings
• Carry out agreed tasks in accordance with their own agency functions; if this is not possible the lead professional must be consulted before any plans regarding the child or family are altered
• Provide specialist advice which will inform the Child Protection Plan
• Provide the lead professional with written reports as requested
• Communicate regularly with the lead professional about the progress of their own role in the agreed Child Protection Plan
• Inform the lead professional of any change in circumstances relevant to the Child Protection Plan
• Alert the lead professional of the need to convene either a Core Group meeting or to reconvene the Child Protection Review Conference early
• Help identify unmet needs
Any delays in implementing the Child Protection Plan must be monitored and appropriate action taken by the lead professional, their managers/supervisors and at Core Group meetings.
Failure to achieve the desired outcomes of the plan
If the intervention, monitoring and further assessment reach the conclusion that the situation is not safe, and/or that there has been a failure to obtain or retain the co-operation of the parents/carers, the lead professional must be informed. The lead professional must then inform his/her line manager/supervisor (without delay) and in consultation with other agencies, including the Public Protection Unit Protection, a decision will be made as to:
o what immediate action is needed i.e. voluntary reception into care, exclusion order , emergency child protection order etc
o what further action is needed, i.e. referral to the Convenor or the Juvenile Court (following a Legal Threshold Meeting)
o and/or that a Child Protection Review Conference date be brought forward
If there are difficulties implementing the plan as a result of disagreement among professionals or a Core Group member is not carrying out their responsibilities, this must be addressed by discussion between Core Group members and, if required, the involvement of relevant managers/supervisors within their respective agencies. Where necessary see the Resolution of Professional Disagreements – Escalation Policy.