5.16 Actions and Decisions of the Conference

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This chapter is currently under review - May 2020



As described in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, Flowchart 4, Action following a strategy discussion (page 42) the conference should consider the following questions when determining whether the child should be the subject of a Child Protection Plan:

  • The child is likely to suffer Significant Harm? or
  • The child is not likely to suffer Significant Harm.

The test for likelihood of suffering harm in the future should be that either:

  • The child can be shown to have suffered ill-treatment  or impairment of health or development as a result of Physical, Emotional, or Sexual Abuse or Neglect, and professional judgement is that further ill-treatment or impairment is likely; or
  • Professional judgement, substantiated by the findings of enquiries in this individual case or by research evidence, is that the child is likely to suffer ill-treatment or the impairment of health and development as a result of Physical, Emotional or Sexual Abuse or Neglect

If the child is at continuing risk of Significant Harm, (s)he will require inter-agency help and intervention delivered through a formal Child Protection Plan.


The chair of a conference is responsible for the conference decision. (S)he will consult conference members, aim for a consensus as to the need for a plan or not, but ultimately will make the decision and note any dissenting views.


The decision making process will normally take place with parents / carers present.


The chair must make a decision about the need for a Child Protection Plan 'based on the views of all agencies represented at the conference and also take into account any written contributions that have been made.

Categories of Abuse or Neglect


If the decision is that the child is in need of a Child Protection Plan, Working Together to Safeguard Children states the chair should determine under which category of abuse or neglect the child has suffered or likely to suffer.


The category used (Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse. Sexual Abuse or Neglectwill indicate to those consulting the child's social care record the primary presenting concern at the time the child became subject to a Child Protection Plan.


Multiple categories should not be used to cover all eventualities, and 'other significant concerns' recorded instead. On occasions it may be appropriate to use more than one category if:

  • Each of the categories reaches the threshold for Significant Harm; and
  • A specific risk might otherwise be underestimated.

Emotional Abuse should only be used as a second category if substantial concern is indicated.


The need for a Child Protection Plan should be considered separately in respect of each child in the family or household.

If a Child is made the subject of a Child Protection Plan


Where a child is made the subject of a Child Protection Plan, it is the role of the conference to consider and make decisions on how agencies, professionals and the family should work together to ensure that the child will be safeguarded from harm in the future. This should enable both professionals, and the family, to understand exactly what is expected of them and what can they expect of others.


The chair must ensure that the following tasks are completed:

  • That a Lead Social  Worker is identified, and if this is not possible that a first line manager from Children's Social Care is identified to act in that role in the interim;
  • Identify the membership of the Core Group;
  • Establish how the child, parents (including all those with Parental Responsibility) and wider family members should be involved in the ongoing assessment, planning and implementation process, and the support, advice and advocacy available to them;
  • Establish timescales for meetings of the Core Group, production of a Child Protection Plan, and for child protection review meetings;
  • Identifying in outline what further action is required to complete the Child and Family Assessment and what other specialist assessments of the child and family are required to make sound judgements on how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Outline the Child Protection Plan, in as much detail as possible, especially, identifying what needs to change in order to achieve the planned outcomes to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Ensure a contingency plan is in place if agreed actions are not completed and/or circumstances change; for example, if a caregiver fails to achieve what has been agreed, a court application is not successful or a parent removes the child from a place of safety;
  • Clarify the different purpose and remit of the initial conference, the Core Group, and the Child Protection Review Conference; and
  • Agreeing a date for the first Child Protection Review Conference, and under what circumstances it might be necessary to convene the conference before that date.

Where a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, Significant Harm in the future, it is the local authority's duty to consider the evidence and decide what, if any, legal action to take. The information presented to the Child Protection Conference should inform that decision-making process but it is for the local authority to consider whether it should initiate for example, Care Proceedings.  Where a child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan becomes Looked After, the Child Protection Plan should form part of the child's Care Plan.

Outline Child Protection Plan


The Outline Child Protection Plan should be outcome focussed and:

  • Identify factors associated with the likelihood of the child suffering Significant Harm and ways in which the child can be protected through an inter-agency plan based on the current findings from the assessment and information held from any previous involvement with the child and family;
  • Establish short-term and longer-term aims and objectives that are clearly linked to reducing the likelihood of harm to the child and promoting the child's welfare, including contact with family members;
  • Be clear about who will have responsibility for what actions - including actions by family members - within what specified timescales;
  • Outline ways of monitoring and evaluating progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan; and
  • Be clear about which professional is responsible for checking that the required changes have taken place, and what action will be taken, and by whom,  when they have not.

If a Child is not made the subject of a Child Protection Plan


If it is decided that the child is not at risk of continuing Significant Harm, but the child is in need of support to promote her/his health or development, the conference must ensure that recommendations are made to this effect.


Subject to the family's views and consent, it may be appropriate to:

  • Make recommendations about support and help, including through the Early Help Plan process
  • Establish commitment to inter-agency working, particularly where the child's needs are complex (this should involve a regularly reviewed child's plan)

The decision must be put in writing to the parent(s), and where appropriate the child, as well as communicated to them verbally.

Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan


As indicated in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, Flow Chart 5, What Happens After the Child Protection Conference, Including the Review? (page 52) a child should no longer be the subject of a Child Protection Plan if:

  • It is judged that the child is no longer continuing to, or is likely to, suffer significant harm and therefore no longer requires safeguarding by means of a Child Protection Plan;
  • The child and family have moved permanently to another local authority area. In such cases, the receiving local authority should convene a Child Protection Conference within 15 working days of being notified of the move. Only after this event may the original local authority discontinue its Child Protection Plan; or
  • The child has reached 18 years of age (to end the Child Protection Plan, the local authority should have a review around the child's birthday and this should be planned in advance), has died or has permanently left the United Kingdom.

When a child is no longer the subject of a Child Protection Plan, notification should be sent, as minimum, to all those agency representatives who were invited to attend the initial Child Protection Conference that led to the plan.


Where one or more agencies currently working with a child are not present at the conference deciding on whether to discontinue the Child Protection Plan, the chair may decide to seek their views first. This should be done in writing within 10 working days and written responses provided within 10 working days.


The discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan should not lead to the automatic withdrawal of help. The Lead Social Worker must discuss with parents and child(ren) what services are wanted and needed, based on the re-assessment of the child and family. The Core Group should also consider what continuing support should be offered and, where the discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan is recommended, they should also submit a plan for the provision of the proposed continuing support, including the identification of a Lead Professional and which multi agency professionals will continue their involvement.


Consideration should be given to holding a multi-agency meeting 10 days following the discontinuing of the Child Protection Plan  to develop a detailed child's plan and 3 months afterwards to provide a first review to the child's plan. Subsequently the plan should be reviewed at least every 6 months.

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This page is correct as printed on Monday 28th of September 2020 04:13:22 AM please refer back to this website ( for updates.