The chair of a Child Protection Conference will be a social work manager or an independent chair. (S)he must not have operational or line management responsibility for the case. The conference chair is accountable to the Director of Children's Services.
The chair must meet with the family, child and social worker prior to the conference to ensure they understand the purpose of the conference and how it will be conducted.
Where necessary, interpreters, etc. should be made available to facilitate family participation.
At the start of the conference the chair will:
- Set out the purpose of the conference;
- Confirm the agenda;
- Emphasise the need for confidentiality;
- Address equal opportunities issues e.g. specifying that racist, homophobic, religious hatred and threatening behaviour will not be tolerated;
- Clarify the contributions of those present, including supporters of the family.
During the conference the chair will ensure that:
- The conference maintains a focus on the welfare of the child(ren);
- Consideration is given to all the children in the household;
- All those present, including the parents and child(ren) if present, make a full contribution and that full consideration is given to the information they present. This may include the use of interpreters if English is not the first language of family members;
- Reports of those not present are made known to parties;
- The wishes and feelings of the child(ren) are clearly outlined;
- Issues of race, religion, language, class, gender, sexuality and disability are fully taken into account in the work of the conference;
- Appropriate arrangements are made to receive third party confidential information;
- All concerned are advised/reminded of the complaints procedure;
- Arrangements are made with the social worker for absent parents or carers to be informed of the decisions of conferences;
- A decision is made as to whether the child should become, remain or cease to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.