5.6 Membership of Child Protection Conference
Last reviewed in July 2020
Date of next review September 2022
Conferences participants should be there because they may have a significant contribution to make, arising from professional expertise, knowledge of the child or family or both.
Attendees should include the Chair and Core Group members.
All key agencies, including the Police and Paediatricians*, must provide a written report for the meeting that has been shared with the family*, regardless of whether they attend or not.
* If the paediatrician is unable to attend the conference it is important that their report is written in a way that is understandable to non-medical professionals and the family.
** In cases of FII and perplexing presentations there should be careful consideration and joint decision when and by whom reports will be shared with parents/carers. This should be decided in prior strategy discussions. Reports and concerns about FII should not be shared with parents/carers for the first time at Conference (please refer to Fabricated or induced illness (FII) and Perplexing Presentations (including FII by carers)).
Invitations to Conference should be provided to all professionals with a need to know or who have a contribution to the task involved. This may include professionals involved with the parents or other family members (e.g. family support services, adult mental health services, probation, the GP.
Probation must also always be asked to provide written information to the meeting detailing whether they are currently or have been involved with any member of the family and the reasons for involvement.
Legal Attendance at Conferences
The Law Society provides professional guidance on attendance by lawyers at Child Protection Conferences. Their role is as a supporter or representative for the child, parents or on behalf of the local authority, but the process is not a court or tribunal and the adversarial role is not appropriate.
The local authority solicitor is both a legal adviser to the chair and to the local authority, although will not normally provide this advice during the conference. They may not question parents directly and in exceptional circumstances may have to withdraw if there are any indications that admissions are to be made by parents.
The solicitor for a parent or child may attend in the role of representative of child or supporter of parent to assist their clients to participate and, with the chair's permission to speak on their behalf.