8.1 Implementation of the Child Protection Plan – Lead Social Worker and Core Group Responsibilities

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Last reviewed in October 2022

Next review due October 2025


ADCS and Cafcass agreement about social work in care proceedings | ADCS



The aim of the child protection plan is to:

• ensure the child is safe from harm and prevent them from suffering further harm

• promote the child’s health and development

• support the child, the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child, provided it is in the best interests of the child


When the decision is made by an Initial Child Protection Conference to make a child subject to a Child Protection Plan, the Conference must


The Core Group is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the detailed Child Protection Plan, previously outlined at the conference.

Core Group



All members of the Core Group are jointly responsible for:

  • Collecting information to assist the Lead Social Worker in completing the Family Assessment also referred to a Child and Family Assessment or Strengthening Families Assessment);
  • Participating in the compilation of the Family Assessment;
  • Formulating and implementing the Child Protection Plan, refining it as necessary;
  • Monitoring progress of the Child Protection Plan against specified objectives;
  • Providing clear information to Review Conferences on the implementation, progress and outcomes of the Child Protection Plan;
  • Acting on any significant changes to the Child Protection Plan following decisions made at Review Conferences or in relation to decisions to take legal action.

Where any member of the Core Group is aware of difficulties implementing the Child Protection Plan due to changed or unforeseen circumstances, the Lead Social Worker must be informed immediately and consideration given to recalling the Core Group meeting to re-consider the Child Protection Plan.


Circumstances, about which the Lead Social Worker should be informed, include the inability to gain access to the child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan, for whatever reasons, on two consecutive home visits.


If the difficulty in implementing the Child Protection Plan impacts on the safety of the child, the Lead Social Worker and all Core Group members should consider the need for a Section 47 Enquiry and / or bringing forward the date of the Review Child Protection Conference and / or for immediate legal action.


If members are concerned that there are difficulties implementing the Child Protection Plan arising from disagreement amongst professional agencies or a Core Group member not carrying out agreed responsibilities this must be addressed:

  • Firstly, by discussion with other Core Group members and first line managers;
  • Secondly, if required, by referral to respective professional advisers i.e. child protection advisers for Children's Social Care, designated/named doctor, nurse, teacher; and
  • If the situation remains unresolved, the matter should be discussed with the chair and where necessary referred to the senior child protection manager.

See Resolution of Professional Disagreements Procedure  for additional information on the procedure to be followed.



Membership of the Core Group will have been identified at the Child Protection Conference and must include the Lead Social Worker  as chair.


It will include both parents/carers, child (if appropriate) and other relevant family members. If the Core Group is unable to include both parents due to risk or because one or other of the parents is unable to attend due to work or other commitments, then the lead Social Worker should ensure that their participation can be achieved by alternative means, e.g. the views being sought prior to the Core Group, reported to the Core Group meeting and a copy of the minutes of the Core Group being provided to the non-attending parent.


Professionals and foster carers in direct contact with the child should also be included.



Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, Flowchart 5, What happens after the child protection conference, including the review?  states that the date of the first Core Group meeting must be within 10 working days of the Initial Child Protection Conference. This date must be arranged at the end of the conference, along with an indication of the required frequency of subsequent meetings.


Good practice would be for the Core Group to meet within 6 weeks of their initial meeting, and at a minimum frequency of once every 2 months following the first Review Conference. More regular meetings may be required according to the needs of the child.


Where the Review Conference recommends major changes to the Child Protection Plan, the Core Group should meet within 10 days of the conference.


Dates for future meetings must be agreed at the first Core Group meeting following each conference.

Formulation of Child Protection Plan


Each child subject to a Child Protection Plan must have a written Child Protection Plan, using the Child Protection Plan pro-forma.


The purpose of this plan is to facilitate and make explicit a coordinated approach to the protection from further harm of each child subject to a Child Protection Plan.


The parents should be clear about:

  • The evidence of Significant Harm which resulted in the child becoming the subject of a  Child Protection Plan;
  • What needs to change in the future; and
  • What is expected of them as part of implementing the plan.

All parties must be clear about the respective roles and responsibilities of family members and different agencies in implementing the plan.


The plan will be outlined at the Child Protection Conference and the Lead Social Worker and Core Group are responsible for ensuring it is drawn up in detail and acted upon.


The Core Group will, as described above, regularly review and where necessary modify the Child Protection Plan.


The Child Protection Plan will constitute an agenda item at each Review Conference.


The Child Protection Plan should be used to clarify expectations and assist in joint working towards shared goals. It can also be used as evidence, in any legal proceedings, of the efforts made to work in partnership (this must be made clear to parents).

Outline Child Protection Plan


An outline plan must be drawn up at Initial and Review Conferences, following the decision to develop a Child Protection Plan or continue with that plan. (see Actions and Decisions of the Conference Procedure, Outline Child Protection Plan) . The aim of the outline plan is to assist the Core Group to form a clearer focus of work with the family and to explicitly define individual professional responsibilities.


There should be no reduction in service level or significant change to the Child Protection Plan without:

  • The recorded agreement of other Core Group members; and
  • The recorded agreement of the first line manager; and
  • Consulting the conference chair; and
  • Consideration with the chair and line manager of any need to reconvene the conference.

The Detailed Child Protection Plan


Professionals and parents/caregivers should develop the details of the Child Protection Plan in the Core Group. The overall aim of the plan is to:

Ensure the child is safe from harm and prevent him or her from suffering further harm by supporting the strengths, addressing the vulnerabilities and risk factors and helping meet the child's unmet needs;

Promote the child's health and development, i.e. their welfare; and

Provided it is in the best interests of the child, to support the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child.


The Child Protection Plan should be based on the findings from the assessment, following the dimensions relating to the child's developmental needs, parenting capacity and family and environmental factors, and drawing on knowledge about effective interventions. Where the child is also Looked After, the Child Protection Plan should be part of the Looked After child's Care Plan.


The content of the Child Protection Plan should be consistent with the information set out in the Child Protection Plan Record (on ICS). It should set out what work needs to be done, why, when and by whom. The plan should include:

  • When and in what situations the child will be seen by the child's Lead Social Worker, both alone and with other family members or carers present;
  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and what therapeutic services, if any, are required;
  • Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
  • Include a contingency Plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Clearly identify roles and responsibilities of practitioners and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by practitioners with children and family members;
  • Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed, and the means by which progress will be judged; and
  • Set out clearly the roles and responsibilities of those practitioners with routine contact with the child - e.g. health visitors, GP's and teachers - as well as those practitioners providing specialist or targeted support to the child and family.
  • Take into consideration the necessity for an interpreter, avoidance of appointments with family on significant religious festivals, any issues arising from disability etc

The Child Protection Plan should take into account the wishes and feelings of the child, and the views of the parents, insofar as they are consistent with the child's welfare. Both child and parents should be provided with the opportunity to record their comments, including areas of disagreement. If the aim and content of the plan has not been discussed with any of the parties / agency concerned, the reasons must be stated on the plan.


Any dissent about the plan, by family or professionals, must be recorded, with reasons. If family members' preferences are not accepted about how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, the reasons for this should be explained. Families should be told about their right to complain and make representations, and how to do so.


The Lead Social Worker should make every effort to ensure that the child and parents have a clear understanding of the planned outcomes; that they accept the plan and are willing to work to it. If the parents are not willing to cooperate in the implementation of the plan the local authority should consider what action, including the initiation of Care Proceedings, it should take to safeguard the child's welfare.


The plan should be constructed with the family in their preferred language and they should receive a written copy in this language.


The Child Protection Plan should be explained to and agreed with the child in a manner which is accordance with their age and understanding.


The Lead Social Worker must record the Child Protection Plan and circulate it to all Core Group members and the conference chair within 5 working days of the meeting.


All agencies are responsible for the implementation of the Child Protection Plan and all professionals must ensure they are able to deliver their commitments, or if not possible, that these are re-negotiated.

Lead Social Worker Role


At every initial conference, where a child is made subject to a Child Protection Plan, the chair will name a qualified social worker, identified by the social work team manager, to fulfil the role of Lead Social Worker for the child.


The Lead Social Worker should:

  • Ensure that Core Groups take place with frequency;
  • Ensure that the outline Child Protection Plan is developed, in conjunction with members of the Core Group (see Core Group Membership) , into a detailed multi-agency protection plan;
  • Clearly note and include in the written record any areas of disagreement;
  • Ensure Core Group members, the child (where appropriate) and family have the opportunity to understand and contribute to the Child Protection Plan and that it is distributed within five days of the Core Group meeting and maintained on the child's electronic record;
  • Obtain a full understanding of the family's history (which must involve reading Children's Social Care records, including those relating to other children who have been part of any households including the current carers of the child - additional information should be obtained from relevant other agencies and local authorities);
  • Complete the Family Assessment (also referred to a Child and Family Assessment or Strengthening Families Assessment) of the child and family (if not previously completed), securing contributions / information from Core Group members and any other agencies with relevant information;
  • Coordinate the contribution of family members and all agencies in putting the plan into action and reviewing the objectives stated in the plan.

Seeing the Child

  • Ensure the child(ren) is/are seen at least every 10 working days by the Lead Social Worker or in exceptional circumstances by another member of the Core Group. If is not the Lead Social Worker, this should be agreed within the notes of  the Core Group;
  • Where possible the child should be seen alone on every visit (with parent's agreement). However, as a minimum, children on Child Protection Plan and babies (awake) must be seen alone every 6 weeks (if parents refuse, the Children's Social Care line manager must be informed);
  • Ensure that the child's bedroom/where the child sleeps is seen at least every six visits (see below).

The frequency of contact by Lead Social Worker or Core Group members detailed above is the minimum standard. In exceptional circumstances the Core Group may decide that the required contact level should be less frequent. Any such decision should be authorised by Children's Social Care line manager / child protection adviser.


If the Lead Social Worker has difficulty obtaining direct access to the child, the Children's Social Care line manager must be informed, as well as other Core Group members.


In these circumstances formal agreement must be reached that a member of another agency carry out the face-to-face contact, or that a Review Conference is called. Such a decision must be recorded and authorised by managers of the agencies concerned and agreed in the Child Protection Plan.


See also Uncooperative or Hostile Parents Procedure.

Routine Written Records


The Lead Social Worker must maintain a complete and up-to-date signed record on the current electronic record, to include:

  • The time and date of every home visit, stating who was present, confirmation that the Lead Social Worker spoke with the child (including if alone), or providing a clear reason why not;
  • Any information gained or observations made during the visit relevant to the identified risks to the child;
  • Circumstances of all family members;
  • Specific information about key subjects such as meals and sleeping arrangements;
  • Factual reports of the child's presentation and behaviour (these should be specific and avoid non-specific labels such as 'disturbed');
  • Any new incidents or injuries, which must be subject to full enquiries using the Section 47 paperwork;
  • A chronology on the front of the file / in the electronic record to include significant events in the child's life, including incidents, injuries, family changes etc;
  • The date, time and content of any communication which relates to the child and family (distinguishing between fact and opinion).

Responsibility for convening conferences


The Lead Social Worker is responsible, in liaison with the conference chair and administrator, for convening the Review Child Protection Conference, the dates for which should have been set at the previous conference for no more than:

  • 3 months after the Initial Conference;
  • 6 months after a Review Conference

Consideration should be given to bringing forward the date of a review conference in the following circumstances:

  • Following a new and significant incident relating to concerns about child protection, usually involving a Section 47 Enquiry;
  • When there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family;
  • When there are significant difficulties in carrying out the Child Protection Plan.

The request to bring forward the date of a Review Conference should be made by a Strategy Discussion/Meeting of a Section.47 Enquiry or by the Lead Social Worker following consultation with Core Group members, the conference chair, and must be authorised by the first line manager.

Absence of the Lead Social Worker


It is the responsibility of the Lead Social Worker, in liaison with the social work manager to ensure that clear cover arrangements are made when the Lead Social Worker is absent on planned annual leave, training etc.


Parents and child must be informed of planned absences of the Lead Social Worker, who will be covering the role and what contacts will be made.

Children's Social Care First Line Manager Role


The first line manager has a vital role in managing the progress of the case and supporting the Lead Social Worker.


The manager should:

  • Read and countersign all significant recordings, assessments and decisions on the child's file / electronic record, including the chronology;
  • Discuss the progress of the Child Protection Plan and any concerns in supervision, including ensuring that there has been adequate direct contact with the child(ren);
  • Ensure supervision and management case decisions are clearly visible and dated in the child's record;
  • Read and countersign conference reports and the Child Protection Plan;
  • Review the plan with the Lead Social Worker when unexpected developments or crises occur, and together make a decision whether to recommend that a Review Child Protection Conference date be brought forward;

Absence of the Lead Social Worker


The manager must arrange cover for the Lead Social Worker in case of sickness and ensure arrangements are in place when the Lead Social Worker is on annual leave and training, including the checking and any necessary action, resulting from post, e-mails and telephone contacts.


If the Lead Social Worker is to be absent from work for an extended period her / his manager should consider reallocating the case

Further Assessment


The Lead Social Worker and first line manager must, in supervision, regularly consider the risks to the child and whether updated  Family Assessment (also referred to a Child and Family Assessment or Strengthening Families assessment) or further specialist assessments should be undertaken


Updated assessments may be helpful in the following circumstances:

  • On transfer of a case;
  • Following the birth of a child who was subject to a Child Protection Plan before birth;
  • When a child has been subject to a Child Protection Plan for a year;
  • Prior to consideration of discontinuing the Child Protection Plan;
  • When consideration is being given to the implementation of Care Proceedings;
  • In particularly complex cases.



Intervention must be provided to give the child and family the best opportunities of achieving the required changes. If a child cannot be cared for safely at home, they will need to be placed elsewhere whilst work is undertaken with both child and family.


Intervention should address the child's needs and may involve action to promote their health, development and safety, particularly with regard to the need to develop a secure parent-child attachment.


Critically, decision-making must consider if the child's developmental needs can be responded to within the family taking account of the Assessment Framework andwithin timescales appropriate for that child.

Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan who go Missing


If a professional/agency becomes aware that a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan has gone missing, or is absent from school/educational or daycare settings, they should inform the Lead Social Worker immediately


If the child cannot be traced the Lead Social Worker should inform the senior Child Protection Manager and follow the  Children and families who go missing | Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual

Death of a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan


When a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan dies, from whatever cause, the Lead Social Worker or her/his manager must inform the senior child protection manager, who will notify the safeguarding partners.


Consideration will need to be given to the need for a child safeguarding practice review.

Discontinuing a Child Protection Plan


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

• 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


Social workers should:

• notify, as a minimum, all agency representatives who were invited to attend the initial child protection conference that led to the plan

• consider whether support services are still required and discuss with the child and family what might be needed, based on a re-assessment of the child’s needs

This page is correct as printed on Thursday 18th of April 2024 02:29:37 AM please refer back to this website (http://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.