Table of Contents
1. Core Group Membership
1.1 Child or Young Person
The child or young person’s voice is central to the effectiveness of the Child Protection Plan / Family Plan. Where the child wishes to attend, they should be supported to do so. Where the child does not want to attend, or it is felt that the child’s attendance would be not in their best interests, the Core Group must ensure that the child’s views are gathered in advance of the Core Group and shared at the Core Group meeting. This should not be a token effort, but part of an ongoing process of ensuring that the child’s views are understood and included in all aspects of safeguarding practice. If required a member of the Core Group may be nominated to represent the child’s views throughout.
1.2 Parents / Carers
The Core Group should ensure the full participation of parents and carers wherever possible. This will include consideration of where and when meetings take place, making sure that parents or carers receive reports sufficiently in advance, and that these reports are written in as accessible a format as possible. This will of course vary from family to family.
The Core Group will include a variety of professionals who have a direct input into the family. This will include an identified social worker from children’s social care. Alongside the social worker, the Core Group of professionals should include all professionals that are working with the family within the context of the Child Protection Plan. In addition consideration should always be given to the inclusion of other professionals who are important to the child and family e.g. voluntary organisations such as sports clubs, scouts, brownies etc.
2. Roles and Responsibilities of Core Group Members
2.1 Social Workers
Social workers with their managers should:
- Be the Lead Professional for inter-agency work with the child and family;
- Develop the outline Child Protection Plan;
- Secure contributions from Core Group members and others in any assessment;
- Record decisions and actions agreed at Core Group meetings as well as the written views of those who were not able to attend, and follow up those actions to ensure they take place; and
- Lead Core Group activity.
2.2 All Core Group Members
Collectively, the Core Group should:
- Meet within 10 working days from the Initial Child Protection Conference if the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
- Further develop the Child Protection Plan / Family Plan, based on assessment findings, and set out what needs to change, by how much, and by when in order for the child to be safe and have their needs met;
- Contribute to the Single Assessment; and
- Implement the Child Protection Plan and take joint responsibility for carrying out the agreed tasks, monitoring progress and outcomes, and refining the plan as needed.
All Core Group members have a responsibility to attend and contribute to Core Group meetings. All Core Group members should be well prepared for the meetings and in a position to update the Core Group about the work that has taken place with the family and what changes they have noted in the family situation during their intervention with the family.
Core Group members should provide written or verbal updates regarding their involvements with the family, with a particular focus on the Child Protection Plan. If a written report is to be submitted, this should be done sufficiently in advance to enable distribution and sharing with the family.
3. Chairing the Core Group
These meetings will be chaired by a member of the Core Group or their line manager. They need not necessarily be chaired by the social worker. It may be beneficial to have a chair from a different agency in complex meetings to allow the social worker to fulfil their other roles. The chair should be sufficiently prepared and skilled to chair a meeting.
4. Taking the Minutes of the Core Group Meetings
Where possible, the Chair and minute taker should not be the same person. The Chair should make clear what needs to be recorded. The record should explicitly record progress of the plan, and actions should be recorded in a SMART form. The minutes should be made available to the child and family in as accessible format as possible. Minutes should be distributed within 10 working days
5. Venue of the Meeting
The venue should be chosen to maximise attendance and participation of Core Group members. This will include specific consideration of how the venue may impact on families’ involvement in the Core Group process.
6. Invites to Core Group Meeting
It is the responsibility of Core Group members to know when Core Group meetings are taking place. If the planned date for a Core Group meeting is changed, the agency convening that meeting must ring the agencies who have been invited to ensure that they are made aware of the change in date.
It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they attend Core Group meetings. Attendance at Core Group meetings must be given priority by all Core Group members as participation in the discussion around ongoing risk assessment is a crucial element of the process. If a Core Group member is not able to attend, they should ensure that either a colleague with knowledge of the case attends, or a report is submitted. If a report is to be submitted it should be done so sufficiently in advance as to allow for both clarification of its content and distribution to the Core Group prior to the meeting itself.