Revised May 03 Fabricated Illness
Revised April 04 Conference Reports p35
Revised Sept 04 – Young People who may be at Risk of Exploitation.
- Professional abuse (flow chart).
Revised April 06 – Amended Placement with Parents Procedure (Section 11)
- ACPC changed to LSCB
Revised Sept 06 – Added Forced Marriage Protocol
Revised April 07 – Added Freedom of Information Protocol
Review June 07 – Review of the policy and procedures
Revised April 08 – Amended Chid Protection Plan (Child Protection Register)
1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 4
2 Child Protection Procedures – Quick Guide......................................................................................... 7
3 Definitions and Recognition.................................................................................................................... 8
4 Investigation, Assessment and Protection ........................................................................................... 17
5 Child-focused Multi-agency Meetings ................................................................................................. 24
6 Child Protection Case Conference ....................................................................................................... 28
7 Participation and Representation of Parents, Carers and Children................................................. 33
8 The Child Protection Plan .................................................................................................................... 36
9 Implementing a Written Child Protection Plan.................................................................................. 39
10 Reviewing Plans and Removal of a Child Protection Plan ................................................................ 42
11 Placement with Parents Regulations.................................................................................................... 45
12 Appeals Procedure................................................................................................................................. 47
13 Procedures and Guidance in the Management of Organised Abuse Definitions ............................. 52
14 Allegations of Abuse Against Professionals, Foster Carers and Volunteers .................................... 60
15 Part Eight and Case Reviews................................................................................................................ 66
Appendix 1: The Legal Framework ............................................................................................................. 69
Appendix 2: Social Care Roles and Responsibility ..................................................................................... 71
Appendix 3: Police Service Child Protection Guidelines ............................................................................. 74
Appendix 4: The Joint Police and Social Care Protocol for Investigating Allegations of Child Sexual
Appendix 5 Health Service Child Protection Role ...................................................................................... 82
Appendix 6: The National Probation Service (Greater Manchester) Protocol for Work with Children
in Need and Vulnerable Children .................................................................................................................. 84
Appendix 7: Education Service Child Protection Guidelines..................................................................... 87
Appendix 8: Parental Mental Illness, Problem Alcohol and Drug Use and Domestic Violence............... 94
Appendix 9: Child Exploitation ..................................................................................................................... 97
Appendix 10: Children Who Go Missing For Whom There Are Concerns Or Are Subject to a Child
Protection Plan .............................................................................................................................................. 105
Appendix 11: Child Pornography and the Internet ................................................................................... 107
Appendix 12: Female Genital Mutilation (Female Circumcision) ............................................................ 108
Appendix 13: Fabricated Or Induced Illness.............................................................................................. 110
Child Protection Procedures Page 2 of 2
Appendix 14: Abuse Of Disabled Children................................................................................................. 113
Appendix 15: Peer Abuse – Abuse by a Child or Young Person .............................................................. 114
Appendix 16: Confidentiality and Recording Information ....................................................................... 116
Appendix 17: Children and Young People Who Leave School/Address Without Notification.............. 118
Appendix 18: LSCB Training ...................................................................................................................... 120
Appendix 19: Bibliography .......................................................................................................................... 122
Appendix 20: Menu and Specimens of Information to be Given to Family Members............................ 124
Appendix 21: Directory of Useful Contact Points ...................................................................................... 130
Appendix 21: Forced Marriage Protocol .................................................................................................... 132
Appendix 22: Freedom of Information Protocol ........................................................................................ 139
Child Protection Procedures Page 3 of 3
1.1 Oldham Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and the Purpose
of these Procedures
This manual contains the procedures that staff in agencies with child
protection responsibilities in Oldham Metropolitan Borough must follow
when undertaking work with children who may be in need of protection
and their families.
The purpose of these procedures is to set out the way in which work will
be conducted at each stage and how agencies with child protection
responsibilities have agreed to work together and with the Voluntary
Sector and the general public to provide the most effective service.
Oldham LSCB’s vision is:
“EVERYONE TO WORK TOGETHER TO ENSURE THAT ALL
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SAFE AND FEEL SAFE
WITHIN THEIR HOMES, SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES”
This handbook has been written on behalf of Oldham LSCB and contains
the agreed inter-agency procedures that should be followed by all staff of
all LSCB agencies wherever child abuse is known or suspected.
Although the handbook is written from a multi-agency perspective and
provides guidelines on the identification, reporting, investigation in
management of child abuse, it should be read in conjunction with each
agency’s role that are attached at Appendices 11-16.
1.2 The Role of Procedures and Professional Discretion
Successful child protection work depends on the exercise of skilled
professional judgement about the best way of promoting a child’s welfare.
Those judgements can only be made within a framework of clear written
procedures, which set out the actions required by staff and indicate where
they are expected to use professional judgement and discretion. It is the
responsibility of each member of staff to read and use the LSCB
procedures. The procedures indicate circumstances in which discretion
may be used and the level of seniority or management responsibility
required to exercise it.
WHEN STAFF ARE UNCERTAIN ABOUT PROCEDURES THEY ARE
EXPECTED TO ASK FOR GUIDANCE AND CLARIFICATION.
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Procedures are designed to ensure that:
• Staff are clear about the tasks to be undertaken at every stage of
• All the available information about a child and their family is
obtained and pooled together so that it can be properly
• Staff know what decisions they can make themselves and what
decisions must be referred to a more senior member of staff.
• Information is brought to the attention of managers and staff with
the right experience and knowledge and who are responsible for
• Information is recorded clearly and without delay.
• Professionals who are working together to protect a child are
clear about their role and the role of other professionals.
• That work has a clear purpose and time scales are set in which
objectives can be achieved.
• Work is evaluated to ensure that it is achieving the effect of
promoting the child’s welfare.
1.3 Underpinning principles to achieve best outcomes for children and
• Every child and young person has the right to be and feel safe
• The safety and welfare of the child will always be the first priority
of the Oldham LSCB and its constituent agencies;
• The views of the child, young person and their families will be
actively sought, listened to and taken into account;
• The board will use all it’s statutory powers, duties and
responsibilities to keep children safe;
• Services provided to families will aim to help to minimise the risk
of such harm to their children;
• Children are best cared for within their own families unless this
would be harmful to them;
• The most effective planning for children is undertaken in
partnership with families and closely co-ordinated between
• Agencies will work together in a spirit of partnership and
collaboration, at both strategic and practice levels, to deliver the
best possible service to children and their families. This will
include a commitment to information sharing protocols at both
Child Protection Procedures Page 5 of 5
strategic and operational levels to ensure that multi-agency
engagement with children and young people can be shared in
• Children and young people will not be discriminated against
because of their ethnic origin, race, gender, disability, religion,
sexual orientation or other attribute.
• Services provided by constituent agencies of the Oldham LSCB
will be monitored and regularly reviewed by the Board.
Improvements will be sought where the quality and standard of
service provided is either below the level required or cause a
matter of concern;
• Services should be integrated at planning and delivery stages
whenever this is appropriate or possible.
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2 Child Protection Procedures –
A Quick Guide to Making a Child Protection Referral has been produced
and is available online at:
Child Protection Procedures Page 7 of 7
3 Definitions and Recognition
This section sets out the definitions of child abuse to which these
procedures relate. The sustained abuse or neglect of children can have
major long-term effects on all aspects of a child's health development and
well-being. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or
by failing to prevent harm.
Everybody who works with children, parents, and other adults in contact
with children should be able to recognise and know how to act upon
indicators that a child may be at risk.
3.2 Physical Abuse
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning
or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a
child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns
the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are
looking after. This situation is commonly described using terms such as
fabricated or induced illness.
The following are seven classic pointers to the diagnosis. None of
them is diagnostic neither does the absence of any of them exclude
the diagnosis of non-accidental injury.
• There is a delay in seeking medical help (or medical help is not
sought at all)
• The story of the "accident" is vague, is lacking in detail, and may
vary with each telling and from person to person (innocent
accidents tend to have vivid accounts that ring true)
• The account of the “accident” is not compatible with the injury
• The parents' affect is abnormal. Normal parents are full of
creative anxiety for the child. Abusing parents tend to be more
preoccupied with their own problems for example, how they can
return home as soon as possible.
• The parents’ behaviour gives cause for concern for example,
they soon become hostile, they rebut accusations, that have not
been made, and they leave before the consultant arrives.
• The child's appearance and his interaction with his parents are
abnormal. He may look sad, withdrawn, or frightened. There
may be visible evidence of failure to thrive. Full-blown frozen
watchfulness at a late stage and results from repetitive physical
and emotional abuse over a period of time. The absence of
frozen watchfulness does not exclude the diagnosis of non-
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• The child may say something. Always make a point of
interviewing the child (if old enough) in a safe place in private.
This is one of the virtues of admission to hospital. Interviewing
the child as an outpatient may fail to let the child open up as he
is expecting to be returned to the custody of the abusing parent
in the near future.
The following is a brief guide to the most common physical injuries:
• General bruising not consistent with the everyday play activity for
a child of its age.
• Bruised eyes particularly not consistent with the normal play
activity for a child of its age.
• Bruised eyes, particularly if both are bruised.
• Bruises around or beneath the ears.
• Bruising in or around the mouth - this may be in addition to a torn
• Finger-tip bruises small, round or oval and may be found on the
face or body.
• Grasp marks on the arms or chest predominantly.
• Blood spots under the eyes.
• Bite marks - may result in a set of crescent shaped bruises
corresponding to the upper and lower teeth. The size and
pattern may help determine the perpetrator.
• Cigarette burns - deliberate burns are clearly demarcated, round
and punched out. Impetigo may mimic cigarette burns.
• Burns and scalds can be difficult to determine as abuse, as a
general rule burns or scalds with a clear outline may be
• Immersion injuries - occur when a hand, foot or buttocks are
dipped into very hot water.
• Bone and joint injuries when not consistent with the explanation
given. Some forms of fracture (such as spiral fractures) are
more suspicious than others. Immobile babies very rarely break
their bones accidentally.
• Internal injuries within the abdomen can be life threatening and
may occur without any sign of external bruising or injury.
• Shaking injuries may cause drowsiness, vomiting, poor feeding
or fits. Bruises may be noted on shoulders or neck. Medical
examination may reveal subdural haematoma and retinal
haemorrhage. A full skeletal survey may show other fractures
Child Protection Procedures Page 9 of 9
particularly grip related such as ribs or wrists. Shaking injuries
can be life threatening.
• Suffocating injuries. These may be indicative of:
ii) Factitious Illness By Proxy
Note that this condition can be confused with bruising.
This condition is present in more than 50% of Asian/African/Caribbean
babies and those of mixed heritage.
Mongolian Bluespot is characterised by blue coloured areas of
pigmentation, which are found on the buttocks, back and occasionally other
parts of the body of non Caucasian babies. It is rarely found in Caucasian
babies but should not be ruled out as a possibility.
These marks have no significance and usually disappear within the first
year of a child's life.
3.3 Fabricated or Induced Illness
A carer may fabricate information about the child's health and may harm
the child in order to produce symptoms requiring attention.
Typically the carer is a parent and the victim their child. However, the
syndrome can also occur in a person employed in a caring capacity, with
the victims being those cared for (see Appendix 13 for more information).
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or
psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's
health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide
adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical
harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care
or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a
child's basic emotional needs.
Neglect is a chronic state, which inhibits physical, emotional and/or
A child who is neglected or failing to thrive may show some of the
• Short stature
• Underweight for height and age
• Voracious appetite or food scavenging
• Persistent loose stools
• 'Pot bellied' appearance
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• Skin problems including nappy rash and poor healing of minor
• Dry, sparse, lack lustre hair
• Frequent accidental injuries
• Unresponsive towards familiar adults
• Inappropriate friendliness or affection towards strangers
• Unkempt and dirty appearance
• Learning difficulties
Definition of failure to thrive
"Failure to grow in terms of weight gain and development, according to
norms in a healthy and vigorous way".
Current thinking deems “faltering growth” to be a more accurate
description. Earlier research focused on a simple cause and effect model
and distorted mother / child relationships. Studies now highlight that
multiple, interactional factors may be the cause.
• Dividing faltering growth into organic and non-organic causes is
misleading, they are not mutually exclusive
• Most cases do not have organic causes
• It occurs across all socio-economic groups
• It occurs because children receive / utilise insufficient calories
• Only a small minority of children fail to grow because of neglect
(Community Practitioners’ & Health Visitor’s Association, The Children’s
Society, Professional Briefing Paper; Batchelor, 1999)
3.5 Emotional Abuse
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a
child, though it may occur alone.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as
to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional
development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless
or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of
another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate
expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children
frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of
The following signs may be present:
• Sleep / feeding problems
• Irritability, dull or anxious or indiscriminate attachments
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• Overactive, aggressive
• Poor social skills
• Attention seeking
• Wetting / soiling
• Learning difficulties
• Language delay
• Limited attention span
• Lack of self esteem
• Poor peer relationships
• Self harming
• Truancy / running away
3.6 Sexual Abuse
Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take
part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is
The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape
or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact
activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of,
pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging
children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
When considering sexual abuse the following should be borne in mind:
• The legal ages of consent are 16 years for heterosexual acts
with females and 18 years for homosexual acts between males.
• Consensual sexual activity between females is not recognised
and is therefore not an offence.
• Although there is no legal age of consent for heterosexual acts
with males, almost any act committed by a woman with a boy
under 16 years would form the basis of a criminal offence.
• Any sexual contact without consent and all incestuous sexual
acts are always illegal.
• The involvement of dependent, developmentally immature
children and adolescents in sexual activities they do not truly
comprehend, to which they are unable to give informed consent;
or which violate social taboos or family roles.
Other areas that may be considered abusive include:
• Any exposure of children to sexual experiences inappropriate to
Child Protection Procedures Page 12 of 12
the child's age and understanding. This includes both witnessing
and being engaged in sexual acts.
• Voyeurism – child watching sexual activity or adults using
children to incite sexual arousal.
• Exposure to or involvement in pornography.
• Inappropriate fondling or kissing.
• Talking to a child in a manner intended to incite sexual arousal.
The following is a list of physical signs, which may be indicative of
sexual abuse in the absence of any reasonable explanation – NO
SIGN DOES NOT MEAN NO ABUSE
• Injuries to genital area.
• Itching, soreness, discharge, bleeding, repeated urinary tract
• Rectal bleeding.
• Persistent abdominal pain or headaches without apparent cause.
• The presence of any sexually transmitted diseases or those
where sexual transmission is a possible means of infection
(these may be present orally, genitally or anally).
• Pregnancy of a girl under 16 years of age where the identity of
the father is vague or secret.
Children may display behavioural or emotional signs of sexual abuse. The
following may be considered in this context but should never be looked at
in isolation from other relevant factors:
• Child with sexual knowledge beyond that considered age
• Child withdrawn or introverted.
• Child persistently masturbating, particularly in inappropriate
• Sexualised or provocative behaviour with adults or with other
• Hinting at sexual activity through words, play, drawings etc.
Overwhelmingly, sexual abuse is committed by men although women
offenders do form a minority of cases.
Professionals can find it difficult to recognise women as sexual abusers.
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They can be classified into three main types:
• Co-offenders jointly abusing with a male partner.
• Accomplices enabling the abuse by a male partner.
• Independent offenders, women abusing a child themselves.
What should I do if a child discloses details, which may generate concern
of any type of abuse?
• Listen carefully.
• Give them time and attention.
• Allow child to give a spontaneous account.
• Do not ask leading questions.
• Do not offer false confidentiality: -
For example "If I tell you something, will you promise not to tell?"
"It depends on what you are going to tell me. If it has implications for your
safety or the safety of others then I cannot keep that information secret".
• Empathise with the child.
• Reassure the child - but do not give false reassurances that the
problem will now go away
• Recording is essential
• Ask the child what he/she now wishes to do
• Ask the child what he/she now wishes you to do
What action do I need to take?
This will depend on your risk assessment.
• Treat the information seriously, i.e. acknowledge what the child
has already told you. All allegations should be treated seriously.
• Reflect on what you already know about this child and his/her
circumstances (if anything)
• Clarify what the child has told you
• Seek further information if necessary
• What are the risks to the child now?
• Monitor the situation if information does not directly relate to
abuse. For example, hints that concerning incidents may be
• ALWAYS refer to Social Care where there has been explicit
Child Protection Procedures Page 14 of 14
disclosure of abuse and/or where you consider there to be a risk
• DO NOT discuss your concerns with parents/carers where
sexual abuse is suspected or where it may increase the risk to
the child (see Section 2).
• DO NOT INVESTIGATE - leave this to the relevant professionals
- there is a separate Police and Social Care protocol for
investigation of sexual abuse (Appendix 4)
3.8 Other Circumstances
Definitions include certain other children whose circumstances do not
specifically fit the above categories but where there is clear evidence to
suggest that there is a significant risk of abuse. This may include:
• Children in the same household as a child who has been
• Children in a household which is occupied or which is regularly
visited by a person who has been previously involved in child
abuse and where assessment indicates that there is significant
risk of abuse. This will include those convicted of offences
against children and those for whom previous child protection
investigations have concluded that there is reasonable evidence
to believe they have been involved in abuse.
3.9 Third Party Abuse
Child abuse where the abuser is either a known third party outside the
household or a stranger, falls outside of the definition of child abuse for the
purposes of these procedures.
Such suspicions and incidents should be referred directly to the Police for a
These procedures will be invoked by the Police only if the investigation
subsequently shows that the parents or carers:
• know of the abuse
• have colluded with the abuse
• suspected the abuse but failed to take steps to protect the child
• have demonstrated any other irresponsible negligence
constituting neglectful behaviour
• have not believed the child or have obstructed the child from
disclosing the abuse
3.10 Children Who Abuse
Abuse as defined above may be perpetrated by another child or young
person who is a household member or who has been acting in a care
giving capacity to the child.
Procedures should be followed in these circumstances in the same way as
they would if the abuser were an adult in order to establish and minimise
Child Protection Procedures Page 15 of 15
the level of risk to the child(ren).
Any investigation and assessment in these circumstances must consider
the needs of the child perpetrator as well as the needs of the abused
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4 Investigation, Assessment and
Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on Local Authorities to
make enquiries into the circumstances of children considered to be at
risk of ‘significant harm’ and, where these enquiries indicate the need, to
undertake a full Investigation into the child’s circumstances.
4.1 Duty to Investigate
The Local Authority (Social Care) may arrange with other agencies for
parts of this investigation to be undertaken on their behalf or for the
investigation to be undertaken jointly. Nonetheless, it remains the
responsibility of the Social Care to ensure that duties under Section 47
have been properly performed.
Duties under Section 47 arise in the following circumstances:
• Where the Local Authority has reasonable cause to suspect that
the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, or,
• Where the Local Authority has already obtained an Emergency
Protection Order in relation to the child, or,
• Where the Local Authority is informed that the child is the subject
of an Emergency Protection Order obtained by someone else, or
of a Police Protection Order
The Local Authority must take steps to gain access to the child unless
enquiries satisfy it that there is sufficient information about the child to
suggest this is not required.
If access to the child is denied or information of it’s whereabouts refused,
the Local Authority must apply for an Order unless it is satisfied that the
child’s welfare can be adequately safeguarded in some other way.
4.2 General Principles
Any information suggesting that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer
significant harm will be formally considered whatever its source.
The child’s welfare is paramount. Consideration of the child’s short and
long term best interests will govern all decisions and actions.
Any staff member receiving information that suggests that a child might
be at immediate risk of harm must take steps to safeguard that child
Regular consideration will be given, through the duration of child protection
involvement, to whether legal action is required to protect a child and such
action will be taken if necessary.
Parents/carers and where appropriate children will be involved and
Child Protection Procedures Page 17 of 17
informed as much and as early as possible so far as this is consistent with
protecting the child’s short and long term best interests.
Confidentiality will be maintained within the context of all agencies duty to
protect children. Information will be shared with agencies who have a
formal role in protecting children.
4.3 Ethnic Minority Children and Families
Children from all cultures are subject to abuse and neglect. All children
have a right to grow up safe from harm (Working Together 2006)
It is important that professionals are sensitive to differing lifestyles and to
child learning patterns that vary across different racial and cultural groups.
However, professionals must also be aware that misunderstandings and
misinterpretations may be made, and should guard against myths and
Ethnic minority families face many issues, which have little or no
significance to the white population. These include personal and
institutional racism and the impact of immigration, nationality laws and
separated families. These issues compound other problems of parenting,
such as discipline and inter-generational conflict (O’Neale, 2000). There
are many white as well as black ethnic minority groups who experience
Inspections of services for ethnic minority children and families show that
they are more likely to enter care under the age of five years. Families
wanting support also experienced difficulty accessing services because
they did not understand the role of Social Care. Assessments were not
fully complete and physical and sexual abuse had sometimes not been
identified and properly dealt with as a child protection issue (O’Neale,
2000). See Assessing Children in Need and their Families. Practice
Guidance (DoH, 2000) chapter 2 for pointers of good practice.
It is vital that professionals using interpretation services ensure that
interpreters are comfortable and competent with all issues associated with
abuse to minimise any possibility of confusion or misinterpretation of
events connected with abuse.
4.4 Thresholds for Procedural Intervention
In normal circumstances this would involve immediate consultation with
their line manager (subject to availability) and a referral to the Children
Where circumstances dictate the need, the Police should be involved in the
child’s immediate protection and,
Where necessary, medical attention sought for the child through the
Each agency has its own detailed procedures for immediate action to be
taken when child abuse is suspected and these must be followed at all
Child Protection Procedures Page 18 of 18
‘Significant Harm’ And ‘Best Interests’
Any person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child is being or is
likely to be harmed has a duty to inform the police/Children Assessment
Team of their concern.
Investigating agencies must then consider the information within the
concepts of ‘significant harm’ and ‘best interests’ in deciding how to
proceed and whether to take further steps within their procedures.
N.B. Child protection procedures will not be invoked where it is clear that
any harm has been caused accidentally, unless lack of care was a
There is no clear legal definition of this phrase.
‘Significant’ should be viewed in the context of it’s understood definition,
‘of considerable amount, or effect or importance’ and applied to the
circumstances of the child within this framework.
'Harm’ means ill-treatment or impairment of health and development.
When measuring the concept of ‘significant harm’ in relation to particular
concerns it should be considered within the context of the child’s overall
situation. Presenting symptoms can only be assessed within an
understanding of other significant issues and their effect on the child.
Clearly some presenting symptoms are more significant and clear cut than
others. Investigating agency responses will be appropriate to the degree of
severity (e.g. - serious physical harm caused non-accidentally).
For example, when considering whether harm is significant, a broken bone
caused non-accidentally may be seen as significant whereas a single
bruise may not be regarded with the same degree of severity.
In either event the injury can only be judged within the context of the child’s
broader circumstances and within an assessment of the likelihood of
ongoing or future risk to the child.
Situations where harm has occurred several times should be treated as
more significant than those where an assessment of risk shows the harm
to have arisen from circumstances that are not considered likely to recur.
Consideration should always be given to the likely effect of the harm.
When it relates to health and development it should be assessed within the
context of what might be expected of a similar child.
N.B. The above considerations must be applied to all types of abuse in
assessing the significance of harm.
Where harm has been established to be significant a Child Focused Multi
Agency Meeting or Case Conference must be convened so that the
experience and assessment of a multi-disciplinary group can determine the
best plan for the child (see 4.9 below - Planning the Next Step)
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4.5 ‘Best Interests’
The protection of children from harm will always be considered to be in a
child’s ‘best interests’.
In making decisions on how to proceed in ensuring the protection of
children from harm, all decision making and planning should take into
account what particular courses of action are likely to be in the child’s short
and long term best interests.
These decisions will need to take into consideration of assessed
information about the wider picture and to consider knowledge gained from
experience and research informing of likely outcomes for children arising
4.6 Investigation and Assessment by Social Care
Information regarding concerns about actual or likely harm to a child will
usually be received by the Children Assessment Team.
If information is received by any other member of staff it must be passed to
the Children Assessment Team or the child’s own social worker without
Information received out of hours will be dealt with by the Emergency Duty
Team (EDT) social workers who will carry out as much of the procedure as
is practicable or necessary before making a full transfer referral to the
relevant social care team the following working day.
If the information indicates an immediate need to secure the safety of any
child(ren) consultation will take place between the social worker and a
social work tem manager/service manager in the event of unavailability of
team manager) to determine what immediate action must be taken to
secure the child(ren).
If a court order is thought necessary all professionals involved in initiating
the immediate action, including medical staff, must be prepared to attend
court to give evidence in support of the application.
It is essential at all stages of the investigative process that the records are
kept up to date for each person’s involvement and findings.
4.7 Consultation and Information Gathering (Section 47 Enquiries)
Once a referral has been received by the Children Assessment Team and
information has been checked against social care records (SWIFT),
consultation should take place initially between the social worker
nominated to investigate and their team manager.
Following this, enquiries should first be made under Section 47 of the
Children Act to determine whether a full Section 47 Investigation is
Such enquiries should involve consultation to establish what is known and
whether any concerns are felt by other professionals and should include
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the following where relevant:
• Pupil Welfare service
• Health - Health Visitor, School Health Advisor, GP
• Social Care records
• Probation/Court Welfare
• Child protection related records held at the Safeguarding and
Review Unit (including a Plan check where appropriate)
N.B. Consider all siblings and all available information on relevant adults.
All information gathered must be recorded accurately and concisely. Note
should be made of any difficulties experienced in gaining access to
Information gathered must be considered in the context of the following:
• to establish the facts about the circumstances giving rise to
• to determine whether there are grounds for concern giving rise to
a need for a full investigation under Section 47 of the Children
• to begin to assess the level of risk to the child(ren)
• to decide any immediate protective or other action in relation to
4.8 Enquiries under Section 47 of The Children Act 1989
In circumstances where initial enquiries under Section 47 indicate a
significant risk to the child(ren) a full investigation and assessment of the
child(ren) and family’s situation must be undertaken.
Social Care will take the lead role in enquiries under Section 47 (Appendix
4.9 Planning the Next Step
No Further Action
In circumstances where the investigation reveals no substance or
justification for further action, parents/carers and young people of sufficient
understanding should be notified of the outcome of investigations in writing,
outlining the statutory duty placed on social care to investigate all
allegations of abuse.
Letters following unsubstantiated allegations should acknowledge distress
caused to and co-operation received from family members (Appendix 19).
Consideration may also be given to the need for counselling.
Child Protection Procedures Page 21 of 21
Where further action is considered necessary either a Child Focussed Multi
Agency Meeting or a Child Protection Case Conference must be convened.
A decision as to which of these meetings is the most appropriate will take
into account all the circumstances surrounding the nature and severity of
the abuse and all the circumstances surrounding the child(ren) and family.
These factors must be considered within the context of the overall best
interests of the child(ren) and with a view to achieving the most effective
outcomes in order to protect the child(ren). (Messages from Research
This decision must take account of knowledge and research on how
protection of children is best achieved and professional judgement of the
individual circumstances of the case.
Discussion of the above factors will take place with either the Service
Manager Safeguarding Children or one of the Reviewing Officers at the
Safeguarding and Review Unit before a final decision on which meeting to
proceed with is reached (see Section 5).
4.10 Risk Assessment and Risk Management
Is based upon information available at the time:
• Case information
• Predictions about future harm
Risk has a time dimension. It can relate to a period of time but information
can change over time.
There are four components of risk:
• Seriousness of current harm
• Strength of the situation/manageability of problems
• Likelihood of future harm
• Seriousness of future harm
Child Protection Procedures Page 22 of 22
The domains of the Needs Assessment Framework provide a useful
approach for assessing risk.
• Do I have enough information
• What are the losses and gains to the child of doing nothing?
• Are the risks worth taking now?
• Have I confirmed the risks with others working with the child?
• Does the carer want to change?
• Is there any indication that the carer can change?
• Have I considered the likely effects of any interventions on risk?
A method of controlling the consequences of any decision:
• What action should be taken/by whom?
• Are there any other resources to be used?
• How / when will I measure outcomes?
• Are other relevant professionals aware of and in agreement with
• Is the child and family aware of and in agreement with the plan?
Child Protection Procedures Page 23 of 23
5 Child-focused Multi-agency
‘Messages from Research’ (1995) clearly demonstrated that traditional
intervention under the guise of formal Child Protection intervention is more
likely to leave families feeling punished by and disaffected from formal
agencies than positive intervention with the clear intention of offering help
and support to families in caring for their children.
This clearly has the potential to make child protection intervention counter-
productive and to leave already vulnerable children more at risk because of
parental refusal to co-operate with agencies charged with the task of
working with them towards the children’s protection.
The 1999 DoH consultation document ‘Working Together to Safeguard
Children’ notes concerns that discussions at child protection case
conferences tend to focus too heavily on risk and removal, rather than
focusing on plans to safeguard the child and support the family.
Clearly there will always be some instances in which a formal child
protection investigation and subsequent case conference will be necessary
and appropriate. It is essential that policy and procedures continue to
reflect this need whilst allowing the flexibility to employ alternative means
of protecting children through family support.
5.2 Department of Health Proposals
The DoH proposes that the following themes and messages should inform
and underlie inter agency work in child protection and family support:
• be owned by all relevant agencies, not just social care, and
should aim to promote effective inter-agency working for all
children in need of protection;
• promote a value for money approach which seeks to ensure that
the right agency provides the right service at the right time, and
which encourages the corporate responsibility of the local
authority as a whole for children in need;
• clearly indicate the importance of placing child protection in the
context of services for children in need with the aim of reducing
the number of children and families who go through the child
protection processes where no abuse is proven and no services
• promote access to a range of services for children in need
without inappropriately triggering child protection processes.
The key to this approach will be a new emphasis on needs led
Child Protection Procedures Page 24 of 24
• continue to keep children safe who are in need of protection, and
provide clear objectives for the child protection system, with a
focus on good outcomes for children;
• encourage agencies to provide treatment and therapy for
children who have been abused;
• consider the position of adults who were abused as children and
how agencies should respond to their needs;
• promote a stronger message about community responsibility for
• emphasise the importance of listening to the views of children
and their families.
5.3 Purpose of Child-focused Multi-agency Meetings
A Formal Child-Focused Multi Agency Meeting is a meeting held within the
context of LSCB procedures and involves all relevant professionals and
carers with a role to play in providing supportive services to the child and
family in question.
The purpose of such a meeting is to share information and consider
concerns relating to the circumstances of children who meet the agreed
definition of ‘children in need’ and for whom there are protection/welfare
concerns, and to devise an agreed, corporately owned, multi agency
Family Support Plan.
The Family Support Plan will outline services to be offered by the relevant
agencies, and expectations of carers, to assist the family in providing
adequate care and protection for the children.
5.4 Criteria for Holding a Child-focused Multi-agency Meeting
Except in circumstances of extreme abuse, where there are concerns
about the welfare and protection of a child sufficient to warrant formal
consideration by means of an LSCB meeting, consideration should always
be given first to holding a Child Focused Multi Agency Meeting.
Consideration must be given to whether protection of the child can be
better achieved by the provision of services through a Family Support Plan
within the context of the duty to maintain children within their families
wherever possible, and within the framework of the findings of the
Messages From Research.
Clearly this does not preclude the possibility of convening a case
conference but this decision must be made in the child’s best interests and
within the framework referred to above. (See Section 4.4 regarding
‘Significant Harm’ and Section 4.5 ‘Best Interests’.)
No decision regarding the appropriateness of a child-focused meeting/case
conference can be made until a full discussion has taken place with a
Reviewing Officer or Service Manager Safeguarding Children regarding the
child’s circumstances, potential harm and risk factors and the desired
outcomes of the intervention.
The Safeguarding and Review Unit team will ensure consistency in
Child Protection Procedures Page 25 of 25
decision making across the operational sectors and agencies via this
In order for child focused meetings to be effective in their task of sharing
full information which will inform the production of a meaningful Family
Support Plan, timescales for the gathering and preparation of such
information may need to be longer than for a child protection case
conference. Child focused meetings will therefore be convened within
twenty working days of the initiating discussion with the Safeguarding and
The following will be invited to attend as appropriate:
• Families - parents
• Parental support person
• Other relevant family members
• Professionals - all those who have relevant information to assist
in understanding the issues and developing a Family Support
• Those who have had no previous involvement but who have a
part to play in the provision of services forming the Family
Managers from all relevant agencies are expected to be actively involved in
supporting staff, providing information and facilitating the provision of
resources although their direct attendance may not always be appropriate.
Police - it is hoped a protocol can be developed allowing information
relating to relevant convictions and other information such as domestic
violence issues, drug/alcohol related issues etc. to be disclosed to the
meeting as is currently the practice with case conferences.
Social workers will produce a report just as they do for case conferences.
This report will follow the format below:-
a) Family information - names/ages/relationships/addresses etc.
b) Circumstances leading to the meeting being convened
c) Relevant background information.
d) Concerns/issues to be addressed.
e) Other agency views.
f) Parents views and wishes.
g) Child’s views and wishes.
Child Protection Procedures Page 26 of 26
h) Views and wishes of other family members/significant people.
i) Desired outcomes from the Family Support Plan.
j) Contributors/sources of information for the report.
Other professionals may choose to submit reports to a Child-focused
Meeting as this may help them to deliver their information in a
structured and thorough manner and will ensure that they have
included all relevant information.
It is intended that the agenda allow for flexibility and ensures that all
relevant information has been tabled.
5.9 Administration, Chairing and Review
Formal Child Focused Meetings will be convened and arranged by the
administrative team at the Safeguarding and Review Unit in the same way
as for Case Conferences.
Initial Child Focused Meetings will be chaired by a Reviewing Officer or the
Service/Team Manager Safeguarding Children and minuted by a minute
taker from the Safeguarding and Review Unit.
When it is agreed that a first review needs the formality of independent
chairing, this will be provided by a Reviewing Officer. The date and time
will be set at the first meeting. (Reminders will not be issued, if there is a
change to the date the social worker will be responsible for informing all
In limited circumstances where there have been significant changes or
there is significant new information to share, it may be appropriate to hold a
reconvened Child Focused Meeting. This will be arranged, chaired and
minutes will be taken by the Safeguarding and Review Unit.
In circumstances other than those above reviews will take place in the
initially within three months and thereafter no less than six-monthly for as
long as the Family Support Plan remains current.
Where the Reviewing Officer is not the agreed review chair, the Reviewing
Officer will initiate follow-up consultation with the social worker by letter
three months after the Meeting to establish progress on the specified
outcomes and to determine whether any additional input from the
Safeguarding and Review Unit is required at this stage.
A filing system parallel to that for child protection will be maintained at the
Safeguarding and Review Unit.
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6 Child Protection Case
There are two types of Child Protection Case Conference:
- Initial Case Conference
- Review Case Conference
This section deals specifically with the Initial Case Conference - Review
Conferences are dealt with in Section 10 - ‘Reviewing Plans and Deciding
when a Child Protection Plan no longer needed’
6.1 Purpose of a Case Conference
Like the Formal Child Focussed Multi Agency Meeting, a Child Protection
Case Conference serves to emphasise that child protection is not the sole
responsibility of any agency and that all participants have an important role
to play in the development and implementation of a co-ordinated Child
Protection Plan. A Child Protection Case Conference ensures that all
information relevant to the child(ren) and family can be brought together
and shared between professionals and parents/carers to ensure a full and
accurate picture of the child’s circumstances is formed and that plans are
agreed and understood by all parties.
Information discussed at the conference will be considered to determine:
• The degree and nature of any present or future risk to the
• The most appropriate means of ensuring the immediate and long
term protection of the subject children
• Actions to be taken in respect of other children identified to be at
risk but not the subject of this Conference
• The conference then decides what further action is needed to
safeguard the child and promote his or her welfare, how that
action will be taken forward and with that what intended
outcomes. This constitutes that outlines Child Protection Plan.
6.2 Convening an Initial Case Conference
An Initial Case Conference can only be convened following an investigation
into actual or suspected child abuse under Section 47 of the 1989 Children
Whilst it is the responsibility of Social Care to convene a Case
Conference it is open to any agency to request a Conference. Requests
will not be refused provided the criteria for holding a Case Conference
are met and it is the correct course of action within the context of
‘Significant Harm’ and ‘Best Interests’.
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A Conference will be convened only once it has been established that this
is the most effective means of protecting the child and promoting his/her
welfare in the short and longer term.
This decision must be taken within the context of the principles of
‘Significant Harm’ and ‘Best Interests’ outlined in Section 4 - Investigation,
Assessment and Protection; and within the framework and philosophy
outlined in Section 5 - Child Focused Formal Multi Agency Strategy
To ensure consistency across the borough and to assist in the process of
deciding whether a Conference is the correct option, a decision to convene
a Case Conference can only be made following discussions between the
Social Worker/Team Manager and the Service/Team Manager
Safeguarding Children or a Reviewing Officer.
Where agreement cannot be reached on whether to hold a Conference,
discussions will take place between the Social Care Manager and the
Service Manager Safeguarding Children. The final decision will be the
responsibility of the Team Manager.
The immediate protection of the child should always be ensured prior to the
conference and sufficient time should be taken so that the conference does
not result in premature or disorganised action.
Initial Case Conferences should take place within fifteen working days of a
request unless reasons for delay have been agreed with the Service
Manager Safeguarding Children.
6.3 Pre-Birth Case Conference
On occasion there may be sufficient concern about the future risk to an
unborn child to warrant the convening of a Case Conference to consider
the need for a Child Protection Plan. Such a conference will have the
same status and be conducted in the same manner as an Initial Case
Pre-birth Conferences should be convened at least six weeks prior to the
expected birth date to allow proper plans to be made and assessments
to be undertaken prior to the birth.
It may sometimes be necessary to hold more than one pre-birth Case
Conference if circumstance change and a new plan is needed.
6.4 Invitations, Attendance and Agenda
Administration staff, at the Safeguarding and Review Unit, are responsible
for arranging Case Conferences. They will invite professional attendees by
telephone, followed up by a fax message; and family members by letter.
To ensure efficiency it is essential that workers wanting to convene a Case
Conference have compiled an accurate list of the names, addresses and
dates of birth/ages of family members and carers, and an accurate and full
list of attendees names and contact numbers/addresses before
telephoning the administration staff at the Safeguarding and Review Unit.
Child Protection Procedures Page 29 of 29
Child Protection Case Conferences will be Chaired by the Team Manager
Safeguarding Children or a Reviewing Officer from the Safeguarding and
The following agencies will be sent an invitation to all Case Conferences:
• Children, Young People and Families Department, Team Manager
• Local Health Authority/PCT, Senior Nurse for Child Protection
• Greater Manchester Police Family Support Unit (VA 3/7)
• General Practitioner
• Pupil Welfare Service
• Greater Manchester Probation Service
N.B. Borough Council Legal Services will be invited when legal action is
established or anticipated. Social workers will have to advise administrative
staff at the Resource if Legal are to be invited.
The following will be sent an invitation to attend all or part of the meeting:-
• the investigating social worker
• the investigating police officer
• Social Care officers who have been involved with the family
• Health visitor/school nurse
• doctor who carried out the medical examination
• representative from the child/sibling’s school/under five’s unit
• any other professional who has family knowledge or who may
contribute to the Child Protection Plan.
For reasons of confidentiality and efficiency other invitations should be
limited to those who genuinely need to be involved for the purpose of
giving or receiving information or because they will form a part of the Child
Protection Plan. Students and observers will not normally be allowed to
attend and requests for their attendance must be made to the conference
Chair and will only take place with the agreement of parents/carers.
Parents/carers and/or significant family members will be invited to attend
and participate in Case Conferences in line with procedures outlined in
Parents may bring a support person, if they wish. The support person will
not receive minutes of the conference.
Any person who is unable to attend should ensure that arrangements have
been made for the information they hold to be made available to the
Conference. This should take the form of a report submitted to the
Safeguarding and Review Team in advance of the Conference.
A standard written agenda will be made available to Conference
participants and Conferences will broadly follow this format (Appendix 12).
The Conference chair may on occasion decide to vary the format if
circumstances suggest this to be a more efficient means of considering the
welfare and protection of the child.
Child Protection Procedures Page 30 of 30
The investigating Social Worker must prepare a written report for a Child
Protection Case Conference covering the following areas:-
• Subject(s) and family details
• Incident leading to the Conference
• Subsequent Investigation
• Relevant Background/Family Information
• Current Situation
• Family Views
• Child(ren)s Views
• Assessment of Risk
This report must be received by the Conference Chair at least one day in
advance of the Conference, and must have been shared with parents prior
to their attendance at Conference.
A written report outlining the medical examination and findings must be
available for Conference and should be received by the Conference Chair
at least one day in advance of the Conference.
Written reports by other key professionals should also be forwarded at
least one day before the conference and wherever possible should be
shared in advance with the family. A written report assists in presenting
somewhat complex information and this represents professional good
practice. The conference chair will check whether parents have had the
opportunity to read all reports prior to commencement of the Conference, it
is therefore important that every effort is made to go through the report in
advance to avoid delay to the conference start time.
6.6 Case Conference Tasks
A Conference must undertake the following tasks:
a) maintain the child/ren as the primary focus so as to promote their
protection and welfare.
b) examine current circumstances and concerns, and evaluate the
findings of the child protection investigation leading to Conference.
c) establish and evaluate all relevant information relating to the child
and family circumstances, including any previous abusive incidents.
d) determine whether concerns are sufficiently substantiated to
warrant a Child Protection Plan.
The only decision a Case Conference can make is whether or not a child
needs a Child Protection Plan. In certain circumstances a Conference
may recommend that this decision is deferred pending further investigation
and that the Conference be reconvened at a later stage.
When a decision is made that a child needs a Child Protection Plan.
Conference must identify the reasons why a Child Protection Plan is
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The need for a Child Protection Plan (CPP) should be considered
separately in respect of every child in the family or household.
Conference will also recommend a range of other actions forming the basis
of the Child Protection Plan, for example:
• nominate a Social Worker as Key-Worker for the child who is subject
to a Child Protection Plan.
• determine what steps are necessary to ensure the protection of all
children in the household. This may include a recommendation that
Care Proceedings be initiated by Social Care.
• recommend how a multi-agency assessment of the family should be
undertaken, highlighting the specific areas to be covered.
• recommend how a multi-agency plan to protect the child(ren) should
be developed, implemented and co-ordinated.
• nominate membership of a core group who will be responsible for
undertaking the assessment and implementing the Child Protection
• consider the need for any criminal proceedings against the
perpetrator(s) of the abuse.
• consider whether an application should be made to the Criminal
Injuries Compensation Board for compensation for the child.
• agree to review the Child Protection Plan within three months of the
Conference and at least six-monthly thereafter.
It is expected that any undertakings made at Case Conferences will be
honoured and that any significant deviation from the agreed Child
Protection Plan will not be implemented without the Conference being re-
convened to consider the proposed change of CPP.
When a Conference decides that a Child Protection Plan is not required the
family will be offered continuing support from agencies as necessary.
6.7 Agreement and Dissent
An essential element of the Safeguarding and Review Unit task is to
ensure consistency across the borough in practice and decision making in
Child Protection. The Conference Chair will take the lead in Conferences
in summarising information and facilitating discussions around risk and the
need for a Child Protection Plan.
The Conference Chair will attempt, wherever possible, to achieve a
consensus decision as to whether a Child Protection Plan is appropriate
and the reason. In the unusual circumstances in which consensus cannot
be achieved it will be the responsibility of the Chair to make the final
decision about whether the Child Protection Plan will remain.
Any dissenting opinions will be noted in the minutes. Any member of the
conference (professional or family) has the right to appeal against the
Procedures for this are outlined in Section 12 - Appeals Procedure.
Child Protection Procedures Page 32 of 32
7 Participation and
Representation of Parents,
Carers and Children
7.1 Statement of Objectives
The welfare of the child is the primary consideration.
LSCB is committed to working in partnership with parents/carers and
other family members and recognises the concept of parental
responsibility at all stages of the child protection process.
Significant adults and children should be effectively represented and
participate from the outset and at all stages in the child protection
process. There should be as much openness and honesty as possible
between families and professionals.
The participation of significant adults and children in cases of suspected
child abuse should enhance the effectiveness of the process in
promoting the welfare of the child. All such adults and children should
be given equal opportunities to participate effectively in this process.
7.2 Model for Parental/Carer Participation
Who Can Attend
The child’s main carer will have a right to attend and to bring a support
person with them if they choose.
Both parents may attend and bring a supporter, provided that any conflict
between them will not preclude full and proper consideration of the child’s
best interests. This will be established prior to the meeting in consultation
between the Chair and the child’s social worker.
Identity of parent(s)/carer(s) and supporters to attend will be notified to the
Chair before the meeting. Following discussion, the Chair will have the
right to refuse attendance in exceptional circumstances (i.e. it is not likely
that a known paedophile will be considered a suitable support person;
genuine risk of violence etc.).
The support person can be a parent’s legal representative but they are to
be advised by the chair that their role is as a supporter.
Support persons will attend in the role of observer only. They will not be
allowed to participate in the business of the meeting or to disrupt the
The Chair may exclude parents/carers/supporters from meetings in
exceptional circumstances, such as where there is a genuine fear of
violence or where parents/carers or supporters are clearly incapable of
participation owing to the influence of drugs or alcohol, or where their
Child Protection Procedures Page 33 of 33
current mental state is not compatible with participation.
Any special needs of parents/carers will be notified to the Chair prior to the
meeting and agreement reached on how to ensure these needs are met.
Preparation Of Parents
It is a requirement of parental participation that the report writing social
worker ensures that attending parents/carers have had an opportunity to
read the report prepared for the meeting before attending and have been
able to clarify any queries or misunderstandings. This should preferably
be in the presence of the report writer.
In exceptional circumstances it may be considered appropriate for
parents/carers not to have read the report prior to the meeting. This
decision will only be taken in consultation with the Chair.
Parent/carers, and supporters where appropriate, will be invited and where
necessary assisted to attend a pre-meeting briefing with the Chair 30
minutes before the meeting. This is to assist their participation and will:
• outline the purpose and function of the meeting including focus on the
• outline who will be attending and why
• explain the meeting’s agenda giving a clear outline of how and when
parents/carers will be expected to contribute
• establish that parents are aware of the contents of reports
• establish parents literacy and linguistic ability and any other special
needs, and agree a strategy for dealing with these
Case conferences will contain the facility to exclude parents for a brief
period between the main information sharing and the decisions and
This is strictly to allow for relevant third party information to be chaired, i.e.
police information relating to other parties, and for legal opinion to be
sought where appropriate.
The Chair will remind conference members that any information tabled
during this section that could/should be shared with parents will be
repeated once parents re-enter the conference.
N.B. There is no facility for parental exclusion during child-focused
meetings owing to the different nature and purpose of these meetings.
Child Participation In Conference
Every effort should be made to assist children and young people to have
the opportunity of ensuring that their views are made known to conference.
This can be achieved in many different ways:
• via someone attending the conference, whom the child trusts, who
can represent their views and feelings - there is an expectation that
whoever represents the child’s view would arrange to see the child to
advise them of the outcome
Child Protection Procedures Page 34 of 34
• child can give letter or send taped information to conference with
someone they trust or directly to the chair
• some young people may feel that they wish to attend the conference
and in these circumstances the social worker must discuss this with
the person who is to chair the meeting. The chair and social worker
will decide how this can best be managed as it may not be
appropriate for the young person to attend the whole of the meeting
• alternatively a child or young person can request to meet with the
chairperson either before or after the conference.
Whenever children and young people contribute to conference, the chair
will write to the young person to thank them for their contribution and to
advise them of the outcome of the conference.
See Fact sheets on www.oldham.gov.uk/ocfs-child-facts4u23s.pdf and
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8 The Child Protection Plan
8.1 When a Case Conference decides a Child Protection Plan is needed it will
specify the category of abuse appropriate.
The categories of abuse are defined by the Department of Health and are
set out in Section 3 ‘Definitions and Recognition of Abuse’.
A child will only need a Child Protection Plan if the conference is satisfied
that the risk of significant harm, as defined within the above categories, is
such as to warrant a multi-agency plan.
One of the following requirements must be satisfied for a Child Protection
Plan to be required:
• There must have been one or more identifiable incidents which can
be defined as child abuse and which can be seen to have adversely
effected the child, and, an assessment of risk considered by the
conference has concluded that further such abuse is likely,
• Significant harm within the definition of child abuse is considered
likely on the basis of professional judgement of the assessed risk
based on the findings of the investigation in this specific case, or on
the evidence of research. This requirement will have to be met when
consideration is given to the risks faced by an unborn child and a
decision is made to put a Child Protection Plan in place for the child
Consideration should be given individually to any other children residing in
the same household and a risk assessment in respect of each of these
considered by conference to determine whether any of them should also
have a Child Protection Plan. Siblings, or other children in the household,
will not automatically be subjects of a Child Protection Plan.
8.2 Children Who Move Out to Another Area
When a child with a Child Protection Plan moves to another Local Authority
area a speedy exchange of information is essential to ensure continued
The key worker must:
• establish in which locality and at what address the child is residing
and notify the local social care department immediately.
• request a ‘moving-in conference’ under the child protection
procedures of that locality and relevant information to assist with this.
The key worker must not send minutes of Child Focused Meetings, Case
Conferences or Reviews.
• retain responsibility for the case until the ‘moving in conference’
unless a specific agreement has been reached for the receiving
authority to accept responsibility.
Child Protection Procedures Page 36 of 36
• inform the Oldham Safeguarding Administrator without delay so that
the Child Protection Plan can be updated.
On receipt of the information the Oldham Safeguarding Administrator will:
• formally notify the administrator of the receiving authority
• forward, under recorded delivery, copies of minutes of previous child
• make all necessary alterations to the Child Protection Plan
• notify all relevant professionals of the changes in circumstances
NB. It is important that this section is read in conjunction with the
individual agency procedures contained in Appendices 11-16
8.3 Children Who Move In From Another Area
Any person becoming aware of a child with a Child Protection Plan from
another area moving in to Oldham must notify the Safeguarding
The Safeguarding Administrator will:
• discuss arrangements for the transfer of the case with the
Administrator of the child’s originating area
• notify the relevant social care team manager of arrangements
• convene a moving-in case conference
Oldham Social Care will not normally accept key worker responsibility for a
child until a decision to continue the Child Protection Plan has been made
by a moving-in conference, unless specific agreement to do so has been
reached with the transferring authority.
8.4 Temporary Residence
Where an allegation of abuse is made in respect of a child who has a Child
Protection Plan in another area but is residing temporarily in Oldham,
responsibility for any investigation will be accepted by Oldham unless
specific agreement has been reached for the other authority to investigate.
8.5 Children subject to Child Protection Plans Who Go Missing
The following indicators require action to determine whether a child/family
• the child/family does not keep pre-arranged appointments
• the child/family are not engaging in their normal daily patterns (e.g.
child missing from school, parent absent from work, family did not
meet appointments with other professionals)
• the family home appears uninhabited
• contacts with relatives or friends offer no explanation for the
If a key worker has reason to believe that a child/family has gone missing
Child Protection Procedures Page 37 of 37
this should be reported immediately to their manager and discussed with
the Service/Team Manager Safeguarding Children.
Attempts to locate the family must be made including:-
• repeated visits to the home at various times
• letters of further appointments to the home
• contact with other professionals to ascertain their knowledge of the
• contact with friends or relatives to ascertain their knowledge of
When all these avenues have been exhausted consideration will be given
to convening a case conference.
The Service/Team Manager Safeguarding Children will initiate ‘missing
persons’ procedures nationally by notifying all administrators of Child
Protection Plan who have a responsibility to maintain a list of missing
The Service/Team Manager Safeguarding Children will be notified if the
child is located.
Child Protection Procedures Page 38 of 38
9 Implementing a Written Child
The Children Act 1989 encourages partnerships between families,
"children in need" and service providers. Children who are subjects of a
Child Protection Plan are 'children in need' of protection and further
assessment. It follows, therefore, that this work should be undertaken on
a multi-agency basis and in partnership with the child and family regardless
of the legal status of the child and whether or not he or she is presently
living at home. Working together in partnership between families and
different agencies is one of the main principles and requirements which
underpins child protection work and it is the responsibility of all concerned
to ensure that this process maintains a specific focus in protecting and
promoting the best interests of the child.
9.2 The Role of the Key Worker
Where a Case Conference has decided that a child requires a Child
Protection Plan, a Key Worker will be appointed who must be a social
worker from the Children Division of Social Care.
The primary task of the Key Worker will be to fulfil the statutory
responsibilities of his or her agency which will include the development and
implementation of the multi agency, multi disciplinary plan for the continued
assessment of the family and protection of the child or children with a Child
Protection Plan. This Child Protection Plan should take the form of a
The Key Worker's secondary responsibility is to act as the lead worker for
the inter-agency core group work in the case. In this co-ordinating role he
or she will provide a focus for communications between the group and
professionals involved and will co-ordinate the inter-agency contributions to
the assessment of the family, protection of the child and review of the case.
The Key Worker is responsible for ensuring that the Safeguarding
Administrator is kept fully informed about any changes in the
circumstances of the child with a Child Protection Plan.
It may be that workers other than the Key Worker have considerably more
day-to-day contact with the child and family. However, the Key Worker
should always be a social worker with experience in child protection work
so that he or she can effectively maintain a child centred focus and co-
ordinate and oversee the work in the case.
9.3 The Function of the Core Group
The Core Group identified at the Initial Case Conference will be a small
number of professionals charged with the responsibility of working together
with the child and family to provide services to implement the
Child Protection Procedures Page 39 of 39
recommendations of the Initial Conference and implement the Child
Protection Plan to further assess the family and protect the child or
children. The membership of the group should always be kept to a
minimum practical number for reasons of efficiency and confidentiality.
The Key Worker should arrange for the group to have an initial meeting
with the family and the child subject to a Child Protection Plan if
appropriate as soon as is practically possible after the Case Conference
(normally within 10 working days). This meeting will be chaired by the Key
Worker and a robust Child Protection Plan should be drafted using the
outline plan as a guide and signed by all parties, including the relevant
family members and all Core Group members must be given a copy of the
Child Protection Plan. The Core Group is responsible for developing the
Child Protection Plan as a detailed working tool, and implementing it.
9.4 The Child Protection Plan
The Initial Child Protection Conference is responsible for agreeing an
outline Child Protection Plan (CPP). Professionals and parents/carers
should develop the details of the Child Protection Plan in the core group.
The aim of the CPP is to:
• safeguard the child from further harm,
• promote the child's health and development; and
• provided it is in the best interests of the child, to support the family
and wider family members to promote the welfare of their child.
The Child Protection Plan should set out what work needs to be done, why,
when and by whom. The plan should:
• describe the identified needs of the child, and what therapeutic
services are required;
• include specific, achievable, child-focused objectives intended to
safeguard the child and promote his or her welfare;
• include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the
• clearly identify roles and responsibilities of professionals and family
members, including the nature and frequency of contact by
professionals with children and family members;
• lay down points as to when progress will be reviewed, and the means
by which progress will be judged; and
• set out clearly the roles and responsibilities of those professionals
with routine contact with the child, e.g. health visitors, GP's and
teachers, as well as any specialist or targeted support to the child and
The Child Protection Plan should take into consideration the wishes and
feelings of the child, and the views of the parents, insofar as this is
consistent with the child's welfare. The Key Worker should make every
effort to ensure that the children and parents have a clear understanding of
the objectives of the CPP, that they accept it and are willing to work to it.
If family members' preferences are not accepted about how best to
safeguard the child, then reasons for this should be explained. Families
Child Protection Procedures Page 40 of 40
should be told about their right to complain and make representations, and
how to do so.
All members of the core group have equal ownership of and responsibility
for the Child Protection Plan, and should co-operate to achieve its aim.
9.5 The Written Agreement
Parents should be clear about the causes of concern which resulted in
the child requiring a Child Protection Plan, what needs to change, and
about what is expected of them as part of the plan for safeguarding the
child. All parties should be clear about the respective roles and
responsibilities of family members and different agencies in
implementing the plan.
Decisions about how it intervenes, including what services to offer, should
be based on evidence about what is likely to work best to bring about good
outcomes for the child. A number of aspects of intervention should be
considered in the context of the Child Protection Plan, in the light of
evidence from assessment on the child's health and development needs,
the parents' capacity to respond appropriately to the child's needs, and the
wider family circumstances. Intervention may have a number of inter-
• action to make a child safe;
• action to help promote a child's health and developments;
• action to help a parent/carer in safeguarding a child and promoting
his or her welfare;
• therapy for an abused child; and
• support or therapy for a perpetrator of abuse.
9.7 CONDUCT OF CORE GROUP
The Core Group should meet on a regular basis (minimum 6 weekly).
At the last Core Group meeting prior to a Review, it will be the task of the
Core Group to draft a Report for Review Conference which takes into
• the work undertaken, progress made and any outstanding work
• an assessment of the current risk to the child/children;
• a recommendation about whether the Child Protection Plan
should continue or not and why.
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10 Reviewing Plans and Deciding
when a Child Protection Plan is
no longer needed.
10.1 Child Protection Review Conference
Every Child Protection Plan will be reviewed by a review conference within
the first three months of when the Child Protection Plan was implemented
and thereafter not less than six monthly.
All original conference participants plus members of the core group will be
invited to participate in the review, plus parents/carers of the child.
Children and young people will also be invited to participate, dependent on
their age and understanding. To determine the appropriateness of the
child attending the key worker must consult with core group members and
the conference chair.
A written report will be submitted for consideration by the core group,
covering the following:
a) significant developments since the initial case conference/last
b) whether the recommendations of the last conference/review have
been implemented, if not why not?
c) the current level of risk to the child(ren) with a Child Protection Plan
d) level of risk to other children in the household
e) appropriateness of existing Child Protection Plan/suggested
changes to the plan
f) effectiveness of inter-agency collaboration
g) whether the Child Protection Plan should continue or end
h) whether any children without a Child Protection Plan should
become the subjects of child protection procedures
Decisions and recommendations of a Review Conference have the same
status as those of an initial case conference.
If the Child Protection Plan is changed the core group must meet within 5-
10 days to agree implementation of those changes.
Any amendments to the Child Protection Plan must be formally notified in
writing to the Service/Team Manager Safeguarding Children within one
month of the review.
10.2 Removing a Child from a Child Protection Plan
The Department of Health criteria for the removal of a Child Protection Plan
Child Protection Procedures Page 42 of 42
are as follows:
a) The original factors leading to the need for a Child Protection Plan
no longer apply i.e.
i. the completion of a comprehensive assessment by the core
group and a detailed analysis of risk has shown that the
Child Protection Plan is no longer required and the
protection of the child is no longer necessary;
ii. the child has remained at home and the abuse or risk of
abuse has been significantly reduce by the core group’s
work with the family and through the Child Protection Plan;
iii. the child has been placed away from home and there is no
longer contact with the abusing person or the contact is not
considered to present a risk to the child;
iv. the abusing person is no longer a member of the same
household as the child and there is no contact or such
contact as occurs is no longer considered to be a risk to the
b) The child and family have moved permanently to another LSCB
area and that area has accepted responsibility for the future
management of the case.
c) The child is no longer a child i.e. the child who reaches eighteen
years of age, the child who gets married, the child who reaches the
age of consent for sex and is subject of a Child Protection Plan for
sexual abuse.(see separate guidance on young people at risk of
d) The child has died.
Category (a) always requires a Review Conference to agree that the Child
Protection Plan is no longer needed. The Review Conference’s decision
must be based on a thorough analysis that the abuse or risk of abuse is no
longer present or no longer such as to warrant a Child Protection Plan, and
must be a majority decision. Consideration must be given (deleted) at
every Review Conference.
Removal of the Child Protection Plan in respect of categories (b), (c), & (d)
can take place outside of a Review Conference by consultation with the
Service Manager Safeguarding Children.
10.3 Administration Arrangements
Review Conference dates will be set at the Initial Conference.
Administration staff at the Safeguarding and Review Unit will consult with
the key worker prior to the Review to ensure that all personnel needed for
the conference are invited.
Minutes will be produced and circulated by administration staff at the
Safeguarding and Review Unit within the same time-scales as for Child
Focused Meetings and Case Conferences.
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The appeals procedure is the same as for appealing against the decisions
of an Initial Case Conference.
Child Protection Procedures Page 44 of 44
11 Placement with Parents
11.1 The following procedure relates to children on Care and Interim Care
• A child is subject to a Child Protection Plan and the plan is for
• A child is to return home and there have previously been child
11.2 Any decision to commence overnight stays at home for the child or a
rehabilitation plan must be made in accordance with The Department of
Health Placement with Parents (etc.) Regulations 1991.
11.3 As part of these regulations the keyworker for the child is required to
submit written information to the Head of Service (Children) in Social Care.
The written documentation must specify any multi agency protection plan
to be implemented upon the child’s return home.
11.4 For cases where there are no issues the social worker will
• Evidence of discussion (multi-agency planning meeting) with
other agencies involved.
• Placement with Parent forms completed as per Schedule 1 and 2
• Agreed and signed by team manager
• Recommendations to Head of Service (Appointed by Assistant
11.5 For cases where there are/have been serious issues about the safety of
• Multi agency planning meeting chaired by the Service Manager
• Placement with parents forms completed as per Schedule 1 and
• Recommendations from meeting to Head of Service (Appointed
11.6 If agreement given by head of service placement can go ahead.
11.7 Advice and Support to be given to the family.
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11.8 All children who are subjects of Interim or Care Orders, placed at home,
are reviewed under the Looked After Children system.
11.9 At the first 6 month review following the placement need to consider
whether the Care Order should be revoked
Child Protection Procedures Page 46 of 46
12 Appeals Procedure
12.1 Professional Dissent
The Chair of a Child Protection Conference has a responsibility to ensure
that the criteria for implementing the Child Protection Plan and removal of
the plan are consistently applied.
If the Chair is of the opinion that a Child Protection Conference is heading
towards a decision which is not in accordance with the relevant
implementation or removal criteria for a Child Protection Plan, they will
advise the Conference accordingly.
In certain cases, it will be a matter of opinion about whether the criteria are
met. If the Conference is split about a decision after having considered
the criteria, the Chair should then make a decision which in their opinion is
in line with the criteria. Any individual reservations or disagreements need
to be minuted.
Having had the disagreement minuted, a professional may continue to
disagree about the decision of the Conference to the extent that they wish
to disassociate themselves with the decision and formally dissent. In
these circumstances the Chair should inform them of the procedures for
professional dissension and be certain whether or not they are formally
If, in the Chair's opinion, the Child Protection Conference has made a
decision about implementing a Child Protection Plan, not meeting the CPP
criteria or the removal of a CPP, they should advise the Conference
members of this and also record it in the Minutes.
A professional dissent is usually based on a matter where a professional
strongly disagrees with a decision of a Child Protection Conference. The
disagreement must be profound enough for the professional to wish to
disassociate themselves from the consensus view of the Conference and
have their dissension formally recorded. The grounds for such an appeal
• The criteria for a Child Protection Plan were not met.
• Facts, available now, which were not known at the time of the
original Child Protection Plan and that these facts invalidate the
original decision to put a Child Protection Plan in place.
• The information considered as having a bearing on the
agreement of a Child Protection Plan has proved subsequently
to be inaccurate.
• The procedures were not followed accurately
If a dissension does occur, the Chair of the Child Protection Conference
will immediately refer the matter to the Service Manager Safeguarding
Children who will consider convening a Dissension Panel. This decision
Child Protection Procedures Page 47 of 47
needs to be taken within fifteen working days of the Conference.
If a child is already subject to a Child Protection Plan and there is a
dissension, the CPP will continue, pending the decision of the Dissension
When a dissension occurs, a key worker should be nominated and any
support and monitoring required to keep the child safe will occur. If
necessary, decisions regarding the Core Group, recommendations for the
Child Protection Plan and a review Conference date will be agreed
between the Conference Chair and the relevant Child Care Team
The Conference Chair will ensure that those persons who have received
an invitation to the Conference be notified of these decisions.
It will be the responsibility of the Service Manager Safeguarding Children to
ensure that the minutes of the meeting are promptly checked and corrected
and that the decision is made within fifteen working days and where
appropriate, a Panel of the sub-group will be arranged.
(Please see separate guidelines to implement the Dissension Panel
12.2 Appeals By Parents/Carers Against the Child Protection Conference
The Appeal Process
The parent or carer should write to the Safeguarding Administrator,
explaining the reason for their appeal, within fifteen working days of the
Initial Child Protection Conference or the Review Conference, which made
the decision against which they wish to appeal. If new evidence becomes
available after this date, consideration will be given to accepting an appeal
later. This decision is at the discretion of the Service Manager
The Service Manager Safeguarding Children will decide whether there are
grounds for appeal. If so, a meeting of the Appeals Panel will be
convened at a time and date that is suitable for the parents/carers to
Where there are no grounds for an appeal, the Service Manager
Safeguarding will advise the parent/carer in writing of that decision within
fifteen working days of receiving the appeal.
If it is agreed that there are sufficient grounds, the appeal will be heard
within twenty working days by a panel of five people from a nominated list.
People asked to sit on the Panel must not have attended the relevant Initial
Child Protection Conference or Review Conference, which promoted the
appeal. It is preferable that they should have no previous involvement
(directly) with the family. The Appeal Panel will normally be made up of
representatives of the main LSCB body in Oldham.
The precise composition of the Panel will be agreed by the Service
Manager Safeguarding, preferably principal manager and above. They
will have the authority to co-opt other professionals where specialist advice
Child Protection Procedures Page 48 of 48
The parent/carer will be informed in writing, by the Safeguarding
Administrator/Service Manager Safeguarding, whether or not an appeal
has been agreed and the date on which it will be heard. He or she will be
invited to attend to explain verbally his or her reasons for lodging the
appeal and to make further representations if they so wish.
The parent or carer is welcome to bring a supporter to the Panel Meeting.
The Appeal Panel may request the attendance of the Child Protection
Conference or Review Conference Chair Person to clarify any points.
The Panel will make its decision on the basis of the parents or carers
submissions, the minutes of any relevant Case Conference or Review
Conferences and any information given by the Chair Person.
After the parents have made their submissions and contribution with
regards to why they think an appeal is necessary, they will then be asked
to leave the meeting.
The Panel will then decide and the Panel's decision will be final.
The Chair or the Panel will write to the Custodian of the Service Manager
Safeguarding advising them of the decision.
The Chair of the Panel will also write to the parent/carer advising them of
There is no appeal above this Panel.
Both the above decisions will have to be communicated by the Chair within
seven working days of the Panel meeting.
12.3 Complaints About the Conduct of a Professional at a Child Protection
General And Not Specific To The Chair
Any complaints about the conduct of a professional at a Child Protection
Conference should be taken up with their agency and should be
responded to in accordance with the relevant agency's complaint
handling the process.
12.4 Complaints Regarding The Functioning Of A Child Protection
There may be occasions when a participant at a Child Protection
Conference is dissatisfied with the way in which the meeting functioned (as
distinct from disagreement with the Conference decision or having a
complaint about the conduct of another participant). The following
procedure will apply in these circumstances.
Any person who has a complaint about the functioning of a Child Protection
Conference should write to the Service Manager Safeguarding Children
within seven working days of the Conference they attended stating clearly
the nature of their complaint. Their complaint must be signed, dated and
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The Service Manager Safeguarding Children will attempt to resolve the
If the Service Manager Safeguarding Children is unable to resolve the
complaint, or the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome, the matter
will be referred to the Complaints Panel.
12.5 Appeals, Dissent and Complaints Panel
The purpose of the Panel is to provide a forum by which Child Protection
Conference decisions are reviewed and/or recommendations made
a) An appeal by a parent/carer regarding the decision of a
b) A professional dissension regarding the decision of a Conference.
c) A complaint about the functioning of a Conference.
The Panel will be comprised of people who are independent of the case
and who have had no involvement with the original Child Protection
Conference in question.
The Panel will be multi disciplinary and its members should be
professionals who have experience and expertise in child protection work.
In normal circumstances, the Panel will be made up from LSCB
The Panel will be multi disciplinary and its members should be
professionals who have experience and expertise in child protection work.
The Service Manager Safeguarding Children will be responsible for
convening and chairing the Panel. A member of the Executive Committee
of the Local Safeguarding Children Board will chair the Panel. The
process in Oldham currently is that the Deputy Chair of the LSCB chairs
The Panel should meet within ten working days.
The Panel will discuss/decide an appeal, or dissension regarding the
decision of the Conference taking into account:
a) The requirements of the Child Protection Procedures, including the
criteria for a implementing a Child Protection Plan or for the
removal of a Child Protection Plan.
b) The relevant Conference minutes and reports.
c) Any other relevant reports, documents or information that the
Conference and Reviewing Manager decides should be submitted.
d) Any verbal or written information given by the parents/carers to
support their appeal.
The Panel will decide whether or not to change the decision of the
Conference regarding the Child Protection Plan. It may also be necessary
for the Panel to make other recommendations.
The Panel will hear a complaint regarding the functioning of the
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Conference taking into account:
a) Whether the relevant inter-agency protocols and procedures,
including Child Protection procedures, have been observed
b) Whether the complaint is reasonable.
The Panel will decide whether or not the complaint is substantiated and
what recommendations be made.
If the Panel cannot reach a majority decision, the Chair will have the
casting vote to make the final decision.
The Panel will normally be made up of five members of the LSCB.
It will be the responsibility of the Service Manager Safeguarding Children to
ensure that the minutes of the Panel Meeting are distributed to all those
invited to the original Child Protection Conference.
Child Protection Procedures Page 51 of 51
13 Procedures and Guidance in the
Management of Organised
Over the past ten years there has been a growing awareness of the
problems of sexual abuse within the family. However, more recently,
there has been evidence of a major shift in the nature of sexual abuse
when it has emerged that adults outside the immediate or wider family
have been involved in the systematic abuse of children.
There have been many attempts to define organised and network abuse.
These procedures will use those definitions produced by the NSPCC for
use in its submission to the Orkney enquiry viz.–
1. Organised Abuse: the exploitation of children involving systematic
sexual, physical or emotional abuse by groups of abusers who
manipulate, coerce or use threats to control children for personal
gratification or gain.
2. Child Sexual Abuse Networks: these involve abusers in planned
social relationships with other abusers for the purpose of gaining access
to children for personal sexual gratification and in which the children are
aware of the involvement of other children.
Broadly, two models of child sexual abuse networks have been identified,
the discovery of either of which will trigger these procedures –
1. Groups of unrelated families who join together to abuse their own
and others children. Such networks may include outsiders – adults who
are allowed to abuse without having to recruit their own children to the
network. This type of network is characterised by high levels of parental
involvement and often requires children to be removed from parental care
for their own safety.
2. Prostitution type networks. These are characterised by relatively
low levels of parental involvement. In these networks stranger adults
recruit children directly, usually without parental knowledge. Children
who are involved in such networks are often used to recruit other
In both these network types it is unlikely that, apart from one or two core
members, each member of the network will be aware of all the other
members. It is often common therefore, that there is a confused pattern of
presentation with children who have been involved having only patchy
knowledge of the network as a whole.
There is a third type of organised abuse – that associated with chaotic
Child Protection Procedures Page 52 of 52
families in which abuse occurs across generational boundaries. Such
situations are managed through the Joint Investigation Protocol as
previously agreed. However, in such circumstances these procedures
may be helpful in the investigation of such situations.
It is extremely unlikely that a network will emerge in its entirety. A much
more likely scenario would be for a number of children, probably unrelated,
to begin to make statements and allegations about their abuse which over
the course of time would begin to indicate connections and to give clues to
the possibility of a network.
Early liaison with other agencies needs to take place at a practitioner level
in order that information regarding suspicions can be pooled. 'Vibes'
about organised and network abuse in the agency can often provide the
essential missing ingredient to suspicions being explored by another
There has been considerable adverse publicity regarding the way in which
networks have been dealt with in the past and the Press, Courts and others
have been scathing in their criticism of Social Workers in particular. It is
important that practitioners in all agencies are reassured that if they begin
to suspect organised abuse, that they can take their suspicions to their
senior managers and they will be taken seriously.
It is likely that practitioners in the Children, Young People and Families
Department and Greater Manchester Police would make the first
connections and begin to suspect a network of abuse. In this case
practitioners should discuss their suspicions with their senior managers
who, if there is sufficient evidence to support the belief that a network is in
operation, should bring the matter to the attention of a nominated individual
within their organisation. That nominated individual will be the
representative who sits on the LSCB. The LSCB representative should
then bring their suspicions to the attention of the Chair of the LSCB who
will then be responsible for considering whether the strategic and tactical
groups, referred to below, should be commenced.
13.3 Management of the Investigation
It is important to recognise that the investigation into possible network
abuse will put enormous strains on established working relationships and
will present the Child Protection system in Oldham with challenges it has
never previously had to confront.
It is seen as essential if the investigations are to succeed to separate the
strategic from the tactical elements of the process. It is recommended that
upon receipt of information about the possibility of the existence of a
network that the Chair of the LSCB convenes Strategic and Tactical
Management Groups, both of which will stand for as long as the
investigation is in process.
Role Of The Strategic Group
The functions of the Strategic Management Group would be to -
Child Protection Procedures Page 53 of 53
1. Establish the aims and objectives of the investigation.
2. Ensure a shared understanding of the principles upon which the
investigation will be conducted (i.e. paramountcy principle)
3. Provide and allocate resources.
a) Co-ordinate investigations which cross operational boundaries.
b) Manage relationships with the media and be a single source of
information regarding the process of the investigation. The group will
therefore need to formulate a policy identifying which agency will make
the press releases and how the content will be compiled.
It is recommended that the Strategic Management Group will include:
The list is not exhaustive and the particular circumstances of an enquiry
may warrant the inclusion of other representatives.
• Assistant Director of Social Care
• Chief Executive
• Senior Health Representative (at Director Level)
• Head of Greater Manchester Police VO14 Section
• Chief Superintendent 'Q' Division
• Borough Solicitor
Role Of The Tactical Management Group
The Tactical Management Group would have overall responsibility for the
management of the investigation into the network. It would seek to
1. A detailed timetable for the investigation.
2. (The responsibilities of professionals dealing with an investigation.
3. Responsibility for the co-ordination of the investigation on a day by day
4. How operational difficulties and disputes between professions will be
The Tactical Management Group would concern itself with the following
1. What is the evidence available in respect of which children?
2. Which children should be investigated first?
3. Who should do the investigation and who else should be involved, e.g.
schools, youth and community workers etc?
4. What protective action needs to be taken by whom and when?
5. When should a Case Conference be convened, who should attend and
how much information should be disclosed?
Child Protection Procedures Page 54 of 54
The Tactical Group will allocate tasks to members of the investigating
teams who will, in turn, report back to the Group to inform decisions on:
1. Which other children need to be protected.
2. The strength of the evidence in regard to these children.
3. How, if at all, should investigations proceed?
4. Whether these children should be subject to Case Conferences and
who should be involved.
The Tactical Group will be responsible for feeding back to the Strategic
Group the process of the investigation to inform its decisions on contact
with other authorities and the media.
It is recommended that the Tactical Management Group comprise the
• Children, Young People and Families Department Service
Manager Safeguarding Children
• Greater Manchester Police VA3 representative
• Child & Family Psychiatry representative
• Health Services representative
• Legal Services Department representative
• Senior Investigating Officer, GMP
The list is not exhaustive and the particular circumstances of an enquiry
may warrant the inclusion of other representatives.
It is not intended that this guidance should be too prescriptive regarding the
role of this group as each circumstance will dictate its own response.
However, the following comments should guide the Tactical Management
Group in its considerations on how the investigation should proceed.
It will not be possible to control the way in which the network presents
itself, nor the number of children who will require protection at any one
time. However, where it is possible an incremental approach to the
investigation should be used. This has the advantage of making the
investigation manageable and will enable the Children, Young People and
Families Department and GMP joint investigation protocol to be applied. It
will be the responsibility of the Tactical Management Group to balance the
short and longer term protection needs of all the children involved.
It is important to re-state that early morning raids in which numbers of
children are taken and perpetrators arrested and against local policy and
practice and have been particularly proscribed by the Rochdale judgement.
It may be, however, that such a course of action is indicated in any
particular circumstance. If such an action is contemplated by the Tactical
Management Group as the appropriate way to proceed this should be
referred to the Strategic Management Group for sanction. This group will
Child Protection Procedures Page 55 of 55
then have to balance the efficacy of such a method of intervention with the
If it is not possible in this incremental fashion and it becomes necessary to
act in respect of large numbers of children and adults, the matter should be
referred (before action is taken) to the Strategic Management Group to
consider how the investigation is to be resourced, and to agree the tactical
13.4 Collection and Collation of Information
The experience of practitioners involved in investigations into networks
would tend to indicate that the earlier the network is recognised and the
more comprehensive and complete the information obtained, then the
more successful the outcome of the investigation.
It is agreed that in the event of a network being uncovered in Oldham that
the GMP HOLMES computer system will be used. This system can be
used as a source and repository of information, it can make connections
between apparently disparate pieces of information, provide a means of
tracking the progress of the investigation as a whole and the progress of
individual children within the investigation and it is also able to provide hard
copy of information to be used subsequently as an archive.
As with all computer systems the product from the HOLMES system will
only be as good as the information that is loaded onto it. As a
consequence the role of the receiver of information is crucial. It is
recommended that there should be joint receivers from Social care and
Greater Manchester Police staff who will be responsible for filtering
information and requesting necessary actions. It is recommended that the
receivers be senior representatives of Police and Social care Departments
and that they will have discretion to allow them to co-opt expert advice as
It is agreed that the Children, Young People and Families Department will
contribute to the admin support to the HOLMES system in regard to
message taking and the transcription of data, which is received during the
investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation the Children, Young
People and Families Department will receive a hard copy of all archive
material and arrangements will then need to be made to index and store
this information in such a way that its confidentiality is maintained.
In order that the Tactical Management Group is kept fully informed
regarding the progress of the investigation, it is recommended that the
Senior Investigating Officer from the Police become a standing member of
13.5 Case Conferences
It is recognised that the role, function and timing of Case Conferences in
network situations is potentially problematic. It is important to separate the
protection issues for individual children from the management of the
investigation into the network as a whole. It is recommended that
Conferences on children involved in networks should focus exclusively on
the protection needs of the child or sibling groups involved and no attempt
Child Protection Procedures Page 56 of 56
should be made to manage the network through the Conference process,
nor to deal with the protection needs of numbers of unrelated children.
On the question of the timing and membership of Conferences it is
recommended that as far as possible, Conferences on individual children
(or groups of siblings) should be as normal as possible, i.e. members
should be invited on a need to know basis. It is possible that there will be a
need for some control to be imposed on the information which is made
available to Conference members, particularly if the investigation provides
evidence of strange or bizarre behaviour in children. In this event the Chair
of the Case Conference, following discussions with the Chair of the
Tactical Management Group, will exercise such control on information as is
In the event of a network being uncovered in Oldham it is quite possible
that the resources of all agencies involved in the investigation and
subsequent care and treatment of children will be extended beyond their
limits. The ability to manage the numbers of children coming forward might
be a limiting factor on the way in which the investigation can proceed and
this will need to be taken into consideration by the Tactical and Strategic
It is not possible to foresee what the demands on resources might be but it
is recommended that each agency should consider internally what
contingency plans should be made to cope with a sudden unexpected
influx of work. Such plans might involve the transfer of resources within
It may be appropriate for members of the Strategic Management Group to
make representations to their counterparts in other authorities and
divisions to provide assistance in terms of the investigation of the network
and the placement of children.
13.7 Expert Advice
A number of investigations into organised abuse have been criticised for
their failure to take advantage of expert advice from Child Psychiatrists and
Psychologists. In order to ensure that the Tactical Management Group is
properly advised it is recommended that a Psychiatrist from the Child &
Family Psychiatry Service is a standing member of the group. It is
accepted that there are few recognised experts in the field of network and
organised abuse (particularly when bizarre features are involved) and it is
acknowledged that the status of 'experts' can be dependent on the view of
the Courts. It is recommended that the representative from Child & Family
Psychiatry should, as appropriate, seek advice and guidance from their
colleagues in order to inform the planning and decision making of the
Tactical Management Group (e.g., an assessment of the child's need for
therapy and the timing of that therapy).
It is recognised that on occasions it may be necessary to seek other forms
of expert advice, particularly concerning legal matters. It might be that the
Police may wish to consult with the Crown Prosecution Service or Social
Child Protection Procedures Page 57 of 57
Workers might wish to consult with Barristers outside the Local Authority's
Legal Department. In such circumstances the request for such advice
should be considered by the Tactical Management Group who will decide
on how to proceed.
13.8 Staff Care
The experience from other staff who have been involved in the
investigation of network abuse indicates that the pressure on staff involved
in the process is enormously high. Not only do such investigations require
physical resilience as in the early stages they tend to be extremely intense
and time consuming, but also they challenge the individual's emotional
strength and durability. It is important that the issue of staff care is
addressed at the earliest stage of the investigation and agencies put in
place mechanisms to ensure that their staff are properly supported and
cared for. Such mechanisms will include adequate supervision and
opportunities to de-brief, as well as the facility for the use of external
counsellors should this be necessary.
It is important to anticipate that special arrangements will be necessary to
care for staff involved in the investigation of a network and to make plans
The Tactical Management Group will be responsible for determining which
agency will be responsible for co-ordinating staff care.
At the conclusion of an investigation into network abuse it is recommended
that the process and outcome be evaluated by the LSCB Special Case
Sub-Committee. This will enable the LSCB to reflect on the experience of
having managed a network and also evaluate whatever changes may be
necessary to improve the procedures.
13.10 Children Abused by People Who Are Not Household or Family
Members or Carers
The Child Abuse Procedures should be utilised in all cases where the
suspected perpetrator is a family or household member or a person
acting in a professional or care taking capacity to the child. Any abuse
suspected of being perpetrated by any other person is to be classed as
'stranger' abuse and falls outside the Child Protection Procedures.
Incidents of 'stranger' abuse should be referred directly to the Police for
criminal investigation. If such investigations reveal that parents or carers
1. Known and colluded with the abuse.
2. Suspected the abuse and failed to protect the child.
3. Not directly known or suspected the abuse but demonstrated
negligence (e.g. allowed known or suspected paedophiles to
babysit children etc.)
then the Child Protection Procedures should be invoked.
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In some cases where stranger abuse is investigated by the Police then
they need to consider whether or not information relating to the incident is
of use to other agencies. This applies irrespective of whether anyone is
charged with an offence or not.
In deciding whether to inform other agencies the Police should take
account of whether the move is designed to be victim or offender specific.
If the move is centred on the victim, then consideration must be given to
involving parents in the process as a means of overcoming alleged
breaches of confidentiality (for instance asking parents for permission to
inform the teacher involved in Child Protection at the victim's school).
If the intention is to minimise the risk posed by the alleged offender, then in
deciding which agencies should be informed, the Police should take into
account the potential risks posed by the alleged offender to:
1. his own children or those of a co-habitee
2. those children which he is likely to come into contact with as a result
of involvement in an organisation or through his work, i.e. a scout
3. children in the wider community.
Once the information has been communicated to another agency it is for
that agency to decide what action needs to be taken to minimise the risk to
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14 Allegations of Abuse Against
Professionals, Foster Carers
Members of the Oldham LSCB have a responsibility to ensure that
children are cared for and protected by all those who may have a role or
participate in some way in their life.
A professional relationship is defined as the involvement of any person
acting in a professional capacity or on behalf of an agency, in a position of
trust in relationship to the child, young person or the family.
This policy applies to employees, as well as those independent
professionals who come into contact with children (e.g. Doctors, Dentists,
Practice Nurses), foster carers, independent providers of childcare and
volunteers appointed by the constituent member agencies of the LSCB.
The Oldham LSCB has a wide range of professional and agency members.
Where the constituent agencies do not provide a service for children
directly but commission it from an independent, voluntary or private
organisation, they should ensure that similar child protection procedures
are written into their contracts. Other organisations, which are not
members of the LSCB, should have clear child protection policy and
procedures to deal with such matters.
Child abuse is defined as physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. (Please
see Oldham LSCB Section 3.)
14.2 Overall Approach to Abuse by Professionals and Volunteers
The LSCB recognises that allegations of professional abuse inevitably
generate sensitive issues, potentially effecting the careers of those
accused or suspected. Furthermore, the LSCB recognises the potential
vulnerability of staff caring for children who present challenging behaviour.
The LSCB recognises the rights of any individual to be respected in the
interest of natural justice but reasserts the principle that if there is a conflict
of interest between the child and the adult, the child’s interest must be
The LSCB expects each agency to appoint a senior manager as its Lead
Contact Officer for all referrals of possible abuse by those for whom the
agency has responsibility. This appointed role will be called the Senior
Nominated Officer for the purpose of the Oldham procedures.
Any investigation of an allegation or suspicion of abuse by a professional or
volunteer involves three related, but independent strands. It is important that
all those involved in any investigation against a professional or volunteer
recognises the importance of both how they are connected and also their
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a) The child protection enquiries which take precedence
b) A police investigation into a possible criminal offence
c) Disciplinary procedures, where it appears that the allegations may
amount to misconduct or gross misconduct on the part of the staff.
Professionals may also be referred to their own regulatory bodies.
A similar process will need to be in place for volunteers.
It is essential that any common facts of the alleged abuse are applied
independently in each strand of the investigation. For instance the fact that
a prosecution is not possible does not mean that action in relation to
safeguarding children or an employee disciplinary hearing is not necessary
or feasible. (There may be different levels of proof.)
Oldham LSCB recognise that all staff must be alert to the possibility that a
child might be harmed by a professional or by a volunteer or by both.
When an allegation has been made or it is suspected that an employee,
independent professional or volunteer has harmed or abused a child, the
Senior Nominated Officer in the agency concerned should be notified
immediately. Each agency should have a procedure for dealing with such
information outside normal office hours. If the Senior Nominated Officer is
not available or involved, another senior manager must be informed.
The referrer should record the time, place and details of the allegation or
suspicion and give these to the Senior Nominated Officer. The allegation
may refer to a current situation or an historical situation. It should be
followed up in writing within 48 hours of the initial notification.
Care should always be taken to ensure that ‘referrer’ and the ‘Senior
Nominated Officer’ are quite clear about the difference between recording
information and carrying out an investigation.
There will be need to ensure that the matter is dealt with sensitively and
age appropriately if a child or young person is involved in making a direct
complaint. The referrer should not attempt to deal with the complaint or
14.4 Initial Response by the Senior Nominated Officer
The Senior Nominated Officer, in consultation with the managers
responsible for the care of the child (if applicable) but who are not
implicated in the allegation/suspicion, should ensure the child’s immediate
safety and that of other relevant children. This may entail suspending the
alleged abuser until such time that the child protection enquiries are
complete. If it does, then any disciplinary process should be frozen until the
outcome of the initial enquiries. Medical treatment for the child should be
sought if necessary without delay.
The Senior Nominated officer after appropriate consultations with other
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relevant managers is responsible for the initial determination of whether the
allegation constitutes suspected abuse by a professional or volunteer in
respect of the child protection enquiries. S/he will then be in a position to
determine the need for police involvement and be able to advise relevant
managers about the need for disciplinary action.
The Senior Nominated Officer should consider the details of the incident,
including the time and location of the incident, information concerning what
the child has said, any evidence to support or refute the allegation and the
name of any witnesses
In deciding what level of investigation, if any, should ensue, the Senior
Nominated Officer must determine which of the three following categories
the allegation might represent:
Acceptable professional behaviour:
This may include exercising appropriate action to protect a child or young
person in accordance with that agency’s policy.
Unacceptable professional behaviour:
Which constitutes misconduct or gross misconduct and may require action
in accordance with the agency’s disciplinary procedures but falling short of
As defined in these Child Protection Procedures
Consultation in Unclear Situations
Where a Senior Nominated Officer is unsure about how to proceed or
cannot determine which of the three responses above applies, then contact
should be made with the Service Manager Safeguarding Children,
Children, Young People and Families Department. The Chair of the LSCB
should be informed of the allegation.
Those conducting the enquiries should be alert to any sign or pattern,
which suggests that the abuse may be more widespread or organised
than appears at first sight. It is important not to assume that initial signs
will necessarily be related directly to abuse and to consider occasions
where boundaries have been blurred, inappropriate behaviour has taken
place and matters such as fraud, deception or pornography have been
The Senior Nominated Officer should refer the matter immediately to the
Conference and Reviewing Unit in social care as soon as s/he has
determined that there are sufficient grounds to believe that there has been
abusive behaviour on the part of an employee or volunteer. A strategy
meeting will be held to determine how to proceed.
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Referrals relating to possible abuse by an employee, independent
professional or volunteer of Social care will require an independent person
to be involved in any child protection enquiries. (Contact the Service
Manager Safeguarding Children for details of an independent person.)
14.6 Cross Boundary Issues
If the referral concerns a child who has been placed at an establishment in
Oldham by another Local Authority, negotiations must be with the placing
authority to clarify whether Oldham staff are to act as their agents and
carry out the investigation. There is an expectation that other Authorities in
Greater Manchester will conduct their own investigations. This does not
remove the responsibility from Oldham Social Care for taking emergency
protective action if it is necessary.
14.7 Child Protection Enquiries
The child protection enquiries will be carried out according to the plan set
out at the strategy meeting and conducted in accordance with the
procedures set out in Section 4 of this manual.
If the child needs to be formally interviewed, then this interview will be
conducted in accordance with the Joint Protocol between Social Care and
the Police (Appendix 13).
The child must not be interviewed by staff conducting the disciplinary
procedures. The evidence gathered in the investigation, including written
material audio or video recordings with the child and other witnesses, may
be referred to in all 3 strands of the investigation. The evidence will remain
in the hands of the investigating agencies. Decisions concerning the
disclosure of such evidence will need to be considered carefully in
conjunction with the agency’s Employment Section.
The team conducting the child protection enquiries will make an initial
assessment of the abusive situation and report to a reconvened strategy
meeting within 15 working days.
14.8 Post Investigation Strategy Meeting
The members of the initial strategy meeting will reconvene; additional
relevant staff will be invited.
This strategy meeting is responsible for considering the following issues:
• Result of child protection investigation
• Are there outstanding concerns on the balance of probabilities
• Any outstanding protection issues for the alleged victim
• Any outstanding protection issues for other potential victims,
a) Other children with whom the alleged perpetrator has a
b) Children of the alleged perpetrator
• Is a Child Protection Conference required in respect of any child
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14.9 Outcomes of Investigation
Where there are outstanding concerns the child and the parents must be
informed in writing and advised of what action is being taken.
The Police will consider, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution
Service whether there is sufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution.
A disciplinary hearing may be arranged within the agency’s disciplinary
The alleged perpetrator should be referred to the Department of Health
consultancy list, List 99 in the Department of Education and Employment or
any equivalent body, in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999.
If the alleged perpetrator resides outside Oldham, the Conference and
Reviewing Unit with legal advice will convey appropriate information to the
relevant authority through a formal channel.
The managers or commissioners of the service should consider the
lessons from the case and how they should be acted upon. This may
include whether there are features of the organisation, which may have
contributed to the abuse occurring, or failed to prevent the abuse from
happening. In some cases a full Case Review may be appropriate.
No Outstanding Concerns
The parents and child will be informed that there are no outstanding
concerns and they will be given advice and support. Information will also
be given about the agency’s complaints procedure.
In either outcome the decision of the meeting will be recorded on the
child’s file and a strictly confidential record kept in the Conference and
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Child Protection Procedures Page 65 of 65
15 Part Eight and Case Reviews
Part eight of the ‘Working Together’ guidelines require LSCBs to
consider and report on all cases where there is:
- An incident leading to the death of a child and child abuse is confirmed
or suspected, or
- A child protection issue likely to be of major public concern
There is no agreed or accepted definition of ‘major public concern’ and
Oldham LSCB has determined that each case shall be judged on it’s own
circumstances with LSCB Chair holding the discretion to decide, subject to
constraints outlined below, whether the circumstances warrant the
convening of a case review.
Oldham LSCB has also determined that the criteria for holding a case
review be widened to include cases where a child receives, but survives,
injuries from which it could have died.
N.B. Where the child is looked after by the Local Authority, this procedure
is in addition to requirements under Schedule 2, paragraph 20, Children
15.2 The Purpose and Remit of the Review
Case reviews allow agencies to:
- understanding events with a view to improving services
- change systems or services in order to minimise the likelihood of repeat
The review will examine records held by agency workers involved with the
child and family to determine:
• whether agency and LSCB procedures were followed correctly
• whether the incident could have been predicted or prevented
The review is a process internal to the LSCB to help it fulfil its functions. It
is not a public enquiry or a part of any disciplinary procedure.
The report will not normally be published but will be distributed to LSCB
agencies to be used to improve service delivery.
A copy of the report will also be sent to the Department of Health with an
indication of actions and likely timescales arising from it’s
The review will also consider strategies for dealing with staff anxieties
arising from the process and for dealing with public concern. This may
Child Protection Procedures Page 66 of 66
include recommendations for specific counselling for individuals considered
to need this service.
15.3 Procedure for Convening a Case Review
LSCB chair will contact all agencies with initial details of children and family
members involved, as a precursor to the meeting to be held to decide
whether a case review should be commissioned. A broad outline of areas
of concern to be provided and a date arranged for agency representatives
to meet within two weeks.
A named person within each agency will undertake a fact finding exercise,
gathering as much information as possible whilst concentrating on recent
events and involvement.
LSCB chair will hold a meeting with agency representatives within two
weeks. at this meeting agency representatives will provide:
• a chronology of events immediately preceding the incident.
• information regarding the length and nature of involvement with the
family by their agency
• a view on whether the concerns initially set out by the Chair are
supported by the information they have collected.
This meeting must then decide from the following options:
• to proceed with a case review
• not to proceed with a case review
• to adjourn for further information to be collected
If it is decided to proceed the Chair will determine terms of reference for
the review and identify the key family members whose files will be looked
at, and over what timescale.
A decision not to proceed with a case review can be reversed if information
subsequently comes to light suggesting that a review is appropriate.
A report on the decision-making process in these initial stages will be given
to LSCB, if it is decided not to proceed.
On deciding to proceed with a case review the Chair will:
• appoint an independent Chair for the case review
• provide minutes of meeting(s) leading to the review and terms of
All agency representatives are expected to be involved in the case review
meetings and discussions regardless of their agencies involvement with
The case review Chair will determine frequency of meetings, ensuring the
formal presentation of information, producing a formal written report for
LSCB Chair and discussion of it at LSCB.
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If a substantial consensus does not emerge during the review, the
independent Chair is responsible for recording this in the final report for
The final report will be completed not later than eight weeks after the
meeting at which the review is commissioned.
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The Legal Framework
The Children Act 1989 contains most of the relevant law relating to child
protection and practice areas are covered in more detail within the volumes
of regulations and guidance relating to the Act.
The Act sets out a number of important principles which child protection
practitioners need to be aware of. In particular the following principles
directly apply to child protection:
• The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration
• A partnership approach must be taken in working with all relevant
parties including parents, carers and family members
• A court shall not make an Order under the Act with respect to a
child unless it is satisfied that doing so is better than making no
order at all
The Act introduces the concept of ‘parental responsibility’ which is intended
to alter the emphasis away from parental rights over children towards a
focus on their responsibilities towards children.
When a child is the subject of a Care Order parental responsibility is
shared by the Local Authority with parent(s). In these circumstances the
Local Authority has the right to limit parents in their exercising of parental
responsibility if it is necessary to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.
Emergency Protection - Sections 44-46 And 48 Children Act 1989
These sections provide for the urgent protection of a child from significant
harm including guidelines relating to the powers, duties and timescales
pertaining to Emergency Protection orders and Police Protection Orders.
Recovery Order - Section 50 Children Act 1989
This provides for the Court to make an Order where a child in care or
subject to an Emergency Protection Order is missing, has run away or has
Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984 - Section 19 (1)(E)
This enables a Police Officer to enter premises without a warrant in order
to save life and limb. (This is a general Police power not restricted to child
protection matters only).
Child Assessment Order - Section 43 Children Act 1989
This enables a short term period of specialist assessments to be
undertaken in order to establish evidence of significant harm, in
Child Protection Procedures Page 69 of 69
circumstances where this cannot be achieved with the co-operation of
Care And Supervision - Sections 31- 35 And 38 Children Act 1989
These sections provide for compulsory intervention to safeguard the longer
term welfare of the child in circumstances where this cannot be achieved
without recourse to the Courts.
Family Law Act 1996
Part 1V of this Act introduces significant changes to civil law regarding
Domestic Violence, most significantly the introduction of NON-
MOLESTATION ORDERS and OCCUPATION ORDERS. Both these
Orders may contain the power of arrest where it appears that the applicant
or relevant child will not be adequately protected without this.
Schedule 1 1933 Children And Young Persons Act.
This lists offences against children including physical and sexual assault.
These offences can never be regarded as ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation
of Offenders legislation. If a Local Authority is informed about such an
offender having contact with children it must make enquiries under Section
47 of the Children Act 1989 to decide whether any further action should be
taken to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.
The Sex Offenders Act 1997
Imposes requirements on sex offenders, including those under 18, to notify
the police of their names and addresses and any subsequent changes to
these. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
The Act spells out the importance of an inter-agency approach to
managing the disclosure of information relating to certain sex offenders.
Crime And Disorder Act 1998:
Sex Offender Orders, Sections 2, 3 And 18
This relates to sex offenders convicted after December 1st 1998. The
legislation includes sex offences committed abroad.
The Order can prohibit the offender from doing any specified thing if the
prohibition is necessary to protect the public from serious harm from the
The Order will last for at least five years. Once an Order is made the sex
offender must register under the Sex Offenders Act 1997, even if s/he is
It is an arrestable offence to breach the Order, maximum penalty five years
imprisonment and a fine. The court cannot give a conditional discharge for
Child Protection Procedures Page 70 of 70
Social Care Roles and Responsibility
A key role for Children, Young People and Families Department is to
ensure that children are protected from significant harm. Social Care
provide a wide range of support for children and their families, especially
where children have special needs, children at risk of harm, children who
need to be accommodated or looked after by the local authority, through
fostering or residential care and children who are placed for adoption.
Social Care responsibilities should be seen in the context of this broad
range of social care and support, so that children and families can be
helped and supported in an integrated way which recognises the range and
diversity of their needs and strengths.
Local authorities, through Social Care, have specific legal duties under the
Children Act 1989. The general duty of Social Care is to safeguard and
promote the welfare of children in their area who are in need and, provided
this is consistent with the child’s safety and welfare, to promote the
upbringing of children within their families by providing services appropriate
to the child’s needs (S17). They should do this in partnership with parents
and in a way which is sensitive to the child’s race, religion, culture and
language. Services might include day care for young children, after school
care for school children, counselling, respite care, family centres or
practical help in the home. It is essential that Social Care work in
partnership with other agencies to help support children and families.
Social Care have a duty to make enquiries if they have reason to suspect
that a child in their area is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm, to
enable them to decide if any action is necessary to safeguard or promote
the welfare of the child (S47).
A child at significant risk will invariably be a child in need. The Children,
Young People and Families Department is responsible for co-ordinating an
assessment of the child’s needs, the parents’ capacity to keep the child
safe and promote his or her welfare, and of the wider family circumstances.
In the majority of cases children are safeguarded from harm by working
with them, their parents and other family members and significant adults to
promote the child’s welfare within the family setting. Where the child is at
continuing risk of significant harm, Social Care are responsible for co-
ordinating a multi-agency plan (Child Protection Plan) to safeguard the
child. The Child Protection Plan is set up by a core group of people from
different agencies and clearly outlines each agencies role in the plan. In
some cases, Social Care in consultation with other agencies, may judge
that a child’s welfare cannot be sufficiently safeguarded within the family.
In such circumstances the Children, Young People and Families
Department may apply to the court for a Care Order, which commits the
child to the care of the local authority. Where the child is thought to be in
immediate danger, the Social Care may apply to the court for an
Emergency Protection Order.
Social Care responsibility, duties and powers in relation to vulnerable
Child Protection Procedures Page 71 of 71
children under the Children Act 1989 means that they act as the principal
point of contact for children about whom there are child welfare concerns.
They may be contacted directly by parents or family members seeking
help, concerned friends and neighbours, or by professionals and other
statutory and voluntary agencies.
The following flow chart (Fig. 3) outlines the way in which referrals are
handled within Social Care.
Child Protection Procedures Page 72 of 72
Child Protection Procedures Page 73 of 73
Child Protection Guidelines
Protecting life and preventing crime are primary tasks of the Police. The
Police have a duty and responsibility to investigate criminal offences
committed against children.
The Police recognise the fundamental importance of inter-agency working
in combating child abuse, as illustrated by well-established arrangements
for joint training involving Police and social work colleagues. All forces
have Child Protection Units (C.P.U.’s). These units within Greater
Manchester are known as Family Support Units (F.S.U.’s).
It is important that safeguarding children is not, within a policing context,
seen as solely the role of F.S.U. Officers, but that all Police Officers
understand it is a fundamental part of their duties.
The Police are committed to sharing information and intelligence with other
agencies where it is necessary to protect children.
Following a criminal investigation, a decision as to whether or not criminal
proceedings should be initiated are based on these main factors:
• whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute
• whether it is in the public interest that proceedings should be
instigated against a particular offender
• whether or not a criminal prosecution is in the best interests of
Although the Police may commence proceedings, it is the responsibility of
the C.P.S. to review the evidence and, where appropriate, conduct all
criminal prosecutions. In dealing with offences involving a child victim, the
Police will normally work in partnership with Social Care.
The evidential standard required by the Criminal Court is proof ‘beyond
reasonable doubt’ that the defendant committed the offence. Proceedings
for the protection of children in the Children Act 1989 take place in the Civil
Court which work to a different standard of proof, than of the ‘balance of
probabilities’. The Criminal Courts focus on the behaviour of the
defendant, the Civil Courts on the interests of the child.
In addition to their duty to investigate criminal offences, the Police have
emergency powers to enter premises and ensure the immediate protection
of children believed to be suffering from, or at risk of significant harm.
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The Joint Police and Social Care Protocol for
Investigating Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse
This document or 'Protocol' is the official procedure, agreed between
Greater Manchester Police and Oldham Social Care for the joint
investigation of suspected Child Sexual Abuse.
Such investigations should only be taken on by staff who have received the
appropriate specialist training.
It is essential that this procedure is read in conjunction with the
Memorandum of Good Practice (M.O.G.P.) which relates to the video
recording of a child's evidence. It is also important to refer to relevant
Police and Social Care Guidelines encompassed in the LSCB Child
Protection Procedures Handbook.
There are several principles which are overriding in joint investigations:
1. The welfare of the child is paramount.
2. The investigation should be child centred, the onus being on protection
of the child rather than the collection of evidence for criminal proceedings.
3. The account of a child should always be taken seriously, as opposed to
being believed without any doubt. The subsequent investigation will then
be conducted with an open mind and will consider all information and
evidence, whether this substantiates or detracts from the child's account.
Memorandum of Good Practice (M.O.G.P.) on Video Recorded
Interviews with Child Witnesses
This document details when the evidence of a child witness/victim is
recorded on video tape with a view to it being accepted in Court as
It also provides guidance on all stages of an investigation such as
planning, interview preparation, the interview itself and actions thereafter.
When a video interview is anticipated, reference must be made to the
Not all joint investigations will result in a video interview. However, the
guidelines provided in the M.O.G.P. should still be adhered to whenever
possible (e.g. in relation to planning and interview approach).
There might be circumstances when a video interview may not be
undertaken but these are expected to be rare, and will usually be when the
child is felt to be too young for such an interview, or where video
Child Protection Procedures Page 75 of 75
recording(s) formed part of the suspected abuse.
Suitability for Joint Investigations
All cases of alleged/suspected Child Sexual Abuse will be subject to Joint
Police/Social care investigation where the above falls within the following
1. The child is at the time of referral, under 18 years of age. Any video
recording obtained from an interview will only be admissible as the young
person's evidence if he/she is under 17 years at the time the recording
2. The suspected abuser is a person who has custody, care, control or
responsibility for the child.
Advice regarding other areas of abuse not falling within the above criteria,
or behaviour giving rise to concern are detailed in paragraphs 13, 14 and
15 of the Procedure.
When a referral is made all relevant information and details should be
recorded contemporaneously on the relevant agencies referral forms.
All relevant agency records should be checked and information collated
under Section 47 of the 1989 Children Act".
When intending to refer cases to another agency it is imperative that the
accumulated information is recorded accurately.
The matter should then be discussed fully with a line manager prior to
referral to another agency. The immediate risk to the child must be
assessed and a plan of action considered to alleviate the risk.
Contact with the other joint investigating agency must be made as soon as
possible after initial referral. Arrangements can then be made as soon as
practicable for a formal strategy meeting after which the investigation can
Refer to M.O.G.P.
Good preparation and detailed liaison are essential to make good use of
the skills of the investigating team.
During the meeting it will be necessary to cover a large number of topics
but on completion, an interview team should have been identified including
the video operator.
It is also important that the possible requirements of specialist skills should
be identified, i.e. interpreters/signing. Consideration should be given to
whether a medical examination will be necessary.
The timing and location of the interview should be decided with reference
to the Safeguarding and Review Unit and the availability of facilities.
Child Protection Procedures Page 76 of 76
At the end of the Strategy Meeting the conclusions reached and any action
plan should be fully recorded. It should be noted that all documents from
both agencies may be subject to disclosure to all parties in court
proceedings. Therefore the context and clarity of information recorded
should represent the facts of the case, and any opinions should be
Consent for the interview of the child to take place and for this to be
videoed should normally be sought in advance from an adult with parental
responsibility. However, given the complex nature of child sexual abuse
investigations, it will be appropriate to proceed without seeking such
consent where this would place the child at risk or adversely affect the
investigations. This is a serious step and should not take place without
prior consultation with line managers (preferably in the strategy meeting)
and, where appropriate, consultation with Legal Services and the Crown
Prosecution Service. Similar consent to the interview and video recording
should be sought from the child where he/she is of sufficient age and
understanding. The suspected perpetrator should not be considered as
able to give consent.
Consent can be obtained by either agency, and an attempt should be
made to obtain this in writing on the designated form. Verbal consent will
suffice when written consent is refused or inappropriate. The fact that only
verbal consent was given and the reasons why must be recorded in the
The investigating team must decide on the need for a medical examination.
There should be no prescribed timing for a medical in relating to the
sequence of steps forming part of an investigation but as a general rule if
one is needed, should take place at the earliest possible stage.
In deciding when to medically examine a child, consideration must be given
to the possible forensic evidence that may be lost if the examination is
Any such examination must only be conducted by a Police Surgeon with
specialist training in this field.
The consent of someone with parental responsibility must be sought and
the wishes of the child taken into consideration, in accordance with her/his
age and developmental maturity. Any child has a right to refuse a medical
Any arrangements for a medical examination will be made by the Police
Interview with Child
Refer to M.O.G.P.
Child Protection Procedures Page 77 of 77
If a video recorded interview is envisaged then it is essential that all staff
involved have had an opportunity to appraise themselves of the equipment
and practical procedures.
Full instructions regarding the use of the video and audio equipment will be
available at the Safeguarding and Review Unit.
At the end of an interview the Police Officer will seal the two video tapes
made (and audio tapes) and be responsible for taking them to the Police
Station where they will be indexed and stored.
All requests to view or obtain copies of video/audio tapes should be
addressed to the Detective Sergeant of the Family Support Unit.
The importance of safeguarding a video recording cannot be understated
and any copying or access will be strictly controlled. Video recordings
should be destroyed when it is clear that their continued existence serves
no further purpose. Since a recording would be likely to be needed to any
appeal proceedings it will be necessary to store the master copy for at
least five years. A decision to erase a video recording should be taken
jointly by the Service Manager Safeguarding Children and the Head of
If a video interview is not envisaged, then any interview, should whenever
possible, follow the format detailed in the M.O.G.P.
It may happen that a child who is being interviewed comes under suspicion
of involvement in a criminal offence perhaps by uttering a self-incriminating
statement. It is not expected that this will happen frequently but
interviewers should bear in mind that it is not unusual for victims to become
abusers. Further advice is given in the M.O.G.P.
Interview with the Suspect
By Police Officers.
This will be carried out in the Police Station and should include wherever
possible the Police Officers involved in the interview with the child. If the
Social Care request involvement in the interview this can be negotiated
with the Police.
The interview of the suspect should be carried out without delay.
Liaison between the Police and Social Worker after the interview should be
completed as soon as practicable and the relevant information should be
shared, with a view to assessing the situation and establishing what further
action may be necessary.
Interview with Other Relevant Persons
Carers not suspected of abuse (Social Care)
1. When having contact with carers not suspected of abuse, consideration
should be given to assessing the carers ability to protect the child.
2. It is also important to assess the carers not suspected of abuse and
their response to the allegations, and whether they had any prior
Child Protection Procedures Page 78 of 78
knowledge or suspicions of the abuse and especially whether the child
made any attempt to tell the carer.
Siblings and other children (Police and Social Care)
1. Consideration should be given to interviewing any sibling or other
children with whom the alleged abuser may have had significant contact.
2. Prior to any decision being taken to interview another child, full
consultation should be made with a line manager.
3. The intention of any such interview would be principally to establish
whether that child had been abused and is in need of protection, and/or to
see if that child can provide corroborative evidence in relation to the initial
4. The value of the interview should be balanced against the possible
detrimental affects to the child involved and should not be considered
without reasonable grounds to suspect the child may have relevant
Any such interview should be carried out in accordance with the M.O.G.P.
When deciding to conduct an interview with a child, reference must be
made to the issue of consent outlined in paragraph 7 of these Procedures.
It is imperative that at some stage, near the completion of an investigation,
staff involved take time to assess their own performance and that of the
other joint investigating agency.
This provides an opportunity to exchange constructive feedback in relation
to the investigation and can only add to the professionalism of all those
involved in future investigations.
In cases that have caused concern either due to severity, complexity or
simply due to a problem that has become evident in relation to procedures,
it may be considered necessary to hold a more formal meeting for de-
Each investigating officer will report immediately after an interview to a line
Other Areas of Abuse Subject to Joint Investigation
Child On Child Sexual Abuse
1. Such abuse should be a joint investigation where it occurs within the
and / or
2. Where the perpetrator has care custody or control.
Child Protection Procedures Page 79 of 79
Procedures relating to this topic are detailed in Section 14 of these
Procedures relating to this topic are detailed in Section 13 of these
Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a child by a person falling outside the
criteria detailed in Section 3.4 will not be subject to joint investigations.
(See Appendix 9 for child on child abuse).
These situations are commonly referred to as 'stranger' abuse and will be
investigated by the Police (though not necessarily the Family Support Unit).
It should be noted however, that adults who commit sexual offences
against children outside their family, may well be a danger to children
within their own family.
The Police/Social Care and Probation will identify situations in which the
alleged perpetrator may pose a risk to children with whom they may have
Therefore the safety and protection of those children will be considered by
Social Care under the terms of Section 47 Children's Act 1989. The
Children, Young People and Families Department may want to refer the
case to the Police for a joint investigation, who will attend a strategy
meeting. In the event of a lack of agreement over police involvement the
matter will be referred via the divisional Family Support Unit to Head of
Oldham C.I.D. and the social worker in the case should contact the
appropriate Team Manager.
In all cases of 'stranger' abuse, it is intended that the details of the child
victim should be forwarded to Social Care, if the parents so wish, because
the child may be in need of assistance.
It should be stressed that though 'stranger' abuse is not normally subject to
joint investigation the welfare of the child victims (or potential victims) are
still paramount and as such a joint investigation may be appropriate.
Non-Accidental Injuries, Neglect, Emotional Abuse
The Social Care procedures regarding the investigation of non-sexual
abuse are detailed in Section 4 of these procedures.
Where non-sexual abuse in the form of a non accidental injury, emotional
abuse or neglect is identified by the Social Care, the Family Support Unit
will be informed and will then decide at what point, if any, to become
involved in the investigation.
Where the unit do become involved in the investigation and the child's
account is likely to be significant in bringing criminal charges of violence
and/or cruelty against a suspected abuser, then there should be a joint
Child Protection Procedures Page 80 of 80
Police/Social Care interview as outlined in this protocol. This interview
should be video recorded in accordance with this protocol when the child is
under fourteen years of age as the video will be admissible as evidence in
any criminal trial so long as the child is under fifteen years of age at the
time of the trial. Where the child is fourteen or over, a joint Police/Social
Work interview may still be indicated but there is no requirement to video.
Availability of Investigating Officers
All Child Protection investigations, but especially child sexual abuse
investigations, need to be conducted in a planned and sensitive manner.
For this reason all joint Police and Social Care child sexual abuse
investigations should be conducted between Monday – Friday, 8.30 a.m. to
5.00 p.m. by the trained Social Worker and Police Family Support Unit
Officers unless a referral is received outside of these hours
• a child is at risk of serious or life threatening injury.
• to delay the investigation would militate against the gathering of
forensic evidence crucial to the safety of the child and/or the
possible prosecution of a suspected abuser.
In such situations the investigation should be carried out jointly by an
Emergency Social Worker and the Oldham Police C.I.D. (see Appendix 22
for telephone numbers).
Child Protection Procedures Page 81 of 81
Child Protection Role
All health professionals in the NHS, private sector and other agencies play
an essential part in ensuring that children and families receive the care,
support and services they need in order to promote children’s health and
development. Because of the universal nature of health provision, health
professionals are often the first to be aware that families are experiencing
difficulties in looking after their children.
Health professionals have an important part to play in:
• Promoting the health and well being of children
• The prevention of harm
• Recognising children in need or in need of protection
• Contributing to enquiries about a child and family
• Assessing the needs of children and parents ability to meet
• Planning and providing support for vulnerable children and
families and those children at risk of significant harm
• Taking part in child protection conferences and core groups
• Contributing to Child Protection Plans
• Contributing to reviews
• Co-operating with other agencies
• Identification of designated doctor and nurse to take the lead
across the health authority
• Overall strategic lead for health in local inter-agency working
• Planning services
• Commitment to LSCB work
• Advice and support to LSCB
• Ensuring health service contribution and commissioning of
services is effective to safeguard children
• To promote and influence training and child protection
NHS Trusts and Primary Care Groups/Trusts
The above are responsible for the provision of health services in the
community and hospital and should identify a named doctor and nurse with
the Trust to take a lead in child protection matters and co-ordinate and
promote good professional practice.
Relevant health professionals include:
Child Protection Procedures Page 82 of 82
• All hospital and community staff
• GP and Primary Health Care Team
• The midwife, health visitor and school nurse
• Adult mental health services
• Substance misuse services
Close collaboration between adult and children services are essential in
the interests of children where there are concerns about their welfare.
Many other health professionals and professionals allied to medicine
should be aware of local LSCB procedures for example - Accident and
Emergency staff, Physiotherapists, Speech Therapists, NHS Direct staff,
• All health staff need to be aware of children’s needs and alert to
factors which may adversely affect them.
• Know how to contact named professionals in their organisation with
expertise in Child Protection.
• Understand their role in relation to Child Protection.
• Be familiar with in-house guidelines and procedures.
• Be familiar with Oldham’s LSCB procedures.
• Know how to respond to concerns where a child is thought to be
suffering or at risk of significant harm.
• Know how to make a referral to Social Care (see Section 2)
Child Protection Procedures Page 83 of 83
The National Probation Service (Greater
Protocol for Work with Children in Need and
The National Probation Service Oldham District is committed to working
with other organisations to ensure that the needs of children and families
are met. Staff will work in partnership with families and other agencies to
identify those most appropriate to provide family support services and
enable access to those services. Probation Officers may be able to
identify potential cases requiring assistance when they become concerned
through their work whilst preparing pre-sentence or specific sentence
reports for Courts or in supervising offenders including those convicted of
offences against children.
Level 1 Needs
Where there are children in a household under stress, staff will identify
whether the child(ren) and family have access to universal services (e.g.
health, education) and enable referral to those where this is not the case.
Level 2 Needs
Where additional family support services are required and initial
assessment of the needs of the child(ren) and family should be made. In
discussion with the family, where possible, referral should be made to
appropriate service providers. In keeping with the principles of the Case
Planning Process, self-referral should be encouraged. On occasions
participation of staff in multi-agency meetings ("Level 2" planning meetings)
will be appropriate.
Level 3 Needs
In more complex situations, where the needs of the child(ren) and/or family
cannot be met with the above "family support" process, referral to Social
Care for a "Level 3.1" or "Section 17" Case Planning Meeting should be
Arrangements exist to ensure that when offenders convicted of offences
against children are discharged from prison, probation services inform the
local authority in the area in which the prisoner plans to reside. This
allows the Children, Young People and Families Department to make
enquiries and take action if they believe there may be a danger to children
residing at the same address.
Child Protection Procedures Page 84 of 84
The Probation Service convenes a Multi-Agency Risk Panel (MARP) in
conjunction with Greater Manchester Police. They consider a small
number of people who pose an exceptional risk of harm to the public
including those who pose an exceptional risk to children. The Probation
Service undertakes to ensure that all relevant agencies in a particular case
are informed when a Panel is convened and are invited to contribute to
decisions covering implementing a Child Protection Plan and to the
development of a Multi-Agency Risk & Harm Management Plan.
The following flow chart identifies a reference guide for Probation Service
staff in respect of policy and procedures.
Child Protection Procedures Page 85 of 85
Child Protection Procedures Page 86 of 86
Child Protection Guidelines
Oldham Education Authority endorses the principles and procedures for
child protection that have been agreed by members of the Local
Safeguarding Children Board, and welcomes the commitment to working
as part of a multi-disciplinary body, recognising that inter-agency co-
operation is crucial in the effective protection of children.
Although the Children, Young People and Families Department have the
statutory responsibility for child protection, the Education Service has a
vital role to play. Schools have day to day contact with children, and all
staff (teachers and support staff) are in a unique position to observe any
physical and emotional change which may be an indication of abuse.
Staff in education services, such as educational psychologists, pupil
welfare officers and youth workers, are also well placed to make
observations in this respect.
Procedures Within Schools
In approximately 7 out of 10 cases, first observations of signs of abuse are
made in schools. It is therefore, essential that there are recognised, well
established procedures for dealing with such situations. Each school or
educational establishment needs to appoint a member of staff as the
designated teacher responsible for child protection. Each school should
make every effort to participate fully in supporting the child in this situation.
Support For Staff In Schools
1. Any member of staff who has any concern should, the first instance,
contact the designated teacher in school, or the headteacher, as
2. The LEA officer responsible for child protection issues is the Education
3. Advice and support can also be obtained from the Pupil Welfare
Service and the Education Psychological Service.
Child Protection Procedures Page 87 of 87
Oldham Education Department Child Protection Procedures Within
Educational Establishments for Cases of Suspected Physical,
Emotional, Sexual Abuse or Neglect
When looking at this chart for action, please read the notes of guidance
alongside at each stage.
Stage 1 If this suspicion or allegation concerns sexual abuse see below.
If not go to stage 2.
Stage 2 Discuss allegation/suspicion with appropriate person (e.g.
designated teacher, headteacher, head of service) if available.
Stage 3 Consider if emergency medical action is necessary and/or
checking of a Child Protection Plan – if emergency action is
a) inform parents if contactable
b) take child to hospital
c) inform headteacher or line manager, and
d) refer to Social Care.
Stage 4 Encourage the child to discuss the situation.
Stage 5 Share this information with appropriate person mentioned
above, and take one of the following courses of action.
a) If there are some grounds for concern about the child’s general
welfare: meet with parents to discuss, and other agencies if
b) If grounds for concern of physical abuse, neglect or emotional
abuse: refer to Area Social Care team where the child is resident.
Social Care or school must inform parents of action taken and
reasons why, as soon as possible.
If there are no grounds for concern: log the incident and
discuss with parents as appropriate.
Child Protection Procedures Page 88 of 88
Notes of Guidance
In all cases where there is an allegation, disclosure or reasonable
suspicion of sexual abuse, the matter should be reported immediately to
Social Care. The numbers are to be found in Appendix 21. Social Care
will inform the Police.
Every individual has not only the right but a responsibility to contact Social
Care. However, schools and educational services would normally expect
the person with suspicions to discuss the situation with the Designated
Teacher/Headteacher/or the individual’s line manager. Some services
have greater experience and expertise in this area (e.g. Pupil Welfare
Service, Educational Psychology Service) and individual officers would be
able to act independently in this respect.
Where a child is seriously injured or neglected and requires urgent medical
attention, the person identifying the concern should take or arrange for the
child to be taken to Accident and Emergency at the Royal Oldham
Hospital. Parents should be notified and whenever possible accompany
the child, but treatment can be given without consent. Medical staff should
be told of the suspicions and should check if a Child Protection Plan is in
place (see below). Section 2 contains further guidance.
If it is necessary to investigate if there is a Child Protection Plan, schools
and service have been provided with the necessary information to do this,
but it should be stored in a safe place as the information is sensitive. If you
cannot find this information, you might like to consider phoning the Pupil
Welfare Service or the LEA officer for child protection, for assistance. If in
hospital, the admission desk has access to names of children subjected to
a Child Protection Plan.
This should be given high priority and needs a suitable environment to take
place. The most appropriate member of staff should be involved and
information recorded as accurately as possible. The child should be
encouraged to discuss the situation in a calm and relaxed way, treating the
information as true, and not by the use of leading questions. Inform
another member of staff that this discussion is going to take place and
inform the child that you may have to discuss this information with others.
This is necessary in order to form an opinion as to what is the next most
appropriate action. However, there might conceivably be a situation where
no-one is available to discuss the information, and individuals will need to
decide the next step for themselves.
Child Protection Procedures Page 89 of 89
Stage 6 (b)
Please refer to Section 2, of the Procedures for further guidance. It may
fall to schools to inform parents if Social Care have been unable to contact
them, and parents arrive to collect the child at the end of the day. When
informing Social Care if the child concerned has a disability, the school
should inform the local area team that the child may be know to the
Children with Disability Team.
What To Do If You Have An Allegation Suspicion Or Disclosure Of
If a child begins to disclose sexual abuse you should be prepared to listen,
believe and act upon the information.
Do facilitate the disclosure by Don’t inform the suspected
finding a suitable place to talk, and perpetrator
Do tell the child what you will have Don’t inform parents or care giver
to do to follow the procedure but explain that a referral for
investigation has been made if asked
And Don’t stop the child from disclosing
Do record the details at the same Don’t promise not to tell anyone else
time as they are being told
Don’t judge the child to be lying
Inform Local Area Team – Social Care – where a child lives
Telephone numbers available in LSCB Handbook, Appendix 21
Police and Social Care will investigate.
Child Protection Procedures Page 90 of 90
Child Protection Procedures Page 91 of 91
* In some complex cases where there is an allegation/disclosure of both
sexual abuse and physical injury, the child should be taken for immediate
medical attention and school should discuss with Social Care how and
when parents are to be informed.
Child Protection Procedures Page 92 of 92
Stage 1 Staff witnessing any injury, or receiving a disclosure of abuse,
or having any other concerns, should record in their own words
what their concerns are and/or what the child has said.
Stage 2 When discussing the information with the Designated Teacher
there is need to clarify what those concerns are, what action is
to be taken and to record.
Stage 3 Record each new development. All records must be kept
Child Protection Procedures Page 93 of 93
Parental Mental Illness, Problem Alcohol
and Drug Use and Domestic Violence
Although many families cope adequately with their problems, others may
benefit from the assistance of professional agencies. Adults' and
Children's services need to collaborate in order to ensure that both parents'
and children's needs are recognised and understood.
The available evidence from a wide range of research shows how factors
such as domestic violence, alcohol and drug misuse and mental illness
may impact on children and may affect a parent's capacity to respond to
their children's needs (Cleaver et al; 1999).
Work was commissioned by the Department of Health in response to the
results of earlier Child Protection studies (Child Protection: Messages from
Research, DOH; 1995). High levels of parental problems were found in
families involved in the Child Protection system and the impact on children
was not always realised or understood by Social Workers. Families
themselves were reluctant to admit their problems because they feared a
punitive reaction and their behaviour was sometimes interpreted as
It is wrong to suggest that all parents who suffer from mental illness,
problem alcohol/drug use or domestic violence put their children at risk of
significant harm. However, where these problems co-exist, particularly
with domestic violence, children are more likely to suffer long-term
adverse effects. (Cleaver et al; 1999)
In clinical studies, mental illness is usually defined by using the European
System: ICD-10 classification of mental illness and behavioural disorders
or the U.S. classification: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders. Common examples are schizophrenia, depression and anxiety
disorders. There is considerable disagreement over whether personality
disorder is a psychiatric illness. (Cleaver et al, 1999).
However, precise diagnosis is not always clear or available to practitioners.
It is important to understand experiences of sufferers and how parental
mental illness, problem alcohol or drug use, or domestic violence can
have psychological and social consequences on their lives.
Oldham Mental Health Service Partnership states that problem drinking is
best defined as any drinking which interferes with an individual's physical/
psychological health and social functioning. This may include
Child Protection Procedures Page 94 of 94
inappropriate alcohol use when an individual is drinking at times and
places which may put the individual or others at risk, e.g. drinking at work,
whilst driving or whilst responsible for the care of children.
Problem Drug Use
The Standing Conference on Drug Abuse (1997) defines this in terms of
the negative effects on families, i.e. social, financial, relationship,
psychological, physical or legal problems. Regular and controlled use of
prescribed drugs like Methadone are less likely to have negative
consequences than heavy use of street drugs or alcohol.
The Crown Prosecution Service defines it as "Any form of physical, sexual
or emotional abuse which takes place within the context of a close
relationship. In most cases, the relationship will be between partners... or
This includes harassment, verbal abuse, restriction of freedom, deprivation
and damage or loss of property. It crosses all religious, class and race
Oldham Domestic Violence Forum offers the following definition – "the
emotional, physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a person by their
partner, family member or someone with whom there is, or has been a
The forum acknowledges that domestic violence essentially involves the
misuse of power and the exercise of control by one person, usually a man
over another, usually a woman. For this reason, the primary focus of the
forum is male violence against women".
When Should I Be Concerned?
Impact On Parenting
The following is taken from the available research evidence (Cleaver et al,
1999) and suggests that the effects on children have many features in
common and include:
• Parenting skills – parents can have difficulty organising their lives
leading to ineffective and inconsistent parenting.
• Parents' perceptions – loss of contact with reality and a distorted
view of the world.
• Control of emotions – violent, irrational or withdrawn behaviour
can frighten children.
• Neglect of physical and emotional needs – if parents experience
feelings of depression or despair.
• Attachment – children can become insecure because of criticism,
anger or unresponsiveness from parents.
• Separation – if children have to be cared for by someone else.
Child Protection Procedures Page 95 of 95
• Standard of living may drop – unemployment or income used to
satisfy parental needs, loss of home or belongings.
• Loss of friends and family.
• Marital/family breakdown.
Which Children Are Most At Risk?
Professionals tend to focus on the needs of their specific client group
and they may have different notions of confidentiality.
• Children involved in parental delusions, or targets for parental
aggression, rejected or neglected.
• Witnessing parental distress and suffering.
• Domestic Violence together with drug and alcohol use: witnessing
domestic violence and drawn into concealing the abuse.
• Parental problems mild and short lasting. Cohesive family.
• Other parent or carer able to respond to child's needs.
• Children's ability to cope dependent on age, maturity and
• Secure, stable relationships and a sense of self-esteem and
Collaboration Across Adult And Children's Services
Many children show no long-term behavioural or emotional problems
when exposed to parental mental illness, drug/alcohol misuse or
domestic violence. However, a considerable number do. They may be
at risk of physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect.
Whilst recognising that the child's safety and welfare are paramount, due
consideration should be given to the needs of all family members (Working
The complimentary roles of adults (for eg. specialist mental health
services) and children's services should be recognised and expertise
pooled to strengthen the parents capacity to respond to their children's
needs and understand the implications and the effects parents problems
might have on children.
If a child is thought to be "in need" (under Section 17 of the Children Act
1989) or at risk of, or suffering significant harm (under Section 47), a
referral should be made to Social Care for assessment following LSCB
Procedures (see Section 2 and Appendix 11).
Child Protection Procedures Page 96 of 96
16 Appendix 9:
LSCB Protocol covers all young people who may be at risk of exploitation
by people outside their immediate family (S47 applies where abuse is the
The overall aim of this protocol is to reinforce that young people who are
exploited should be treated as victims of child abuse
Coercion is the abuse of power to persuade or force young people into
harmful or illegal activity. Coercion and exploitation of children is defined as
involving boys and girls below 18years of age in activity that involves
treating them as a commodity, this renders them vulnerable to assault,
disease, substance abuse, trafficking, homelessness and may threaten
Girls and boys under 16 cannot by law consent to any form of sexual
activity. Anyone engaging sexual activity whether for money or not with a
girl or boy under 16 (whether perpetrator is male or female) 16 is
committing an offence.
The following indicators, whether singly or in combination, should not be
viewed as conclusive proof but any of them may be taken as suggestive of
• A history of sexual, physical, Emotional Abuse or neglect.
• Physical symptoms e.g. Sexually Transmitted infections, bruising
or signs of substance misuse.
• Reports that the child has been seen in places known to be used
for prostitution, drug dealing or criminal activity.
• Repeatedly consorting with unknown adults.
• Associating with other children who are known or thought to be
victims of exploitation.
• Contact from adults outside the child’s usual range of social
• Contact from other young people who are known or suspected to
be victims or exploitation.
• Awareness of grooming activity from other young people or adults.
• Accounts or social activities with no plausible explanation of the
source of the necessary funding.
• Possessions / acquisition of money, expensive clothes, drug or
other possessions without plausible explanation.
Child Protection Procedures Page 97 of 97
• Persistent missing from home or returning late with no plausible
• Returning home looking well cared for in spite of having no known
base whilst missing.
• Behaviour – repeatedly risk taking or lack of regard for personal
safety or low self esteem
• Unusually long absences from home with no known base.
Child Exploitation Procedure
The following procedures apply to all children and young people living in
Concerns that a child or young person is being exploited a referral must be
made to the Children, Young People and Families Department who will
begin an initial assessment within 24 hours. This initial consideration of the
child’s circumstances should address, on the basis of the available
evidence, whether there are concerns about impairment of the child’s
health and development (Including actual or potential harm), which justify
further enquiries, assessment and / or intervention.
Suspicions about an adult who is or may be involved in exploiting young
people, should be given to the Field Intelligence Officers via the local
police, including reason for concerns, details of why and what is suspected.
The Children, Young People and Families Department will conduct an
initial assessment. Possible outcomes of that assessment may be:
• No Further Action
• Cause for concern Child Exploitation Meeting to be arranged.
• Urgent action for child in immediate danger including any legal
action and a Child Exploitation Meeting to be set up. Immediate
action necessary should not be delayed pending the meeting as
the child’s safety is paramount.
Child Exploitation Meeting
The Purpose of this meeting will be to:
• Share available information.
• Identify gaps in information and how it should be obtained
• Decide whether S47 enquires should be initiated or continued if
they have already begun;
• Plan how enquires should be handled including the need for
medical treatment, and by whom;
• Agree what action is needed immediately to safeguard and the
child and / or provide interim services and support, and;
• Determine what information about the strategy discussion will be
shared with the family / child/ young person, unless such
information sharing may place a child at risk of significant harm or
jeopardize police investigations into any alleged offence.
Child Protection Procedures Page 98 of 98
Relevant matters will include
• Agreeing a plan for S47 enquiries as part of the core assessment –
what further information is needed about the children and family
and how it should be obtained.
• Agreeing who should be interviewed, by whom, for what purpose,
• Considering how race, gender and ethnicity of a child should be
taken into account in enquiries, establishing whether an interpreter
will be needed.
• Considering the needs of other children who may be affected, e.g.
siblings and other children in contact with alleged abusers.
• Considering the need to develop support to the child/young person
on a planned coordinated basis.
• How and when the planned actions will be reviewed.
Convening the meeting.
The social worker will make a request to the Safeguarding and Review Unit
that a meeting be convened and chaired by a Reviewing Officer.
The Resource Centre will convene the meeting within 5 working days.
The following people will be invited.
• Social worker
• Team Manager
• Representative from Referring Agency
• Representative Oldham Division Family Support Unit, Greater
• Senior Nurse, Child Protection.
Suggested invitees in accordance with the case:
• Representative from Education Welfare Services
• Parent or Carer for the young person
• Young person (If felt to be appropriate)
• School Nurse / LAC School Nurse
• Designated Child Protection Teacher – School
• Representive – Residential Children’s Home
• Representive - Relevant voluntary organizations
• Legal representative where appropriate
• Representative – probation service.
• Youth Offending Service
Outcome Of the Child Exploitation meeting:
• S47 and child protection conference needed.
Child Protection Procedures Page 99 of 99
• Plan action and set up a review meeting.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances this will be held within 4 weeks
of the strategy meeting and chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer.
Purpose of a review meeting
• Share outcomes of investigation / enquires
• Determine future case planning process
• Determine what information should be shared with the young
person, their parents / carers and any other person involved.
Minutes will be provided to all attendees who will ensure they are stored in
a secure setting and must not be photocopied
GUIDANCE FOR INFORMATION TO CHILD EXPLOITATION MEETING
• Relevant information about where the young person has come
from. Why they are not there now and what services are
• How the individual became involved in sexual exploitation.
• The identity and role of the careers /significant adults in their life.
i.e. Parents / pimps
• The likely response of the carers / significant adults
• The feasibility of controlling their movements both in care and in
the community and the likely effects of attempting to do so.
• Age, level of maturity and understanding of the nature of the
activities they are involved in and the risks to their well being i.e
can the activity be considered age-appropriate; who is
controlling the sexual activity and is the relationship explosive.
• Their ability to assimilate information.
• Their level of cognitive development including their ability to fend
and care for themselves and understand the issue of their own
• The level of coercion that may be influencing their action.
• The young persons perception and interpretation of their
involvement in such activity.
• Immediate circumstances of physical safety. Where are they
staying that night; use of condoms and negotiation of safe sex;
drug use and actual physical effects; physical state; proposals
RELEVANT VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS FOR CONSULTATION
Safe in the city
Child Protection Procedures Page 100 of 100
Off the Record
Child Protection Procedures Page 101 of 101
CHILD EXPLOITATION STRATEGY MEETING
1. Introductions / Apologies
2. Clarification of child’s name, d.o.b, gender, first language, legal status
3. Clarification of parents names, d.o.b, gender, first language and
4. Clarification of household structure including any significant others
5. Checking the date of implementation of the Child Protection Plan and
any previous plan history or child’s sexual exploitation history
6. Presenting concerns
7. Background information about
• Child / young person
• Family members
• Suspected exploiters
To include any special needs (if first language is not English and a
translator is not needed explain reason)
8. Identification of further assessment information needed and how this
will be obtained.
9. Assessment of any likely risk to others
10. Consideration of section 47 enquiry and how this will be undertaken
11. Needs of child e.g. safety, diversion, health, education etc and how
these will be addressed.
12. Clarification of arrangements for sharing information with the child /
young person and their family
13. Confirmation of action points
14. Review date / time venue
Child Protection Procedures Page 102 of 102
REVIEW OF ACTIONS FROM CHILD EXPLOITATION STRATEGY MEETING
• Introductions / Apologies
• Clarification of child / family details
• Outcome of investigations / enquires / action agreed
• Clarification of future case planning process
• What information is to be shared with child / young person, their
parents/carers and any other person involved
Child Protection Procedures Page 103 of 103
Child Protection Procedures Page 104 of 104
Children Who Go Missing For Whom There
Are Concerns Or Are Subject of a Child
Local Authorities, agencies and professionals should bear in mind when
working with children and families where there are outstanding child
protection concerns (including where the concerns are about an unborn
child who may be a future risk of significant harm), that a series of missed
appointments or abortive home visits may indicate that the family have
suddenly and unexpectedly, moved out of the area. Social Care and the
Police should be informed immediately should such concerns arise.
Particular consideration might need to be given to the legal position
regarding intervention and the responsibilities of the Local Authority and
Some families, in which there is significant risk to children or abuse has
occurred, move home frequently. Every effort must be made to keep in
contact with these families and for any child subject to a Child Protection
Plan is seen.
The following indicators will help in determining whether the child is
a) The child/family does not keep pre-arranged meetings.
b) The child/family are not engaging in normal routines, e.g. child
missing from school, parents absent from work.
c) The family home appears uninhabited.
d) Contact with relatives and friends offers no explanation for the
Any agency, who thinks that a child who is subject of a Child
Protection Plan, has moved and their whereabouts are unknown,
or that such a child is about to move without the new address
being known, must inform the key worker immediately. Contact
must also be made with the Safeguarding Team who review Child
e) If the key worker has reason to suspect the child has gone missing
and in consultation with the manager of the Safeguarding Team,
the following actions need to be taken:
• Report it to their immediate line manager
• Inform Core Group members
• Discuss with the manager the Child Protection Plan, to decide
future action in respect of the following:
i. consider seeking assistant from the Department of Social
Security and the Child Benefit Office to trace the family
ii. consider convening an urgent Child Protection Conference,
if there is a risk of immediate significant harm to the
Child Protection Procedures Page 105 of 105
missing child/family and seek legal advice
iii. consider legal intervention if there is any risk that the
child/children maybe removed from the United Kingdom.
The Key Worker is responsible for advising the staff at the Safeguarding
Team if a child goes missing and giving information about any
connections the family may have in other areas.
After consultation with the Service Team Manager, Safeguarding
Reviewing Officers there will be a responsible for:
a) Informing all agencies involved about the missing child.
b) Circulating all details of the missing child and family to
Safeguarding Teams nationally.
c) Advising the Service Director of Safeguarding and Vulnerable
Children and the DCSF Inspectorate.
All agencies have a responsibility to notify the Safeguarding Team if
information about the child’s whereabouts comes to their attention. This
must be proactive, explicit and no time delay should occur.
N.B. Details of children missing from other areas throughout the United
Kingdom should be held by the Safeguarding Team in Oldham. This
record can be checked automatically when an enquiry is made about
whether there are child protection concerns.
Child Protection Procedures Page 106 of 106
Child Pornography and the Internet
It is important to be aware of the danger which pornography on the
Internet presents to children and young people arising from:
(a) It’s use by adults to make contact with children.
(b) The risk that adults will seek people by this means to "groom"
children and young people for inappropriate and abusive reasons
The Internet has become a specific tool in the distribution of child
pornography. When someone is discovered to have placed child
pornography on the Internet, or access child pornography, the Police
should consider whether that individual might also be involved with the
active abuse of children. In particular, the individual’s access to children
should be established, within the family and employment context and in
other settings, e.g. work with children as a volunteer. If there are concerns
about one or more specific children, the Police will need to refer the matter
to the Social Care and carry out a joint investigation under Section 47 in
respect of those children.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006) advises that when
someone is discovered to have placed child pornography on the Internet,
the Police should:
a) Consider whether the person is involved in the active abuse of
b) Establish what access that person has to children, within family,
employment and other situations.
Adults are also using the internet in order to establish contact with children
from other parts of the UK, adults nation-wide to Oldham and vice-versa.
Concerns should be referred to the Police to make enquiries as necessary.
Child Protection Procedures Page 107 of 107
Appendix 12: Female Genital Mutilation
Female circumcision, excision or infibulation is an offence, except on
specific physical and mental health grounds. These grounds preclude
custom and ritual.
Female Genital Mutilation is a general term which refers to a variety of
operations, similar to circumcision which remove, or cut away, all or part of
the external female genital organs. It may be combined with infibulation,
which involves joining the sides of the vulva, for example by sewing,
leaving only a small opening to allow passage of urine and menstrual
What The Law Says
The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985
It is also an offence to aid, abet, counsel or procure such operations by any
other person. The maximum sentence for these offences is a fine plus
imprisonment for up to five years.
Whilst the practice is not perceived as harmful by those who arrange the
operations, it should not be accepted as normal practice.
In circumstances where these operations are permitted for specific medical
reasons, they must be performed by a registered medical practitioner with
expertise in the appropriate procedures.
The practice of female circumcision is widespread in Africa, including
Egypt, and also occurs in the Arabian Peninsula, and some Asian
countries. Although practised in mostly Islamic countries it is cross-cultural
and cross-religious, performed by Muslims, Christians and various
indigenous groups. Examples are emerging in immigrant communities
from these areas settled in Europe, including the UK.
The age at which the operation is performed varies. It is known to have
been performed upon very young female babies and young girls.
Oldham LSCB Policy
Oldham LSCB recognises that whilst there is no intention to harm a child
from Female Circumcision, the practice can directly cause serious short
and long term medical complications including infection, infertility and even
Child Protection Procedures Page 108 of 108
Consequently and because the child is unable to give informed consent,
the practice of Female Circumcision is seen as physical abuse.
Whilst the Oldham LSCB recognises the requirements of law as embodied
in the 1985 Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act, it believes that a harsh
punitive response to the performing of such operations are likely to be
counter productive and may drive the practice underground. However if
children are thought to be at risk, child protection procedures must be
Oldham LSCB believes that the most effective way to stop the practice is to
raise awareness, educate and support all members of the community and
professionals in conjunction with representatives from the relevant
Anyone who has any evidence to suggest that a child has currently been
subject to the above or could be, needs to discuss it with a senior member
of staff immediately. (Please see Section 2 for the procedures).
Child Protection Procedures Page 109 of 109
Fabricated Or Induced Illness
The following guidelines are to be followed by all agencies.
The systematic fabrication or induction of illness in a child, causing that
child to be seen as ill.
The following indicators are there to alert professionals to the presence of
Fabricated or Induced Illness. In themselves there may be other
explanations and therefore, they should be viewed in context.
Examples of presentation may include:
• pretending the 'victim' is ill or that they have been.
• exaggerating real illness.
• making the 'victim' ill, e.g. by poisoning.
• making false allegations of abuse.
• forcing the 'victim' to appear disabled (including learning disability).
• Alleging psychological illness in a child.
• End result-disability or death.
There are three main ways of the carer fabricating or inducing illness in a
child. These are not mutually exclusive:
• Fabrication of signs and symptoms. This may include fabrication
of past medical history;
• Fabrication of signs and symptoms and falsification of hospital
charts and records, and specimens of bodily fluids. This may also
include falsification of letters and documents;
• Induction of illness by a variety of means.
Spectrum of Harm:
A key professional task is to distinguish between the over anxious carer
who may be responding in a reasonable way to a very sick child and those
who exhibit abnormal behaviour.
• Clinical evidence indicates that, fabricated or induced illness is
usually carried out by a female carer, usually the child’s mother.
• May have some medical knowledge and tries to intimidate Health
• tends to threaten lawsuits too readily.
• tends to be over friendly with health staff but abusive if staff do not
comply with their wishes.
• often shows inappropriate behaviour, e.g. being over-anxious or
Child Protection Procedures Page 110 of 110
even less attentive than you would expect.
• May have mental health problems.
• is always present when the victim has alleged or real symptoms or
signs of illness.
Action To Be Taken When Fabricated or Induced Illness Is Suspected.
Initial concerns usually come to the attention of health professionals and
teachers. When possible explanation for the signs and symptoms is that
they may have been fabricated or induced by a carer and as a
consequence the child’s health and development is or is likely to be
impaired a referral should be made to social care.
The following steps must be taken in all cases:
• The social worker will collect initial detailed information from a
variety of sources.
• Following the initial information gathering and decision by the
social worker's Team Manager that there is sufficient information to
suspect Fabricated or Induced Illness, a Strategy Discussion
meeting will be convened in consultation with the Service Manager
• Parents/carers must not be invited to the meeting nor be told it is
being arranged as evidence from research suggests that children
are at increased risk at this stage. All professionals and the
investigative team involved must be made aware of the importance
of confidentiality in keeping the child safe.
A meeting should normally be held within two weeks of the decision that
there is sufficient information to suspect Fabricated or Induced Illness, the
following people should be invited to the meeting:
• social worker and team manager
• Police Family Support Unit
• Consultant Paediatrician
• General Practitioner
• Health Visitor/School Health Advisor
• Senior Nurse Child Protection
• Representative of Childcare Legal Services
• Any other professionals as appropriate
The purpose of the meeting is to plan any necessary child protection
investigation and/or any action needed to protect the child.
The task for the meeting is to consider the available information about the
allegations and assess whether it is possible to substantiate the suspicion
that the child's condition is being induced by a parent or carer.
Child Protection Procedures Page 111 of 111
The meeting should:
• Clarify the medical history, including details of any incidents that
are reported to have occurred in the presence of people other than
the suspected perpetrator. This will include a full chronology.
• Verify the personal, family and social history.
• Consider any previous social care involvement.
• Decide how the s47 enquiry as part of the core assessment will be
carried out. What further information is required about the child and
family and how it should be obtained and recorded.
• Consider any protective action needed.
• Decide who will carry out what actions, by when and fro what
purpose, in particular the planning for further paediatric
• Consider the needs of siblings and other children with whom the
alleged abuser has contact.
• The nature and timing of any police investigations.
• Discuss whether there is a need for a Child Protection Conference.
• Consider when and how parents/carers will be informed of
• Set a date to reconvene and review the agreed action.
Concern not substantiated:
If the meeting decides that the case does not appear to be one of
Fabricated or Induced Illness, then consideration must be given as to what
further help and support is needed from professionals.
Concerns substantiated but child is not judged to be at a continuing
risk of significant harm:
There may be substantiated concerns that the child has suffered significant
harm, but it is agreed between agencies involved with the child and family,
that a Plan for ensuring the child’s future safety and welfare can be
implemented without the need for a Child Protection Plan (see 3.40
Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced). Any
decision made, in these circumstances, must be agreed by the
Service Manager Safeguarding Children.
If the meeting decides that there is sufficient information and that the child
is being affected by Fabricated or Induced Illness, then clear
recommendations must be made with timescales. Senior managers within
the agency must be informed of the recommendations. A child protection
case conference must be convened.
Child Protection Procedures Page 112 of 112
Abuse Of Disabled Children
The available UK evidence on the extent of abuse amongst disabled
children suggest that disabled children are at increased risk of abuse and
that the presence of multiple disabilities appears to increase the risk of
both abuse and neglect (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2006).
Where there are concerns about the welfare of a disabled child, they
should be acted upon in the same way as with any other child and the
same procedures followed.
Where a disabled child has communication difficulties, special attention
should be paid to communication needs to ascertain the child's perception
of events and his or her wishes and feelings.
Where appropriate, suitably skilled interpreters or facilitators will be used to
assist the Police or Children, Young People and Families Department (or
other related specialist worker). Safeguards for disabled children are the
same as for children who are not disabled. There should be particular
attention paid to promoting awareness of the high level of risks and the
need for high standards of practice. Additional measures of safeguarding
disabled children will include:
a) Making it common practice to help disabled children make their
wishes and feelings known in respect of their care and treatment.
b) Ensuring that disabled children receive appropriate personal, health
and social education.
c) Making sure that disabled children know how to raise concerns if
they are worried or angry about something and giving them access
to a range of adults with whom they can communicate. Disabled
children with communication difficulties should always have a
means of being heard.
d) Guidelines and training for staff on good practice in intimate care,
working with children of the opposite sex, handling difficult
behaviour, consent to treatment, anti-bullying strategies, and
sexuality and sexual behaviour amongst young people living away
Child Protection Procedures Page 113 of 113
Peer Abuse – Abuse by a Child or Young
Child to child abuse is complex. If you are unsure whether your concerns
amount to abuse, contact your local Children, Young People and Families
Department, be explicit that you are requesting advice and consultation.
The process of consultation may identify abuse which will result in a
Children may explore their bodies as part of normal development.
However, it is also recognised that sexual abuse is carried out by one child
upon another and that this can be as traumatic as child abuse perpetrated
by an adult. Child to child abuse may occur in a variety of settings, e.g. in
a family, in foster care, in schools and in neighbourhoods.
In order to prevent abusive behaviour, including sexual abuse continuing
into adult abuse of children and young people, must be taken seriously
abusers may pose a significant risk to other children and they may have
considerable needs themselves.
Children and young people who abuse others are likely to be children in
need and some will be suffering or at risk of significant harm and may
themselves be in need of protection. There may be situations where they
have suffered considerable abuse themselves and go on to abuse other
Children and young people who abuse other children should be held
responsible for their abusive behaviour, whilst being responded to in a way
which meets their needs as well as protecting other children. Work with
adult abusers has shown that many of them begin committing abusive acts
during childhood or adolescence. Early intervention with them as children
and young people may play an important part in protecting the public by
preventing the continuation or escalation of the abusive behaviour.
Considerable care must be taken in determining whether an incident
represents abuse or not as it is recognised that sexual exploration is part of
the process of growing up.
Three key principles which should guide work with children and young
people who abuse others:
1. The needs of children and young people who abuse others should
be considered separately from the needs of their victims.
2. An assessment should be carried out in each case, appreciating that
these children may have considerable unmet developmental needs as
well as specific needs arising from their behaviour.
3. There should be a co-ordinated approach when dealing with such
matters which should include youth justice, education, health, child and
adolescent mental health and any specific specialist area which can
assist in undertaking assessment and providing treatment and services.
This will be in line with Children, Young People and Families Department
Child Protection Procedures Page 114 of 114
When determining whether a referral might need to be made regarding
abuse between children, the following factors should be considered:
a) Children engaged in sexual activity, inappropriate for their age,
maturity, or which is illegal.
b) A marked discrepancy in age, development or maturity between
c) Where threats, secrecy or violence are features.
d) Where sexual contact between children is intense or frequent.
e) Where sexual contact results in physical or psychological trauma
for any of the children.
f) Where several children have been involved, or where there is a
family history of sexual abuse.
g) Where parents have reacted inappropriately and failed to protect a
child once they were aware of the child's sexual activity.
The above is not an exhaustive list.
Procedures for dealing with such cases please see Section 4.
Child Protection Procedures Page 115 of 115
Confidentiality and Recording Information
Involvement by professionals in children's lives, and the trust which
develops between workers and young people and their families, means
that staff and volunteers are often provided with information about children
and parents which is sensitive and confidential.
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Human Rights Act
1998) grants a qualified right to individuals in respect of their private and
family lives. A qualified right is one where – in specific circumstances – a
public authority (e.g. agencies of the local authority, the police service,
agencies of health services) can intervene in the private and family life of
an individual, or share information with other agencies about an individual,
their family, or their home life; for example where:
• the intervention has a clear legal basis (e.g. where a crime has
been committed), and / or
• the aim of the intervention is to prevent a crime, to protect an
individual's health or morals, or protect the rights and freedoms of
others (e.g. the protection of children from abuse, harm and
In working together to safeguard children, issues of confidentiality fall
under three areas:
- sharing information with colleagues and other agencies to safeguard
children from abuse, harm and exploitation.
- confidentiality to the child,
- and confidentiality to the person believed responsible for the harm.
SHARING INFORMATION WITH COLLEAGUES AND OTHER
AGENCIES TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN
Agencies of Oldham Local Safeguarding Children Board are responsible
for ensuring that staff and volunteers in the institutions, establishments and
service areas of their organisation are competent and confident in
recognising indicators that a child has experienced, or is likely to
experience abuse, harm, neglect or exploitation.
Every member of staff and volunteer working with children and young
people in Oldham has a professional duty and an obligation to share
relevant information about children who have experienced, or who are
likely to experience harm, with other agencies – particularly with colleagues
in Social Care and the Police.
Child Protection Procedures Page 116 of 116
CONFIDENTIALITY OWED TO THE CHILD
There are no differences between the rights of children and the rights of
adults in respect of confidential and sensitive information about their
private life and family, their home.
If a child or young person shares information with a member of staff or
volunteer which causes the worker to believe that there are serious
concerns about the child's safety and wellbeing, it is important that the
worker informs the child sensitively that he/she has a responsibility to pass
information about child abuse to other agencies. The child should be
made aware that the information will only be shared so that they can be
protected from harm. (See Section 4.)
CONFIDENTIALITY OWED TO THE PERSON BELIEVED
If a person has not been successfully prosecuted, identifying them as the
person believed responsible for a child's abuse, harm or exploitation
outside formal and confidential discussions could lead to legal action.
Until legal action has been successfully completed, a person believed
responsible for abuse, harm or exploitation has the same rights to privacy
as any other person.
Staff and volunteers should create and maintain written records which
document any suspicions and/or any allegations, disclosures they have
received or about the abuse, harm or exploitation which children for whom
they are accountable have experienced, or are likely to experience.
The record about a child and the harm, abuse or exploitation which has
been disclosed, observed or suspected should:
• provide a detailed and accurate account of significant events,
changes in the child's circumstances and/or behaviour, and
document conversations with the child's parents/caregivers,
• be objective – they should be clear (jargon-free), factual and
• be based on evidence – logged and dated notes about
observations of the child, conversations with the child and/or
• clearly distinguish between fact, observations allegations and
• whilst it would not normally be appropriate to include opinions, or
hearsay, if such information is important and relevant it should
only be included in the record if it is clearly identified as not being
first-hand observations of the child or of contact with his/her
family, by the person creating the record.
Child Protection Procedures Page 117 of 117
Children and Young People Who Leave
School/Address Without Notification
MULTI AGENCY PROTOCOL
To develop and implement a shared protocol which represents ‘reasonable
enquiries’ - within the multi agency framework offered by Oldham Local
Safeguarding Children Board - into the whereabouts of a child/young
person who may be at risk of harm, because their parent(s) / caregiver(s)
move address without having giving appropriate notification of their new
‘Part 8’ enquiries into the deaths of children (e.g. ‘Tommy’ in Bolton and the
West children in Gloucestershire) suggest that children who become
‘invisible’ to local agencies may be significantly greater risk of harm than
Whilst a child’s parent(s) / caregiver(s) may decide to leave their home for
a variety of personal, social and/or financial reasons (for example, to avoid
domestic violence or conduct by neighbours leading to harassment, alarm
or distress); one specific situation where a child, or children, becomes
‘invisible’ to local agencies, is when a school-age child’s parent(s) /
caregiver(s) move home without providing clear information, or evidence,
about a new address.
Where parent(s) / caregiver(s) move without their notifying their child’s
school of a new address/school, recommendations within the named ‘Part
8’ enquiries suggest that local agencies should make ‘reasonable
enquiries’ to determine whether the child is safe and well, and
Whilst young people who run away from home, or those who are taken
away (abducted) from their home address by a parent who is estranged
from the family, may also be at risk of significant harm, their specific and
individual circumstances fall outside the remit of this protocol.
Headteachers and Designated Teachers of every county and voluntary
controlled school, should notify the Pupil Welfare Service by telephone and
to be confirmed by fax, if any registered pupil disappears/is removed from
the school by their parent/caregiver without giving notification of a new
school and/or address, when child absent for ten consecutive days.
An Officer of the Pupil Welfare Service will then undertake investigations
based on the child’s last known address and with any other local contacts
of the family (e.g. neighbours, known friends/relatives).
Child Protection Procedures Page 118 of 118
Stage 2 - From receipt of information at Pupil Welfare Service, if within five
working days the current whereabouts of the child/family have not been
located. The Pupil Welfare Service Manager will write to the local Manager
of the Benefits Agency and the Chief Executive of Oldham Careers Service
Partnership (if the child is between 12 and 16) to request information is
provided about any new address for the family.
If within a further five working days, the requested information has not been
received, the Pupil Welfare Service Manager will telephone and fax the
Named Nurse for Child Protection (O.M.B.C. Social Care) and the
Inspector (Community Affairs), Greater Manchester Police, requesting a
search of each agency’s records.
Stage 3 - If within a further five working days, the current whereabouts of
the child/family has not been located and it cannot be ascertained whether
the child is safe and well, the Pupil Welfare Service Manager will contact
and fax the Inspector (Community Affairs), requesting Greater Manchester
to initiate an investigation into the case.
If through further investigation, it cannot be ascertained whether the child is
safe and well, the Inspector (Community Affairs) will inform the Child
Protection (O.M.B.C. Social Care) to notify them that the child has not been
located and may be at risk of significant harm.
Stage 4 - A multi agency meeting will be convened at the Safeguarding
and Review Unit by Child Protection (O.M.B.C. Social Care) to review the
case. The meeting will have one of two possible outcomes: 1) to formally
close the case (all ‘reasonable enquiries’ have been made) or 2) to
recommend further action which lead to the child being located.
Within the context of this protocol, each agency has a responsibility to
provide any relevant information which they may hold on the current
whereabouts of the family within the required time, and
The operational responsibility for actions at each stage of the protocol are:
• For stages 1 and 2, the Pupil Welfare Service of O.M.B.C.
Education and Leisure Services Department
• For stage 3, the Inspector (Community Affairs), Greater
• For stage 4, the Chair of Oldham Local Safeguarding Children
Board - or their representative
Evaluating The Effectiveness Of The Protocol In Locating Young
An annual report will be made to Oldham LSCB. describing the numbers of
young people and the outcomes for young people who have been tracked
using the protocol.
Child Protection Procedures Page 119 of 119
The individual agencies of Oldham Child Protection Committee are
responsible for ensuring that staff and volunteers in the institutions,
establishments and service areas of their organisation are competent and
confident in recognising indicators that a child has experienced, or is likely
to experience, abuse, harm, neglect or exploitation;
Training programmes within each individual agency should enable every
member of staff working in the Borough to exercise professional skill and
decision making in sharing and analysing information about young people
who are vulnerable, and have the knowledges and skills which are
necessary to work with colleagues in other agencies, organisations,
establishments and service area to safeguard children and young people -
this includes both the legal framework and national and local policy
contexts of child protection work;
The multi-agency training offered by Oldham LSCB complements the
training provided within each agency, and is intended to underpin effective
practice through promoting shared understandings at all levels, of the
respective roles and responsibilities of workers within each agency or
The purpose of multi-agency training provided by Oldham LSCB is to
secure better outcomes for children and young people through supporting
the development of:
• shared understandings of the tasks, processes, roles,
responsibilities and local procedures for safeguarding children and
promoting their welfare,
• co-ordination between services for children and young people at
both strategic and individual case levels,
• effective communication between professionals and agencies
including common understandings of key terms, definitions and
• effective practice based on understanding and respect for the role
and contribution of each organisation, establishments and service
• open and transparent decision making which is based on sharing
information, thorough assessment processes, critical analysis and
sound professional judgements.
Agencies and managers within each agency of Oldham LSCB have a
responsibility to support multi-agency training by:
• contributing resources (including budgets and staff time) to the
planning, delivery and evaluation of child protection training – both
within agency and through the Education and Training sub-group of
the Local Safeguarding Children Board,
• ensuring that staff within the agency have access to in-house
training which enables them to derive maximum benefit from multi-
Child Protection Procedures Page 120 of 120
• releasing staff at all levels to attend appropriate multi-agency
training courses and have the opportunity to consolidate learning
from the multi-agency training on their return to their workplace
Child Protection Procedures Page 121 of 121
◊ Department of Health (1999), Working Together to Safeguard
Children, London, The Stationary Office
◊ Department of Health (1999), The Framework for the Assessment of
Children in Need and their Families, London, The Stationary Office
◊ Cleaver, H, Unell, I and Aldgate, J (1999) Children's Needs –
Parenting Capacity. The Impact of Parental Mental Illness,
Problem Alcohol and Drug Use, and Domestic Violence on
Children's Development, London, The Stationary Office.
◊ Department of Health (1995) Child Protection: Messages from
Research, London, HMSO.
◊ O'Neale, V, (2000) Excellence not Excuses, Inspection of Services for
Ethnic Minority Children and Families, London, DoH Publications.
◊ Standing Conference on Drug Abuse (1997) Drug Using Parents:
Policy Guidelines for Inter-Agency Working, London, Local
◊ Department of Health (2001), National Plan for Safeguarding
Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation
◊ Department of Health (2000), Safeguarding Children Involved in
◊ Department of Health (2001), Safeguarding Children in whom Illness
is Induced or Fabricated by Carers with Parenting Responsibilities
Supplementary Guidance to Working Together to Safeguard
◊ Children Act 1989
◊ Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
◊ Family Law Act 1996
◊ Schedule 1 1933 Children and Young Persons Act
◊ The Sex Offenders Act 1997
◊ Crime and Disorder Act 1998
Child Protection Procedures Page 122 of 122
◊ Safeguarding Children ,A joint Chief Inspectors’ Report on
Arrangements for Safeguarding Children, Department of
◊ Department of Health (2002), Safeguarding Children in Whom
Illness is Fabricated or Induced
◊ Working Together To Safeguard Children, Every Child Matters, HM
Government HM (2006)
Child Protection Procedures Page 123 of 123
Menu and Specimens of Information to be
Given to Family Members
Initial Case Conference
Our Ref: CR02/GC
Following the recent concerns regarding , it has been decided to hold an
Initial Case Conference. The Conference will take place on at at the
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to meet with me before the
meeting and would ask that you arrive 30 minutes earlier than the time given
Although the Social Worker will have already given you details of who will
attend and why, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have
about this and what will happen in the meeting.
I hope you will be able to attend the meeting, but if you are unable to do so,
the enclosed leaflet explains how you can make your views and information
available to the Case Conference.
I look forward to meeting you.
Child Protection Procedures Page 124 of 124
Moving In Case Conference
Following the recent move into Oldham of your child, who is subject of a
Child Protection Plan, it has been decided to hold a Case Conference. The
Conference will take place on at at the above address. You are invited to
attend this meeting.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to meet with me before the
meeting and would ask that you arrive 30 minutes earlier than the time given
Although the Social Worker will have already given you details of who will
attend and why, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have
about this and what will happen in the meeting.
I hope you will be able to attend the meeting, but if you are unable to do so,
the enclosed leaflet explains how you can make your views and information
available to the Case Conference.
I look forward to meeting you.
Child Protection Procedures Page 125 of 125
Continuing Child Protection Plan
Our Ref: MR/GC
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Further to my letter dated , I am writing to advise you that the review of the
Child Protection Plan for …..has now taken place.
The result of this review was that a Child Protection Plan is still needed as
there are still some risk abuse. The recommendations of the review were
1. The Keyworker for your child will remain as: who is based at
, telephone number - .
2. You will be asked to agree to and sign a written plan of work which
will cover the following areas:-
3. A Core Group of people has been nominated to work with you on the
above plan. This group is made up of:-
This group will meet with you to discuss the Child Protection Plan.
4. The Conference should meet again in months time, 2001, or
earlier, if necessary, to see if your child is safe. You will be invited to
attend this meeting.
In the event of you not agreeing with the Conference decision to keep your
child/children’s subject of a Child Protection Plan, you have the right to
You will have already been given a leaflet outlining the meaning of the Child
Protection Plan and the means by which you can appeal against the
decision, but if you require a replacement leaflet, please do not hesitate to
contact the above telephone number.
Chair of Oldham LSCB
Child Protection Procedures Page 126 of 126
Child Protection Plan no longer needed
Our Ref: S0011A/GC
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
I am writing to inform you that the Review of the of a Child Protection Plan
for name(s) has now taken place.
The result of this Review was that a Child Protection Plan is no longer
This decision has been made because she/he/they is/are no longer
considered to be at risk of significant harm, in her/his/their current living
situation with you.
I would like to stress that this decision does not necessarily mean that you
are not entitled to the service you may think are still necessary and this
matter should be discussed with the person who has been the Keyworker for
Chair of Oldham LSCB
Child Protection Procedures Page 127 of 127
Child Focused Multi Agency Meeting
Our Ref: MR/GC
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
As there have been concerns about your family, it has been decided to hold
a Child Focused Multi Agency Meeting to consider what help can be made
available. It is hoped that this meeting can devise a Family Support Plan to
assist your family in the future to reduce any concerns.
The meeting will take place on , at at the above address. You are
invited to attend this meeting and I would be grateful if you could arrive 30
minutes early in order to meet me, as I will be chairing the meeting. I will be
happy to answer any questions you may have and explain what will happen
in the meeting.
I hope you will be able to attend the meeting and I look forward to meeting
Strategy Meeting Chairperson
Child Protection Procedures Page 128 of 128
Invites To Agencies
Child Focused Multi Agency Meeting
Our Ref: S0012/GC
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
The Head Teacher
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to confirm that a Child Focused Multi Agency Meeting has been
convened on the above named child under Oldham Child Protection
The Meeting will be held at the , on and I do hope that
either you or a representative of your agency can attend.
If for any reason you are unable to attend, I would be grateful if you could
notify me in advance of the Meeting and where appropriate, submit relevant
information in a written report.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
Thanking you in anticipation of your continued assistance. I look forward to
Child Protection Procedures Page 129 of 129
Directory of Useful Contact Points
If you want more advice, or if you think a child may be being abused
Social Care, Oldham Council
During office hours between 8.40am - 5.00pm Monday-Friday
• Children under 16 (during office hours) on 0161 770 3790/1
• Children over 16 (during office hours) on 0161 770 6599 / 6598
• Children with Disabilities Team on 0161 627 1749
At all other times call the Emergency Duty Team on 0161 770 6936
Education: Pupil Welfare, Oldham Council on 0161 770 6620, Monday
to Friday. Or contact a teacher or member of support staff at your
The Police - on 0161 872 5050 main office (24hrs)
Health: the designated nurse - on 0161 622 6500 Monday – Friday.
Or contact your GP or Health Visitor.
The Probation Service - on 0161 620 4421(during office hours)
NSPCC - on free phone 0800 800 500 (24 hrs)
Information may have to be shared between agencies. If you act
you will be helping a child. Please help to stop child abuse.
Child Protection Procedures Page 130 of 130
Child Protection Procedures Page 131 of 131
Forced Marriage Protocol
Forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the valid consent of both
parties, where some element of duress is a factor. This is different from an
arranged marriage, which is a respected tradition in many cultures.
Oldham Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) understands forced
marriage to be a form of abuse, and a breach of human rights. It is,
therefore, important to safeguard any child or young person subjected to a
You should follow this protocol if you:
• Work directly with children, young people and adults
• Work with or supervise others who have contact with children,
young people and adults
• Are a concerned member of the public
In 1999 the Home Office established a working group to investigate the
extent of the problem of forced marriage. The working group published a
report in June 2000, 'A Choice by Right'. Following this report the Home
Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office published a joint action
plan, which set out their strategy for addressing the problem. One of the
first stages of the strategy was to produce Guidelines for Police in Dealing
with Cases of Forced Marriage. These guidelines were launched in May
2002 and revised in 2005 and can be found at
www.acpo.police.uk/policies.asp and scroll down to forced marriages.
Following this ‘Practice Guidelines for Social Workers’ were developed and
launched in 2004, these can be found at
www.adss.org.uk/publications/guidance/marriage.pdf. More recently
‘Guidance for Education Professionals’ has been developed and launched
in 2005 and can be found at
This protocol is produced to guide professionals working in this area and to
assist any professional who has concerns, as it has many parallels with
child abuse and domestic violence. Professionals working with young
people facing forced marriage should be ready to give guidance to the
young person about their rights and the choices open to them.
It should be remembered that were there are allegations of abuse or
neglect, Social Workers (children’s) have a duty to make enquiries under
Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, and that forced marriage can amount
to sexual and emotional abuse and put young people at risk of physical
Child Protection Procedures Page 132 of 132
This protocol is not about Arranged Marriages.
"The tradition of arranged marriage has operated successfully within many
communities and many countries for a long time and remains the preferred
option for many young people". (Working Group: Forced Marriages - 'A
Choice by Right', June 2000)
Definition of an Arranged Marriage
Families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but
the choice whether to accept the arrangement remains with the individuals.
Definition of a Forced Marriage
A marriage, which is conducted without the consent of both parties, where
duress is a factor.
• Although there is no specific criminal offence of 'forcing someone
to marry', within England and Wales there are crimes that may be
committed when forcing someone into marriage. The following list
is not exhaustive: common assault; harassment; cruelty to
persons under 16; failure to secure regular attendance at school
of a registered pupil; theft, (for example, passport), child
abduction; abduction of unmarried girl under the age of 16 from
parent or guardian; abduction of a woman by force or for the sake
of her property; aiding and abetting a criminal offence;
kidnapping; false imprisonment.
• "Forced marriage is a violation of internationally recognised
human rights standards. Marriage shall be entered into only with
the free and full consent of the intending spouses". (Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16(2)).
The procedures allow for the exclusion of parents and/or carers from
involvement in the initial investigation, and meetings, in circumstances,
where to do so would have serious consequences for the child or young
person. All professionals involved must be made aware of the importance
The existing legal framework affords a great deal of protection to children
and young people at risk of being forced into marriage. The LSCB supports
agencies in ensuring that the powers are proactively applied, and promotes
the training of individuals and agencies to respond positively to referral and
identification of forced marriage.
Policy on Forced Marriages
The LSCB endorses the view from the Social Work, Education and Police
Guidance, that cases of forced marriage can involve complex and sensitive
issues. Therefore referrals should be dealt with according to each agency’s
procedure for forced marriage.
Wherever Police or Social Workers become aware of a child or young
person party to a forced marriage, they must consider whether this requires
Child Protection Procedures Page 133 of 133
joint enquiries / investigation or single agency Child Protection enquiries.
This decision needs to be made as part of a Strategy Meeting arranged by
the Children’s Assessment Team (CAT) and the referring agency made
aware of the intended actions.
However, given that on occasion agencies will have to act speedily, the
LSCB support the view that single agency action to safeguard the child can
be taken outside of a strategy meeting subject to the accepted line of
People over 18 years who have mental or physical disabilities, or a
learning disability, refer to the appropriate Social Work Team and or the
Adult Safeguarding Coordinator.
Where the victim or young adult is over 18 year and wishes to pursue a
complaint the social worker or Adult Safeguarding Coordinator needs to
refer to ‘Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidelines for
vulnerable or intimidated witnesses’.
Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Forced Marriages
Information about a forced marriage maybe received from the victim, from
a friend or relative, or from another agency. Forced marriage issues may
also become apparent through careful questioning in the course of
investigating other incidents/crimes such as domestic violence, assault,
and abduction or missing persons. Cases of forced marriage can involve
complex and sensitive issues that should receive the attention of all people
For young people under the age of 18 years, it may be appropriate to deal
with the situation in a similar way to Child Protection procedures. For
people aged 18 years and over, procedures similar to those for Domestic
Violence victims or Vulnerable Adult Protection maybe appropriate.
Forced marriage places children and adults at risk of rape, sexual assault
and possible physical harm. Some cases have resulted in the reluctant
spouse being murdered
If the young person or intended spouse is lesbian, gay, bisexual or
transgender circumstances may be more complex.
Male victims of forced marriage could have difficulty in having their
situation taken seriously.
When referring a case of forced marriage to other organisations / agencies,
ensure they are capable of handling the case appropriately. If in doubt,
consider approaching established groups, who have a history of working
with survivors of domestic violence and forced marriage and ask these
groups to refer them to reputable agencies.
Social Workers (children’s) have a duty to make enquiries when there is an
allegation of abuse (or a case of forced marriage) against a young person.
Social Workers for adults and/or the Police will make enquires for adults.
Child Protection Procedures Page 134 of 134
The first priority in all cases is to do everything possible to ensure the
safety and well being of the victim. Reports of forced marriage, including
reports from victims who fear they may be forced to marry, must be taken
seriously and not just referred to another agency.
It is important to: -
• See the individual immediately in a safe and private place
• See the individual on their own if this is appropriate or possible
• If the services of an interpreter are required, take steps to ensure
the interpreter is not connected, even tenuously, with the individual
• Contact, as soon as possible the Police or Social Workers
(children) to start the appropriate steps.
• Reassure the victim of the Police and Social Workers (children)
• Establish a way of contacting them discreetly in the future
• Obtain full details to create a report to pass on to the Police or
Social workers (children)
• Recognise and respect the victim's wishes.
• Attempt to be a mediator
• Send the individual away in without taking appropriate actions.
• Approach the family, unless the individual expressly asks you do to
• Approach community leaders unless requested to do so by the
• Share information with anyone without the express consent of the
• Breach confidentiality.
• Give the individual, where possible, the choice of the race and
gender of the worker who deals with their case
• Direct to Social workers (children) / Police to gain information
about their legal rights
• Give them personal safety advice
• If possible try to obtain all details of the person involved including
date, place of birth, National Insurance number and a copy of their
• Perform a risk assessment in all cases
• Maintain a full record of the decisions made and the reason for
• Refer the individual, with their consent, to appropriate local and
Child Protection Procedures Page 135 of 135
national groups and counselling services
• Obtain a recent photograph or consider, with their consent, taking
• Note any distinguishing features e.g. Birthmarks.
Additional Guidelines for Social Workers
Summary Points for First Steps:
See the young person immediately in a secure and private place (This will
not usually be the Social Workers Office) (Page 32 Practice Guidance for
Social Workers at www.adss.org.uk/publications/guidance/marriage.pdf).
See the young person on their own – even if they attend with others (page
32 – Practice Guidance for Social Workers).
Explain all the options to the young person and recognise and respect their
wishes. If the young person does not want the Social work intervention, the
Social Worker will need to consider whether the young person’s wishes
should be respected or whether the young person’s safety requires that
further action be taken.
Where there are concerns for an individual under 18 or the young adult has
children, activate local child protection procedures and use existing
national and local protocols for multi-agency liaison (Working Together to
Safeguard Children - 2006) and the Framework for the Assessment of
Children in Need and their Families - 2000).
Reassure the young person of Social Work commitment to maintaining
confidentiality, including consideration of excluding those with parental
responsibility. Information should only be disclosed with the young
person’s permission except where they are a danger to themselves or
Initiate a strategy discussion under child protection procedures to decide
whether the young person is suffering, or at risk of, significant harm. Plan
the next steps in accordance with ‘Working Together to Safeguard
Involve the young person in the discussion, together with the police and
other relevant professionals and detail in the plan agency roles and
responsibilities, and actions taken.
Consider the need for immediate protection and placement away from the
Refer to the local police Child Protection Unit if there is any suspicion that a
crime has been, or may be, committed or the young person is, or has
children, under 18 years.
Liaise with the police if there are concerns about the safety of the victim,
their siblings or the victim’s children.
• Attempt to be a mediator.
Child Protection Procedures Page 136 of 136
• Following on from the Team Manager’s decision to consider this an
open case (Child Protection / Child In Need)
• Information from case files and database files should be kept strictly
• Every effort should be made to keep information to a restricted staff
group. (Page.33 Practice Guidance for Social Workers).
• Inform them of their right to seek legal advice and representation.
• Liase with the Social Work Legal Department.
• In all cases, assess the risk of harm facing the young person and the
• Risk assessment to be noted in the case file with copy to Team
• Record any injuries and arrange a medical examination. Keep
detailed documentation of any injuries or history of abuse, as the
police may require this for any subsequent prosecution as detailed in
child protection procedures.
• Keep the young person informed of steps taken and resources
allocated and available in the community.
• Maintain a full record of the decisions made and the reason for those
• Ensure that the young person has the contact details for the service
and a complaints form.
Additional Guidelines for the Police
Summary Points for First Steps
• See the individual immediately in a secure and private place
• See the individual on their own – even if they attend with others
• Contact, as soon as possible the nominated officer who has
responsibility for such matters, or in their absence the duty Inspector /
• Reassure the victim of police confidentiality
• Establish a way of contacting them discreetly in the future
• Obtain full details to create a report to pass on to the nominated or
• Recognise and respect the victim’s wishes
• Create a restricted entry in the Force Intelligence System. (The
Force does not have this facility at present – work is ongoing to
establish a suitable means of recording the intelligence.)
• Identifying any potential criminal offence and submit a crime report if
• Secure evidence at all stages as a prosecution may follow
• Give the individual advice on what service they should expect and
• Perform a risk assessment in all cases
• Ensure that the individual has the nominated officer’s contact details
Child Protection Procedures Page 137 of 137
• Attempt to be a mediator
Child Protection Procedures Page 138 of 138
Appendix 23: Freedom of Information
Procedures for dealing with access requests under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000
On 1 January 2005 the right of access provisions under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 came into force.
The Act has implications for the LSCB in the manner set out below.
Implication for the LSCB
The LSCB is not classed as a public authority for the purposes of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It is a group set up under Government
guidance "Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006". It is made up of
various agencies involved with safeguarding of children.
Local Authorities have the responsibility for establishing the LSCB.
Therefore any information held by the LSCB is held by the Oldham
Metropolitan Borough Council (OMBC) and open to requests under the
FOIA. OMBC will also be holding this information on its own behalf and on
behalf of other agencies.
The Code of Practice issued under the Act advises that if a public authority
receives a request for information that originally came from a 3rd party, that
3rd party should be consulted about the release of the information.
Most other agencies on the LSCB will also be public authorities in their own
right and will be holding the same information as members of the LSCB. If
one of these agencies receives an access request they will also have to
treat information they hold from other agencies as third party information
It was therefore agreed that the agencies of the LSCB approve a brief
protocol for the treatment of requests for information under the Act where
this information was originally received from other agencies of the LSCB
for LSCB purposes.
Further Action to Consider
The LSCB should also consider the production of the following in order to
assist in dealing with access requests quickly and efficiently: - Publication
Scheme – which would become apart of the Children Young People and
Families Retention Scheme – Publication Scheme will identify all
information that is freely published, the LSCB would apply for FOI
exemptions to other documents either at the time of creation or as and
when an FOI request is made.
The LSCB to develop a Protocol for Dealing with Access Requests.
Child Protection Procedures Page 139 of 139
Requests to the LSCB
All requests should be immediately directed to, or will be transferred to the
Development Officer, LSCB.
The Oldham LSCB Development Officer will notify the Information
Governance Officer for Children’s Services, immediately that a request has
Requests will be dealt with by the Information Governance Officer for
Children’s Services in conjunction with Oldham LSCB Development Officer
Other LSCB agencies will be consulted in accordance with the Council’s
procedures for dealing with access requests that is: -
• the agency’s views will be sought on the access request;
• the agency will respond within 5 working days of receipt of the
request from the LSCB;
• if the agency does not consider that the information should be
released, it will set out the relevant exemption(s) under the Act
and the reasons for applying the exemption(s);
• the LSCB and the Information Governance Officer will consider
the agency’s position and notify the agency of its preliminary
decision, within three working days;
• if the LSCB and the Information Governance Officer considers
that the information should be disclosed against the wishes of the
agency, the LSCB and the Freedom of Information Officer will
request the agency’s further views;
• the agency will respond within 2 working days;
• the LSCB and the Information Governance Officer will consider
the information and notify the agency of its final decision, within
the appropriate Freedom of Information Act timescales;
At any stage in the process outlined above consideration can be given to
calling an urgent meeting of the relevant agencies
The Chair of the LSCB and the Executive Director of Children Young
People and Families Directorate will make the final decision, respecting
any appropriately claimed exemptions.
The decision will be reported to the LSCB.
Requests to the Council
Requests will be directed or referred to the Information Governance Officer
for Children’s Services.
The Information Governance Officer for Children’s Services will notify the
Oldham LSCB Development Officer immediately that a request has been
The Council will then treat requests in accordance with the procedures set
out in paragraph 3 above.
Child Protection Procedures Page 140 of 140
Requests to other agencies of the LSCB
Requests will be directed to or referred to the agency’s nominated FOI
The agency will consult with the LSCB and all relevant agencies in
accordance with the procedures set out in paragraph 3, above.
The decision will be reported to the LSCB.
Child Protection Procedures Page 141 of 141