In some cases, a single strategy discussion/meeting may be all that is required to gather and analyse information about concerns. However, families and their situations are complex; therefore, further strategy meetings can be useful to formulate the decision making for next steps. At this discussion/meeting practitioners should:
analyse and make sense of the information gathered;
draw on the analysis and make a decision about the outcome of the enquiries.
The analysis should consider whether the child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm, the following should be considered:
What are the professional concerns about the care and support protection needs of this child?
How are these affecting the health and well-being of the child and the quality of their lived experience?
What are the parent/s attitude towards professional concerns? Do they share and/or have different concerns?
What are the wishes and feeling of the child/ren about their lived experience and what would they like to change?
What strengths have been identified? Are they sufficient to ensure the child does not experience significant harm in the longer-term?
How are socio-economic factors impacting on the child/ren and their family?
Are adult-oriented issues impacting on parenting capacity and if so how?
Social services are responsible for making a decision about action to take and how to proceed, following s47 enquiries.
This is after discussion between those who have conducted or been significantly involved in the enquiries from different agencies.
The format for these discussions between practitioners should be agreed at the initial strategy meeting and reviewed as the enquiry progresses.
In complex circumstances a meeting is likely to be the most effective way of discussing the child’s well-being and planning future action. A record of the discussion should be in accordance with a format agreed amongst partners.
If the concerns are substantiated and the child is judged to be at continued risk of significant harm a child protection conference should be convened by social services within 15 working days of the strategy meeting that determined Section 47 Enquiries were required.
The outcomes to be considered are:
Determination 1: Concerns of Significant harm are not Substantiated
Determination 2: Concerns of Significant harm are Substantiated, but the Child is not at Continuing Risk of Significant harm
Determination 3: Concerns Substantiated, and the Child is Judged to be Experiencing or At Risk of Abuse, Harm or Neglect