Further core group meetings should take place at least once every six weeks, more frequently if required. The purpose is to ensure the care and support, protection plan is being delivered and is achieving the agreed child-focused outcomes.
The tasks for these meetings are:
identify in detail the risks of ongoing significant harm to the child and how these are to be addressed;
review any completed assessments of the needs of the child and their family and how findings will contribute to further developing the plan, ascertain progress of any commissioned specialist assessments not yet completed and how any findings to date will contribute to further developing the plan;
agree how the core group will continue implementing the multi-agency work in accordance with conference recommendations;
monitor progress against the child-centred well-being outcomes, specified in the plan and refining the plan as necessary;
ensure that parents, and children where appropriate, are fully engaged in the implementation of the plan, and understand the rationale informing the contribution of each agency involved;
ensure any instances of a practitioner or core group member being denied access to the child and/or home is reported to the other core group members, care and support protection co-ordinator and in their absence the relevant social services manager;
consider the work that has been undertaken by family members and practitioners and the degree of success, as measured against the child-centred objectives and positive outcomes for the child;
respond to requests to prepare reports for courts or conferences about the likely effect of specific interventions, or their success with the carers.
The following questions should be considered at each meeting (further detail provided in pointers for practice):
What has been achieved since the last meeting?
How well are we working together: child, family and practitioners?
What has the child and those in contact with them noticed about quality changes to their lived experience?
Is the child at continuing risk of significant harm ?
If the plan is not working, do we understand why not?
If there are identified barriers to change, what are we doing to address them?
What do we need to achieve before the next meeting?
All core group members should leave the meeting with a clear and shared understanding as to what they are expected to have achieved by the next meeting.
Any actions should be specifically linked to achieving the desired child-focused outcomes. This ensures both the family and practitioners understand both the rationale informing the actions expected of them and the measures of progress.
Prior to each core group meeting members should:
An effective core group requires active participation by all practitioner members. Therefore, members should make every effort to attend core group meetings. Parents and children are given confusing messages about the importance of attendance and participation if practitioners do not prioritise meetings.
If, however a core group member is unable to attend a meeting they should provide a report that provides sufficient detail regarding contact, work undertaken, challenges and successes, to enable those at the core group to assess the quality and effectiveness of the family and practitioner’s engagement with the plan.
Any practitioner member of the core group can chair- it is not the sole responsibility of the care and support protection co-ordinator (social worker).
The core group needs to be chaired effectively.
The chair should:
ensure the group remain task-focused and the timescales for actions do not drift;
probe to ensure actions are achieving child-centred outcomes;
challenge both the family and practitioners if there is a lack of meaningful; engagement with the plan.
All core group meetings must be recorded in writing, including notes on the actions agreed and decisions taken. The record of the meeting should be distributed to core group members. Good practice suggests the record should be circulated within 5 working days.
The record should include:
attendance - and apologies received;
a review of the record of the previous meeting for accuracy and any outstanding matters;
actions undertaken by family and practitioners on the plan since the last meeting: progress and outcomes;
evaluation of plan progress in terms of achieving child-focused outcomes;
any adjustments, revisions agreed with timescales;
plan of work to be completed and by whom before next meeting;
date of next meeting.