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The review conference

Section 4

The review conference requires as much preparation, commitment and management as the initial conference.

The purpose

The review conference is tasked with making the decision as to whether a child on the register continues to be at risk of significant harm. If this is the case the conference should consider:

  • whether the category of registration remains the same;
  • the care and support protection plan to safeguard their well-being and protect the child from harm;
  • changes required to the care and support protection plan.


The first child protection review conference should be held within three months of the initial conference and further review conferences should be held at regular intervals (at least every six months).

The tasks for the review conference include:

  • reviewing the safety, well-being and development of the child against the planned outcomes set out in the care and support protection plan;
  • considering the information and conclusions of any assessments, including specialist assessments;
  • evaluating the success of the current plan in addressing the original concerns about significant harm and deciding whether the plan should continue;
  • ensuring any ongoing plan continues to adequately protect the child from harm and promote their well-being;
  • establishing whether multi-agency co-ordination is functioning effectively and whether the membership of the core group is appropriate;
  • deciding whether the child’s name should remain on or be removed from the child protection register or the category of registration changed.

Every review conference should explicitly consider the safety, well-being and development of the child against the outcomes set out in the care and support protection plan and determine whether the child is at continued risk of significant harm.

A decision should be taken separately for each child who is subject of the child protection conference.

The conference chair

In order to ensure consistency and demonstrate effective partnership working it is good practice for the chair of the initial child protection conference to chair subsequent review conferences.

The chair of the review conference has the same decision-making powers as at the initial child protection conference.


The care and support protection plan co-ordinator is responsible for ensuring that all the appropriate people are invited to the review conference.

Participants at the review conference should include:

  • all practitioner members of the core group;
  • family members;
  • the child and/or their advocate if appropriate;
  • any other relevant agencies such as those present at the initial child protection conference.

Where any of the above are absent from the review conference and written information is not available, the review conference chair should consider postponing the conference.

The required quorum for attendance is the same as that for initial child protection conference, that is, a minimum of three agencies or professional groupings, or in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the conference chair, two agencies or professional groupings.

[Regional Safeguarding Boards], through their quality assurance processes, should monitor agency non-attendance.

Core group members’ participation in review conferences

Practitioner members of the core group must produce individual agency reports and updated chronologies for the review conference.

These reports should detail:

  • any contacts the child and family have had with the agency and the nature of relevant contacts;
  • a summary of the work the practitioner and their agency have completed on the plan and the outcomes achieved against what was expected;
  • an account of the child and family’s engagement with the agency, both the positives and challenges, and the impact on the effectiveness of the plan;
  • an analysis of information as to whether registration should continue and reasons for this or whether to de-register and if so evidence that the child is no longer at risk of significant harm.

All practitioner reports should be shared with the child and family face to face, where appropriate, to enable discussion and at least 5 working days prior to the review conference.

Combined these reports should provide a comprehensive overview of:

  • the work undertaken by family members and practitioners and its effectiveness in keeping the child safe from harm;
  • the impact on the child’s wellbeing against the objectives and planned outcomes set out in the child protection plan.

Decision making at review conferences

The review conference decision must be based on:

  • a careful and thorough analysis of all the available information, including the written reports provided by the core group;
  • completed assessments;
  • discussion involving all members of the conference;
  • the existing plan and recommendations of the previous child protection conference to help them decide whether progress has been made.

Conference participants should base their judgements as to whether registration should continue or not by considering the following?

  • Has the risk of harm to the child been reduced to the extent that the child is no longer at risk of significant harm?
  • Is the child likely to remain safe from harm without the continuation of the care and support protection plan?
  • What evidence do we have to support our judgements?
  • What are the parent/carers’ views on registration?

The practitioner members of the core group should be asked for their opinion before other members of the conference are asked for their views as to whether registration should continue.

The role of the conference chair is to draw together the views of all conference members.


At the end of each review conference, a summary should be provided by the conference chair. This will assist the conference decide:

  • whether the child is at continuing risk of significant harm and therefore should remain on the child protection register;


  • whether the category for registration remains the same.

Any dissenting views should be recorded.

Record of the review conference

The record should include:

  • reason for continued registration, category and the existing and or revised care and support protection plan;
  • summary of the discussion, decisions made and rationale for these decisions;
  • explicit statement regarding de-registration or continuing registration and reasons;
  • dissenting views or disagreements with the decision;
  • identification of the category of registration and if any change to category is required;
  • any changes to the care and support protection plan co-ordinator or core group membership;
  • date of next review conference if registration continues;
  • any additional recommendations.

A copy of any decisions/recommendations approved by the chair, should be sent to all those invited to the review conference within 5 working days of the conference taking place.

The records are confidential and should not be shared with other practitioners or parties without the permission of the chair.

The family members, who are part of the core group, should receive the record. If family members were excluded from part of the review conference the record should be edited appropriately to reflect this.

Bringing forward a review conference

A review conference should be brought forward if:

  • significant change of circumstances has taken place which may place the child at risk of harm, for example the outcome of a section 47 has highlighted new risks of significant harm to a child on a care and support protection plan;
  • there have been further incidents or allegations of significant harm;
  • the plan is not protecting the child from harm;
  • practitioners are experiencing significant problems implementing the plan;
  • the plan has been more successful than anticipated in protecting the child from harm and the core group request a review conference is brought forward to consider de-registration.

The social worker should discuss with the relevant manager, the reasons for bringing forward the review conference. The manager should then consult with the conference chair. They will decide whether to bring forward the date of the review conference.

If the conference is being brought forward to consider de-registration, there should be a shared understanding of the likelihood that change will be sustained over time before rushing into de-registration.

Pointers for Practice: Effective Review Conference Practice