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1.3.7 Case Transfer and Allocation

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Transfer of the Allocated Social Worker from One Team to Another Team
  4. Transfer for Looked After Children with a Plan of Permanence
  5. Involvement of a Practitioner within the Same Key Team
  6. Transfer from the Allocated Social Worker to a Lead Professional using the Team Around the Child Arrangements (TAC)
  7. Transfer of a Child in Need Plan to another Local Authority


1. Introduction

Allocation refers to these circumstances:

  • The allocation of the case to the social worker;
  • The transfer of the allocated social worker role to another social worker;
  • The involvement of another team practitioner to carry out a specific role alongside the allocated social worker;
  • The transfer of a child's Child in Need plan to another Local Authority or to a Team Around a Child.

For the procedure to transfer a child protection plan to another Local Authority see Derby and Derbyshire SCBs Procedures.

For the procedure for placement of a Looked After Child in another Local Authority see the Lincolnshire Children's Services Procedures Manual, Notification to Other Authorities of Children Placed Out of County Procedure.


2. Roles and Responsibilities

It is recognised that there is a variation of team structures across Derbyshire which has largely evolved to meet local need in a diverse county. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the Head of Service (Localities), working closely with the Team Managers, to ensure that District resources are used effectively and equitably across the teams and all case work is appropriately allocated. Local structures, such as District Management Team (DMT), should be used to ensure case work allocations and transfers between teams are managed appropriately.

The principle should be that work is transferred between workers and teams with the minimum disruption to the child and their family. This means that each stage of work should be completed within time scales and that, wherever possible, an allocated worker should be identified speedily in the receiving team to allow for continuity.

The current Team Manager will ensure that all work is allocated or if it cannot be allocated will record the reason for this and ensure that it is regularly reviewed.

The receiving Team Manager will not delay transfer to their team and will make any interim arrangements necessary to facilitate the transfer of the case to their Team in a timely manner.

Any pressures within teams should be raised by the Team Manager to the Head of Service (Localities).

Once allocated the social worker will read the entire child's record(s) to ensure he/she is aware of the child and family's history and current situation, and to inform assessment and planning.

The current allocated social worker will make the receiving social worker/ Manager aware of any specific requirements that the child or family may have. For example such requirements that relate to:

  • Disability; moving and handling and equipment needs;
  • Communication needs/tools/services and sensory needs;
  • Religion including festivals, non working days;
  • Ethnicity;
  • Gender;
  • Sexual orientation.

The following standards shall be applied in all circumstances at the time of allocation to a new social worker or involved practitioner.

The Team Manager shall:

  • Ensure that the allocated practitioner is clear about what is expected of them, what action is required, including any timescales to be met, and that they understand the procedure and associated standards;
  • Ensure that the practitioner allocated the work is suitably qualified and trained or experienced to undertake the work;
  • Ensure that the practitioner knows how their work will be authorised and supervised.

The allocated practitioner shall:

  • Ensure that they know what is expected of them and how their work will be authorised and supervised;
  • Raise any issues with the allocator that may impact on their role including issues relating to any health and safety;
  • Ensure that they know of all the records/files that exist for the child and that these are recorded correctly on the child’s file;
  • Check that the child's record is a complete record and make the Team Manager aware of any gaps in the records and any data/documents that may be missing that are associated with the missed data;
  • The allocation of a case should be recorded in case notes clearly headed ‘case discussion’ or ‘supervision’ depending upon the circumstance the allocation takes place.

The allocated social worker, or practitioner involved for a specific role, shall undertake the following before commencing their tasks and within 5 working days of the date of allocation/involvement.

  • Familiarise themselves with the child's record including any historic files, including any records relating to legal proceedings and record in case notes that this has been completed;
  • Notify all professionals involved and child and family members of their involvement, role and contact details and record in case notes that this has been completed;
  • Ensure all dates specific to the case to which they need to attend are entered into their diary;
  • Ensure that the child’s details fields are complete and kept up to date, for example ethnicity, religion, disability and if not identify what must be completed, and ensure these remain up to date;
  • Ensure that the involvements and relationships are recorded accurately and are kept up to date, with full information including telephone numbers, addresses, postcodes, email addresses;
  • Make arrangements to collate and read any historic files and documentation from other local authorities;
  • Ensure that written confirmation of the outcome of the referral was sent and if it was not sent, send written confirmation to the referrer within 48 hours/two working days of allocation date.

In all cases the current social worker and receiving social worker (or Team Manager if the social worker is not available) will jointly visit and meet with the child/family to introduce them to the new social worker/Team Manager.

Transfer of the case from the allocated social worker to another social worker within the team.

Wherever possible this shall be undertaken at the review of the child's plan, or at the Child in Need or Child Protection core group meeting, and child's record amended within one working day of the date of the review/meeting.


3. Transfer of the Allocated Social Worker from One Team to Another Team

The current allocated social worker will notify the receiving Team Manager (who is required to allocate a new social worker), of the date and time of the next review/meeting and reason for the need to transfer to the new social worker (e.g. this could include, but is not limited to; home address of the family, remit of the team).

The notification will be made at least one month prior to the date of the next review/meeting and will be recorded in case notes. The current Team Manager will ensure a quality audit is completed and the case records are up to date in preparation for transfer. The receiving manager will complete a quality audit to confirm all tasks have been undertaken.

The receiving Team Manager will:

  • Read the child's record and identify a new social worker;
  • Inform the current social worker of the name of the new social worker at least 5 working days before the date of the review/meeting;
  • Request the new Social worker to attend the review/meeting to then be allocated as the social worker;
  • If the attendance at the review is not possible the receiving Team Manager will notify the current social worker of the name of the new social worker within at least 5 working days of the date of the review/meeting. This is to ensure that a case discussion meeting can take place within 5 working days of the date of the review.

Prior to the review the current social worker will notify the child and family of the change in Social worker and their name and details. Evidence of this taking place will be recorded in case notes.

Where should be no delay in transferring social worker and team responsibility.

In circumstances where it is not possible to transfer social worker status at a review of the child's plan.

In circumstances where it is not possible to transfer social worker status at a review/meeting of the child's plan the current social worker will notify the receiving Team Manager (to which the case is to be transferred).

The Team Manager of the new social worker will ensure that the transfer to the new social worker takes place within one month from the date of notification.

Where the transfer at the review/meeting is not possible the current social worker and new social worker will meet for a case discussion prior to the review/meeting or within one month of the review/meeting having taken place to ensure that new social worker is aware of any:

  • Timescales to be met;
  • Risks as identified;
  • Assessments, visits, tasks or appointments required;
  • Meetings to attend;
  • Requirements listed within the child's plan;
  • Any specific needs or requirements relating to disability, communication, methods of working etc.

Evidence of the meeting taking place and the contents of the meeting will be recorded in case notes by the current social worker before the details of the new social worker are entered onto the child's record.

The name of the new social worker will be added to the child's record within two working days of the case discussion.


4. Transfer for Looked After Children with a Plan of Permanence

For the procedure for Permanence see the Permanence Planning Guidance.

For all Looked After children every child should have a Permanence Plan by the time of the second Looked After Children Review and the case will transfer to the LAC team at this point unless the local District arrangements have agreed otherwise (this will then be the responsibility of the relevant Head of Service (Localities) to qualify).

To ensure effective transfer and child centred case management the following will take place prior to transfer

  • Involvement from Looked After Children/Adoption Service from early stages of child becoming looked after;
  • Exploration of all potential family carers (Including significant assessments - Viability, parenting);
  • Plan of permanence agreed;
  • Quality Assurance - The LAC Team Manager will complete a quality file audit prior to case transfer thus giving the current allocated social worker time to complete any outstanding tasks and ensure that the child’s file is up to date at point of transfer.


5. Involvement of a Practitioner within the Same Key Team

The decision of any further involved practitioner from within the team (i.e. community care worker or family resource worker) to undertake a particular task/role will be made by the Team Manager.

The allocated social worker will add the name and other details to the child's record before the involved practitioner commences their role/task.

The allocated social worker and the involved practitioner will meet to ensure the following information is shared:

  • Timescales to be met;
  • Risks as identified;
  • Assessments, visits, tasks or appointments required;
  • Meetings to attend;
  • Requirements listed within the child's Care Plan;
  • Any specific needs or requirements relating to disability, communication, methods of working etc.

Evidence of the meeting taking place and the contents of the meeting will be recorded in case notes by the allocated social worker before the details of the involved practitioner are entered onto the child's record.


6. Transfer from the Allocated Social Worker to a Lead Professional using the Team Around the Child Arrangements (TAC)

The transfer can occur when there is no longer a role for Social Care and the criteria for Team Around the Child are met (i.e. family needs ongoing support from three or more agencies to remain involved). This would be the expected norm in cases of children being removed from Child Protection Plans within the last 3 months.

The allocated social worker arranges the transfer to TAC (Team Around the Child) including the identification of agencies and Lead Professional and convenes a TAC meeting.

The allocated social worker attends the initial TAC meeting.

The allocated social worker supplies the following documents to the TAC members (with the consent of the family):

  • Recent assessment, or minutes of the most recent Child in Need meeting including current plan, or minutes of Child Protection Conference and Child Protection Plan;
  • Contact list for the family and all professionals involved in the child’s plan.

Case is closed by Social Care and TAC details entered on the child’s social care record; a copy of the TAC minutes should be uploaded to the case record for future reference.

The Lead Professional takes over responsibility for co-ordination at this point.


7. Transfer of a Child in Need Plan to another Local Authority

A transfer will take place when the carer/parent has consented to information being shared and wants continuation of service from another local authority. If the carer/parent does not consent or does not want a service from another local authority consideration shall be given to whether the discontinuation of the child's plan will result in safeguarding issues. In these circumstances a referral will be made to the other local authority.

The transfer to another Local Authority wherever possible should be planned and take place at a review of the child's plan or at a transfer meeting organised by Derbyshire. The receiving Local Authority will be invited to attend. If unplanned, the other Local Authority should be notified and a meeting/discussion should take place.

The allocated social worker will send the receiving Local Authority a letter notifying them of the details of the transfer enclosing a copy of the latest Single Assessment, child's plan, the Chronology and any other relevant documents. The notification should include details of the transfer meeting. This shall be sent in all circumstances, planned or unplanned moves.

A note should be made on the child’s record confirming what documentation has been sent by whom, to whom and when (electronically or hard copy).

The allocated social worker will send a letter notifying the Derbyshire GP, Health Visitor, school and any other agencies involved of the details of the move, including the date and new address. This shall be sent in all circumstances, planned or unplanned moves. A note should confirm this on the child’s record

Manager will check that there is evidence on the child's record that the allocated social worker has completed the actions above; the case can then be closed to Derbyshire Social Care.

This will be confirmed in writing to the family, and relevant agencies (if not already done so).

End