View Derbyshire Children's Homes Procedures manual
View Derbyshire Children's Homes Procedures manual View Derbyshire Children's Homes Procedures manual
View Derbyshire Safeguarding Procedures manual
View Derbyshire Safeguarding Procedures manual View Derbyshire Safeguarding Procedures manual

5.1.16 Edge of Care Panel: Terms of Reference

This chapter was introduced into the manual in January 2014.


  1. Background
  2. Edge of Care Panel Process
  3. The Agenda

    Appendix 1: Edge of Care Report and Minute Template

1. Background

Children have a right to be brought up by their families and in their home communities unless there is clear evidence that it is not in their best interests. The purpose of the Edge of Care Panel is to ensure that the children and families which are brought to their attention have received the appropriate support they need, in order to help them make changes and to ensure that any admissions to care are appropriate and that an early return to family is facilitated where ever possible.

Given the level of resources involved with a child in care and the impact on the child of entering care; it is essential that Derbyshire has an approach to decision making which ensures rigour and accountability. The decision to bring a child into care should only be taken where the assessment clearly evidences what improvement coming into local authority care will make to that child’s life.

The Edge of Care Panel will provide a robust overview of the admission of a child to care and will be accountable to the Deputy Assistant Director.

It is not the intention for families to attend Panel meetings.

Panels should be viewed as an internal quality assurance process; it is not instead of, but in addition to, the normal care planning and review processes.

2. Edge of Care Panel Process

An Edge of Care Panel must be established in each district.

Panel membership will be:

Others may be co-opted as appropriate such as:

  • The Special Educational Needs lead or  local inclusion officer (where school issues are a primary issue);
  • CAMHS / Learning Disabilities;
  • Specialist health representative;
  • Any other professional viewed to be critical to the family’s/child’s position.

The Panel must be held on a monthly basis and dates established for the year so as to facilitate attendance from key Panel members.

The Panel will consider the following types of situation:

  • Children within Public Law Outline proceedings where the possibility of issuing Care Proceedings are being considered;
  • Children who are being considered for admission to care under section 20 (including 16/17year olds);
  • Children who have entered care in an emergency under Section 20;
  • Children who have entered care in an emergency through Police Protection or Emergency Protection Order.

For those children that enter care in an emergency an extraordinary Panel should be convened within five days of the child entering care unless a regular Panel meeting is imminent.

The Edge of Care Panel will review the decision making and use of multi-agency service provision to date and ensure that all available resources have been utilised and that entry to care, if agreed, will deliver better outcomes for the child.

Prior to a case reaching the  Panel  the allocated worker will have completed an up to  date  assessment and a multi-agency planning meeting held; this would normally take the form of a Child Protection Conference, Child in Need planning meeting or Team around the Child meeting. This assessment and meeting will have considered all best practice options to support the child safely remaining with their family.

Using their updated assessment the allocated worker will complete the Panel reporting format and submit it to the Panel Chair at least two working days in advance of the Panel date.

The agenda for the Panel meeting will follow the panel report headings (which replicate the assessment analysis headings in Practice Matters). This will reinforce good analysis and aid cross district comparisons on levels of need, risk management and types of services available to support the plan.

3. The Agenda

The format for the agenda (and followed for the minutes) will be:

  • What are you/the family worried about (risks);
  • What is the impact of these risks/behaviours on the child and family;
  • What is working well to address these worries (existing strengths and safety factors;
  • What would the family say about how you could support and assist them best?
  • What needs to happen next (to address the risks, build the strengths, and address the needs)?
  • Panel Discussion and Decision.

The Panel must consider any gaps in service provision, or additional support that might be available to the social worker in terms of working with the family to make change in the areas identified.

The panel should be seen as a rigorous challenge to practice and be well placed to mobilise local resources where required in order to facilitate improved outcomes for the child and family.

Exceptionally the Panel will have the remit to review cases if plans have not progressed as expected.

The final decision to Accommodate a child continues to rest with the Head of Service (Localities) responsible for the service in the district.

Minutes (as described above) will be taken at all Panels and they should be provided to the Deputy Assistant Director within 10 working days. The collation of issues and trends will provide qualitative performance information which along with the children in care performance data will support performance improvement activity.

Where it is viewed as a more efficient use of staff time, the Head of Service (Localities) may choose for the Panel to overlap with other significant meetings which are often required at the point of admission to care / edge of care; for example:

  • Network meetings for cases under CCNP process;
  • Public Law Outline Legal gatekeeping meetings;
  • The referral gateway into the Multi Systemic Therapy Service.

Appendix 1: Edge of Care Report and Minute Template

Click here to access Edge of Care Report and Minute Template.