Plan, Do, Review


This chapter explains the Single Plan for children which has been introduced in Derbyshire to support, and provide a focus for, work across the four levels of need.

This chapter should be read in conjunction with Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Thresholds Document and, where a Section 47 enquiry is carried out, it should also be read in conjunction with the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures, Child Protection Section 47 Enquiries Procedure.


Section 7.1, Review and Oversight by Managers was updated in June 2019 to reflect the role of the Team Manager and Practice Supervisor in reviewing children who have been subject to Child in Need Plans for longer than 6 months.

1. Introduction

Following an assessment of need there should be a clear plan showing how the child's identified needs will be met.

Within Children's Services a Single Plan has been developed which is used across the following four levels of need:

  • Early Help Single Focus;
  • Early Help Team Around the Family (TAF);
  • Child in Need;
  • Child Protection.

Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise whilst support is being provided under any level of plan must be responded to in line with Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures.

2. Principles of a Good Plan

A good plan will have the following elements:

  • Have a clear connection to the current assessment;
  • Be focussed on improving the outcomes for children;
  • Be developed together with children and their families, with their goals and ideas for how to achieve those goals at its heart;
  • Be timely, specific, realistic and measurable;
  • Avoid idealistic unachievable, undesirable goals; and
  • Be regularly reviewed.

All plans should be written in family friendly language and be clear what needs to be achieved in order to make the necessary changes identified.

Assessments and plans should be clear about how the child's voice has influenced their outcome and development. Where we don't or can't act in accordance to the child's wishes a clear reason for this needs to be recorded to help them understand. 

Services provided for parents and carers need to be considered in terms of outcomes for the child.

Any obvious and immediate support can be put in place or commissioned before the assessment is complete; the assessment process should not result in families suffering a delay in receiving the help they need.

All relevant and involved agencies and the family, including the child if appropriate, should be informed in writing of the outcome of the assessment and the plan for providing support if one is developed; they should also receive in writing a record of any meetings held where the plan is reviewed or developed. Face to face sharing of the assessment is good practice.

All Plans should identify the Lead Professional, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved.

In particular, all plans should:

  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required;
  • Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child;
  • Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
  • Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable;
  • Not be dependent on resources which are known to be scarce or unavailable;
  • Identify the Lead Professional and their responsibilities, including frequency of visits to the child;
  • Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of other professionals and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals with children and family members;
  • Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed and the means by which it will be judged.

3. Early Help Single Focus

Early Help Single Focus is an outcome sent to a Early Help Team from Starting Point. These plans are to support a child whose needs can be met without multi-agency support, for example Every Child a Talker (ECAT) or careers guidance. If during the course of this work other issues emerge then single focus work needs to be escalated to an Early Help Assessment process (this does not require referral to Starting Point).

4. Early Help Team Around the Family (TAF)

The Team Around the Family (TAF) members are jointly responsible for developing and delivering a package of solution focused support to meet the needs of the family identified through the Early Help Assessment.

Team Around the Family members should:

  • Be responsible to deliver the actions they have agreed to carry out as part of the action plan;
  • Support the lead professional by keeping them informed, attending TAF meetings and offer guidance and advice; and
  • Contribute towards chairing and minute taking of TAF meetings.

Should parents/carers not attend the TAF meetings it will continue and develop an action plan which will need to be shared with the parents at the earliest possible opportunity and reviewed and amended in line with the family's wishes and the child's needs.

5. Child in Need

Where a social worker assessment has concluded that social care services are required to meet the child's needs under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, a Child in Need Planning Meeting will be convened to develop the child's plan.

The Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for a child and their parents/carers, together with key agencies, to identify and agree the package of services required and to develop the plan.

All Child in Need Planning Meetings should be attended by the child (depending on age and understanding), parents/carers and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment.

The relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Planning Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting.

It will be important that an appropriate venue suitable for the child and their family are used for the meeting. Consideration must be given to transport, timing and any child care issues. Where a child is attending a meeting and is of school age the meeting should be held outside of school time, wherever possible.

A social worker is responsible for convening the meeting within the necessary timescales (10 working days from when the assessment is completed) and, arranging invitations.

A social worker will chair the meeting and will ensure information from the meeting is accurately recorded. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s who need to agree them.

Following the completion of the assessment it might be appropriate for a Community Care Worker (CCW) to deliver the support required as part of that child's plan, with a Social Worker providing support and guidance in reviewing the plan at Child in Need meetings.

A social worker is responsible for reviewing the plan (every 6 weeks).

If at any stage it becomes clear that threshold for involvement has changed, appropriate step up or step down procedures should be followed.

Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the plan and services provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies.

See also Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure.

7. Reviews of Plans

It is an expectation that plans are reviewed every 6 weeks. This review is recorded by the Lead Professional and would involve the participation of the child, their family and any other professionals supporting them within the plan. Reviews would usually take place within a Network Meeting.

At each meeting to review a Plan consideration should be given to what has worked well and what has not been achieved and whether any additional actions are needed.

There is opportunity to record the child/young person and family's views throughout the meeting and develop further action plans if deemed necessary. Future action plans should recognise and encourage good practice already identified.

Whenever a plan is reviewed, consideration should be given to how long the plan has been in place, how effective the plan is and how any lack of progress is impacting on the child.

It is important to record on the action plan what might happen if the action plan is not followed. Any concerns about the progress a family is making should be discussed with a manager in regular supervision or at any other time should the need arise.

7.1 Review and Oversight by Managers

All Child's Plans must be overseen and regularly reviewed by their manager.

The purpose of management oversight is to ensure that the Child's Plan is appropriately robust, continues to meet the agreed objective, is effecting change and is within the agreed timescales.

If a child remains subject to a Child in Need plan for 6 months, a discussion should take place within supervision between the Practice Supervisor and Team Manager involved and consideration given to the Team Manager chairing the multi-agency Child in Need meeting, to provide some independent scrutiny on the plan and prevent drift. If this is not deemed appropriate this decision and its rationale should be recorded on the case file and regularly reviewed. When it is agreed that a formal review by a Team Manager is needed, independent scrutiny will continue to be given through supervision and further formal reviews chaired by the team manager (at least every 6 months) unless deemed not appropriate/necessary to do so. The 6 weekly reviews by the lead professional will continue to take place between formal reviews by the Team Manager.

There may be some exceptions to the 6 weekly plan reviews; for example those cases where the plan acknowledges the need for longer term support in relation to disability services. All such plans will be reviewed at least every 3 months.

All decisions made should be recorded on the child's electronic record, together with reasons/rationale, and dated.

Any decisions recorded should be sent to the child (if old enough), parent and all other participants in the Review process. The outcome of a Review will be:
  1. That the child no longer requires any support from Children's Services, which will result in a recommendation that the case be closed; although the child may continue to receive services from other agencies as part of their universal services or early help support;
  2. That the child continues to requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and amendment, as necessary, of the Child's Plan;
  3. That things have improved or deteriorated which has changed the threshold of need for the child.

Where the threshold for involvement has changed the plan should be stepped up or down accordingly.

Where it appears that the child may be suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, then a Strategy Discussion/Meeting should take place to determine if Section 47 enquiries are needed.

Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures