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Permanency Planning Meetings and Permanency Panels

See also Permanence Panel Terms of Reference and Permanence Panel Form / Template.

AMENDMENT

In September 2018 this procedure was updated to contain links to the most recent Terms of Reference for the Permanency Panel and the template Permanence Panel form for completion by the child's social worker.

1. Introduction

1.1 Achieving better outcomes for children

A robust and sustainable Permanency Plan for Children in Care will lead to better outcomes. The Permanency Panel will assist Kirklees to gain a greater understanding of the needs of its Children in Care, and assist with its planning processes. In addition commissioning decisions will be better informed.

1.2 Expected other benefits and outcomes

The existence of a Permanency Panel and meeting structure will promote the following additional benefits:

  1. Establish a better understanding of collaborative working between social work colleagues in the Duty and Advice Team, the Assessment and Intervention Service, looked after teams, the Disabled Children's Service and the Family Placement Unit, Early Intervention and Targeted Support and Integrated Youth Support;
  2. Establish clearer lines of accountability in relation to decision making for Children in Care;
  3. Provide a clear audit trail for the council in relation to where and when decisions in relation to permanency where made; and
  4. Assist in the promotion of best value;
  5. Enable the council to gain greater control of planning for its future provision of resources.

1.3 Permanence Planning Meetings will be held for all children and young people:

  • Prior to them becoming looked after if subject to the revised Public Law Outline Process; 
  • If it is a planned period of Section 20 Accommodation;
  • Within 10 working days of them becoming looked after in an emergency situation;
  • Subject to remand if the plan is that they become looked after at the end of the remand period. 

The Permanence Planning Meeting will formulate a Permanence Plan following consideration of:

  • The assessment of the child's current and future needs;
  • Whether such needs can be met on a permanent basis by remaining at home and the package of support that will be required;
  • Whether such needs can be met on a permanent basis by a return home or through an alternative substitute;
  • The immediate placement should the child become looked after (including whether placement should be with siblings);
  • The legal status of the child both at the point of becoming looked after;
  • The local authority's planned application at the conclusion of care proceedings.

Where an assessment concludes that an alternative to the child either remaining at home or a return home will be the plan then the following must be considered:

  • The viability of any Connected Persons' placements
  • The most appropriate placement type that will meet the child's permanence needs
  • The most appropriate legal outcome to ensure permanence in the proposed placement type

The Permanence Planning Meeting is a professionals meeting attended by both the case accountable service and the Family Placement Service so that:

  • Timely planning takes place avoiding drift
  •  Placement planning is realistic
  • Likely placement needs are identified so that placement commissioning/finding activity is informed
  • Placement support needs identified

 

2. Resource Allocation

The Permanence Planning Meeting will determine the resources needed to enable the service to implement the Permanence Plan, the detail of which will be incorporated into the Interim Care Plan that is presented to the Court or Section 20 Looked After Children Care Plan and the Initial Looked After Children Review.

3. Chair and Minute Taking

The chair of the Permanence Planning Meeting will be required to keep a written record of the discussion, the options explored and the rationale for determining the Permanency Plan.

The minutes of the meeting must be stored on the child's case file and be made available to the Agency Decision Maker and court on request.

4. Permanency Panels

Kirklees Children's Services will establish a Panel of Managers who will:

  1. Oversee and endorse the proposed Permanency Plans for all  children before they reach their second Looked After Review;
  2. Make recommendations for those children already looked after where a Permanency Plan is not already in place;
  3. Ensure that funding for placement arrangements has been agreed by the Commissioning Panel.

5. Membership of the Panel

The panel will consist of Service Manager for Assessment and Intervention Service (Chair), Service manager for Duty and Advice Team, Manager of the Child Protection & Review Unit, Manager for the Looked After & Care Leavers Service and Family Placement Unit. Representatives from Children with Disability Service and Youth Offending Service will also be invited to attend panel as appropriate. Colleagues form EITS and IYS will receive details of children to be discussed at panel and copies of the documents and will determine the appropriateness of their attendance on each occasion.

6. Remit of the Panel

The Panel will approve the Permanency Plan for each Child in Care prior to the second LAC Review. The panel will be able to approve the appropriate resources for each child when permanency is established. The Permanency Panel will scrutinise all cases where permanence is being considered. This process seeks to ensure:

  • Effective planning and decision making;
  • Evaluation of the Care Plan and the viability of the support plans;
  • Provide an independent oversight of cases;
  • Provides a source of feedback that informs service improvement.

The Panel will review the Permanency Plan for the child agreed at the Permanence Planning Meeting and pay regard to:

  • The appropriateness of the Permanence Plan to meet the assessed current and anticipated future needs of the child;
  • Current and future support needs;
  • The proposed plan for contact;
  • The viability of the plan;
  • The most appropriate legal outcome to ensure permanence in the proposed placement type.

7. Cases to be Presented

  • All Children in Care prior to second LAC Review;
  • Children with a plan for Adoption if the plan is to change;
  • Children whose Permanence Plan has changed in an emergency or where a disruption meeting has been held;
  • Young people subject to remand if the plan is that they will become long term looked after at the end of the remand period.

8. Attendance

Typically the allocated social worker will attend to discuss the permanence plan for each child. In cases where there is a 'difference of opinion' between the social worker and the IRO the IRO will be invited to attend so that the panel has a full understanding of the issues/care planning/decision making.   

In the absence of the allocated social worker, the Team Manager will attend.

For cases that transfer between services prior to the second review or other scenarios it may be appropriate for both the transferring and receiving social worker to attend panel.  

9. Submission of Documents to the Panel

Documents to be submitted:

  • The minutes of the permanence planning meeting;
  • The Interim Care Plan or Section 20 Looked After Children Care Plan;
  • Minutes of the disruption meeting (if applicable).

10. Booking System

Social workers will be required to book onto a panel between the first and second review.

A schedule of submission and panel dates will be circulated.

The child's social worker must email a copy of the permanence planning meeting and Care Plan for all children to be considered to the chair of the panel with a copy to the minute taker no later than 1 week before the panel date.

The chair/minute taker will ensure circulation to other panel members in advance of the panel meeting.

11. Chair and Minute Taking

The chair of the Permanency Panel will ensure there is a written record of the discussion, the options explored and the rationale for determining the Permanency Plan.

The minutes of the meeting must be stored on the child's case file and be made available to the Agency Decision Maker and court on request.

12. Disruption of Placements

Where a permanent placement disrupts a Disruption Meeting will be held. A report of the Disruption Meeting will be presented to the Permanence Panel who will consider what lessons can be learnt in respect of:

  • The child and future needs and planning;
  • Practice and service improvements for the agency.

For a disruption meeting the chair would be an Independent Reviewing Officer.

See also Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.

13. Changes to Permanency Plans

Where there is a need to change a Permanency Plan to reflect the needs of the child or young person, this would be through a Permanency Planning Meeting and endorsement through a LAC review. For those situations where the plan needs to be changed on an emergency basis there will be some circumstances where the IRO can endorse minor changes without a review, however where the change is major and affects parents' rights (placement, contact) then a review meeting should be convened. Such changes to plans should be agreed by the Operational Manager who has the delegated responsibility and can subsequently be reported back to the next Permanency Panel if timescales dictate that the matter is urgent.

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