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1.2.2 Framework for Case Management


This chapter was updated in August 2017 and published in this online manual in October 2017. To access Internal Processes please refer to Cambridgeshire County Council Internal Intranet.


  1. Introduction
  2. Allocation of Cases
  3. Transferring Cases
  4. Case Closure
  5. Transfer to Early Help
  6. Peer Case File Auditing
  7. Managing Absence
  8. Scheme of Delegation under Children Act 1989
  9. Holding Personal Information and Access to Personal Records
  10. Complaints Against Staff By Service Users
  11. Resolving Professional Disputes

1. Introduction

This chapter sets out a framework for good case management so that all involved are clear about how systems for allocating, working and closing cases are operated.

Good case management relies on the completion of tasks by all involved and clear evidence of management oversight of the work.

2. Allocation of Cases

In allocating cases, the ICS procedures should be followed at all stages, to view refer to the Cambridgeshire County Council Intranet.

Within a Unit / Team all cases are allocated to the CSW with a lead SW attached.

Working Together 2015 requires that assessments under the Children Act 1989 should be multi-agency and led by a qualified social worker.

Some cases may involve more than one worker, where a Family Worker is also involved the Team Manager/Consultant Social Worker must follow ICS training manual for adding an "Involved Professional".

All allocation to workers must be done in a timely way so that the timescales for assessment are met (which means on the day of referral). When a case is allocated to a Social Worker a case allocation case note needs to be added to ICS within one working day.

When a Consultant Social Worker is allocated to a case and is overseeing the work of a qualified social worker, respective responsibilities and tasks to be undertaken should be clearly understood by both practitioners and this needs to be clearly reflected in the case allocation note and the unit model and in the unit meeting minutes.

As case responsibility resides with the Consultant Social Worker, they will need to have knowledge about the case, including all case related records, providing oversight, guidance and support to the alternate worker on the assessment, planning and implementation of the work. This may require quality assuring the work undertaken through reading of case records, observation, guidance and undertaking of joint visits.

It will remain the District Safeguarding/ Group Managers responsibility to ensure and monitor the effectiveness of continuing oversight of the case.

3. Transferring Cases

Please refer to Cambridgeshire County Council Intranet for practice Guidance.

The overarching principle is that a child, young person and their family should be able to move seamlessly between services with as little impact as possible receiving the right service, at the right level at the right time. A lead professional will be determined by the level of the specific need and risk to the child.

Any transfers for the families will be managed according to the transfer policy that describes the process of transferring including the management of transfer meetings.

For transfers in and out of county please see these procedures, Children Missing from Care or Home Procedure and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual, Children Who Move Across Local Authority Boundaries: Cross Boundary Protocol.

4. Case Closure

Within the Unit Model the decision to close a case must be taken by the Consultant Social Worker in consultation with allocated workers within the unit when it is felt that no further intervention by the Social Care Service is felt to be necessary and when any identified outcomes for the child have been met. Within a team this decision will be made by the Team manager and allocated worker.

When possible the child and family must always be informed of the intention to close the case and their views on case closure recorded by the allocated worker.

Where other agencies have been involved this must be done in consultation with those agencies and any further intervention or monitoring by other agencies identified and agreed.

Where identified, transfer to other agencies via referral or to the District Early Help Team via the transfer process (see below), must be carried out by the allocated worker.

Any disagreement from another agency to case closure must be recorded upon the Closure Record, citing the reasons for this and the manager’s rationale for proceeding with closure.

The Practitioner should ensure the children’s record is updated. In particular the reason and date of closure are to be recorded on the CCC Closure/Transfer Record.

Where the child has been subject to a child protection plan, consideration should be given as to whether a ' Family Plan needs to be implemented for at least 3 months after the child is no longer subject to the CP plan or whether other plans are relevant. ICS processes must be completed and the child's records retained for 25 years from Date of Birth, unless they have been subject to child protection plan or are Looked After Child when the records are to be retained until 75 years from Date of Birth, or if the child has died before reaching 18 years old for a period of 6 years from the Date of Death, or 15 years from Date if a Looked After Child.

5. Transfer to Early Help

To view Internal Transfer Processes, please refer to Cambridgeshire County Council Intranet and see the principles for transfer above.

If the involvement of Children's Social Care with a child and their family is coming to an end after a period of support then the relevant professionals will discuss the ongoing needs of the child and which agencies should be involved in meeting them (some of whom may already be involved).

The Social Care Allocated Worker will consider and liaise with the professionals that they believe will be best placed to meet the family and child's continuing needs at a lower level of intervention. They will then invite these professionals to a final Child In Need (CIN) meeting to agree jointly with the family what the new arrangements and plan will be once Social Care are no longer involved. This should be done with the child and family's consent.

At this meeting the transfer of the Lead Professional role from the Social Worker to the most appropriate new Practitioner will be agreed, again with consent from the child and family.

The new Lead Professional would then continue to work on the agreed family plan using the existing assessment information.

6. Peer Case File Auditing

In order to provide objectivity and a "fresh pair of eyes" overseeing the work in the department, the Head of Partnerships and Quality Assurance is responsible for implementing a scheme of peer and service wide file auditing.

7. Managing Absence

Where any member of staff with responsibilities for working with children and families has a period of time away from work, it is the responsibility of their manager to ensure their work is covered. Where the absence is planned, the member of staff should identify outstanding pieces of work and anticipate any tasks that may need covering in their absence. It is the responsibility of the line manager to delegate those tasks to an appropriate worker, or cover significant tasks themselves, including child protection conferences, CIN planning meetings and attendance at court.

8. Scheme of Delegation Under Children Act 1989

The purpose of this scheme (see Documents Library) is to clarify for all concerned who has the authority to make decisions in individual children's cases, and where the accountability for the decision lies.

9. Holding Personal Information and Access to Personal Records

All practice must be compliant with the Data Protection Act (2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998).

When beginning any work with a child and family, it is good practice to give the family a copy of the "Access to Personal Social Care files including Computer Records" Leaflet.

10. Complaints Against Staff by Service Users

Please see Cambridgeshire County Council website and Part 1.3,
Serious Incidents, Complaints and Whistleblowing

When receiving a complaint the Internal Complaints Procedures should be followed.

11. Resolving Professional Disputes

In the first instance these should be resolved between the relevant managers of those professionals involved. Where this is not possible then the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board Procedures for resolving disputes should be followed.

(See Resolving Professional Disagreements.)