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1.2.2 Framework for Case Management

AMENDMENT

This chapter was fully updated in October 2018 and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Welcome Pack
  3. Individual Case Allocation
  4. Case Supervision
  5. Recording Management Oversight
  6. Case Closure and Transfer
  7. Case Audit


1. Introduction

This procedure sets out a framework for good case management so that all involved are clear about requirements for allocating, managing and closing cases.

All children 'open' to social care will have a named social worker with lead responsibility for the effective and coordinated management of all aspects of their case.

Case transfer should be carefully planned to minimise disruption to the child/family and ensure there are no gaps in service delivery. Should anyone become aware of such a gap they must advise the allocated worker and their manager immediately.

Case closure should be discussed with the child/family and their views sought and recorded as part of the process of disengagement. Where other services are becoming involved, the worker should do everything they can to ensure effective transition including, where appropriate and with permission, sharing the family's 'story' to avoid the need for them to reiterate it.


2. Welcome Pack

At the beginning of their engagement with Children's Services, all service users will be provided with a 'welcome pack' of key information to help them understand what to expect, but also to ensure they understand some important information. It is therefore essential that everyone is provided with:

  • Introductory letter (which may be sent in advance or taken on the first visit);
  • Information about record keeping (the 'Privacy Notice') and their right to access their records;
  • Consent to contact with other agencies;
  • Customer feedback leaflets (for parents and children);
  • Additional, service-specific information.

The required contents are listed, and templates are available, on the Children's Portal.


3. Individual Case Allocation

Where ongoing work is required, each case is allocated to a Social Worker and a team. An Allocation Case Note is completed by the allocating manager comprising the information outlined below, which will be further developed in Team meetings/case supervision.

Note: A Single Assessment will normally be required but if the TM believes this is not necessary, they must record their rationale on the child's record using a case note under the event type 'Manager's Comments'.

Allocation Case Note

  • Name:    (DOB or EDD):              Age:
  • Address:
  • Referred by:
  • MOSI Level / Child's Status (e.g. s47, s20, etc.)
  • Professionals involved:
  • Significant Family members/Other:
  • Referral Info (summary only; not the actual referral):
  • Historical Risks/Concerns (Bullet point):
  • Current Risks (Bullet point):
  • Protective Factors (What improves things) (Bullet point):
  • Complicating factors (What makes things difficult) (Bullet point):
  • Grey Areas (What we don't know) (Bullet point):
  • Child's voice/views/observation/experiences (summary) and how best to communicate with the child:
  • Other factors to consider (ADP/Culture/Diversity/Language/Hazards) (GRRAACCES is an acronym for Gender, Race, Religion, Age, Abilities, Culture, Class, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation).

ACTIONS:

  • Case allocated to Team (date):
  • Single Assessment due: X days (date):
  • 5 day visit due by (date):
  • Actions to address referral concerns (SMART format).


4. Case Supervision

Individual supervision of case accountable workers, which includes both personal supervision and one-to-one case supervision is covered in Supervision: Procedure and Practice Guidance.


5. Recording Management Oversight

a) Case Management Activity

The management oversight 'footprint' must be evident across all decision making and easily found on the child's case file.

Management oversight should not be recorded simply as 'Agree with Social Worker's recommendations' but should demonstrate a clear rationale and evidence base for decisions, including the perceived impact upon the child, backed up by SMART planning to ensure effective implementation. Where relevant, case records should also contain evidence of how the manager has challenged the case worker's views of the case, both through supervision and day-to-day case planning.

When a manager makes a decision to significantly change the trajectory of a case, the rationale for this decision must be clearly recorded on a case note under 'Manager Comments'.

The involvement of line managers in individual cases must be clearly recorded in the following circumstances (not exhaustive) as evidence of management oversight and control:

  • Allocation Case Note;
  • CIN Code: amendment to reflect change in focus of case should be considered in supervision and changes made promptly;
  • Case Discussions, including key decisions;
  • TM providing rationale for Single Assessment to be completed beyond the timescale originally agreed and always if going beyond 45 days;
  • Signing off assessments;
  • TM oversight of child protection investigations;
  • Agreement for Legal planning meeting;
  • Transfer/Closure exemplar must be countersigned;
  • Case supervision;
  • Audits (by line manager or as part of wider audit programme);
  • Actions in response to audits.

b) Head of Service Agreement

All approvals to accommodate a child or to issue proceedings on an emergency basis and outside the Threshold and Resources Panel must be specifically agreed by the relevant Head of Service. Also, requests to initiate the Public Law Outline.

To seek such agreement an email should be sent to the Head of Service using the following headings:

  • Child Name;
  • Date of Birth;
  • Age;
  • What is being requested;
  • Brief overview of case/history;
  • Current Concerns;
  • Action taken to date to address the concerns;
  • Whether/how current risks place the child at risk of significant harm;
  • How the risk would be managed if this request is not agreed.

This information will allow the Head of Service to consider the Team's decision making and consider what action is required where there are safeguarding concerns. This request, along with the decision once received, must be recorded on ICS.


6. Case Closure and Transfer

a) Closure

There is a closure exemplar which must be completed in full on ICS for all closures and signed off by the respective manager before closure can take place

b) Transfer

Case transfer between different parts of Children's Services must be carefully managed and adhere to the following principles:

  • The priority is the child and family;
  • The aim is to ensure the 'right service, right time, right place' and purposeful intervention;
  • Case management of siblings to remain together wherever appropriate;
  • Any proposed transfer should have already been discussed with the family;
  • A lack of capacity does not mean transfers do not happen;
  • Recording should be up to date, but incomplete recording does not necessarily mean transfer does not happen (performance and outstanding work will be dealt within management oversight, managers can discuss this at the point of transfer and agree timescales);
  • Transfers should happen in a planned and managed way;
  • At the very least the transferring team will be available by phone to discuss a case where there is a need for this;
  • Introductions to the child and family by transferring and receiving workers will take place and include, where relevant, planned meetings or joint visits;
  • Disagreements will be discussed but escalated to the appropriate line managers if they cannot be resolved.

Case transfers are usually managed/negotiated at regular meetings of local managers, see District Team Transfer and Resource Meeting Policy.

The individual requirements of the wide range of interfaces between different parts of Children's Services are outlined in Interfaces between Services.


7. Case Audit

To ensure that work is consistently of good quality, Team Managers and more senior managers, should routinely review the work of staff for whom they are responsible. This may be in the form of a systematic audit, or reviewing aspects of individual cases.

In addition, all managers contribute to the monthly auditing of individual cases. Cases are evaluated and graded (Outstanding/ Good/ Requires Improvement/Inadequate) and, where appropriate, auditors identify the actions required to bring a case up to a 'Good' standard.

The current audit form can be found in the Portal (see Policies & Performance > Audit).

Further, there is a plan of thematic audits which is refreshed annually and also in relation to specific issues that arise. Here, cases are reviewed across the service to test compliance with required policy, procedures or guidance. Good practice is highlighted and corrective action proposed in relation to any deficit.

End