LAC Manual Part 2.2 Compulsory Supervision at Home

2.2 The Process

Step 1 – Following the Local Integrated Assessment Process

When a child has been identified as having additional needs, whether as a Looked After child or not, the Local Integrated Assessment Process (LIAP) should be followed. This process will identify a Lead Professional to act as ‘first point of contact’ for the family. In the case of a Looked after Child, this lead professional will always be the qualified social work practitioner, unless, in exceptional circumstances, it has been agreed otherwise. If Compulsory measures are being considered, it is therefore advisable that the Lead Professional is the Social Worker.

Step 2 – Carry out an integrated assessment

The Lead Professional must carry out an integrated assessment of the child’s and family’s situation incorporating the knowledge and views of all those who know the child and family best. This will vary depending on the age of the child eg younger children may be well known to their health visitor or GP, older children will be well known to their school teacher/s.  

The fundamental aim of all assessments is to:

  • To identify and understand, as fully as possible, given the constraints of the real world, the issues in relation to what additional support is needed by the child or their family, in order to meet the child’s needs throughout their childhood
  • To articulate relevant, achievable outcomes that will ensure that the child’s needs throughout their childhood will be met, including the overarching outcome of ensuring that every child has a secure, permanent base, in which their needs, as they grow and develop, will be met
  • To form a viable plan of action through which those outcomes will be achieved and any remaining areas of uncertainty be clarified, with the minimum of disruption to the child’s family life, attachments, education and social networks and to the ordinary exercise of parental rights and responsibilities
  • To present a clear argument, supported by evidence which shows the need and value of the proposed plan, to a person or body bearing the responsibility for making decisions to allocate resources or make legal decisions.

The assessment may be done entirely using the Child’s Plan format, or using a specialist assessment/tool. Where a specialist assessment/tool has been used, the outcomes/recommendations should be incorporated within the Child’s Plan.

The Child’s plan should be done in consultation, and if possible, with the agreement of the family and the child, dependant on the child’s age and maturity.

Part of this process will be to consider if compulsion is required to ensure the child and family’s participation in the plan with a referral being made to the Reporter to the Children’s Hearing if appropriate.

There will always be a tension here in that, if the family are fully agreeable to the Child’s Plan, why is there a need for compulsory supervision? Equally, if the family are totally against the plan, the chances of making significant improvements in the child’s life are likely to be minimal.

The Child’s plan, when compulsory supervision is being recommended, should contain;

  • What work if any has previously been undertaken with the child and their family under the LIAP arrangements when the child has been identified as Child in Need;
  • What was the outcome of this work?
  • What further work is needed;
  • What are the child’s needs and what are the risks for the child if they are not placed on a Supervision Order? See step 3
  • Why is compulsion necessary?  Include evidence of parents or children being unwilling or unable to work with a previous plan, or obstructing its implementation and preventing a positive outcome.
  • Why can’t the program be delivered reliably on a voluntary basis?
  • Why will what is offered under compulsion be better for the child than making no order?
  • What are the outcomes to be achieved? See step 5

The rationale for a recommendation for compulsion should be set out clearly in the “recommendations and decisions” section of the Child’s Plan, with clear linkage to the preceding “analysis” section and, if relevant, the “areas of disagreement” section.

If compulsory supervision is to be recommended it must have been discussed with the family and the child before the hearing, taking account of the child’s age and maturity.

For every Looked After Child, including those living at home, the Child’s Plan should set out :

  • The local authority’s immediate and longer term plans for the child;
  • The respective responsibilities of the local authority; the child; any person with parental responsibility (including specifically who is it recommended be compelled to do what);
  • The plan should also clearly detail how the outcomes will be met including
  • Who is responsible for doing what to meet the care, health and education needs of the child;
  • What methods, resources or services are to be employed eg
    • Family-based work;
    • One-to-one work;
    • Group-work techniques;
    • The co-ordination of resources in the community;
    • Further specialist assessment, for example regarding risk of re-offending, parenting capacity
    • What are the expected timescales for the allocation of cases, meetings with the family, etc?
  • How the Lead Professional will ensure the different aspects of the plan are properly co-ordinated and effective in their delivery and how collaboration between the agencies and within the local authority will be ensured.
  • What is the anticipated contact between the social worker, child and family during the period of the supervision requirement?
  • The details of the Supervision Requirement and how the outcomes identified by the Children’s Hearing are to be achieved.
  • Timescales for meeting objectives
  • Timescales for reviews
  • How disagreements will be addressed
  • Occurrences that would lead to a Review Hearing being arranged
  • Any other relevant plans for example Child protection or Co-ordinated Support Plan

Some of these details may need to be added or amended after the Hearing has reached its conclusion.

Step 3 - Assessing Risk

In order to demonstrate the risks to the child if no Compulsory Order is made, you should consult with the child, their family and, again, incorporating the knowledge and views of all those who know the child and family best, to complete a risk assessment of the grounds for concern.  

Use the appropriate Risk Assessment Forms incorporate the outcome of this process within the Child’s Plan.

When recommending compulsory supervision at home for a child who is the subject of actual or potential abuse, a Risk Assessment and Protection Plan must have been developed by an inter-agency child protection case conference, if the child is registered.  
The protection plan must be included within the Child’s Plan.

See Moray Child Protection Policies & Procedures.

Step 4 - Signing up to the plan

  • The plan should, wherever reasonably practicable, be based on agreement between the child (where of sufficient age and maturity), the parents, other family members, the local authority and any other relevant parties, for example, the support teacher, school nurse or health visitor.
  • The plan will then represent a written agreement to which all can work
  • A plan must be drawn up even if the child or his or her family do not wish to become involved in this or if they disagree with some aspect of it
  • You should seek to reach a position of agreement with the child and family on as many of the outcomes of the Compulsory Supervision Order as you can, although the welfare of the child should remain the paramount consideration throughout.
  • Where there are areas of disagreement, this must be made clear within the plan.
  • As a written document, the plan should wherever possible be signed by all the parties and a copy given to each of them.  In practice, it is likely that the signing of the plan may take place at or shortly after the Children’s hearing in which the Compulsory Supervision Order was imposed.
    The Child’s plan is a working document which should be reviewed and up dated as required.

Step 5 - After the Hearing

Once a hearing has made the decision to make a Compulsory Home Supervision Order, the social worker allocated by the local authority should -

  • see the family to discuss the terms of the supervision order, if possible at the end of the hearing, otherwise as soon as is practicable, ensuring that the child and the family are clear about;
    • what change they need to achieve for supervision to be discharged
    • how progress will be measured
    • what the agreed timescale is for achieving change
    • any occurrences that might lead to an early Review Hearing
  • arrange to visit the child and family, immediately where there is a significant level of risk, but, in any case, prior to the initial Core Group meeting – which should take place within two weeks
  • discuss with the child and parents the Child’s Plan as agreed or amended by the Panel,
  • seek the parents’ and child’s consent, if appropriate, to sharing information – including the allocation of a unique identifier (names are not used) with the Scottish Government for the purpose of statistical analysis only.
  • ensure that the child’s legal status 1  is updated in Carefirst and that their address, nationality, race, religion, language, disability status, household members school are accurately recorded.
  • notify the professionals named in the Child’s Plan of the outcome of the Hearing and arrange the first meeting of the Core Group. This meeting should be held within two weeks of the Hearing that made the Supervision Order.2

Step 6 – the Initial Core Group Meeting

The initial core group should: -

  • confirm who will comprise “the team around the child”, including the child and parents
  • ensure they each have a copy of the Child’s plan agreed or amended by the Hearing, including any Risk Assessment
  • ensure that core group members are clear about: -
    • the legal status of the child
    • what change needs to be achieved for supervision to be discharged
    • what is the agreed timescale for achieving change
    • the requirement for the “Team around the Child” to work together effectively
    • how progress will be measured
    • the accountability every member has for working with the agreed Plan
    • occurrences that might lead to an early Review Hearing
  • agree the frequency of core meetings thereafter
  • agree the date for the first review: the review must be within 6 weeks of the decision that made the supervision order

Step 7 - Implementing the supervision requirements

The professional staff involved in The Child’s Plan are each responsible for discharging their part of the Plan and for working together effectively with the family as the “Team around the Child”.  They should –

  • Ensure that their work with children and parents is in accordance with the Child’s Plan and focused on achieving the outcomes agreed in the Child’s Plan
  • Share information with the other members of the Team around the Child about how their work is progressing and about any barriers to progress
  • Meet periodically, with the family, to discuss progress, barriers to progress and any other relevant developments
  • Inform the Lead Professional in the Child’s Plan if, for any reason, they are unable, or are prevented from doing what they have committed to do as set out in the plan
  • Meet, if there are significant difficulties in working to the Child’s Plan, and, if unable to resolve the difficulty, consider organising an early formal Statutory Review.

Specifically, the Local Authority is:

  • responsible for ensuring that a supervision requirement is carried out
  • ensuring that all those identified within the Child’s Plan as having a role in achieving the outcomes are committed to, and undertake their allocated tasks.

The role of the social worker in home supervision is:

  • to maintain contact with the family at the level agreed in the care plan;
  • to undertake direct work with the child, as set out in the plan, and ensure that at all points the child's views are sought and listened to;
  • to undertake direct work with parents, as set out in the plan, work closely with the child's family, listen to their views and to ensure the child's needs are met and welfare ensured;
  • to oversee the implementation of the child’s plan and ensure the focus of work is on achieving its objectives;
  • to co-ordinate the work of other professionals with the child and family as agreed in the child’s plan;
  • to ensure that reviews of the child’s plan are undertaken at least at the statutory minimum level ie within 6 weeks of the supervision requirement being made and at least annually thereafter.

Where the child’s offending is a main concern;

  • Work should focus on addressing the reasons for previous offending behaviour and the Child’s Plan should make clear the respective responsibilities of the Area Team Social Worker and the Youth Justice Worker (see also Youth Justice 8-18 Booklet and Youth justice Flowchart)
  • The Social Worker must discuss with the child and family the consequences of any failure to keep to the terms of the supervision requirement (this may relate to expectation to avoid committing further offences)
  • If this failure is serious, the Social Worker must call an early Looked After Review, to consider the need for a change in the Child’s Plan or the Supervision Requirement
  • If this review concludes that the requirement is not being complied with,  the Social Worker should request an early review hearing

Where the Child’s Protection is a main concern

  • The Social Worker must ensure consistency between the child protection plan the home supervision requirement and any other aspects of the child’s plan
  • The Social Worker must ensure that the level of contact is maintained by all parties who are part of the protection plan, and keep in contact with other professionals, such as staff at school and health visitors.
  • If further concerns are raised, where necessary, child protection procedures should be initiated.
  • In less urgent situations, an early Looked After Review should be held which may then conclude that a review hearing should be requested.
  • The decision to initiate / or not child protection procedures must be based on a recorded risk assessment discussed with the Team Around the Child / Core group and Senior Social Worker

Where failure to attend school is a main concern

  • Work should focus on addressing the reasons for non-attendance. This may require changes in home and school, both with and for the child.
  • The Social worker should arrange to receive regular reports from school on attendance
  • Where school attendance fails to improve, the Social Worker should initially discuss this with the school and the child and their family, to seek a solution 
  • If there is no improvement it may be necessary to call a Looked After Review 
  • If this review agrees that the supervision requirement is not being complied with, an early review hearing should be requested.

The Social Worker must also ensure that;

  • All contacts with or about a Looked After Child should be recorded briefly in Carefirst within 5 days of the event taking place
  • Significant new information should be incorporated in the next update of the integrated assessment in the Child’s Plan.
  • Significant events and milestones should be added to the chronology
  • Any missed appointments and the reason should be recorded on Carefirst

Step 8 – Review progress

Subsequent meetings of the Core Group must review progress in implementing the plan and achieving the planned outcomes.

The use of reliable outcome measures, carried out by individual professionals, can support this review, alongside professional observation and dialogue with parents and children.

If any barriers to implementation are identified, the Core Group must seek to address these and, if they are unable to resolve them adequately, the group must review its assessment of risk and decide whether any other action should be taken, including arranging an earlier statutory review or notification of the difficulty to the Children’s Reporter.

During the course of a supervision requirement, the circumstances of the child and family may change.  All professionals must clearly record and act upon any new information which aggravates the initial concerns.

Most changes may be accommodated during the course of the supervision requirement by consulting with the child and family, revisiting outcomes and agreeing to amend the methods and services.  Although ordinarily it is the Statutory Review that has the authority to agree outcomes and key actions by services and others to achieve those outcomes, Core Groups have discretion, between Statutory Reviews, to make adjustments to the detailed actions required to achieve agreed outcomes and, in situations of urgency, to make temporary changes to agreed outcomes.

When, as a consequence of these changes in circumstances, the Team around the Child is of the view that the Compulsory Supervision Order should cease or be varied, the Social Worker should refer the case to the Principal Reporter.

This may include consideration of altering the child’s living situation to have a condition to reside with suitable members of the child’s kinship network, or in a placement provided by the local authority.

Where this is a potential next step, wherever possible, discuss this openly with the family and child, and address it in a planned manner via a Statutory Review.

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1 This is currently done by the SSW in recording the start of a Looked After Episode.
2 Consistent with Child Protection Procedures

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