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The Role of the Lead Professional

Each child with a child protection plan must have a suitably qualified and experienced social worker, from within Children and Family Community Services' social work provision, as the lead professional.

Identification

One of the primary tasks of the Locality Team manager will be to identify a lead professional.

 


Role of the lead professional

The lead professional will co-ordinate the multi-agency work under the Child Protection Plan.

The lead professional must take a proactive role in ensuring that:

It is important that the role of the lead professional is fully explained at the Initial Child Protection Conference and at the Core Group.

 


Cover for the lead professional

Where the lead professional becomes unavailable for more than four weeks, it becomes the responsibility of the lead professional's manager to ensure that the lead professional's role and functions are met, or to notify their own manager that they cannot be met.

 


Specific responsibilities of the lead professional

The specific responsibilities of the lead professional are:

  • To promote good communication between agencies and with the family, ensuring:
    • Parents/carers, and where appropriate children, are clear about the role and responsibility of the Core Group and that they are properly involved in developing the Child Protection Plan.
    • Any parent/carer who has been excluded from the Core Group is informed of discussions and outcomes as appropriate to the child's welfare and safety.
    • Core Group members are aware of significant events in the family's life and consulted about proposed changes to the Child Protection Plan.
    • All Core Group meetings are recorded on the Pro-Forma for Core Group Minutes and copies are sent to all involved, including to the Quality Assurance Manager.
    • The lead professional's manager and the Child Protection Conference Chair are consulted with and/or informed of any changes in circumstances as appropriate.
  • To see the child every 2 weeks and alone at least once every 4 weeks in order to monitor their well being and be aware of their wishes and feelings. The child's bedroom should be seen at least once between each Child Protection Conference.
  • If contact with the child is refused or avoided and the child remains unseen, this must be viewed as a serious breach of the Child Protection Plan. Immediate discussion with the lead professional's line manager may deem it appropriate to seek legal advice about statutory protective action. There must also be discussion with the Core Group members and with the Child Protection Conference Chair about the need for an urgent Child Protection Review Conference, take immediate action or convene a Legal Threshold Meeting.
  • Contact with the child should be recorded on the child's electronic file and the record should include:
    • The time and date of every home visit; stating who was present and confirmation that the lead professional spoke with the child
    • Whether the lead professional saw the child alone, or providing a clear reason why not
    • Any information gained or observations made during the visit relevant to the identified risks to the child
    • Specific information about key subjects given in the Child Protection Plan
    • Factual reports of the child's presentation and behaviour (these should be specific and avoid non-specific labels such as 'disturbed')
    • Any new incident, injuries or concerns
  • To take lead responsibility for monitoring the progress of the Child Protection Plan and alert their manager where the plan cannot be progressed and it is necessary to consider alternative action
  • To convene and co-ordinate the Core Group meetings after the initial meeting following on from the conference
  • To ensure Core Group meetings are held at the agreed frequency
  • To invite additional members to the Core Group as needed
  • To ensure that all members of the Core Group are aware of the next conference date
  • To circulate the record of pro forma for Core Group Minutes and the Child Protection Plan to members of the Core Group, including parents/carers and the child (depending on age and understanding of the child), and the Quality Assurance Manager, Children and Family Community Services.
  • Where a child is on the Child Protection Register and subject to a Child Protection Plan and who is also subject to statutory reviews as a Looked After Child, both review procedures must be undertaken as efficiently as possible. Whilst the two review processes have different functions, the meetings must be kept separate.  It may be appropriate to convene a Looked After Child Review on the same day as a Core Group when they could be held back to back.
  • To take lead responsibility for ensuring that the child's Core Assessment is completed and that any specialist assessment identified as necessary is commissioned.
  • To prepare the assessment report of the Core Group for the Child Protection Review Conference.

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