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1.3.5 Case Transfers


CAPTION: Contents list
1. Case Transfer between the MASH and the three 0-16 Service Units
  1.1 Principles for Case Transfer and Allocation
  1.2 Transfer of Child Protection Cases
  1.3 Transfer of Children in Care Cases
  1.4 Transfer of Child in Need Cases
2. Transfer of Social Work Cases from 0-16 Service Units to the Pathway Team
  2.1 Young People Looked After who at 16 will become Eligible under Children Leaving Care Act (CLCA)
  2.2 Social Work Cases that do not Transfer to Pathway by 16th Birthday
  2.3 Family Support Cases

1. Case Transfer between the MASH and the three 0-16 Service Units

1.1 Principles for Case Transfer and Allocation

This document sets out the arrangements for the transfer and allocation of work from the MASH to the three 0-16 service units in the operational service.

There should be a timely and consistently applied allocation process in operation across the six practice teams. To facilitate this, the agreed Workload Weighting Scheme must be used and kept up to date at all times, and be accessible to all managers across the service.

Day-to day responsibility for case allocation will rest with the six managers.

The six practice managers will exercise a corporate responsibility for the timely allocation of all in-coming work.

Managers will make arrangements to monitor any cases for which early allocation is not possible.

The three service managers will accept a corporate responsibility for ensuring that work is being allocated in a timely fashion and that workloads and capacity issues across the service are managed effectively.

The receiving manager retains responsibility for the case until it is allocated. Mosaic should always show the name of the responsible manager.

At the point of allocation in all cases, line management responsibility for the case transfers to the manager to whom the allocated social worker or senior family support worker reports.

Any case that is re-referred within 3 months of the case closure date in Mosaic should automatically be directed to the previous caseholding worker/team.

In all other cases the Locality in which the referred child/family live is the immediate determinant of which team should accept responsibility for cases transferring from the MASH.

Within each of the three Locality Service Units, one of the two managers must be the named ‘duty’ manager, for an agreed duration and will be the point of transfer for any cases coming to their service unit. The frequency with which this role rotates between the two managers is a matter for each service unit management team to determine.

The service manager, and two managers in the MASH, must be kept informed at all times of the identity of the "duty" manager in each of the three service units.

If it appears, in the first instance, not to be possible to allocate a new piece of work within the receiving locality, then issues of service wide capacity, based on the Workload Weighting scheme data, the availability of the particular skills, knowledge or experience required, and awareness of any specific constraints on the allocation of the specific case in question are all factors which will need to be taken into consideration.

The three 0-16 service managers will meet on at least a weekly basis to monitor workloads and workload pressures, to resolve any difficulties in allocating in-coming work, and to ensure that any unallocated work is distributed on a fair and sustainable basis.

The three service managers will take collective responsibility for ensuring that the Head of Service (operations) is kept informed of any emerging service wide trends in workload, allocation, staffing and capacity issues, through regular reports to the OGMT meeting.

The Operational Group Management Team (OGMT) and head of service (operations) should take corporate responsibility for responding to any relevant emerging trends or issues.

The members of OGMT should be supported by regular (monthly) management information about referrals, allocations and caseloads, to support the up to date ‘live’ data available through the caseload measurement scheme.

1.2 Transfer of Child Protection Cases

Where a child is the subject of a Section 47 Enquiry and a decision is made to convene an Initial Child Protection Conference, the relevant manager in the MASH should notify as early as possible the ‘duty manager’ from the service unit relevant to the child’s locality, who assumes responsibility for the swift identification of a social worker to become the keyworker.

The duty practice manager should seek to allocate the case to a social worker from within his or her practice unit.

Should this not be possible for reasons of capacity or otherwise, the relevant manager should liaise swiftly with their manager colleague within the locality to agree alternative allocation arrangements.

In the event of being unable to allocate within locality, the duty manager should liaise with the 2 other duty practice manager’s from the other service units to seek to identify an allocated social worker.

Practice managers will refer to the up to date caseload weighing figures for staff across the whole service to aid their discussions. Where possible, factors such as locality, skill, experience and complexity of case should be the primary focus for allocation decisions, but if necessary, capacity will be the ‘bottom line’ deciding factor.

In the event that having fully explored allocation options across manager colleagues, a social worker has not been identified by the duty manager, they should immediately approach their service manager, who will prioritise the allocation of the work within the locality service unit, and / or negotiate with their two service manager colleagues to identify an allocated social worker.

In all such cases, the timescale for allocation should be to ensure the receiving social worker is identified by the time of the initial conference and wherever possible is enabled to attend.

1.3 Transfer of Children in Care Cases

The processes and principles described above should apply to the allocation of Children in Care. Immediately it is known that a child or young person has, or will, become ‘looked after’, the relevant manager in the 0-16 service will be notified.

The timescale for the transfer of Child in Care cases, where the child is brought into care by the MASH, should be within 7 working days of the date on which the care episode commenced.

The receiving duty manager in the relevant locality area should follow the steps outlined above in relation to the allocation of child protection cases.

Cases of ‘looked after’ children will need to be allocated in sufficient time to allow the receiving social worker to prepare for the first Children and Young People in Care Review.

1.4 Transfer of Child in Need Cases

In terms of access to local support services and resources, it is desirable where possible to maintain responsibility for such cases within the Locality.

Child in Need cases will in most instances, therefore, remain allocated to the receiving locality manager (or pass to their manager colleague within the locality), pending the allocation to a social worker or senior family support worker from within the locality.

Equally, it is recognised that as these cases move up and down the threshold of concern, priority should be given to seeking to maintain continuity of Locality based worker (potentially from FSW to SW or vice versa) where possible.

2. Transfer of Social Work Cases from 0-16 Service Units to the Pathway Team

2.1 Young People Looked After who at 16 will become Eligible under Children Leaving Care Act (CLCA)

For the purposes of future service planning, the Pathway Team should be notified of the details of any Young Person who will become eligible under the terms of the CLCA following the first statutory review after their 15th birthday. This notification should come in the form of an email, from the current case responsible manager to the Pathway manager and Service Manager.

On receipt of the above, the Pathway Manager should discuss with the existing case-holding SW and their Manager the plan for the Young Person, and agree the appropriate timing of the transfer of the case to the Pathway Team. The case-holding SW will complete the “Child in Care Social Work Case Transfer Form” and forward this with the necessary documents, to the Pathway Manager, when the young person is 15 years and 6 months old.

The Pathway Social Worker will meet the Young Person prior to the Children and Young People in Care review closest to their 16th birthday. The case-holding SW completes the paperwork in preparation for the review and leads the review. The Pathway SW takes on the forward plan from the Children and Young People in Care review and case-holds from that point onwards.

If, for any reason, the transfer request is not received by the Pathway Team before the review closest to the 16th birthday, the Pathway SW will take over the case by the Young Person’s 16th birthday, at a time and in a manner agreed by both Practice Managers.

The 0-16 SW would be consulted by the Pathway SW as necessary for any background information or advice about the Young Person.

The Pathway SW is responsible for carrying out the Pathway Needs Assessment (in lieu of a Single Assessment) and Self-Assessment with the Young Person and their carers, to inform the young person’s first Pathway Plan. The first Pathway Plan should be in place by the Young Person’s 16th birthday; after the Young Person’s 16th birthday, the Pathway Plan includes the Care Plan as part of it, and that the Pathway Plan is the overall plan for the Young Person.

In certain circumstances, for example where the Young Person is about to embark upon their GCSE’s and is in a stable placement, it may be appropriate to delay the commencement of the Pathway Needs Assessment until after their exams, even if this delays its completion until after their 16th birthday. In other circumstances, where the Young Person’s placement is very unstable, and there appears to be a strong likelihood that he or she may be moving towards early independent living, it will be important to commence the Pathway Needs Assessment process earlier, to ensure that a Pathway Plan is in place by the time of their 16th birthday. In either scenario, the Social work case will be transferred to the Pathway SW by the 16th birthday, unless there are ongoing court proceedings, or the young person is in a placement with younger siblings.

2.2 Social Work Cases that do not Transfer to Pathway by 16th Birthday

  1. Where a Looked After young person at 15½ years old has younger Looked After siblings in the same placement with them, the 0-16 Social Worker will retain the Social Work case until such time that the circumstances of the placement change. The case-holding Social Worker, after discussions with their Practice Manager and Service Manager, would inform the Pathway manager by email of the reasons why the Social Work case would remain within 0-16s service. This decision must be endorsed by the 0-16 Service Manager and a Pathway Worker Referral form is completed;
  2. If the Child Care case is still going through Court Proceedings, it will not be transferred to Pathway until the proceedings are completed. A Pathway Worker Referral form would be completed;
  3. Where a young parent and their baby are both Looked After, the Social Work case for the parent will transfer to the Pathway Team by the 16th birthday, as explained in Section 1 above. The baby would retain their own Social Worker from the 0-16 service.

The 0-16 SW will need to work closely with the Pathway Support Worker in these cases, as the SW will be responsible for completing the Pathway Needs Assessment and producing the first Pathway Plan, as per the 2010 Lambeth Judgement. As with cases where there is a Pathway Social Worker and Pathway Support Worker, the Support Worker’s role will be to carry out some of the actions in the Pathway Plan, to help the young person prepare for the future.

2.3 Family Support Cases

Family Support cases will not be transferred to the Pathway Team from 0-16 teams. 0-16s would keep any Support Work cases and step them down, rather than transferring them. However, if a 16 or 17 year old in the family is at risk of impending homelessness or becomes homeless, they can be referred to the Youth Homeless Prevention Workers at Library Square, providing that the existing worker has looked at all options to prevent the homelessness.

Any new 16 or 17 year old, about whom an enquiry with MASH identifies the young person as homeless or at risk of impending homelessness, would be transferred to the Youth Homeless Prevention Workers in the Pathway Team via Housing Options. Any new 16 or 17 year old who is not homeless but in need of support and intervention and whose needs could not be met by services brokered at Tier 2 would be assessed by the Assessment Team via a thorough Single Assessment prior to transfer of the case to Pathway Team if ongoing needs were identified. The Single Assessment would give full details of the work that was required by the Pathway Team. The Assessment Team Manager would alert the Pathway Manager as soon as there was a likelihood that a case would be transferred for longer-term support and agree the work to be undertaken by the Pathway Support Worker.

The services of the specialist officers within the Pathway Team, namely the Accommodation Officer, and the Education, Training and Employment Adviser, are available to all 0-16 Social Workers on a consultancy basis, and where mutually agreed as appropriate, may provide direct advice or guidance to a Young Person, in advance of any other formal involvement from the Pathway Team.