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7.1.15 Joint Panel Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Policy
  3. Procedures

    Appendix 1: Proforma for Referral to the York Joint Agency Panel

    Appendix 2: Procedure for Referrals to the York Joint Agency Panel

    Appendix 3: Members of the York Joint Agency Panel 

1. Introduction

The York Joint Agency Panel is a group of representatives from relevant local multi-agencies who consider provision for children with complex needs where current services are struggling to adequately provide for their needs.

2. Policy

The statement of principles that has been agreed and signed by senior representatives from agencies is included in Appendix 3: Members of the York Joint Agency Panel.

The panel considers referrals of children or young people up to 19 years where current arrangements are not meeting the needs of that child/young person, including:

  • Despite extensive inter-agency interventions, local resources have proved insufficient;
  • Where current services are insufficiently flexible;
  • Where a specific service does not exist;
  • Where current arrangements are not meeting the family’s assessed needs.

The primary aim of the panel is to meet a child or young person’s social, educational and health needs in York. All local options must be proactively explored and exhausted before an external placement is considered.

All children and young people who are jointly funded in external placements will be reviewed by the panel at least annually. Consideration must always be given as to how and when the child/young person will return to York.

Funding arrangements will be as agreed within the financial protocol set up between agencies.

3. Procedures

3.1 Composition and Remit

Representatives on this panel are drawn from the York Adults, Children and Education Department, and the York & North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group including senior managers with budgetary responsibility.

The Joint Panel will meet approximately every 6 weeks to consider newly referred children / young people and to review those already funded and in placement. Panel decisions will be communicated in writing to all relevant parties within 10 working days after the panel have met. The family will be informed by the most appropriate professional.

Discussions of referrals to the panel will focus on keeping children and young people within local resources. Decisions to place young people in external placements will only be made in exceptional circumstances where their needs are specific and cannot be met locally.

All external placements will be subject to contractual agreements with the provider to achieve the initial aims and objective (see proforma), which must be specified and agreed with the provider.

Joint panel members will meet to review provision, practice and outcomes at least once a year and will prepare an Annual Report at a separate Joint Panel review meeting at the end of the financial year. Where there are significant issues that this review meeting brings up, then the relevant senior officer/s will report to their corresponding Assistant Director for further comment and possible action.

3.2 Work to be Undertaken before an Initial Referral to the Joint Panel can be made

A procedure flow chart highlights the stages of referral - see Appendix 1: Proforma for Referral to the York Joint Agency Panel.

Where any of the key agencies identify that services in York are struggling to meet the needs of a child/young person, a planning meeting will be called. This meeting will co-ordinate any recent and comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment of the child’s needs.

Education, Social Care, School Health, Continuing Care and other agencies where appropriate - e.g. YOT, Youth Services, will be invited to participate.

Where such assessments have not already been undertaken, plans must be made for these to be completed within an agreed timescale. A further meeting should then be convened to enable further planning to take place.

When assessments are completed the planning meeting should seek to identify why the needs of the child/young person are not being met. The child/young person and their parents/carers should be asked for their views on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the current resources, and what other help they think their child/ young person needs? This information should be presented to the planning meeting. Questions that the meeting should address include:

  • What current resources are being provided for the young person/family?
  • How are agencies working together?
  • Could any improvements in working together be made?
  • What other resources should be accessed?

The planning meeting should identify a plan with time scales to test its effectiveness. A copy of the agreed plan should be sent to the Joint Panel Business Support or appropriate manager as part of the early warning mechanism for the panel.

If this plan is not successful, the child/young person may be referred to the Joint Panel. The discussion at the panel will focus on keeping the young person in York. It will seek to identify other resources that can be mobilised to support the child/young person locally. If possible a further plan will be agreed by the panel, with clear timescales.

The relevant manager who attends Joint Panel must be made fully aware of all individual cases before a referral to Joint Panel is agreed.

The final stage is that the child/young person may be considered for an external placement. The officers who completed the assessment will clearly identify both the needs of the child/young person and the recommendation for panel about the type of appropriate placement needed, including an analysis of the risks and benefits of all options given. This information will be considered before the panel agrees any specific funding options.

At no time should children / young people or their parents/carers be given an expectation that a placement will be made until approval and funding have been agreed in principle. Creative use of resources aimed at finding a local solution, should continue with the family throughout this process.

3.3 Reports to Joint Panel Meetings and Decisions

A proforma front sheet should accompany written information presented to the panel (see Appendix 1: Proforma for Referral to the York Joint Agency Panel). Existing reports can be used to present information to the panel wherever possible, provided they are recent (within the last 9 months) and contain all the information needed by panel to reach a decision.

The information presented should as a minimum contain the following:

  • Child’s details: name, DOB, address, legal status, school, GP;
  • Family composition;
  • Background information including relevant family history;
  • Agencies’ involvement;
  • Assessment of need;
  • Current care plan (if child/young person is ‘looked after’);
  • Views of the family and the child/young person plus completion of a Parental Consent form where an application for NHS Continuing Care (Children) is being made;
  • Summary of reason/s for referral to the panel identifying needs that are not being met currently;
  • Analysis of the risks and benefits of all options, including the child remaining placed locally.

Case workers will not routinely attend the panel though occasionally they may be asked to attend.

Reports to the Joint Panel need to be sent to the Panel Business Support at least 1 week before the next panel meeting. These will then be distributed to panel members in advance of the meeting.

Decisions agreed by the Joint Panel will be recorded on the proforma with a named representative who will verbally inform the case worker and family before a copy of the completed proforma is sent to that officer.

3.4 When Approval is Given in Principle for an External Placement to be Made

Specific resources can then be explored by the case workers in order to provide information to the panel for a decision. This should include:

  • A number of options for placement, wherever possible;
  • Comments on the suitability of the placement(s) in meeting the child assessed needs;
  • Aims and objectives of the placement;
  • The views of the child/young person and their family.

The SEND Information Systems & Finance Coordinator within York Adults Children and Education must check that the provider has been accredited or otherwise approved by the City of York Council. This process ensures that the provider adheres to minimum standards and specifications required by the council. References are taken up and inspection reports are checked, as part of this process.

3.5 Placement of a Child / Young Person in an External Placement

When a child is placed a Child’s Placement Contract (CPC) will be completed. This sets out the financial details for this individual placement. This is in addition to the care plan and Statement of Special Educational Needs, if appropriate.

In an emergency, the placement may be made following initial checks for references and accreditation.

3.6 Panel’s Role in Reviewing External Placements

When a placement has been made, the first review of the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and the ‘Children and Young People in Care Review, if appropriate, should be sent to the Panel Business Support.

The panel will review, at least annually, all children/young people placed in external placements. It is appropriate for the panel to receive existing review reports, plus any recommended amendments to the Education, Health and Care Plan and the ‘Looked After’ review document, to consider whether the placement is continuing to meet the child’s/young person’s needs, in line with the initial aims and objectives of that placement.

Additional information may be needed where the situation has changed significantly since the last statutory reviews were held. Panel will also consider whether and at what point, it is appropriate to investigate a planned return to York.

Appendix 1: Proforma for Referral to the York Joint Agency Panel

Click here to view Appendix 1: Proforma for Referral to the York Joint Agency Panel.

Appendix 2: Procedure for Referrals to the York Joint Agency Panel

Click here to view Appendix 2: Procedure for Referrals to the York Joint Agency Panel.

Appendix 3: Members of the York Joint Agency Panel

Click here to view Appendix 3: Members of the York Joint Agency Panel.