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1.2.12 Support Panel Procedure


This document outlines the procedure for taking cases to the Support Panel in Lincolnshire.


This chapter was updated in April 2016 to provide a new section to give greater clarity on the Support Panel decision process. (See Section 6.1, Support Panel Decisions).


  1. Support Panel
  2. Criteria to Help Deciding Which Cases are Presented to Panel
  3. Benefits
  4. Composition of Panel
  5. Application
  6. Process
  7. Support Panel Disagreements
  8. Review

1. Support Panel

1.1 Purpose

Support Panels have been established to ensure that the decisions for children at the verge of accommodation or legal proceedings are appropriately and consistently considered and children are supported at home and within their family, including wider family and friendship groups whenever possible and appropriate whilst ensuring that all possible resources are provided.

2. Criteria to Help Deciding Which Cases are Presented to Panel

2.1 The following should be presented to Panel:

  • Cases where the family needs are complex or high risk cases which require a high level of support services to meet that need/ manage the risk;
  • Cases where the worker has struggled to find resources to meet the identified need;
  • Cases where the team consider that the case requires a legal planning meeting;
  • Cases where the team consider that  legal proceedings are required including applications to the Family Drug and Alcohol Court;
  • Cases where the team consider that a child or young person should be accommodated;
  • Children who have been subject to a Child Protection Plan for more than 18 months;
  • Young people on the cusp of custody;
  • Cases where one or other of the parent/caregivers has criminal convictions and /or been involved in any care proceedings relating to any connected child, including the removal of previous children, initiated by any local authority;
  • Cases where there are potentially high cost support packages.

2.2 Additional criteria to be considered for attendance to Panel:

  • In cases where immediate legal advice, immediate legal proceedings or where immediate accommodation is required, authorisation is required from the appropriate Service Manager. These cases must be presented to the next Support Panel;
  • As part of case management, FAST Team Managers will ensure that each case that is open to the team for longer than 9 months is discussed with consideration of appropriateness to take to the Support Panel. The discussion and the arguments for the decision should be clearly recorded in the child’s electronic record.

3. Benefits

3.1 The benefits of the Support Panel are:

  • Risks known and shared with senior managers;
  • Key decisions shared Service Managers;
  • Ensure everything is being done to support the family;
  • Cases 'front loaded’ if needing to move to proceedings;
  • Scrutiny when agreeing accommodation and legal proceedings;
  • Input from other teams towards the support plan for the family.

4. Composition of Panel

4.1 The Panel will be made up of the following members:

  • Chairperson Service Manager independent of the line management of the case;
  • Service Manager for the relevant area;
  • Locality Team Manager or delegated PS (social care and targeted);
  • Manager of Family Group Conferencing or delegate;
  • Youth Offending Service representative, as relevant to the individual case;
  • Fostering Team Manager or Delegated PS;
  • Representative from local SEND Team;
  • Administrator.

5. Application

The request for the Support Panel is completed on the Support Panel application form available in Mosaic (case note Support Panel Case Note).

The following documents are to be sent to the Panel Administrator together with the Support Panel application form. If they are not available, it should be clearly stated on the Application Form that they are not provided and why not.

  • Chronology;
  • Genogram;
  • Social Care Assessment and/or Parenting Assessment;
  • Copy of last CP Conference minutes;
  • Care plan;
  • Signs of Safety danger statement, safety plan and safety goals (they do not have to be separate documents if incorporated into other documents);
  • Other documents that may be relevant and inform decision making process should be included as appropriate.

6. Process

  • The request for Panel should be recorded in Mosaic case notes and this has to include a clear reason in regards to a proposed detailed plan presented to Panel for consideration;
  • The request for Panel should be agreed by the Team Manager and will be sent to Panel Administrator by 4pm on the Thursday before Panel;
  • The Team Manager or, if delegated, the Principal Practitioner will be expected to attend Panel throughout and to quality assure previous recommendations;
  • Presentation by the social worker; their manager may wish to support them if they are available to do so. If the social worker cannot attend Panel, their supervisor (either PS or TM) will need to attend and present the information to Panel;
  • Information to be presented by other children's services representatives involved with the family, for example Targeted Team, Fostering Team, SEND Team and Family Group Conference Team;
  • Panel discussion and decisions made including timescales;
  • Once the case is heard at the Panel the outcome will be recorded in the child’s Mosaic case recording by the Panel administrator. The outcome could be one or more of the following:
    • Return to Panel;
    • Resources/services;
    • Accommodation;
    • Further investigation;
    • Letter before proceedings;
    • Legal Planning Meeting;
    • Commence proceedings.
  • The Panel Administrator will also record the overview of discussion/ decision in the free text section and inform relevant social workers that the information has been input in Mosaic once the minutes have been authorised by the panel chair;
  • Team manager to ensure that actions are completed in timescales and recorded on Mosaic, if actions have not been completed, the reasons also to be recorded on Mosaic. The locality Service Manager to monitor actions through supervision with the Team Manager;
  • If positive progress is recorded in a case where return to panel was an outcome, an update will be provided to the chair and attendance to panel will not be required.

6.1 Support Panel Decisions

  • All Panel decisions are to be carried out;
  • If changes in circumstances occur, agreement is to be sought and approval is required from the Service Manager for alternative action. If approval is given, this has to be evidenced in recording;
  • Panel decisions need to be discussed and progress reviewed in Supervision to ensure they are completed;
  • When a decision has been completed, this is to be evidenced in the child's electronic record;
  • All legal actions are to be evidenced in the child's electronic file, with a case note informing what the action was and the outcome, and if there is a legal document include reference where this could be found;
  • Case supervision must take place and be recorded as per supervision policy; (see Operational Management and Supervision Arrangement Procedure);
  • Where panel's decision to progress to Family Group Conference (see Family Group Conferences Procedure) (FGC) is not progressed, the FGC Practice Supervisor will escalate to the Social Care Team Manager if the referral is not received within 5 workings days and to the Service Manager if still not received within 7 working days after panel.

7. Support Panel Disagreements

Where members of the Panel remain unable to agree the recommendations of the Panel, the areas of disagreement should be noted at Panel and the chair of the panel should discuss and agree an outcome with Children's Services Assistant Director.

8. Review

Panel activity is reviewed annually; the analysis of the activity will be used to contribute to learning and improvement across Children’s services.