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1.2.11 Support Panel Procedure


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


This chapter was updated in February 2018 to reflect the current procedure and process for Support Panels.


  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 Decisions
  8. Agreement Outside of Support Panel
  9. Regulation 24 Placements
  10. Support Panel Disagreements
  11. Review

    Appendix 1: Caring for Somebody Else's Child Options

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 appropriate and consistent, that practice is restorative and children are supported at home within their family (including wider family and connected persons) wherever possible.

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

2.1 The following should be presented to Panel:

  • Cases where the team considers that the case requires a Legal Planning Meeting, Pre-proceedings (including PISMIP, CAFCASS+) and/or Care Proceedings require initiating;
  • Cases where the team consider that a child or young person should be accommodated;
  • Cases where one or other of the parents/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;
  • For Cases where the child is identified to have a disability/open to CWD; where agreement/ratification is required of care packages of high value cost to ensure that all possible options of support have been considered to meet the Child's and Young Person's needs, reducing the requirement for them to become LAC.

3. Benefits

3.1 The benefits of the Support Panel are:

  • The right outcome is achieved for the child & family;
  • Decision making is consistent and evidenced;
  • Ensuring everything is being done to support the family;
  • Cases are 'front loaded’, if needing to move to initiating Care Proceedings;
  • Scrutiny when agreeing accommodation and legal proceedings;
  • Input from other services 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 from the Line Management of the case);
  • Service Manager (from the service area);
  • Team Manager or designated Practice Supervisor (Early Help, Family Group Conferencing, Fostering, Health & Social Care);
  • Manager of Family Group Conferencing or delegate; Youth Offending Service representative;
  • Representative from SEND;
  • Administrator;
  • Accommodated in unregulated provision.

5. Application

  • The request for the Support Panel is completed on the SC Support Panel Request and Outcome (C0343) form on Mosaic;
  • The following documents are to be sent to Safeguarding & Review (Safeguarding& together with the Support Panel Application Form, by noon on the Friday, prior to the Support Panel the case is being discussed:
    • Chronology;
    • Genogram/Eco-Map;
    • Social Care Assessment and/or Parenting Assessment;
    • Direct work with the children;
    • FGC Plan;
    • Family Safety Plan;
    • Legal Advice;
    • Signs of Safety Mapping;
    • 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 on the SC Support Panel Request and Outcome (C0343) form on Mosaic;
  • The request should include:
    • What is being requested;
    • Reason for the request;
    • Proposed plan.
  • The request MUST BE:
    • Sent to and approved by a Team Manager;
    • Sent to Safeguarding & Review by 12 noon on the Friday before the Support Panel.
  • The Team Manager (or, if delegated, the Practice Supervisor) will be expected to attend Support Panel;
  • Wherever possible the case will be presented to Support Panel by the Practice Supervisor &/or Social Worker. If the Social Worker cannot attend Panel, their Practice Swill present the information to Support Panel on their behalf;
  • Information to be presented by other Children's Services Representatives involved with the family, for example Early Help, Fostering, Family Group Conference, SEND, Youth Offending Service and Health;
  • The outcome will be recorded in the SC Support Panel Request and Outcome (C0343) Form on the Child/Young Person's Mosaic record. The minutes will be recorded to reflect Signs of Safety, for example:
    • What's Working Well;
    • What are we Worried About;
    • What Needs to Happen.
  • What Needs to happen, needs to include the panel's recommendations and timescales including:
    • What other work tasks/actions/investigations are required;
    • If accommodation is agreed, length of time this agreement is for, prior to return to Support Panel;
    • Type of Placement to be considered including Foster 2 Adopt placement;
    • Legal Planning Meeting;
    • Pre-Proceedings to be initiated;
    • Care Proceedings to be initiated;
    • Does the case need to be returned to Support Panel for further decision making, if so when?
  • At the end of each panel the Administrator will e-mail all actions (What Needs to Happen) to the respective Social Care Team Manager. The Social Care Team Manager, will then ensure that a Case Note, title 'Support Panel Actions' is added within 1 month of the Support Panel, providing an update on the identified actions. This Case Note will also explain any outstanding actions, which have not been completed and reasons why;
  • If it was recommended that a case return to panel, after initial attendance, this should be returned within the identified timescale, unless there is positive progress made, resulting in the case not being required to return to panel, however a case note needs to be added to the child's file detailing this and an e-mail update needs to be sent to Safeguarding& within the specified timescale.

7. 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 respective Locality Service Manager for alternative action. Any agreement needs to be recorded on Case Notes for the respective child/ren by the Service Manager;
  • Panel decisions need to be discussed and reviewed in Supervision;
  • Evidence of completed actions needs to be recorded on the child's file;
  • All legal actions are to be evidenced in the relevant legal workflow step on Mosaic, titled 'SC Legal Court Process';
  • Case supervision must take place and be recorded as per supervision policy; Where Support Panel's decision is to progress with a Family Group Conference, this must be referred to the Family Group Conference Service on Mosaic (Internal Contact). If this is not received within 5 workings days FGC Practice Supervisor to escalate to Social care Team Manager and if not received within 7 working days of the panel, this is to be escalated to the Locality Service Manager.

8. Agreement Outside of Support Panel

  • If agreement for accommodation or legal proceedings is obtained outside of the Support Panel process, due to the urgency of the situation, or because tri-part funding is required for a Child with Disabilities in a 38 week Educational Placement; this agreement should be obtained via the Locality Service Manager (Assistant Director for purposes of accommodation). The Service Manager MUST:
    • Record on Case Notes a management decision explaining:
      • Why the agreement was made outside of panel;
      • What the specific agreement is and the timescales;
      • Expectations of additional actions and timescales for completion of these.
  • The case will not need to be presented to Support Panel retrospectively;
  • Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children do not need to be presented to Support Panel;
  • If agreement for s. 20 accommodation is made outside of the Support Panel Process the responsible Social Care Team will need to ensure that they focus on the trajectory for the child and that this is maintained for the duration of intervention. The following actions MUST be completed to support this process:
    • A case supervision to be held between Team Manager, Practice Supervisor and Social Worker, to be recorded on Case Notes in Mosaic within 48 hours of the placement being agreed/made. Content of the discussion to detail:
      • Reason for accommodation;
      • Who agreed this & for how long;
      • What is required to be completed in this time period for the child/ren to return home;
      • Consideration of the trajectory for the child/ren and options available.
    • A letter needs to be sent to the parents within 48 hours of the placement being made, setting out that this is not the final position, the parents maintain parental responsibly for the child/ren and they need to work with us, to support the child/ren's return to their care;
    • Referral to Family Group Conference and Early Help, needs to be made within 48 hours of the placement being agreed;
    • Placement Planning Meeting, should include a focus on the child's planned return home, within the timescale specified by the Service Manager at the point of agreement to the placement;
    • The Social Worker's Report and minutes of the Initial LAC review need to demonstrate why the child/ren are not at home and explore this in detail, maintaining focus on the trajectory and exit plan.

9. Regulation 24 Placements

  • Social Care Teams need to be more robust in identifying and understanding when children are residing with family members and/or connected persons and when this becomes a Regulation 24 Placement. The basic test is – What would you do if the parent/carer wanted to have the child/ren back in their care? If the answer is you would not support this; you would ask the Police to exercise Powers of Police Protection; you would want to seek legal advice to initiate Care Proceedings, then this is a Regulation 24 Placement and the child/ren will acquire Looked After status (consent of the Assistant Director will be required for this). Carers with Parental Responsibility will need to be asked to sign s. 20 consent;
  • If a Regulation 24 Placement is identified it needs to be actioned immediately, specifically in the following circumstances:
    • The child/ren are subject to Powers of Police Protection.
  • If a Regulation 24 Placement is identified the Viability Assessment needs to be completed (written up) prior to or within 24 hours of the placement being made;
  • The carers need to be added to Mosaic as connected persons carers and the SC Connect Persons Viability needs to be initiated and sent to the child's social worker, via a contact from the connected persons front screen;
  • The Locality Service Manager needs to be sent the Viability Assessment and Mosaic workflow, which they must authorise confirming agreement for the placement. This then needs to be sent to the Kinship Team;
  • The viability assessment and BACs form (signed by the connected persons carers need to be sent to within 48 hours of the placement being made.

10. Support Panel Disagreements

Where members of the Panel are 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 the Assistant Director.

11. Review

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

Appendix 1: Caring for Somebody Else's Child Options

Click here to view Appendix 1: Caring for Somebody Else's Child Options.