10.1 Child Protection Conferences Appeals Procedure
- Appeals Process
- Appeal Panel
- Panel Decisions
The aim of this procedure is to provide parents/caregivers and young people with a fair and transparent process regarding concerns they may have following a Child Protection Conference.
In order to make the appeals process fair, all appeals are made to the Wirral Safeguarding Children Partnership via the Manager ([email protected]) who discusses the appeals with the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service Manager. A panel drawn from members of the Wirral Safeguarding Children Partnership QA Committee will hear all appeals which cannot be resolved by the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit. This offers some independence from the Child Protection Conference agency representatives.
Appeals can be made about:
- The decision regarding whether a child should be subject to a Child Protection Plan The grounds for this type of appeal must be that either the requirements for making a child subject to a Child Protection Plan were not met, or, that information is available now which was not known at the time and may have an impact of the conference’s decision;
- The category of primary concern, e.g. Neglect;
- The nature and degree of participation for parents/caregivers and young people that was allowed;
- Whether the Child Protection Procedure was followed.
Complaints about an individual worker or agency (including services provided or not provided) will be dealt with by that agency’s complaints process.
The information on which the Child Protection Conference bases its decision is provided by agency representatives. Agencies are responsible for the accuracy of their information and any concerns regarding the accuracy of reports will be dealt with by that agency’s complaints procedures.
- Appeals Process
There are two stages to the appeals process:
Appeals should be forwarded in writing to the Manager ([email protected]) of the Wirral Safeguarding Children Partnership within 10 working days of the Child Protection Conference. Appeals should clearly set out the reason(s) why the decision made at the Child Protection Conference is being challenged.
Once received the appeal will be discussed between the WSCP Manager and the Service Manager of the Safeguarding QA Unit (who manages the Conference Chairs) and they will write to the person making the appeal within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal and any supporting information, providing further information about the reasons for the conference decision and inviting the person making the appeal to meet with the Service Manager to resolve the issue.
If the appeal is against the decision for a child to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan and is based on the grounds that information is available which was not known at the time of the conference the Service Manager will liaise with the Chair of the Conference.
If the Chair of the relevant Child Protection Conference advises that the new information would invalidate the decision the conference will be re-convened and the Service Manager will write to the person making the appeal to inform them of this decision.
If the Chair of the relevant Child Protection Conference believes the new information would not affect the decision, or believes the decision making at the original Conference was accurate the Service Manager will inform the person making the appeal and invite them to meet and discuss.
If after the intervention of the Service Manager, and following a meeting, the person making the appeal is still not satisfied with the outcome they can request a hearing be convened. However, an appeal will only move to Stage 2 if it can reasonably demonstrated that following Stage 1:
- The requirements for making a child subject to a Child Protection Plan were not met, or, that information is available now which was not known at the time and may have an impact of the conference’s decision;
- The category of primary concern was incorrect, e.g. Neglect;
- The nature and degree of participation for parents/caregivers and young people that was insufficient;
- The WSCP’s Child Protection Procedure was followed.
To request an appeal the person raising the appeal should write to the WSCP Manager [email protected] within 15 working days of the conclusion of Stage 1 setting out the reasons for requesting the appeal. The WSCP Manager will discuss the request with the Head of Safeguarding and inform the claimant within 10 working days whether an appeal hearing can go ahead.
If granted, the appeal hearing will be convened by the Head of Safeguarding Children, LA who will:
- Convene an appeal hearing which should take place within 28 days of stage 2 of the appeal being accepted, ensuring that the Panel is quorate (see Section 3 below) and that Panel members receive all relevant documents;
- Write to the person making the appeal to invite them to the hearing and advising them that they can bring a supporter;
- Write to the Chair of the relevant Child Protection Conference inviting them to the hearing;
- Write to all representatives who either attended the relevant Child Protection Conference or submitted reports that an appeal has been made and the grounds for it.
All letters sent should clearly state that the original decision, recommendations and plans will stand until the appeal is heard.
- Appeal Panel
The Appeal Panel will consist of the Head of Safeguarding Children, LA (who will Chair the Panel), and two multi-agency members of the QA Committee.
In order to be quorate there must be representation from three different agencies.
The Safeguarding Unit Service Manager will be invited to any appeal hearing to provide professional advice to the Panel. In addition the Panel may call upon any other advice it feels is necessary to help the decision making process, e.g. legal advice.
The person making the appeal and the Chair of the relevant Child Protection Conference will be invited to the hearing and asked to make a submission.
The Appeal Panel will then close and members will retire to make their decision.
- Panel Decisions
The Panel can make the following decisions:
- To confirm or overturn the decision to make a child the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
- To request that the Child Protection Conference is re-convened as further information is now available which needs to be heard and evaluated;
- To decide on the nature and degree of participation for parents/caregivers and young people at subsequent Child Protection Review Conferences;
- That child protection procedures with regard to the conference process were or were not followed.
If after hearing the appeal the Panel identify any issues about an individual worker’s conduct or the management of a case, they will ask for this to be referred to the relevant manager.
The Chair of the Panel will write to the person making the appeal and representatives who either attended conference or submitted reports within 7 working days of the hearing to inform them of the Panel’s decision, together with the reasons for the decision.
The decision of the Panel is final.
The person raising the appeal is entitled to approach the Local Government Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with the outcome.