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7.1 Child Protection Conferences Appeals Procedure

AMENDMENT

In February 2015, this chapter was significantly amended in order to highlight the two stages of the appeals process, where to send appeals and who will sit on the appeals panel. This chapter should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Appeals Process
  3. Appeal Panel
  4. Panel Decisions
  5. Outcomes


1. Introduction

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 Board via the Business Manager (davidrobbins@wirral.gov.uk) who discusses the appeals with the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service Manager. A panel drawn from members of the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board Performance 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.


2. Appeals Process

There are two stages to the appeals process:

STAGE ONE

Appeals should be forwarded in writing to the Business Manager (davidrobbins@wirral.gov.uk) of the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board  within 10 working days of the Child Protection Conference.

The nature of the appeal will be discussed between the WSCB Business Manager and the Service Manager of the Safeguarding QA Unit (who manages the Conference Chairs) and they will write ti the person making the appeal within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal providing further information about the reasons for the conference decision and inviting the person making the appeal to meet with them 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, the Service Manager will inform the person making the appeal and invite them to meet and discuss.

STAGE TWO

If after the intervention of the Service Manager the person making the appeal is still not satisfied with the outcome they can request a hearing be convened. The hearing will be convened by the Chair of the Performance Committee who will:

  • Convene an appeal hearing which should take place within 28 days 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.


3. Appeal Panel

The Appeal Panel will consist of the Corporate Safeguarding Manager, Children's Specialist Services (who will Chair the Panel), Chair of the Performance Committee and one other member of the Performance 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.


4. 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.


5. Outcomes

The Chair of the Panel will write to the person making the appeal and representatives who either attended conference or submitted reports within 7 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 making the complaint is entitled to approach the Local Government Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

End