Parental involvement in multi-agency meetings is encouraged by ECSP. Children are also supported to attend multi-agency meetings or have their views represented. The presence of parents and/or children in multiagency meetings can be helpful in that it brings the child more clearly to mind, allowing for greater focus. Accuracy of information and facts can also be checked and clarity in respect of the parent and child’s views can be obtained.
You might you be invited to a multi-agency meeting regarding a child for the following reasons:
- you or your agency were/are working or volunteering with the child or family
- you have key knowledge and information regarding the child and/or their circumstances, environment/parent(s) or carer(s)
- impact of changes within the household and significant visitors
- information shared based on a professional perspective and curiosity
- you can offer a perspective on how agencies are working together
The purpose of a multi-agency meeting
- Share information about worries and concerns
- Plan to reduce the worries and concerns
- Be transparent with the child, parent(s)/carer(s) about the sharing of information to effect change
Preparing for the meeting
- Put the meeting date in your diary and a time to read the papers for the meeting
- familiarise yourself with information you/your agency have on the child/family and significant others
- Nature of service and intervention to date
- Nature of concerns – What are the signs of risk /safety? And supporting evidence, dates, times, what was seen, heard
- The child’s lived experience wishes and feelings
Participation in the meeting
- Attending the meeting requires full participation as you will be asked to contribute to the risk assessment and planning
- Do not assume that the practitioners at the meeting know what you know
- Ask for clarifications if things you do not understand If the child has given you information to share – then make sure you share it
- It is OK to have a different opinion; qualification, specialism or perceived status of others is not a bar to expressing an opinion.
- Challenge what is said not the person
- If you have a different opinion, make sure that you state your/your agency’s opinion so that it is noted and give the reason/evidence for it
- If you continue to feel concern or worry, then follow Enfield’s escalation protocol.
Plans should be:
- specific – what does the meeting want to happen? Actions should be assigned to individuals/agencies who then take the responsibility to progress
- measurable – when will you know when it has been achieved?
- achievable – is it realistic that this action can be achieved in the time frame?
- relevant – does this offer any reduction in risk or increase in safety for the child?
- time-bound – time scales and dates for the action to be completed. Concerns regarding the allocation of tasks and completion should be discussed with managers and referred to the meeting
After the meeting and review
- Check Minutes, or meeting notes for accuracy
- Look at the Plan and see what tasks you/your agency have and ensure they are completed within the appropriate timescales
- Share this information with the practitioners from the meeting in the way agreed
- If the plan is not working contact the Chair and suggest a review of the plan to discuss with all partners/agencies involved why things are not moving forward and look to change the plan to ensure that it works
For further information and guidance please see London Safeguarding Children Procedures.