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Case Alert Dispute Resolution Process


  1. Purpose
  2. Process
  3. Triggers for Practice Alerts

    Appendix 1: Case Alert Dispute Resolution Flowchart

1. Purpose

Both Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and Child Protection Chairs (CPCs) are a pivotal part of the quality assurance process and driving forward improvements in practice. If they become aware of practice concerns that are placing a child at risk they are required to raise a Case Alert and notify the relevant Social Worker and if necessary Team Manager immediately. The Team Manager will then investigate the issues raised and take appropriate action. If they become aware of a serious issue or one that involves a management decision they should raise a Management Alert which will be sent to the relevant Service Manager to action (QA Framework).

This Case Alert procedure has been introduced to address and highlight practice issues and should be seen as a positive way to bring about changes in practice.

2. Process

When a CPC/IRO identifies practice that has fallen below expected and agreed standards the CPC/IRO will highlight this verbally with the Social Worker and discuss how issues can be resolved. Actions to be taken and timescales in which these will be completed are agreed and this discussion is recorded onto the appropriate liquid logic case file(s) and into the case alert spreadsheet.

If the dispute cannot be resolved then the CPC/IRO will create a Case Alert on a case note to the Team Manager and select to notify to the CPC/IRO Team Manager. This will also be entered into the Case Alert spreadsheet. If the Team Manager is not available in this time the Duty Team Manager will take this responsibility. The Team Manager will be expected to respond to the Case Alert with the actions they are proposing to take to address the issue within five working days.

If the dispute is not resolved within this timescale or is deemed to require senior management input the Case Alert will be escalated to Service Manager and Assistant Director level.

Further escalations can take place to Director level (see Appendix 1: Case Alert Dispute Resolution Flowchart).

The Case Alert issued will be audited on a monthly basis by the CPC/IRO Team Manager and any alerts not actioned will be forwarded to the relevant Service Manager. The Case Alerts spreadsheet will hold outcomes of the alert and these together with outstanding Case Alerts will be discussed at each CPC/IRO Team Meeting.

Case Alerts will be presented to the weekly Performance Management Meeting and DMT Monthly meeting by the CPC/IRO Team Manager.

If a Case Alert relates to the competence of a particular worker, the issue will be raised with the relevant Team Manager and the CPC/IRO Team manager will be informed. The liquid logic case note will not reflect detail of the issue with the worker, rather that a Case Alert has been raised. The Case Alert spreadsheet will be updated to include this Case Alert and outcomes.

3. Triggers for Practice Alerts

  • Any situation which alerts the CPC/IRO that the child is at immediate risk;
  • Reports for Conference not being provided within agreed timescales;
  • Report to Conference not shared with family members prior to conference;
  • Core Group process not being adhered to e.g. insufficient Core Groups or recording of Core Groups; poor attendance;
  • The frequency of visits as agreed in the Child Protection or Care Plan not being adhered to;
  • Child or young person's views about their situation and the Child Protection )lan or Care Plan not being represented;
  • Lack of progress with the child protection plan;
  • Case recording issues (e.g. CP status not set; Core Groups not recorded; visits not recorded).

Appendix 1: Case Alert Dispute Resolution Flowchart

Click here to view Appendix 1: Case Alert Dispute Resolution Flowchart.