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Core Group guidance

Core Groups meetings are part of the multi-agency child protection planning process and allow us to work with agencies.

These meetings allow us to:

  • coordinate with different agencies
  • communicate better with professionals
  • work in partnership with parents and children

All agencies must ensure their commitment to this part of the child protection process and recognise that this is key to protecting children, assessing and meeting their needs.

Professionals can only work together to protect children if it’s relevant to the information and ownership of the child protection plan. Core groups must be set up and must take place regularly.

Core groups will follow our principles which include:

  • multi agency working and effective communication
  • working in partnership with parents
  • having professional accountability
  • having integrity, openness and honesty between agencies
  • promoting an approach that puts the child at the centre and ensuring their voice is heard
  • committing to reduce risk
  • working towards change that can be evidences and measured

Most serious case reviews have found that multi agency working and poor communication between agencies working with children as a weakness.

Core Groups should:

  • meet within 10 working days of the Initial Child Protection Conference
  • develop and set out the outline child protection plan produced by the Initial Child Protection Conference
  • focus on what needs to change to no longer need a child protection plan
  • consider what is stopping outcomes being met (such as a parent’s understanding) and how it can be avoided
  • challenge inactivity
  • decide what steps are needed, when and who by to be involved in reviewing the Child and Family Assessment regularly, especially when a child may no longer need a protection plan

All Core Group members are jointly responsible for setting up and putting the child protection plan into place. Whilst also changing the plan as needed and monitoring progress against plan objectives.

Other members of the group can chair or record the meeting, especially if a key worker is absent.

Membership of Core Groups

If a Child Protection Plan is needed, the conference must find out what professionals and family members are needed for the Core Group. These will be people who will develop and set up the Child Protection Plan.

Members should decide who is the most appropriate to chair the meetings.

Recording of Core Groups

A written record of all Core Group meetings must be completed and entered by the social worker on Frameworki within 2 working days.

The focus of the meeting is to review the plan and assess progress, drift and the safety of the child. The record should show this and the details of the child protection plan – the things that need to change so the plan is no longer needed.

Copies of the record must be given to all members of the Core Group within 5 working days of the meeting.

The minutes should also be shared with the parents and child (where this is age appropriate).

If there is a significant disagreement at a Core Group meeting, this should be shared with the team manager and brought to the attention of chair of the conference.

Frequency

After the first Core Group meeting which must be held within 10 working days of the Initial Child Protection Conference. The next Core Groups should take place every six weeks and within 10 working days of any Review Child Protection Conference.

If you have any questions about core groups, you can speak to a social worker or their line manager.