Strategy Meeting Social Services

A strategy discussion must be called by social services whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm.

The purpose is to decide whether a Child Protection enquiry is required and if so, to develop a plan of action for this to take place.  

The strategy discussion should involve, at a minimum, the children’s social worker and their manager, the police (if considered necessary), and may include the referring agency.  Other agencies involved with the family should be included as appropriate. For example health professionals and /or education.

If the child is a hospital patient (in-patient or out-patient) or receiving services from a child development team, the medical consultant responsible for the child’s health should be involved, as should the senior ward nurse where the child is an in-patient.

Where a medical examination may be necessary, or has taken place, a senior doctor from those providing services should also be involved so that they are able to discuss the examination and what it requires if this has not taken place and if the examination has taken place then they are able to feedback the results and explain what they mean in a language that all involved can understand.  This also means that questions can be asked and answered by those with the most knowledge on the issue. 

In the case of a pre-birth strategy discussion, this should involve the midwifery services, hospital based and/or community based.

If the child lives outside of the area all agencies that have information about the child and family must be invited to attend or contribute to the strategy discussion.  This is so that all professionals involved with the family are able to feed into the strategy discussion and to make sure that all information is made available and is not missed. 

Where parents or adults in the household are experiencing problems such as domestic abuse, substance misuse or mental illness, it will also be important to consider involving the relevant adult service practitioners.

Those participating in the strategy discussion should be sufficiently qualified to be able to contribute to the discussions of the available information and to make decisions on behalf of their own agency.

At the end of a strategy discussion decisions should be made as to how the matter moves forward and the steps that need to be taken.