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1.2.4 Integrated Children’s System Guidance

Contents

  1. What is the Integrated Children's System (ICS)?
  2. Why has it Been Developed?
  3. The Aims of ICS
  4. Who Does it Apply to?
  5. Children in Need Exemplars
  6. Looked After Exemplars


1. What is the Integrated Children's System (ICS)?

Essentially, ICS is an integrated, framework of records for children from the point of Referral (to Children’s Services) to Closure.

The key purpose of ICS is to provide frontline staff and managers with the necessary help, supported by an electronic case record system, to record, collate, analyse and output the information required. It provides a business process to support practitioners and managers in undertaking the key tasks of assessment, planning, intervention and review in accordance with legislation.

The ICS exemplars/forms are designed to work within an electronic information system, which supports single data entry of information, i.e. information once entered into the system can be stored and transferred from one record to another. Stored information can be extracted for a variety of reporting functions.


2. Why has it Been Developed?

ICS has been developed, over a several years, in response to the findings of inspections, research and inquiries.

The use of information required for recording the facts and events of children’s lives, and for assessing the needs of children and monitoring their developmental progress is fundamental to good, safe practice and better outcomes. Central to many of the shortcomings in children’s social services has been the failure to record, retrieve and understand the significance of information about children.


3. The Aims of ICS

The aims of ICS are that:

  • Assessments of children in need should be completed with the necessary detail and within the required timescales;
  • Case-based information should be aggregated through computer systems into management information, required for day-to-day service planning.


4. Who Does it Apply to?

Primarily, the requirements of ICS apply to children's social workers and managers. Children’s social workers will be primarily responsible for using the system.

However, foster carers and children’s homes managers and staff should have a good understanding of the forms, how they are integrated and what their roles are in helping to keep them up to date.


5. Children in Need Exemplars

This is a summary of the purpose of each ‘Children in Need’ exemplar/form (For Looked After Exemplars/Forms, see Section 6, Looked After Exemplars).

Contact Record

The Contact Record should be started when any contact is made by or on behalf of a child and family to Children’s Services - usually upon Referral.

Referral and Information Record

The Referral and Information Record should be completed whenever a referral or request for service is made by, or on behalf of, a child person to Children’s Services. Where services are being provided, the Referral and Initial Information Record should be regularly updated to ensure essential information about a child and family remains accurate and up to date. The Referral and Information Record has 3 functions:

  • To record the source and reason for referral or request for services;
  • To record the response of Children's Services and other relevant agencies to a referral or request for services;
  • To provide a record of essential information about a child.

The Children and Families Assessment Record

The Children and Families Assessment Record is the record of The Children and Families Assessment, and the decisions and actions resulting from this assessment.

It includes an Initial Plan for the child.

A Children and Families Assessment provides a structured, in-depth assessment of the child’s needs where their circumstances are complex. The Children and Families Assessment Record provides a structured framework for social workers to record information gathered from a variety of sources to provide evidence for their professional judgments, and facilitate analysis, decision making and planning. A Children and Families Assessment should be completed within 35 working days of its commencement. A completed Children and Families Assessment Record is then used to develop the Child’s Plan.

Planning

There are several different plans, summarised below:

  • Outline Child Protection Plan which follows a Children and Families Assessment incorporating a Section 47 Enquiry and is drawn up at an Initial Child Protection Conference;
  • Child's Plan (usually for children in receipt of Non Looked After Services, follows The Children and Families Assessment and, where appropriate, a Children and Families Assessment; it incorporates, where appropriate, the child's detailed Child Protection Plan).

Chronology

The Chronology records all significant events and changes in the life of a child.

Child Protection

The Child Protection Register has been replaced by a List of Children with Child Protection Plans. If a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, a Child Protection Conference will decide to make that child the subject of a Child Protection Plan. The Child Protection Plan is then reviewed at a Child Protection Review Conference which may in certain circumstances decide to discontinue the Child Protection Plan.

There are a number of exemplars/Forms which are used as part of the Child Protection process:

Form Purpose
Record of Strategy Discussion. To record the outcomes of a Strategy Discussion/Meeting.
Record of Outcome of Section 47 Enquiries/Investigations. To record the outcome of a Section 47 Enquiry - it includes an updated Initial Plan.
Initial Child Protection Conference Report. To record the outcome of an Initial Child Protection Conference - it includes an Outline Child Protection Plan.
Child’s Plan. The Child’s Plan will incorporate, as appropriate, the detailed Child Protection Plan.

Closure Record

Completed when services cease/are terminated.


6. Looked After Exemplars

All the Exemplars/Forms listed below are required by the Integrated Children’s System (ICS): unless otherwise stated, the responsibility for completing them rests with the allocated social worker of the placing Authority.

Referral and Information Record

The Referral and Information Record should be given to staff/carers before or upon admission / placement.

The Referral and Information Record is started by Children’s Services when a child is referred to them; it is then updated by them as circumstances change.

When a child becomes Looked After, staff/carers should be provided with a copy of the Referral and Information Record: it provides the staff/carers with essential information about the child who is looked after.

Chronology

The Chronology should be given to staff/carers at the time of admission/placement - or within a reasonable timescale.

Care Plan

The Care Plan sets out the overall aim of the plan for the child (which can only be changed at a Looked After Review) and identifies what services and actions are required to respond to the child’s identified developmental needs.

The Care Plan includes the Personal Education Plan (PEP), Health Care Plan and Permanence Plan.

Placement Information Record

The Placement Information Record sets out the arrangements for the child's day to day care, including any detailed behaviour management plans, medication and incorporates parental consents.

Assessment and Progress Records

Assessment and Progress Records replace LAC Assessment and Action Records.

The Assessment and Progress Record builds on the information held in the Children and Families Assessment Record and should be updated prior to each Looked After Review.

Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan is completed in relation to all Eligible Young People, Relevant Young People and Former Relevant Young People.

Permanence and Adoption Plans

A Permanence Plan must be in place for all looked after children at the second Looked After Review.

Where a decision is made at a Looked After Review that the best plan for a child is adoption, an Adoption Plan should be drawn up. The Adoption Plan outlines the key processes and time-scales and records all the actions required to complete the adoption process. It also records the date the child is referred to the National Adoption Register.

Reviews

A Review Record should be completed by those chairing Looked After Reviews.

End