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Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website

2.3.4 Disability Resource Panel


This chapter sets out the procedure for referring cases where additional resources, and/or direct payments for families with disabled children are being considered.


Childhood Disability Service Procedure

Direct Payments Policy and Procedures

Short Breaks Procedure

Resource Allocation System: Children with disabilities Social Care

See also, Salford Local Offer.


This chapter was updated and refreshed in November 2016 to reference children with Special Educational Needs and the Resource Allocation System.

This chapter will be reviewed when the 0-25 Transformation Children with Disability Test Project is implemented.


  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of the Panel
  3. Frequency
  4. Process of Referring Cases to Panel
  5. Emergencies
  6. Reporting
  7. Review
  8. Eligibility
  9. Review of cases

1. Introduction

Short break guidance from the government identifies that a range of services should be provided.

These include:

  • A significantly greater volume of short break care provision;
  • Overnight provision in the child’s own home and elsewhere;
  • Significant breaks during the day with care available in the child’s own home and elsewhere;
  • Services that are based on a needs assessment of the local disabled child population;
  • The use of fair and transparent eligibility criteria;
  • Utilise the service provider that offers the best possible combination of skills and experience to deliver services of the best possible quality.

It is acknowledged that short break services can be essential in supporting parents of disabled children, and in some cases, preventing family breakdown. For children and young people, short breaks can give the opportunity to have new experiences, socialise, and reduce their feelings of isolation.

2. Purpose of the Panel

The Disability Resources Panel will have a number of functions relating to the allocation of resources for disabled children.

The first of these is to allocate specialist short break care resources to families of children with a disability, who have been assessed as level 3 or above on Salford’s Continuum of need. These will be children who require additional short break services over and above the Local Offer or those provided by universal and mainstream provision, and who are disabled.

This will include:

  • Children with autistic spectrum disorder and associated behavioural difficulties;
  • Children with multiple and complex health needs;
  • Children whose challenging behaviour is associated with other impairments such as a learning disability.

The purpose of the panel is to:

  • Address areas of unmet need as identified through a National Assessment Framework assessment or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP);
  • Contribute towards the child achieving Every Child Matters Five Outcomes;
  • Prevent escalation of difficulties and family breakdown;
  • Prevent children and young people being accommodated;
  • Support Parent/carers.

On the basis of a Social worker assessment, the panel will agree in principle the allocation of the following resources:

  • Direct payments for parents;
  • Short break residential care at the Grange;
  • Short break residential care through an independent agency;
  • Short break foster care through Salford’s Fostering Service;
  • Short break foster care through an Independent Fostering Agency;
  • Outreach/domiciliary support in the child’s home through an independent agency.

And the spot purchase of additional resources where required, to meet the assessed needs of the child.

The decision will be considered within the needs outline in the plan. consideration of the outcome to be achieved and with any other personal budget.

The Disability Resources Panel will not consider:

  • Applications for Day Care Services such as childminder or Nursery;
  • Applications for sponsored play schemes;
  • Cases where the plan is for the child to become Looked After.

Children assessed as suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm should be referred directly to Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (BRIDGE). (See, Early Intervention & Prevention Service Process and Procedure.)

The panel will maintain an overview of short break care resources, and co-ordinate referrals to the most appropriate service to secure the best outcomes for the child. Needs will be prioritised to ensure that services are allocated appropriately. Shortfalls in provision will inform new service commissioning.

3. Frequency

The panel will meet on a monthly basis.

4. Process of Referring Cases to Panel

For specialist short break care services, such as Residential Overnight Care, Foster Care, Domiciliary support, Personal Assistant, the panel will require:

  • A completed up to date assessment, i.e. a Children and Families Assessment or EHCP and completed Resource Allocation System along with;
  • A completed Resource panel form for which includes the recommended short break/assistance along with full costings.

Requests will be accepted from:

  • All Social Work Teams;
  • Locality Teams;
  • Manchester Jewish Federation Social Work Team;
  • Allied health professionals;
  • Special Educational Needs Officers.

The request form outlining the needs and outcomes for consideration, 'Plan' and RAS should be submitted electronically to the panel administrator at least five working days before the date of the next meeting.

The panel administrator will be responsible for ensuring that all assessments and supporting information are circulated to panel members at least three working days before the meeting.

Minutes will be taken of all panel meetings, with a record of panel decisions kept on file.

The Referrer, Lead Professional or Social Worker will be informed in writing of the panel’s decision. A letter will also be sent to parents.

The child’s Social Worker/ Lead Professional will be responsible for co-ordinating the package of support, based on the panel’s decision. The Strategy and Commissioning team will assist in this process as required.

If a parent is not happy with the panel’s decision, this should be put in writing to the chair of the panel outlining the reasons why. This will be discussed at the next panel meeting, with the parent notified of the outcome of the discussion in writing.

If the parent is still not satisfied, an official complaint can be made via Salford’s complaints procedures.

5. Emergencies

In cases of emergency, resources will be allocated by the Principal Manager. If support for the family is required on a longer term basis, the case will be reported to panel so that resources can be agreed accordingly.

6. Reporting

A report on the functioning of the Panel, and resource issues arising, will be provided to:

  • The Assistant Director - Strategy and Commissioning;
  • The Assistant Director - Safeguarding;
  • On an annual basis.

7. Review

The Terms of Reference of the panel will be reviewed periodically.

8. Eligibility

To be eligible for specialist short break care services, the child should be:

  • Aged under 18 years;
  • Resident in Salford;
  • Disabled;
  • And assessed as being in need of co-ordinated services to promote their welfare and achieve the ECM five outcomes. (Salford Threshold Document - level three- four).

One or more of the following criteria will also apply:

  • The child has long term physical ill health;
  • The child has a life limiting condition;
  • The child is no longer subject to a child protection plan, but requires ongoing multi agency intervention and a Family Action Plan;
  • The child has complex disabilities or complex health needs;
  • The child’s disabilities are such that s/he requires a high degree of additional physical care, which is unlikely to be met without local authority support;
  • Physical illness of one or both carers makes caring for the child much more difficult;
  • Mental illness of one or both carers makes caring for the child much more difficult;
  • Family is close to or at severe risk of immediate breakdown;
  • The child displays severely challenging behaviour, which puts him/ herself or others at risk of injury or harm;
  • The child’s behaviour is sufficiently extreme to place them at risk of removal from home e.g. control issues, risk taking, dangerous behaviour;
  • The child is subject to a Child Protection Plan.

9. Review of Cases

Where specialist short break resources or a Direct Payment have been allocated to a family, the case will be reviewed on a regular basis, usually six monthly. If there are any changes in the family’s circumstances in the meantime, it will be the Social Worker’s/ Lead Professional’s responsibility to inform the Panel, so that the case can be reconsidered. This will usually lead to a reassessment of need and the multi-agency response and provision.