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Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website

3.1.3 Family on Track Panel Procedure


This chapter was amended in November 2018 to re-title the Panel.


  1. Purpose of the Family on Track Panel
  2. Remit of the Family on Track Panel
  3. Membership
  4. Core Membership
  5. What the Family on Track Panel will do
  6. What Resources can the Family on Track Panel allocate?
  7. Referral Process
  8. Meeting Process
  9. Decision Making Process
  10. The Family on Track Panel Structure
  11. Review of Family on Track Panel

    Appendix 1: Key Principles and Statutory Framework

1. Purpose of the Family on Track Panel

To ensure that, wherever possible, children and young people are supported to live with their family or within their kinship network unless, by so doing, their well-being or safety is compromised. The Family on Track Panel will seek to provide packages of care and support for children and young people that promote family life and protect them within a family setting.

The Family on Track Panel is a multi-agency panel that will identify resources, both internal and external, to support children and young people based on their assessed needs. The panel will maintain clear records of all decisions and monitor the impact of the interventions against the proposed plan. The data collection will enable identification of resource demand and any areas where future investment is required. It will also track current spend on resources.

The focus of the panel will be on those children and young people who are at risk of entering the care system; have done so in an emergency or whose care plan for reunification with parents or a family member needs a support package, or require additional resources not available locally as part of 'normal offer' to support their current family placement to prevent them becoming Looked After. The panel will also consider young people whose placements have broken down or require additional funding. It will also monitor and review all Out of Borough Placements. Appendix 1 lists the key principles and statutory requirements that the Family on Track will work to.

For those children and young people who are not able to live safely within their families, the Panel will make recommendations about placement options and approve admissions into the care system.

The Family on Track Panel will respond to service needs of all children and young people aged 0-18 (defined as the date of 18th birthday) and in the case of Care Leavers until 21 or 25 if in education.

The Family on Track Panel will be the final forum for resources. All other processes must have been considered in detail prior to application to the Family on Track Panel. This activity must be clarified in the supporting documentation which should also include the reason that further resources are required and an outline of existing services currently being offered to the family.

2. Remit of the Family on Track Panel

Children in the following circumstances should be referred to panel:

  • Proposed admission to care;
  • Children who are at risk of being admitted to care unless a support package is provided;
  • Children who have been admitted to care in an emergency under S20 (must be presented next Panel). This includes admissions to The Grange;
  • Children who require support to return them to their parents or a member of their kinship network;
  • Existing external placements at risk of breaking down, where an alternative placement has increased resource implications;
  • Completed assessment reports, with clear recommendations for future care, following a time limited externally commissioned assessment placement.
Referrals to the Family on Track should be sent to the Panel Administrator. Referrals should be supported by a referral form.

3. Membership

Membership of the Family on Track Panel will consist of key representatives from Children's Services and other agencies. All members will identify an appropriate substitute to ensure that the panel has core membership at all times. The panel will need 4 core members and the Chair to be quorate.

The members of the Family on Track Panel must be able to allocate resources or be able to influence/dictate the allocation of resources to meet an agreed plan. Members are responsible for bringing to the panel information about the services they represent and the resources available and timescales for any waiting lists. Members are responsible to take note of any service requirements and or actions identified for them in order that any delays can be minimised.

Copies of the formal minutes will be circulated.

Members will be able to be creative in how they allocate a resource, to enable innovative approaches to create solutions to complex problems.

It is recognised that on occasions members may have to seek clarification on a particular issue, in these case they must respond by the next panel to avoid delay in allocation of a resource to a child or young person.

4. Core Membership

  • Assistant Director Specialist Services (Chair);
  • Head of Service Integrated Looked After Children (Vice-Chair);
  • Service Manager, Children in Need and Child Protection;
  • Commissioning Manager;
  • Service Manager, Early Intervention and Prevention;
  • Youth Services/YOT Manager (as required);
  • Residential Service Manager;
  • Family Placement Manager;
  • Manager CAMHS;
  • SEN Principle Officer;
  • Children In Need Reviewing Co-ordinator.

5. What the Family on Track Panel will do

  1. Review Out of Borough Placements for children and young people to ensure that current resources are meeting identified needs:
  2. The Panel will be a forum to discuss whether or not a child reaches the threshold for Looked After Children (LAC) or if a child should be brought into the LAC system. Prior to coming to the panel the case must have been discussed and agreed by the Team Manager and endorsed by the Service Manager;
  3. Review cases against agreed outcome within timeframe;
  4. Ensure all children/young people presented to panel of school age have the appropriate education provision;
  5. Collate information with regard to expenditure and overall financial resources on in-house and external placements.

6. What Resources can the Family on Track Panel allocate?

The Family on Track Panel will confirm the following resources:

  • In-house fostering placements (including respite services);
  • In-house residential resources.

and allocate the following:

  • Agreement to fund externally provided placements (the principle is to maintain the child/ young person within their local communities wherever possible or within a 20 mile radius) (Sufficiency Policy);
  • Additional resources required to support or maintain a placement additional to that the services currently have access to. The panel must be notified of any additional resources agreed in an emergency outside of panel;
  • Referrals to be made to the Outreach Support Team.

In addition to these the Panel will identify, prioritise and guide access to specialist resources as follows:

  • Request for services from CAMHS;
  • Request resources from partner agencies in addition to those normally accessible to support and/or maintain a placement.

7. Referral Process

  1. Social Worker to complete the Panel Meeting form (see Family on Track Panel Form);
  2. Referral to Panel endorsed by the Service Manager;
  3. Panel Meeting form sent to the Panel Administrator together with any additional information as appropriate;
  4. The Panel Administrator will advise the Social Worker and Team Manager of the allocated time to attend the panel;
  5. The Panel Administrator will distribute papers to all panel members.

8. Meeting Process

The Panel will meet on Monday Afternoon, 1.00pm to 4.00pm, on a fortnightly basis.

The meeting will be chaired by the Assistant Director Specialist Services or the Head of Service, LAC.

The Panel will record all decisions of the panel and produce minutes within 2 days which will list all the agreed actions.

The information in respect of needs and activity will be recorded centrally by the Panel Administrator.

Cases will be presented by the Social Worker, Team Manager or Advanced Practitioner.

Referrals will be sent to the Panel Administrator by Wednesday lunchtime of the week before the panel, to allow distribution of papers. Any requests after the deadline will not be heard unless they are emergencies that have occurred since the deadline.

9. Decision Making Process

The Panel will make decisions based on the service request which will be supported by the Family on Track Panel Meeting form. It is therefore, important that the Social Worker and Team Manager are well briefed on any issues.

The Panel will pay particular attention to the following:

  • The assessed needs and the outcomes of any intervention required for the child/young person;
  • Wishes and feelings of the child/young person;
  • The impact of any resources on the carers, other family members or other agencies and their views of this;
  • The content of plans that the child has, e.g. PEPs, SEN statement and the child's/young person's educational progress and potential;
  • The impact of previous interventions;
  • The timeframe for the intervention, the panel will set limits and or build in reviews to monitor progress and resource commitment.

10. The Family on Track Panel Structure

The agenda will be as follows:

  • Previous meeting actions feedback;
  • New requests will include those that have not been to panel previously as well as those where a further or new resource is required;
  • Review of cases where time limited resource allocated - Monitor and record follow-up plan;
  • Update on cases allocated outside panel - There must be clear evidence of pre-discussion as panel will be ratifying this allocation and can refuse this if this is not evidenced;
  • Financial expenditure position statement.

11. Review of Family on Track Panel

The Family on Track Panel will be reviewed on an annual basis. This will include a review of these guidelines and analysis of the impact of the panel including strengths and weaknesses and areas for development.

The review will consider any data collected and assess the impact of that information on the future provision of service

Appendix 1: Key Principles and Statutory Framework

The Panel will work to the following key principles:

Key Principles

  • The Panel will take into account the wishes and feelings of the child/young person which will be clearly evidenced in the plan. The implementation of any planning for a placement will follow good practice;
  • Children and Young People will be supported to remain within their own family, if ever this is not possible they should be supported to remain within their own community;
  • The focus of the Panel is effective allocation of resources against assessed needs;
  • Prioritise the allocation resources to those identified as highest need;
  • Support the young person in maximising their educational progress and potential;
  • The Panel will allocate resources with a focus on maintaining children and young people in their current placement were this is meeting the assessed needs and is deemed as appropriate including placements at risk of breaking down;
  • Services will be matched to assessed needs and where this is not possible then the most suitable option should be identified;
  • The Panel will use the assessment to identify how resources can be allocated to enable young people to remain in or return to Salford from Out of Borough. This will be based on wishes and feelings identified as appropriate to meet the assessed needs of the young person;
  • Identify options to create the appropriate opportunities to return children and young people back to Salford;
  • Create an atmosphere of flexible approaches in a solution focussed way to effective multi agency working to meet the needs of children and young people;
  • In making decisions consideration will be given to the rights of the child and family incorporated in the UN charter for children and human rights legislation primarily articles 6 and 8;
  • The Panel will record information to inform future strategic planning;
  • The Panel will monitor needs and develop trend analysis to assist future strategic planning and investment.

Statutory Framework

  • Sufficiency Statutory Guidance on Securing Sufficient Accommodation for Looked After Children - DCSF 2010;
  • The National Framework for Children and Young People's Continuing Care - Department of Health 2010;
  • The welfare of the child is paramount as described in the 1989 Children Act and the 2004 Children Act;
  • The Panel will work towards achieving the principles in Every Child Matters, Aiming High for disabled children and young people, Care Matters and the Munro Review of child Protection.