If the immediate strategy discussion decides on action which may involve an application to court to secure the child’s safety, advice should be sought from the Council’s solicitor before taking any action. A record of the advice given should be made, and the other participants in the immediate strategy discussion should be informed as soon as possible.
Consider inviting the legal advisor to the strategy discussion where concerns are being discussed.
How to do it
The social worker should have as many facts as possible to take to the legal adviser, including as a minimum the names and addresses of:
- the child
- other siblings and children in the house
- the parents
- other people with parental responsibility
- other adults who look after the children
- other adults who live in the house.
The social worker should
- explain the nature of the concerns
- describe what has happened
- be able to distinguish facts from opinions and hearsay evidence
- be clear about what they want to achieve
- know which order, if any, they want to apply for
- know what they want to do with the order, and over what timescale.
If alternative care is being considered, the social worker should explain why the child cannot be cared for within the extended family. They should also be able to explain why they cannot work with the parents or people with parental responsibility without an order, what the parents’ views are, and whether or not they are likely to oppose the order.