Role of the chair of child protection conference

Role of the chair of child protection conference

Child protection conferences will be chaired by a Independent Reviewing Officer whose main role is:

  • To meet with the family prior to the conference, to ensure that they are clear about the purpose and process of the conference and their role in it;
  • To agree issues of attendance and participation of family members, including exclusions where necessary;
  • To ensure that there was evidence that the child's voice was heard;
  • To ensure consideration is given to any cultural needs or learning disability;
  • To ensure that facilities for disabled participants are available;
  • To chair the meeting, setting out its purpose for all participants and to ensure that participants are given adequate opportunity to express their views;
  • To ensure the family understands what is being said and make sure they are included in the planning;
  • To respond to issues of dissent and to make the final decision about child protection plans; 

Where it is decided that the child should be subject to a child protection plan, the IRO needs to assist in formulating  a child protection plan that addresses identified risks; N.B. This should form the main part of the meeting and should be outcome focussed.

To ensure that expectations of parents and the outcomes required to achieve the ending of the child protection plan are clear to all parties;

To identify core group members, including timescales for meetings, and with whom case responsibility lies;

Where insufficient information is available at an initial conference to make decisions about a child protection plan, to decide whether the conference should be reconvened when a fuller assessment has been completed.

Where the criteria for a child protection plan are not met but  support services are required, to lead the formulation of a Complex Child in Need Plan;

To ensure the electronic record is updated in light of the conference decision;

To ensure appropriate arrangements are made for the child to be informed about the outcome of the conference. Usually the social worker will be the best person to do this, having already discussed the child's views with them before the conference.