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2.1 Child in Need Planning and Review Meetings


See also Children and Young People Aged 0 - 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


A hyperlink to the new chapter, Children and Young People Aged 0 - 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, was added (above) in December 2014.


  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Criteria for holding a Child in Need Planning Meeting
  4. Arranging the Child in Need Planning Meeting
  5. Family Involvement
  6. The Meeting
  7. Recording Child in Need Planning Meetings on ICS
  8. Updating Child in Need Planning Meetings
  9. Concluding a Child in Need Plan

1. Introduction

Child in Need Planning Meetings have been introduced so that children, young people, families and those professionals working with families are clear about their responsibilities within the Children in Need Plan, the role of the allocated social worker, timescales of the interventions and expected outcomes.

2. Definitions

Children in Need (CIN) Plan - A CIN Plan is drawn up following a Single Assessment which identifies the child as having complex needs and where a coordinated response is needed in order that the child's needs can be met.

Child in Need Planning Meeting - A regular multi-agency meeting to develop and then review a CIN Plan.

3. Criteria for holding a Child in Need Planning Meeting

The CIN Planning Meeting should be arranged for those children in need who require:

  • Intensive; or
  • Ongoing; or
  • Multi-agency services.

Examples of these are:

  • A CIN case which has been open longer than fifteen working days;
  • Children who have been subject to a Child Protection Plan and who receive CIN Services for a further 6 month period after the Child Protection Plan has ended;
  • A child, (or children), in receipt of s.17 services;
  • A child already receives a range of services that need co-ordinating;
  • Has s.17 needs that require multi-agency service provision;
  • Has been brought to notice because of a specific event, which highlights a range of concerns and identifies them as needing services, e.g. youth offending, stranger abuse, bereavement;
  • Has not been identified as needing a Child Protection Plan but for whom there are concerns just below the threshold of child protection;
  • Has needs that may require co-ordination arising from their parent/s' own needs but where concerns are below the threshold for child protection;
  • Is leaving the "Looked After" system and it is considered that a high or co-ordinated level of services will be necessary to maintain them in their family.

Consideration should be given to holding a Child in Need Planning Meeting on all open cases where:

  • A Child in Need Plan is recommended from a Single Assessment and should be arranged within fifteen working days of the completion of a Single Assessment;
  • After any significant change in circumstance in the child's life or fresh concerns about the child that do not achieve the s.47 threshold;
  • A young person is receiving accommodation via s.17.

Child in Need Planning Meetings are not appropriate when:

A CIN Planning Meeting should not be held instead of a strategy meeting where there are concerns about child protection. Any child protection concerns should be dealt with first through a strategy meeting; if threshold is met a s.47 enquiry should follow. If threshold is not met, the outcome may be to hold a CIN Planning Meeting.

4. Arranging the Child in Need Planning Meeting

CIN Planning Meetings can be called at any time in the process of working with a child and family, but are usually arranged at the end of the Single Assessment.

The social worker should consult the team manager or deputy team manager regarding the appropriateness of holding a CIN Planning Meeting, the date and the availability of a manager to chair the meeting (where necessary).

Consideration should be given as to any assistance that may be necessary to enable the family to attend or participate, for example; timing, transport and disabled access arrangements.

Consideration should be given to involving interpreters or someone with specific cultural or religious knowledge. The child or young person should be present (where appropriate) for some or all of the meeting.

5. Family Involvement

The CIN Planning Meeting should always involve family members, unless doing so would jeopardise the child's wellbeing or that of another family member (as in cases involving domestic violence or forced marriage).

The social worker should consult and seek permission from a person with Parental Responsibility for the child, regarding any other family members and representatives of other agencies who may usefully attend.

A decision not to involve family members must be made by a Team or Deputy Manager and recorded formally.

The social worker should advise parents and any children attending that they can bring an advocate or supporter with them. Solicitors might be brought by family members as supporters or to provide legal representation, their role should be clarified and the Chair (social worker / manager) should be given notice that they are attending.

6. The Meeting

The first CIN Planning Meeting should be held within 15 working days of the completion of the Single Assessment.

In the first instance the CIN Planning Meeting should be chaired by the allocated social worker or by the DTM or Team Manager identified either through supervision or at the request of the social worker, professional network or family. The DTM should chair the third review meeting (i.e. after 6 months) or at any earlier review if concerned.

The social worker will have a draft plan (developed as a result of the Single Assessment) for discussion and development at the CIN Planning Meeting.

The meeting must consider the needs of the family and work towards formulating a clear plan. The family should play a key role in this. Decisions will be made, where possible, with agreement (reflecting a desire to work in partnership), be based on negotiation (not imposition) and be respectful of family views. If no agreement can be reached, disagreements should be noted, along with any action proposed.

The CIN Planning Meeting should always consider whether a Family Group Conference would be helpful. Also see Family Group Conference Procedure.

The CIN Plan must be provided to all attendees, and translated as appropriate.

The CIN Planning Meeting minutes should cover:

  • The reason for the meeting;
  • Updates since any previous meetings;
  • Development and/progress of the Child in Need Plan detailing;
  • Needs to be addressed;
  • Desired outcomes to be achieved and timescales;
  • Actions and persons responsible, services identified and timescales;
  • Any contingency planning as necessary;
  • A summary of the main points of the meeting and decisions made;
  • A date (within 12 weeks) to update the CIN Plan.

7. Recording Child in Need Planning Meetings on ICS

The CIN Planning Meeting must be recorded on ICS in case notes with a review date.

2 types of ICS case notes are available for the social worker to record the following:

Where a child is visited:

  • A CiN Planning Meeting (child not seen);
  • A CiN Visit and Planning Meeting (previously called CiN Review).

If the worker selects CIN Planning Meeting and the worker ticks the box to say the child has been 'seen' then this will count in reports as a 'CIN Planning Meeting & CIN Visit'. If the worker doesn't tick the 'seen' box then this will count as a CIN Planning Meeting. The CIN visit type will continually be used as it currently is.

(See CIN Planning Meeting Step by Step Guide which will take you through how to add a CIN Planning Meeting in ICS using Case Notes.)

Child in Need plans should be written as a composite family plan with a single entry made on the siblings plan, cross referencing to the composite family plan located on the index child. All specific issues for individual siblings will be noted/edited on individual plans. When writing the plan all actions should be added to the first field within the child development field. This compromise has been reached to ensure good practice standards, reduce the recording burden on social workers whilst managing within the current functionality of ICS. (This is an interim position until for example; ICS functionality improves and social workers are able to copy across files in the future.)

8. Updating Child in Need Planning Meetings

A CIN Planning Meeting must be held to update the CIN Plan every twelve weeks.

The social worker should present a verbal report to update the CIN Planning Meeting, addressing the progress made on the CIN Plan.

The purpose of the reviewing and updating the CIN Planning Meeting is to decide either that:

  • There are increased strengths or diminished difficulties in the family so that either a lower level of services can now be offered e.g. a Step-Down to a CAF, a Lead Professional and a Team Around the Child (TAC) or possibly no continuing need for Children and Families input; or
  • The current services are meeting needs and these should continue; or
  • The current services are not meeting needs and alternative services should be planned; or
  • There remain complex or serious difficulties that require a high level of intervention or service within current working arrangements but calling for frequent review; or
  • There has been no change within the current working arrangements and that the situation for the child is deteriorating, such that Child Protection Procedures should be considered or the child be Looked After.

Minutes of the CIN Planning Meetings must be made and distributed to those invited to attend, using the same format as that outlined for the initial CIN Planning Meeting.

Further updating CIN Planning Meetings will be held at a minimum of every twelve weeks, or more frequently as necessary.

9. Concluding a Child in Need Plan

If the professional network agrees the CIN Plan has achieved its aims, the CIN Planning Meeting can agree to either recommend; a 'Step-Down' and continue to support the family through an E-CAF, the identification of a Lead Professional and a Team around the Child, (with the family's consent) or agree that no further targeted or specialist services are required. See CAF Matrix and CAF Thresholds.