Understanding Core Groups
Are you a member of a Core Group for a child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan? This page sets out the basics of Core Group working and shares some useful tips and resources.
What is a Child Protection Plan?
Each child considered to have suffered, or to be likely to suffer Significant Harm must have a Child Protection Plan which aims to:
ensure the child is safe and prevent any further significant harm by supporting the strengths of the family, by addressing the risk factors and vulnerabilities - in and outside the home - and by providing services to meet the child's assessed needs;
to promote the child's welfare, health and development; and
provided it is in the best interests of the child, support the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child.
What is a Core Group?
The Core Group ensures that the Child Protection Plan for the child is implemented, progressed and reviewed regularly and amended accordingly to meet its aim of protecting and promoting the welfare of the child.
Every member of the Core Group shares responsibility for successfully implementing the Child Protection Plan. It is, therefore, essential that all Core Group members are aware of their responsibilities.
Core Group Membership
The parents/carers & advocate/supporter
The child, if appropriate, & advocate/ supporter
An interpreter if required
The key professionals involved with providing services to the child and family;
Any specific experts, who have been invited to work with the child and family in relation to, for example, substance misuse; domestic abuse; or mental health issues.
The Lead Social Worker is the lead professional co-ordinating the multi-agency, collaborative work to progress the Child Protection Plan. The impact of the work undertaken by Core Group members to achieve the expected outcomes for the child are evaluated by the Core Group, led by the Lead Social Worker and their manager.
Role & responsibilities of Core Group members
All members of the Core Group are jointly responsible for the formulation and implementation of the Child Protection Plan, refining the plan as needed, and monitoring progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan.
The specific responsibilities of individual Core Group members are to:
Maintain a child-centred focus
Contribute to the multi-agency assessments
Provide specialist advice, make proposals or commission specialists or agencies to make progress for the child
Attend, participate in, and contribute towards the chairing and minuting of Core Group meetings or other relevant meetings. Core Group members must give adequate notice if unable to attend Core Group meetings or arrange a substitute colleague to attend if possible. If not, they must provide a summary of their involvement with the family since the last Core Group meeting
Carry out agreed tasks in accordance with their own agency functions: if this is not possible the Lead Social Worker must be consulted before any plans regarding the child or family are altered
Provide the Lead Social Worker with written reports as requested
Communicate regularly with the Lead Social Worker about the progress of their part of the agreed Child Protection Plan
Raise points of difference for discussion at meetings - and escalate any concerns using the LSCP's escalation process
Alert the Lead Social Worker to the need to convene either a Core Group meeting or to reconvene the Review Conference early if there are concerns about the child's safety
Professional Difference & Escalation
Professional differences are healthy and we need to create the space and conditions for professionals to openly discuss their views and concerns. Where there are any issues, each professional has the duty to:
Discuss concerns within the Core Group
Follow up concerns within their own agency
Escalate, if their concerns remain
Video: One mother's experiences of Child Protection
"A short video from Hertfordshire County Council about one parent's experiences of Child Protection."