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Virtual Attendance and Participation in Child Protection Conferences

Date: Thursday, 25th Nov 2021 | Category: General

London Safeguarding Children Partnership and London councils have undertaken a review of virtual attendance and in Child Protection Conferences. Here is a summary of their findings and a local update.

Child Protection (CP) Managers raised concerns that, whilst virtual attendance has a number of advantages and can enable attendance from professionals who have struggled to attend in-person, it can also lead to an unhelpful level of informality. They wanted to reinforce expectations of professionals attending CP Conferences virtually and highlight the following:

• Professionals need to attend for the whole meeting – they are not just there to share their information but to participate in a multi-agency forum and be part of a decision-making process.
o In addition, conferences have to have a certain level of attendance to be quorate and when professionals leave during the meeting it can mean this isn’t achieved and the conference cannot formally agree a way forward.

• Everyone needs to follow the instructions of the Chair in regard to when they should have their camera on – for many local authorities this will be for the whole meeting.

-When professionals have their cameras on, it’s important they are fully engaged and are seen to be so – and are not typing or looking at phones etc.

• The chat function should not be used – unless specified by the Chair.

• As for in-person meetings punctuality is very important – professionals should arrive 2 -3 minutes early so the meeting can start straight away and there’s no anxiety about whether they will be in attendance.

Conferences are hugely significant for families and everyone needs to ensure that this is reflected in the way in which they engage in the meetings whether they are there in person or virtually.

In Greenwich Children’s Social Care are working towards delivering a hybrid model for holding CP conferences, where initially the parents, chair and social worker will be in person and other attendees join virtually in a specialist ‘hybrid’ meeting room to facilitate this. There have been some technical glitches in launching the hybrid conference suites, however it is hoped they will be ready in the coming weeks.