The role of the lead professional

When a child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register a Child Protection plan will be put in place to organise and co-ordinate activity to ensure the protection and wellbeing of every child registered.

Each child placed on the Child Protection Register should have a lead professional to carry future professional responsibility for the case. This worker should be identified by the chair at the Initial Child Protection Conference. The lead professional in child protection cases should always be a social worker with appropriate qualifications and experience.

The social worker is responsible for the social work management of the case, and for being the focal point for communication and co-ordination of the Child Protection Plan. The social worker is also responsible for ensuring that the family and all professionals who have responsibility for or who are in direct contact with the child, are aware that the child is on the child protection register and of the content of the Child Protection Plan.

The team leader should:

      • ensure that the outline Child Protection Plan from the Initial Child Protection Conference is developed by the core group into a more detailed inter-agency child protection plan;
      • co-ordinate the completion of the integrated child’s assessment and plan;
      • co-ordinate the contributions of family members and other agencies to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan;
      • contribute to the multi-agency core group review of progress in outcomes for the child’s safety and welfare in relation to the Child Protection Plan;
      • act as lead professional responsible for the planning and co-ordinating of the Child Protection Plan;
      • ensure that the children and parents are supported to have a clear understanding of the objectives of the plan, and that they are advised of their right to make a complaint and how to do so.
      • In addition the social worker is also responsible for notifying any appropriate adult services involved that a child is on the Child Protection Register; ie Community Mental Health Team, Addictions etc

The social worker should notify the keeper of the Child Protection Register immediately of any changes, so the register can be updated. The social worker should keep the named person and other relevant professionals informed of changes.

Any change of social worker must be notified verbally and confirmed in writing to the named person, all relevant agencies and the family. Registration records must also be amended promptly.

Please see the Getting It Right For Every Child section for further details.