The Chair has the responsibility for making sure that all can participate, information is shared appropriately, decisions are made as required and that the process is accurately recorded.
Qualifications of the Chair The conference Chair must be:
- a professional who is independent of operational or line management responsibility for the case;
- trained in chairing Child Protection Conferences;
- someone with a good understanding and professional knowledge of child protection, children's welfare and development, and best practice in working with children and families;
- able to look objectively at and assess the implications of the evidence on which judgements should be based;
- skilled in chairing meetings in a way which encourages constructive participation while maintaining a clear focus on the welfare of the child.
Role of the Chair The role of the conference Chair is to:
- meet the child and family members in advance, to ensure that they understand the purpose of the conference and what will happen;
- decide whether or not there are valid reasons for excluding any family members from attending the conference if this request is made;
- ensure that the conference agenda is followed;
- enable all those present, including children and family members, to make their full contribution to discussion and decision making.
- ensure that the conference makes the decisions required of it in an informed systematic and explicit way;
- enable conference members to share all appropriate information and evaluate risks;
- ensure that the conference focuses on the child and that the child's voice is heard;
- ensure that the conference is conducted in an anti-discriminatory manner and gives proper consideration to issues of race, culture, language, religion, gender and disability;
- ensure that dissenting views and reasons are recorded in full;
- clearly differentiate between fact, observation, allegation and opinion;
- establish the opinions of lead persons (from professional groupings) about placing the child's name on the child protection register;
- draw together the views of the conference members and arbitrate where different views are being expressed;
- be available after the conference to explain decisions to parents and children;
- take responsibility for the accuracy of the conference minutes.
- Worried about a child?
- Case Conference
- After the Initial Case Conference
- Supplementary Guidance