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Decision Making Panels

People sitting in a circle

Decision Making Panels

Peterborough City Council convenes a number of panels for making decisions relating to the allocation of local authority resources and support for children and young people.

These are:

  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel
  • Early Support Pathway
  • Joint Access to Support Panel
  • High Cost Placement and Resource Panel
  • Short Breaks Panel
  • Multi Agency Support Group
  • Transport Panel
  • Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel

You can find a simple Parents Guide to Panels on this page.

Information on COVID-19 support can be found on the Local Offer COVID-19 - Information page and the SEN and Inclusion Services COVID-19 Support page. 

Local support groups can be found by using the search term 'COVID-19' in the search box at the top of the page.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Panel

The SEN Panel makes decisions related to the SEN statutory process.  This includes decisions relating to requests for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and placement decisions.  This panel meets once a fortnight

Who attends?

The organisations involved in the SEN Panel are:

  • A senior member of the SEN & Inclusion Service at Peterborough City Council (PCC)
  • Senior Educational Psychologist §Representative from Parent/Carer forum.
  • Schools, colleges and Early Years settings will be invited to attend the panel on a rota basis
  • Social worker from the 0-25 team
  • SEND Health Co-ordinator
  • Specialist Teacher representative
  • Early Years Representative

SEN Panel - what is considered?

The SEN Panel will review evidence collected from education, health and social care in decision making. The panel makes decisions on the following requests:

  • Requests for EHC needs assessment
  • Requests for specialist placement

SEN Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

The Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS) will contact the family to inform them of the decision of the panel (we aim to do this within 48 hours of the SEN Panel meeting, where possible). If the decision is not what the parent/carers are hoping for, the officer can talk through next steps and advise of their right to appeal.  

The decisions are communicated by telephone first, followed up with a letter.

Early Support Pathway

The Early Support Pathway is a process designed to support families who have children 0-5 who have complex needs. This is done by providing a co-ordinated approach to services, bringing together a range of professionals to identify the most appropriate package of support to offer.

Early Support Pathway - who attends?

The multi-agency meeting is held fortnightly and is chaired by the Early Support Co-ordinator.  Representatives attend from:

  • Children Centres
  • Portage
  • Health Visiting
  • Early Help
  • Early Years
  • Child Development Centre
  • The Early Help Initiator is also invited to attend to present their information

Early Support Pathway – what is considered?

The needs of the child and the family are discussed an the most appropriate support to meet the individual needs is identified and offered. This could be a paediatric referral, Children Centre support, health visiting input, early years services or a combination of all of them, depending on the needs.

Early Support Pathway – how decisions are communicated to families

Parents are notified prior to the meeting that their child will be discussed and are written to after the meeting to convey the decisions, or contacted by the Early Support Co-ordinator.  If the initiator is present they are requested to also feedback to the parent. 

Joint Access to Support Panel (JASP)

JASP is responsible for approving packages/requests for children and young people who require a multi-agency response across Social Care, Health and Education for their needs to be met. Decisions regarding requests for packages of support where a joint funding arrangement is in place, as well as Continuing Care cases, will be made at this Panel. 

This Panel meets on the last Tuesday of every month.

JASP - who attends?

The chair of this Panel rotates on a six-monthly basis; chairs of JASP include:

  • Head of Children's Commissioning
  • Head of 0-25 Disability Service
  • Head of Corporate Parenting
  • Head of SEN and Inclusion Services
  • Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

Other Panel members include:

  • Commissioner for Children with Disabilities/SEND
  • Social Worker/Team Support Worker
  • Head of Finance
  • Adults Learning Disability/Supported Living Commissioning
  • Access to Resources Representative

JASP Panel - what is considered?

JASP will review evidence collected from Social Care, Health (in relation to Continuing Care need) and Education. This evidence is then presented to Panel to support decisions on:

  • High cost, joint funded placements
  • Continuing Care assessments
  • Transitions to adulthood

JASP Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

Once a decision has been made at JASP, the Panel Decision Notice, written by the Panel Administrator, will be approved by the Panel Chair within 6 working days. This will then be circulated by email within 10 working days and Social Workers will communicate the decision to families. 

High Cost Placement and Resource Request Panel

The panel allocates and helps to co-ordinate resources that are put in place for children, young people and their families where there is a risk or likelihood of children coming into the care system, or for children who are already in care.  The panel also reviews the effectiveness of resources that are allocated to meet assessed need.  The panel meets monthly

High Cost Placement and Resource Panel - who attends?

The organisations involved in the Panel are :

  • Head of Corporate Parenting (chair)
  • Independent Reviewing Officer
  • Head of Virtual Schools
  • Head of Finance
  • Children's Commissioning representative
  • Access to Resources representative

What is considered?

  • Discussions on children who are in residential or high costing IFA placements
  • This includes care planning, plans for moving on (if applicable) and support levels, education etc
  • The resource requests tend to be either for independent assessments, contribution towards family members applying for a legal order, additional funding for childcare etc

How decisions are communicated to families

It is the responsibility of the allocated social worker/case worker or lead professional within the school to inform the parents or carers and child or young person of the decision

A written decision will be circulated to all panel members, the person making the referral and to any relevant others. For children and young people with social care records the decision will also be uploaded to their electronic case record by panel administration

Short Breaks Panel

The Short Breaks Panel will be responsible for approving and reviewing requests for Short Breaks packages for children and young people with complex needs and/or disabilities. 

This Panel meets on a fortnightly basis. 

Short Breaks Panel - who attends?

The organisations involved in the panel are:

  • Commissioner for Children with Disabilities/SEND (Chair)
  • Head of 0-25 Disability Service
  • Senior Accountant
  • Strategic Manager for In House Short Breaks
  • Head of Statutory Assessment & Monitoring
  • Children and Young People's Continuing Care Commissioning Specialist Nurse
  • Social Worker/Team Support Worker
  • Access to Resources Representative
  • Corporate Parenting

Short Breaks Panel - what is considered?

The decisions made at this Panel are based on evidence collated by the Social Worker, the child/young person's EHCP and other assessments (e.g. Children and Families Assessment). This is presented to Panel to determine if:

  • The child/young person requires a Short Break
  • The request made by the Social Worker is suitable for the child/young person

Short Breaks panel – how decisions are communicated to families

Once a decision has been made at Short Breaks Panel, the Panel Decision Notice, written by the Panel Administrator, will be approved by the Panel Chair within 6 working days. This will then be circulated by email within 10 working days and Social Workers will communicate the decision to families. 

Multi Agency Support Group

In Peterborough we believe that Early Help is about ensuring that children and families receive the support they need at the right time. We aim to provide help for children and families when problems start to emerge or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future. 

Some families may need greater support than that available from within the community and require access to targeted as well as universal services. Additional resources can be accessed via an Early Help Panel called the Multi-agency Support Group (MASG) panels. 

Who can ask for help from MASG?

Professionals working with families can make a referral for a case to be heard at MASG by completing the referral form on the Early Help Module case management system.

Families should speak to the professionals working with them to find out what MASG can offer. In order to access support from MASG, there needs to be an open and up to date Early Help Assessment

There are three MASG panels – one in each of three localities covering the city. Each panel meets for half a day every two weeks.

The professional supporting the family attends to present the case.

MASG - who sits on the panel?

  • PCC Chair
  • PCC MASG co-ordinator
  • PCC Early Help Support Officer
  • Targeted Youth Support Service
  • Police
  • Early Years
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Health visitor / school nurse
  • Substance Misuse Services
  • Locality based Children’s Centre
  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • CAMHS / emotional health and well being service
  • NSPCC

Multi Agency Support Group (MASG)  – what is available from the panel?

  • Access to family support in the home
  • Access to a place on an Evidenced Based Parenting Programme
  • Access to Sleep Right (specialist service to assist families where children are struggling with positive sleep routines)
  • Access to 1:1 support for children / young people who have witnessed Domestic Abuse
  • Information and advice from panel members

MASG Panel - Questions?

How long is a case open to MASG? A case stays open whilst the commissioned service completes their intervention.

How is progress measured? Cases are regularly reviewed whilst they remain open to MASG.  At the end of each intervention, the provider is asked to complete an end of intervention impact report.

Transport Panel

The Transport Panel considers applications for home to school transport for children with special educational needs or disabilities including daily transport, weekly boarding placements, termly residential placements and permanent residential placements.  The panel meets fortnightly

Transport Panel - who attends?

The professionals involved in the Transport Panel are all from Peterborough City Council:

  • Specialist Transport Officer
  • SEN and Inclusion Service
  • SEN Finance and Transport Officer 

Transport Panel - what is considered?

The panel considers the following in making their decisions:

  • Distance from home to school
  • Age of the student
  • School attended – Nearest suitable school / catchment school - taken to mean the nearest qualifying school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and any SEN that the child may have
  • Length of journey
  • Ability to travel to school alone or accompanied either by walking, cycling or using public transport
  • Whether the student has a disability or learning difficulty which makes it unreasonable to walk, cycle or travel to school by bus
  • Whether the parent/carer has a disability which makes it unreasonable for them to accompany their child to school
  • Any other exceptional circumstances applicable to each case

Transport Panel - how decisions are communicated to families

Parents are sent a letter confirming the outcome of their transport application.

Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel

Peterborough has established a Quality Assurance and Expenditure Panel to consider funding allocation requests for people over 18 years at or above a weekly value of £250. The panel is virtual and considers applications three times a week.

Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel - who attends?

The organisations involved in the Adults quality and expenditure panel are :

  • Head of Adult Commissioning
  • Head of Service Adult Social Care Operations (chair)
  • PCC Continuing Health Care lead
  • Contracts and Procurement/Brokerage lead
  • Finance lead
  • Social Worker/Social Work Team Manager
  • NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Continuing Health Care representative
  • PCC Occupational Therapy/Reablement lead

Adults Quality and expenditure panel – what is considered?

The Panel will receive the following information on which to base their decision:

  • A fully completed Panel application form
  • Completed Assessment and Care Plan documents including confirmation of eligibility
  • Indicative personal budget allocation amount
  • An accurate and relevant summary of the required service and needs with other options if applicable
  • Any other relevant supporting professional information must be added to the Panel application form, or noted for reference (e.g. mental capacity assessment, CHC or Joint Funding Tool checklist/decision)

Adults Quality and Expenditure Panel – how decisions are communicated to families

Service users/families will be telephoned with the panel decision by the worker on their next working day.

Key Principles

Key principles for all panels are as follows:

  • The child’s/young person’s safety is of paramount importance, and there must be a clear emphasis on maintaining their learning
  • Wherever possible, children and young people’s care needs will be met by their family and within their local community 
  • Wishes expressed by the child/young person and their family should be ascertained and will inform the decision making
  • Services commissioned will be of high quality, and will meet all minimum standards for regulated services
  • Assessment and planning will be robust, timely, child centred and take a holistic, multi-agency approach
  • The Panel will be a forum for multi agency information sharing, action planning and review
  • The child will be at the centre of the planning process, and planning will be realistic with clear timescales and will be discussed and shared with children (age appropriately) and family, including birth family where the child is Looked After by the Local Authority.
  • Where a child is placed in specialist provision outside of the authority contact arrangements with family/extended family and siblings will be arranged in a timely manner and in the best interests of the children
  • Owning and managing quality and risk requires all the multi-agency partners to take a corporate approach and each agency should be clear of its own lines of accountability
  • Staffing and financial resources will be used effectively, efficiently and equitably
  • Wherever possible, reviews will be carried out in a coordinated way

Parents on panels

The council is keen to actively involve parents in panels.  Some of the ways in which this is undertaken are as follows:

  • The social workers who present applications (based on their statutory assessments) at panel will feedback the decisions captured by the panel clerk. This provides a clear and quick feedback loop for clients, families and carers

  • For adults with complex needs that involve very complicated scenarios which include multi-agency funding (Continuing Care) the communication by the social worker with the family is crucial to explain the complexity of decisions made

  • For a number of clients that don’t have capacity and are subject to Powers of Attorney (or other Mental Health Act) the role of the social worker in clearly communicating decisions to families is critical within those statutory (Mental Health) guidelines/legislation. If the communication provided was not accurate or presented without a full understanding of the condition it could have a detrimental impact on the client and family and may lead to a legal challenge

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