Information

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) Practice Guidance 3 – The role of the lead professional

This guidance on the role of the lead professional aims to clarify who would be the appropriate practitioner to fulfil this role and the responsibilities in the management of a child’s plan.


9. Roles and tasks of the lead professional in planning and taking action to help a child or young person

When the child’s plan has been agreed, the lead professional should:

  • be a point of contact with the child or young person and their family in relation to the plan to ensure it is working well and achieving the agreed outcomes, ensuring they have accessible information relating to their plan;
  • be a point of contact for all practitioners who are delivering support for the child or young person to feedback progress on the plan or raise any issues;
  • ensure that the support provided is consistent with the child’s plan, aligning with the outcomes and the outcomes that the child, young person, family and practitioners have agreed;
  • promote team work between agencies, to avoid duplication and drift;
  • work with the child, young person and family and the practitioner network to make sure that the child, young person and family’s rights are respected, they are able to fully participate in the plan, and, when necessary, link the child or young person and family with specialist advocacy services;
  • ensure the plan is informed by an awareness that children and young people can experience multiple and overlapping inequalities and address these in a child-focussed manner;
  • support the child or young person and their family to make use of support from practitioners and agencies;
  • monitor how well the child’s plan is working and whether it is improving the child or young person’s wellbeing and achieving agreed outcomes;
  • coordinate the provision of other help or specialist assessments which may be needed, with advice from other practitioners where necessary, and make arrangements for these to take place;
  • arrange a joint review including the child or young person and their family, all agencies involved, and amend the child’s plan, when required; and
  • support the child or young person and their family through key transition points and ensure a careful and planned transfer of responsibility where roles change. For example, children, young people and families should be supported to fully participate when another practitioner is to become the lead professional and when a multi-agency child’s plan is no longer needed, meaning that the lead professional role is no longer required.

The child’s plan should be based on an assessment of strengths, needs and risks, and should incorporate the actions from any existing single agency plan, if this existed before the need for more agencies was identified. The plan should signify when a review is needed and the lead professional should arrange for the production of materials for the review. Materials should be circulated to everyone involved, including children, young people and families. The lead professional will have no responsibility, accountability or authority over other partners for their work unless this is through their substantive role, e.g. line management or commissioning.

All practitioners involved share responsibility for supporting the child, young person or family, coordinated by the lead professional. The lead professional will not be responsible for all of the work with the child or young person and their family; nor do they replace other practitioners who have specific roles or who are carrying out direct work or specialist assessments.

The relationship between lead professionals and others in contact with the child or young person and their family: It is the lead professional’s responsibility to make sure everyone is clear about the different roles they have and the contributions they make to implement the child’s plan. In some cases, much of the day-to-day work with the child, young person or family may be carried out by practitioners other than the lead professional. The lead professional should have sufficient direct contact with the child or young person and their family to ensure that they are well-informed and fully involved in decision-making, and that the child’s plan is working properly and to good effect.

Over time, circumstances may change and it may be appropriate for a different practitioner to take over the role of lead professional. Whenever this happens, the child, young person and family should be supported to fully participate in any decisions and changes that affect them, and fully supported with transition to a new lead professional.

Contact

Email: GIRFEC@gov.scot

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