Berkshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures
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6.2.24 Outline Business Continuity Plan

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

The manner in which the Family Placement Service is to operate a duty service to deal with all emergency requests and any support needed for carers.

AMENDMENT

In January 2017 this chapter was revised and updated throughout and should be re-read in full.


  • The critical function of the Family Placement Service is to operate a duty service to deal with all emergency requests and any support needed for carers;
  • The critical activities of the service are to identify, provide and support foster placements for Slough Children's Services Trust (SCST) looked after children on an emergency or planned basis;
  • The staff who would provide this service are the Duty Manager, Placement Officers, Practice Managers and at least one duty worker depending on the severity of the incident;
  • The Head of Service has key skills in strategic planning and the Practice Managers have the detail of the operational cases held within the team, and all would work together alongside the management team across the division to ensure a continuity of service and allocate work accordingly. The workers in the team have key skills in the day to day support of foster carers, and adopters where there are LAC children in place before an adoption order has been made;
  • Existing experienced foster carers with the key skills would be used to support emergency arrangements made with other carers if necessary. Members of the Slough Fostering Association could also be used to provide training for other carers alongside staff from the Family Placement Service;
  • Critical services provided by sub contractors would be from Independent Fostering Agencies; all of these agencies operate an emergency duty service so could be contacted out of hours to request placements;
  • Communication Plan available which contains contact methods for staff, providers of care (internal), search list for approved agencies offering independent foster care and neighbouring local authorities. This is held by managers in the service in case of an emergency and is updated on a 3 monthly basis;
  • If alternative accommodation is required in case of an emergency, the Duty Manager and or Placements Officer would visit other accommodation used by this local authority and make a decision as to the most appropriate venue to be used. Telephone and computer access would be essential;
  • All closed files in respect of the Family Placement Service are stored at a separate secure location outside of the borough. This includes previous volumes of current carers and can be obtained within 24 hours of a request;
  • Children's closed adoption files are stored at a separate secure location outside of Slough;
  • Closed post adoption files are kept in a secure fireproof cupboard on the premises for 5 years, before being stored at a separate secure location outside of the borough;
  • There is a Business Continuity Plan in respect of the records that the Berkshire Advisory Service hold;
  • All Family Placement Service files are electronic;
  • All SCST IT systems are regularly backed up, including electronic files on a nightly basis;
  • Dealing with the psychological impact of an emergency on staff would be via their line manager, or the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is available for 24 hours. The carers would be offered support from the Family Placement Staff and peer support if appropriate from other carers in dealing with the psychological impact on the carers themselves and the children and young people that they are caring with. Support for the children and young people would also be accessed via the children's social workers and any staff available from FPS Wellbeing Service;
  • In order to minimise disruption caused by a transfer to temporary accommodation, all SCST foster carers and adopters would be contacted to ensure that all supports needed were in place, and that they were clear where to contact the team. Other teams across the borough and agencies that the team works closely with would also be given the temporary contact details. If the temporary office accommodation did not have adequate space for all the team to work in, managers of the service would determine whether it was appropriate for some of the staff to work at home on a rota basis. Staff would need to share desks or 'hot desk'. The managers would have the communication plan with contact details, and electronic files could be accessed at the temporary accommodation. Any paper files could be obtained from storage within 24 hours of a request.

End