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5.3.1 Placement and Disruption Meetings


This chapter covers:

  • Pre-Placement Planning Meetings (where placements are being considered) (see also Gateway Panel Procedure);
  • (Post) Placement Planning Meetings (including Emergency* Planning Meetings);
  • Disruption Meetings for children whose placement has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis.

*Emergency Placement Planning Meetings are meetings for children placed on an unplanned or emergency basis in Foster Care or Children's Homes within and outside the authority; or meetings regarding children whose placements are at risk of breaking down.


Section 2, Disruption Meetings was updated in January 2017 to include information on the specific actions required when a placement ends in an unplanned way.


  1. Placement Planning Meetings 
  2. Disruption Meetings 

1. Placement Planning Meetings

1.1 Pre-Placement Meetings

Before a child is placed, the case must be presented to the Gateway Panel (see Gateway Panel Procedure). Once a suitable placement has been identified, a Pre-Placement Planning Meeting should be convened either to confirm and/or plan the arrangements for placement including the drawing up or clarification of the child's Care Plan, Placement Plan and other key plans e.g. Personal Education Plan or Pathway Plan.

1.2 Emergency Planning Meetings

If the child is placed on an emergency or unplanned basis, a planning meeting should be convened at the following intervals: within 3 working days if the child is placed in residential care or within 7 working days if the child is placed in Foster Care, with Parents or relative/Friends. The case should be presented to the Gateway Panel at the earliest convenience.

1.3 Placement Planning Meetings

After a child is placed, Placement Planning Meetings should be convened on a regular basis to enable effective monitoring of the child's plans/arrangements. These will be held at intervals agreed by the Manager/Carer in consultation with the social worker (e.g. after a Child Looked After Review). 

1.4 Placement Stability Meetings

In circumstances where the placement stability is considered to be at risk of disrupting, a meeting should be urgently convened within 5 working days.

This should include:

  • The child’s social worker;
  • The carer;
  • The carer’s supervising social worker or key worker in the case of residential; and
  • Fostering, Residential or Adoption team manager or Practice Manager (who will also act as chair).

The purpose of this meeting is to explore all possible, safe options to maintain the placement including:

  • Additional support to the child;
  • Additional support to the parent/carer.

Notice of ending of placement of 28 days should not be accepted until this meeting has been held and a decision made, unless there are serious safeguarding issues identified and agreed by the fostering team manager.

1.5 Arranging and Chairing Meetings

In Children's Homes, meetings will be arranged and chaired by the Manager or Link/Keyworker.

In Foster Care, meetings will be arranged and chaired by the Team Manager, PS/PM or social worker.

For other placements, by the Team Manager, PS/PM or social worker.

1.6 Who should contribute to Meetings

The people listed below should contribute to the meetings (if the child has been placed on an emergency basis, it may not be possible to notify/invite all those listed. However, it is essential that the following people are invited/contribute):

  1. The child's social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. Personal Advisor or Advocate;
  2. The child;
  3. The child's Parents;
  4. The child's Keyworker/Carer(s), and/or Home Manager;
  5. If the child is placed in Foster Care, the Supervising social worker, Fostering Team.

1.7 Preparation and Conducting Meetings

If the child has been placed on an emergency basis, it may not be possible to undertake all of the following arrangements.

Before the review/meeting the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following, if available:

  • The child's Placement Plans;
  • Any work which has been undertaken by key professionals involved in supporting the child's placement;
  • If relevant: the child's Care Plan, Personal Education Plan and Pathway Plan.

The chairperson should also ensure that the child, Parent(s) and others who have been asked to contribute understand the purpose of the meeting, how it will be conducted and are given the opportunity to put their views and suggestions.

During the meeting, the chairperson should ensure that consideration is given to the appropriateness of the placement within the context of the child's Care Plan or Pathway Plan and the need for the Placement Plans to be drawn up or amended as appropriate.

This does not mean that amendments to Placement Plans may only be made at Planning Meetings. When Placement Plans are formulated and at each Planning Meeting, the social worker and Manager/chair should agree the extent to which they can be amended between Planning Meetings and proposed changes to be discussed with the child's IRO.

The chairperson should consider whether the child requires an Advocate or the appointment of an Independent Visitor; if so, this should be raised with the child's social worker.

If there are concerns about the suitability of the placement, consideration should be given to the following:

  • Analysis of the child’s needs and identification of gaps where the placement is not meeting the child’s needs;
  • Whether it is possible to sustain the placement until the next Child Looked After Review by, for example, providing additional support to the placement;
  • Bringing forward the date of the next Child Looked After Review in consultation with the Independent Reviewing Officer, see Child Looked After Reviews Procedure;
  • Ending the placement.

Any decision to continue the placement of a child that has been placed in an emergency or unplanned basis must be referred to the Gateway Panel (See Gateway Panel Procedure).

Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child’s education and training - see Education of Children Looked After Procedure.

2. Disruption Meetings

When a child’s long term placement in a children's home or foster care has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis the child’s social worker should consult with the IRO with regard to whether there is a requirement for a disruption meeting. There is an expectation that following the unplanned end of a placement the following will take place:

  • The child or young person's assessment is updated;
  • A Child Looked After Review is triggered.

For any ending placement (either planned or otherwise) there is an expectation that end of placement reports are completed by:

  • The child or young person;
  • IRO;
  • Child's social worker;
  • Supervising social worker; and
  • Foster Carer.

The discussion as to whether to convene a Disruption Meeting should be taken into consideration whether the above provide the information necessary to plan for the child in future. Additionally a Disruption Meeting may not be necessary if recent Placement Stability Meetings have been held, and issues leading to placement disruption have already been identified.

Following receipt of the end of placement reports, the Fostering TM / PM will discuss the information and make a decision about the process to follow which may include one of the following:

  • Disruption Meeting;
  • Reflect meeting with independent chair; or
  • No further meeting.

In all cases the TM / PM should record the rationale for the decision and any additional needs for the:

  • Child;
  • Carer; and
  • Service.

The IRO and child's social worker should be informed of the outcome.

2.1 Preparation for Disruption Meeting

Where a placement breaks down or ends on an unplanned basis, and a Disruption Meeting has been agreed, it should be held within 4 weeks following the date of the child's last day in the placement. This applies to all placements of children who are looked after by the Local Authority, with the exceptions of those placements governed by the Placement of Children with Parents etc. Regulations, and those where the child's relatives have been approved as foster carers, in which case, a Disruption Meeting will only be held if it appears to be in the child's best interests.

(Note - if a child has been placed for adoption, and the placement disrupts, the Disruption Meeting will be chaired by a relevant Senior Manager within the department including the IRS Manager or an appropriate outside agency such as BAAF or After Adoption).

Within the first 10 working days of the decision to hold a Disruption Meeting, the child's social worker will contact the Manager of the IRS to nominate an IRO to chair the Disruption Meeting. The nominated IRO will not be the child's existing allocated IRO. Details of date, time, agenda and who to invite will be agreed between the child's social worker and the nominated IRO. The child's social worker's admin section will book a suitable venue for the Disruption Meeting. The child's social worker should make available documentation which will assist the nominated IRO in getting up to date with what led to the breakdown and work done to prevent it.

2.2 Attendance and Consultation

Consideration should always be given to restricting attendance. However it is important that those who have a vital contribution to make particularly in order to promote the child/young person's attendance and full participation are invited. The final decision of who is invited is the nominated IRO's.

The following people should always be invited:

  1. The child's social worker;
  2. The Line Manager of the social worker (or Senior Practitioner);
  3. The Supervising social worker or residential representative for the disrupted placement;
  4. The carers involved in the disruption;
  5. The child/young person, depending on their wishes, feelings, age and understanding.

The following people may also be invited to attend:

  1. The child's birth/adoptive family;
  2. The child's current carers;
  3. The child's allocated IRO;
  4. Any other relevant person.

Detailed consultation prior to the meeting is essential. Written contributions are important from those unable to attend or not invited.

The child/young person should be carefully prepared even if attendance is not anticipated. The child/young person's invitation should be hand delivered by the child's social worker and the reasons for the meeting explained. The meeting will ensure the child (depending on his or her age and level of understanding) is given the opportunity to understand the reasons and be supported with transition - including return home and independence.

Letters of invitation and consultation forms should be sent out by the child's social worker's admin section to all those agreed. This should take place at least 3 weeks prior to the meeting.

The child's social worker should complete the consultation form ensure that the Child's Electronic Record chronology is up to date.

The nominated IRO should receive copies of the consultation forms and any other written responses to requests for information no later than 3 working days before the Disruption Meeting.

NB: Letters referred to above can be found in the Documents Library.

2.3 Agenda

The agenda for the Disruption Meeting will be based on the following:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Reasons for choosing type of placement (i.e. foster or residential);
  3. Reasons for choosing particular carers or residential placement;
  4. How carers/placement were prepared e.g. recruitment, training, information given, documentation give, visits (etc.);
  5. How child was prepared (including how decisions were made to progress placement);
  6. Progress since placement (including support given to carers and child);
  7. Disruption and subsequent events;
  8. Identification and discussion of factors leading to disruption (including factors noted in consultation forms);
  9. Action plan with timescales, if appropriate.

2.4 The Meeting

An agenda based on the format in 2.3 will be used, with possible additions based on individual circumstances.

The chair will take written notes of the meeting in the form of a summary and an action plan will be formulated at the meeting.

If implications for practice are identified the chair may make recommendations in addition to the recommendations made in the action plan.

Before the meeting closes, it should be agreed to whom copies of the summary and action plan will be sent. The meeting may consider sending these to people other than those invited to the meeting if it is relevant. The nominated IRO will make a record of this.

2.5 After the Meeting

The summary and action plan should be typed and circulated (after being approved by the nominated IRO) within 10 working days of the meeting by the child's social worker's admin section. A copy should always be sent to the CLA Service Manager for information.