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1.6.7 Transfer Protocol for Cases Transferring between MAST and CAT Teams and CAT and Locality Teams


  1. Introduction
  2. Transfer Process between MAST and CAT/Locality Teams
  3. Transfer Process between CAT and Locality Teams
  4. Transfer to the Pathways Team

1. Introduction

The general aim of the transfer protocol is for cases to move swiftly to the team best equipped to deal with them keeping the welfare of the child at the centre.

As a rule, the MAST (Multi-Agency Screening Team) provides advice to referrers and has responsibility for making decisions about whether a case meets the criteria for Children’s Social Care involvement. Cases should not stay longer than necessary, and certainly no longer than 36 hours. The only exception are requests for Section 7 and Section 37 reports, which may be allocated in the MAST team for up to a week.

The function of the CAT (Children’s Assessment Team) is to provide crisis and initial support to new cases and undertake high quality assessments to determine whether medium to longer term social work intervention is required.

The locality teams undertake work with children and families requiring medium to longer term intervention, including Children in Need, those subject to Child Protection Plans and those Looked After.

2. Transfer Process between MAST and CAT/Locality Teams

Once a decision has been made that a case meets the criteria for Children’s Social Care intervention, a case should be transferred from the MAST to CAT as soon as possible. This is generally after the referral has been completed or in cases of a Strategy Discussion after the Strategy Discussion has been completed.

There should always be a discussion with the relevant team manager or practice supervisor within the team receiving the referral, before the referral is sent on to alert them. If no immediate action needs to be taken that day and if the team manager is not available, the referral can still be allocated into their name as long as a conversation has been held with a practice supervisor.

The exception applies in the following cases:

  • Private Fostering Assessment - If the referral is clear this is requested, and checks with the referrer establish child is living with a non-relative, the referral can be passed immediately to relevant locality team.

    Should an initial visit by CAT establish that there is a Private Fostering arrangement in place, CAT will collect initial details and complete the chronology, and then complete a transfer request. A joint visit will not be required as the family will be advised that a Child and Family Singe Assessment and Private Fostering Assessment will be completed by the relevant locality team;
  • In the case of a Section 7 or a Section 37 request on a closed case either to locality or CAT, MAST will on the onset establish and where appropriate challenge if this is an appropriate request to Social care. This may mean that a case is allocated to a member of staff in the MAST to undertake this task. Once the need for a report has been established, referral will pass immediately to the relevant locality team;
  • Step parent adoptions will be transferred immediately at the referral stage to the relevant locality team;
  • Incoming conference requests from other Local Authorities will be transferred immediately at the referral stage to the relevant locality team.

3. Transfer Process between CAT and Locality Teams

Case transfers will take place at the weekly transfer meeting. All work presented to the transfer meeting must have been quality assured by the manager requesting transfer prior to the meeting.

  • Where a Section 47 case is moving to the Initial Child Protection Conference, the case is transferred at the Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC).

    At the point of CAT receiving the date for the ICPC, the relevant locality Team Manager will also be invited. CAT will immediately complete a brief overview of the case and whether a CP or CIN Plan is required within the transfer summary to be completed within 1 working day. CAT will ensure they have completed the Child and Family Single Assessment /S47/chronology/ICPC report and shared with the family and that all this work will be completed by the end of the day prior to the conference. A locality team representative will attend the conference; if a social worker is not available then a PS/AP or Team manager will attend, unless a different arrangement has been negotiated between the team managers.

    The case will transfer at this point whether the outcome is CP or CIN and the locality team will be responsible for the Core Group and any further tasks.

    The decision on whether a joint visit is appropriate will be dependent on how long the case has been open. However, if the decision to conference has been at the conclusion of the Child and Family Single Assessment then a joint visit would be good practice unless the children are under 3 years. Should both parents not attend the conference arrangements will be made to visit the family jointly within 3 days.

    There is a potential that some cases may not be ready for the day of conference. If this is the case the relevant locality team will inform both service managers/CAT Team manager and there will be a clear plan with that worker that whatever the outstanding task is will be completed within 2 days.
  • In cases, where CAT has undertaken a pre-birth assessment, the case will transfer to the locality teams, if a plan is required to support the child as per any other transfer point;
  • Where the Child and Family Single Assessment undertaken by CAT indicates that a Child in Need plan is required at the end of the assessment, the case transfers at the child in need planning meeting following the completion of the assessment and agreement at the transfer meeting. Child in need plans may be led by either the locality team or the FIT team and agreement about which team is most appropriate will be reached at the transfer meeting prior to the child in need planning meeting. CAT will chair the child in need planning meeting. The Locality Team/FIT Team will be responsible for completing the plan;
  • Where the proposed plan is for a child to become Looked After via proceedings, the case is transferred at the legal planning meeting held after Gateway. This meeting will be attended by Legal, CAT and the Locality Team where tasks for initial hearing will be decided;
  • Where a child becomes a looked after following section 20 accommodation, the normal transfer point is at the first Looked After Review. However, where rehabilitation is proactively being pursued at this point and a case transfer would risk disrupting the process, the most appropriate point of transfer should be negotiated between team managers.

4. Transfer to the Pathways Team

Where a child has rights as a care leaver, cases are formally transferred from CAT or the Locality Team to the Pathway team at transfer panel.