Inter-agency or inter-disciplinary assessment requires an additional
set of knowledge and skills to that required for working within a single agency or independently. It
requires that all practitioners understand and appreciate the roles and responsibilities of staff working
in contexts different to their own.
Multi-agency meetings (Team Around the Child Meeting
(TAC), Team Around the Family Meeting (TAF), Child in Need (CIN) meeting, SEN Support Review, Pastoral
Support Programme (PSP) Meeting, Integrated Care Pathways meeting) are tools to support practitioners
in all agencies who have a genuine desire to work openly and together with families.
A TAC or TAF Meeting can be called by any
agency that has concerns about a child or young person with additional needs that they feel may require
a response from more than one agency but without requiring statutory intervention. The convening agency
is responsible for coordinating the meeting arrangements i.e. invitations, venue, chairing and recording
the meeting. However, this does not all have to be undertaken solely by the convening practitioner,
but may be delegated in agreement with other workers in attendance – e.g. one practitioner may chair,
another may take notes – though the convening agency/practitioner remains responsible for ensuring these
roles are undertaken.
In arranging the lead for the business of
the meeting, the convening agency should normally have had some prior communication with those agencies
invited to attend, with relevant information recorded on the Common Assessment
Form, and this then already shared with all agencies involved prior to the meeting.
During the meeting, the additional information which emerges is
recorded (see Recording sub-Section below) on a Merton CASA Review form, with
accompanying CASA Action Plan completed or updated as appropriate. Further review meetings
will ensure the CASA Action Plan is routinely updated, with supporting narrative
recorded on further versions of the CASA Review form. By also completing the Merton Web of Changes form, this
provides a graphic illustration of progress to encourage further discussion from both family and practitioner
perspective on progress to date and way forward.
Each meeting should end with an agreed Action Plan
(or updated Action Plan where appropriate) outlining who will do what? by when?
to address the needs and concerns that have been raised and agreed as important. The meeting will
also agree date of next meeting to discuss progress on desired outcomes
Criteria for convening a TAC or TAF multi-agency
A multi-agency meeting will be called in any of the following
- the family/child/young person’s needs cannot be met from
within the agency’s own resources and the need or concern remains
- the completion of a Common Assessment has identified
needs which require a multi-agency response
- following consultation with other agencies when it is found that they
may be able to offer assistance, or they may direct towards other services to either meet the need or
help to reduce the level of concerns
- telephone sharing of information is not enough
- the parents agree to the multi-agency meeting taking place.
with the child/family should be kept to a minimum and have a clear purpose.
Chairing the TAC or TAF multi-agency meeting
The convening agency will have arranged from among those attending
who should chair the multi-agency meeting. This should be someone who is used to chairing meetings of
a similar type, and must ensure that the meeting focuses on the needs of the child or young person.
The Chair should have knowledge of Child Protection procedures. The convening
agency also undertakes to steer the business of the meeting and should normally have presented their
concerns and their involvement so far by having shared a copy of the Common Assessment
record, prior to the meeting, with all those invited to attend.
Administration and Recording
The CASA Episode record comprises the original Merton
CASA form, supported
by all subsequent Merton CASA Review forms, and the CASA Action
Plan and Web of Changes form which get updated through all the review stages.
This complete Common Assessment record must be shared with all those that were
invited to attend the meeting, regardless of whether or not they attended.
Also, a copy is sent to the Central CASA Team
for central log. By having a central record of all CASAs undertaken, this is what makes it possible
for practitioners to check whether a Common Assessment already exists when they
first pick up a concern about a child.
The following format for the TAC or TAF multi-agency
meeting is suggested:
- Date, time and venue
- Attendance / Apologies
- Aim of meeting
- Needs and Strengths identified by convening agency prior to meeting
- Additional or new information shared at meeting
- Other Needs and Strengths identified during the meeting
- How to address these needs? What has already been tried?
- Action Plan to support family, identifying clearly who is responsible
for which actions, for which child, with timescales clearly defined
- Has a Family Group Conference been considered?
- Agree who is to continue as Lead Practitioner, if change deemed
- Date of next review
Good practice suggests that parents should be involved in the
negotiation as to who should attend the meeting and, wherever possible, agree who should be most appropriate
to attend. However, there are times when this is not possible, e.g. the young person (if Gillick
competent) objects to parental/ family involvement. The meeting needs to bring together all those
who can provide relevant information about the child/young person and family. If the child/young person/family
fail to attend for any reason – (a pre-school or primary school child would not normally
be involved) – the meeting should go ahead and a member of the meeting should be appointed to
inform the child and family of the outcome, which will be recorded.
[Where those working with the child/young person/family
feel it is necessary to convene a meeting to discuss concerns without inviting and/ or notifying the
child/young person or family, this should be recorded and this meeting will be called a
The venue should be the most convenient and comfortable place
to meet for a confidential discussion. It could be the family home, but the school, clinic, surgery,
hospital, social services department, may provide a more suitable meeting room.
The meeting should involve:
- those with a direct and relevant involvement with the
child/young person and family (workers and other family members; close friends)
- those who may be able to offer support or services to the family
- those who have relevant information to share in the meeting
- where ongoing consultation has been provided, it may be appropriate
for the consultant to attend.
/ Family Involvement / Confidentiality
Team Around the Child/Family (TAC/TAF) meetings are held with
the full agreement of parents and, where appropriate, children or young people involved. Without that
permission the meeting should not go ahead. If permission is refused, consideration should be given
to whether concerns are sufficient to require a different approach. The family should be involved in
all stages of the process, unless they choose not to be. Children/ young people should be involved where
both they and parents think it is appropriate. A record of the meeting (Common Assessment
form, including any Merton CASA Review Forms, Action Plans, Web of Changes forms)
will be sent to all parents and children/young people that were invited to attend the meeting, regardless
of whether or not they attended. Consideration should be given by agencies to the child’s age for the
most appropriate method of feedback. Normal rules of confidentiality apply. Parents should be made aware
when information is being exchanged.
Those invited will share relevant information and agree an Action
Plan to address the specific needs identified.
The meeting should consider how the Action Plan agreed for the
child/young person and family is to be coordinated and reviewed, agree who is to
take on the lead coordination role, and set dates by which actions should be undertaken,
and for when next Review/TAC/TAF will take place to consider progress on all outcomes to date. When
no further Review/TAC/TAF is deemed necessary, then the CASA process will be recorded as closed.
If it is considered necessary to hold a further TAC/TAF meeting,
the Action Plan for meeting a child or young person’s needs should be reviewed every
three months as a minimum. Reviews should be held on the same basis as the initial meeting.
The Lead Practitioner (LP) (previous LP if change agreed at meeting)
will provide a record of the meeting, which will include the updated multi-agency
CASA Action Plan, with supporting narrative recorded on the CASA
Review Form, and this, supported by the full preceding Common
Assessment record and any Web of Changes forms, will be shared with all
in attendance, as well as those who were invited and did not attend.
If the Action Plan is not actioned, or fails
to meet the needs or address the concerns, the Lead Practitioner will consult and decide whether to
re-convene another Review/TAC/TAF meeting before the agreed review date.
Quality Assurance In addition to a record
of the meeting being sent to those invited to attend, a further copy of the full CASA, including CASA
Review Form(s), updated Action Plan, and Web of Changes
forms, is sent to the Central CASA Team. In addition to updating central log of CASAs undertaken,
these records will be anonymised when used for periodic quality assurance checks, or when used for Management
Information purposes (e.g. service gaps informing Commissioning requirements).