The Protocol aims to:
- Facilitate the timely sharing of information about providers between local authorities where there are events or concerns that may be relevant to their contractual relationship.
- Help authorities to monitor the quality of providers and protect the welfare of children and young people in care.
- Offer a straightforward and consistent approach to information sharing. The approach is intended to be open and transparent.
The benefits of the ISP include:
- Local authorities will have information routinely provided which will inform their contracting with specific providers.
- Providers will benefit by having the reassurance of effective cross authority collaboration and information sharing.
- Service users will benefit because local authorities will receive information that will help to prevent contracts being made or continued with unsuitable providers.
Limitations of the protocol
This notification is provided for information only. It is the responsibility of each authority receiving this information to decide how to use it.
Potential actions receiving authorities may take, include:
- Contacting the authority that sent the notice for more information
- Contacting the provider for further information
- Obtaining further information independently
- Seeking legal advice
The information given above is for the exclusive use of the authorities receiving it.
The notice may impact future referrals, and this is at the discretion of each authority.
The ISP process is administered by Placements North West.
- Concern is identified by an authority. This may be the host or the placing authority.
- Local authority raises an ISP notification by completing Section A of the ISP notification form.
- Local authority shares the ISP notification form with the provider for their comments. (Note: The ISP will be circulated in the first instance without provider comments and an update circulated if a provider submits a response)
- Local authority shares the ISP notification form with Placements North West for circulation to the ISP mailing list.
- If provider comments are received the local authority will resend to Placements North West for recirculating.
- Placements North West update the regional ISP spreadsheet. This is circulated once per month.
- Placements North West update contract referral spreadsheets as appropriate. If a provider or home is removed from the contract the referral spreadsheet will be recirculated.
- When the local authority is ready to rescind an ISP they complete Section B of the ISP notification form.
- Local authority sends competed ISP notification form to Placements North West
- Local authority sends completed ISP notification form to the provider for their records
- Placements North West shares the completed form with the ISP mailing list.
- Placements North West updates the regional ISP spreadsheet.
- Placements North West update the contract referral spreadsheets as appropriate
Roles and responsibilities
Placement North West will act as the lead to co-ordinate the operation of the ISP.
This role includes:
- Updating mailing lists when mailboxes or member authorities change
- Dealing with proposed changes to the Protocol
- Circulating the ISP notifications
- Following up on ISP notifications that are awaiting review
These points form the operating guidelines:
- If there are safeguarding, quality, criminal and or financial concerns, these will be required to be shared under the Protocol. There is no discretion for member authorities – if certain events occur and circumstances apply they must be communicated under the Protocol. This is essential if effectiveness and consistency are to be achieved
- Placements North West will maintain a mailing list of local authority nominated contacts, this will include a minimum of one contact per authority.
- A copy of the notification will be sent to the provider involved. If, in very exceptional circumstances, it is not possible or appropriate, the fact that the provider has not been informed should be recorded on the notification form. Examples of this may include:
- When a business has closed and the owner has disappeared;
- Where the authority has initiated closure and to confirm this in another form would aggravate the situation further.
- Any provider that is unhappy about any action taken under this Protocol has two sources of direct redress without resorting to legal action:
- The first is the procedure for dispute in the contract.
- The second is the Local Authority’s Complaints procedure if they wish to challenge any decision or action taken under this Protocol
- Each authority is independently responsible for what, if any, actions or decisions it makes as a result of the information received.
- No member authority can pass on to another authority or organisation, or third party other than those legally entitled to such information, any information obtained as a result of the protocol. If a receiving authority has concerns that another authority should receive information, they must refer the matter back to the original notifying authority.
- It is the responsibility of all member authorities to ensure that any information issued or received under this protocol that is held on computer is registered under, and conforms to the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
In no circumstances should any authority receiving information pass this information to other authorities or agencies who are not named below. The issuing LA may decide to issue the ISP to other authorities where there are known placements with a provider. The issuing authority should notify the provider and PNW in advance of sending the notice to an authority not listed below.
Member authorities include those named on the North West regional contracts, primarily the 23 North West local authorities with responsibility for children services as listed below.
Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackpool Council, Bolton Borough Council, Bury Borough Council, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cumbria County Council, Halton Borough Council, Knowsley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, Liverpool City Council, Manchester City Council, Oldham Borough Council, Rochdale Borough Council, Salford City Council, Sefton Council, St Helens Council, Stockport Borough Council, Tameside Borough Council, Trafford Council, Warrington Borough Council, Wigan Borough Council, Wirral Borough Council.
Additional participants include the White Rose Framework.
Joining the ISP
Prospective member authorities will be referred to the Lead Authority for membership into the scheme. Acceptance would require written confirmation from the Lead Authority and the identification of a nominated officer and a designated deputy to undertake the tasks required by the protocol. Prospective member authorities should inform providers of their intention to sign up to the Protocol. This may be part of on-going liaison or require separate communication.
It may be necessary to amend contracts, with other Service Providers’ consent, adding a clause that explicitly confirms the Authority’s commitment to the Protocol.
Review and updates
The protocol will be reviewed annually by the regional Commissioning Managers group to reflect any statutory or regulation changes that would affect the operation of the protocol.
Any member authority can propose a change to the protocol by putting this in writing to Placements North West email@example.com.
This would then be circulated to all other members, requesting a written response indicating acceptance or rejection of the proposal. Any change agreed by all members will be implemented. Any changes that are not agreed, or significantly alter the nature of the Protocol, will be referred to the regional Commissioning Managers group.