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Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
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5.10.7 Pathway Planning


This chapter was amended in August 2015 and should be re-read.


  1. Policy
  2. Pathway Plan Legislation
  3. General Points
  4. The Pathway Assessment
  5. The Pathway Plan
  6. Completion of the Pathway Plan
  7. Reviews of Pathway Plans

1. Policy

The Children Act 1989 requires that a Pathway Plan must be prepared for all Eligible children and Relevant children and continued for all Relevant and former Relevant children. Each young persons Pathway Plan will be based on the initial Pathway Assessment and will set out in the Pathway Plan, the actions, that must be taken by the responsible Authority, the young person, their parents, their carers, and the full range of agencies involved with the young person, so that each young person is provided with the services they need to enable them to achieve their aspirations and make a successful transition to adulthood.

Where the Care Plan for the young person has been maintained and kept up to date, the development of the Pathway Plan should build on information and services set out in the Care Plan. The plan must also include a thorough assessment of the support needs required for the young person.

The Pathway Plan should be prepared as soon as possible after the age of 15 in the case of a LAC child who would then become an eligible child and within 3 months of becoming a relevant child. The Pathway Plan will be considered at each statutory review chaired by the young persons Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO).

2. Pathway Plan Legislation

Care Standards Act 2000

Care Leavers Regulations

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations

The Children Act 1989 (Higher Education Bursary) (England) Regulations 2009

Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996

Care Planning Guidance Doc - Vol 2

3. General Points

Each young person must have an up to date and active Pathway Plan based on a current assessment of their needs.

The Pathway Plan must be completed using the information gathered as part of the assessment and be drawn up as soon as possible after the assessment of needs is completed.

The social worker preparing the Pathway Plan on behalf of Nottingham City Council must engage constructively with the young person to define priorities and the focus of the plan. In addition they must consult with:

  1. The young person’s parents, other adults with parental responsibility and relevant members of their wider family network;
  2. The young person’s current carer and any prospective future provider of housing and accommodation support;
  3. The young persons designated teacher, college tutor or other educational professional familiar with the young persons learning needs and educational objectives;
  4. Any independent visitor appointed for the young person;
  5. Designated nurse for Children in Care or any other medical professional providing health care or treatment named in their health plan.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) making the transition form care to adulthood have both a leaving care status and an immigration status in addition to their placement and accommodation, education, health financial, religious and cultural needs. Planning transition to adulthood for UASC is a particularly complex process that needs to address the young peoples care needs in the context of wider asylum and immigration legislation and how these needs change over time.

Care Leavers with complex needs, including those with disabilities, may transfer direct to adult services and the Pathway Plan will need to ensure that this transition is seamless and supported.

Where a relevant or former relevant child enters custody, Pathway Planning must continue.

The Pathway Plan must be recorded in writing and include the young persons views. The results of any review should be recorded in writing. In addition there is a duty to maintain a case record which should include any assessment of needs, any Pathway Plan, and any review of a Pathway Plan.

4. The Pathway Assessment

The assessment is required to take stock of the young persons preparedness for the time when s/he will no longer be looked after, which for the majority of Children in Care will be when they reach legal adulthood at age 18. This will inform the Pathway Plan. It may be appropriate to utilise assessment and information from a young persons care plan.

It is important to note that the assessment informing the care plan is primarily concerned with the young persons current needs whilst s/he is looked after, whereas the information required to complete the pathway Plan must also address, how in light of these needs, the young person will need to be supported to ensure that s/he is enabled to make a successful transition to the responsibilities of adulthood.

It is of course essential that discussion takes place with the young person about who will be contacted to contribute to the Pathway Plan.

Information concerning the needs of each Care Leaver that must be considered within the Pathway Assessment in order to draw up the Pathway Plan.

Should include: The Personal Advisor if allocated, the IRO and any advocate representing the young person.

Where a move of accommodation is being considered then this move will represent a significant change to the young persons care plan. Such a move should only take place following careful planning that will have been at the young persons review meeting chaired by his/her IRO.

It will be good practice where possible, for the young person to maintain the same PA from the age of 18. Within Nottingham City a Personal Advisor will be appointed who is known to the young person and could be a previous Key Worker or Targeted Support Worker.

The PA will be the key professional responsible for co-ordinating a young persons Pathway Plan. This means that where the young persons circumstances change and it becomes necessary to revise their Pathway Plan, the PA may be the most suitable professional able to re-assess their needs and suggest amendments to the plan to the Local Authority, setting out how the young person will be supported in the future.

The Pathway Plan must specify the name of the young persons Personal Advisor and arrangements for visiting the young person. Eligible children remaining in regulated placements will be visited with the same frequency as all other Children in Care.

The Pathway Plan should include details of exactly how the P.A. proposes to meet the full range of young persons needs. The plan will also be explicit about the timescale by which any action required to implement any aspect of the plan will be carried out and by whom.

5. The Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan must be prepared as soon as possible after the Pathway assessment.

The Pathway Plan must specify the name of the young persons Personal Advisor and arrangements for visiting the young person.

The Pathway Plan should include details of exactly how Nottingham City proposes to meet the full range of the young persons needs. The plan will also be explicit about the timescale by which any action required to implement any aspect of the plan will be carried out, and by whom. The Pathway Plan should always include a contingency plan.

The Pathway Plan should include details about the kind of support that the young person might expect their PA to provide. The kinds of issues where the PA will be the Care Leavers initial source of advice might include:

  • The name of the Personal Advisor;
  • The nature and level of contact and personal support to be provided, and by whom;
  • Details of the accommodation to be occupied when they cease to be looked after. How to provide information about the housing options potentially available to the young person and how to access accommodation and advice;
  • The Plan for continuing education or training when they cease to be looked after;
  • How Nottingham City will assist in obtaining employment or other purposeful activity or occupation. Support in finding and sustaining employment;
  • The support to be provided to enable the young person to develop and sustain appropriate family and social relationships;
  • A programme to develop the practical and other skills needed to live independently and enable them to manage the expectations placed on them as they gradually assume the responsibilities of greater independence. How they will support the young person to develop their confidence and decision making capacity;
  • The financial support to be provided to enable him/her to meet accommodation and maintenance costs. Information about financial capability - how to manage day to day finances, how to take up any entitlements to benefits;
  • Health care needs, including any physical, emotional or mental health needs and how they are to be met when they cease to be looked after. Information about Leisure, Sporting and Cultural opportunities to enable Care Leavers to enjoy and participate in community life;
  • Contingency plans for action to be taken in the event that the Pathway Plan ceases to be effective for any reason.

Where young people are continuing with an education or training course beyond their 21st birthday, the practical and financial support being provided must continue to be set out in their Pathway Plan.

However Nottingham City will no longer be primarily responsible for the young person’s financial support and maintenance. If a former relevant young person is not intending to continue in an approved programme of education or training, then the Pathway Planning process should be brought to a conclusion in an agreed way around the time that the young person reaches the age of 21.

Nottingham City must continue to keep in touch with the young person. This contact should take place as specified in the Pathway Plan. As with relevant young people, it will be necessary for some visits to take place at the accommodation where the young person is living, so that the PA can assess whether their accommodation remains suitable. Keeping in touch between visits might involve a large range of communication methods, for example:

Email, phone and text message contact.

It will of course be important that Nottingham City respect the privacy of a young adult and their right to decline support. However, Nottingham City will remain under a duty to attempt to remain in contact with a young person in the same way that a reasonable parent might try to resume contact with an estranged adult child.

Pathway planning to support a UASC’s transition to adulthood should cover all areas that would be addressed within all young people’s plans as well as any additional needs arising from their specific immigration issues. Planning may initially have been based around short term achievable goals whilst entitlement to remain in the UK is being determined.

Pathway Planning for the majority of UASC who do not have permanent immigration status should initially take a dual or triple planning perspective, which, over time, should be refined as the young persons immigration status is resolved.

Planning may be based on:

  1. A transitional plan during the period of uncertainty when the young person is in the United Kingdom without permanent immigration status;
  2. Longer term perspective plan in the United Kingdom should the young person be granted long term permission to stay (for example through the grant of refugee status); or
  3. A return to their country of origin at any appropriate point or at the end of the immigration consideration process, should that be necessary because the young person decides to leave the UK or is required to do so.

The Pathway Plan must include contingency planning with strategies for early intervention if things start to change or go wrong, such as not granted permission to stay or being evicted from a property.

6. Completion of the Pathway Plan

The views of the young person must be recorded and incorporated in to the Pathway Plan. The Plan must also indicate how arrangements to support the young person have taken the views of the others listed about in to account. Disagreements between the young person and professionals should be noted carefully.

A copy of the plan must be given to the young person. This should be signed by the Agency’s representative, the young person and their PA, as evidence of their commitment to achieving the plans objectives. They should be provided with regular information about the records being maintained on their behalf and where these are stored. Young people should be offered assistance so they are able to have easy access.

Regulation 8 (2) of the Care Leavers Regulations requires that when a Care Leaver moves to new accommodation, the PA must see them at that accommodation within 7 days of the move. Subsequently they must see the care leaver at the point at which the Pathway Plan will be first reviewed - namely after 28 days - and then they must visit the Care Leavers at no less than two monthly intervals. It is important to understand that these are minimum requirements. Where Care Leavers develop problems they assume responsibilities of adulthood as they should expect, and will require, much more frequent personal contact with their PA.

Visits should often be scheduled to take place at the accommodation where the young person lives. On each occasion the PA must consider whether this accommodation continues to be suitable for the young person. The PA will need to observe the general state of the property and check how will the Care Leaver is managing in their accommodation, including that they are managing their financial commitments for rent, utilities, etc. Where a young person is living in semi independent accommodation linked to the provision of housing related support, the PA should monitor how well the accommodation, with its related support, is meeting the young person’s needs. They should liaise closely with the young person.

Section 23CA of the 1989 Act requires that young people previously eligible for Leaving Care Services resuming programmes of education or training after the age of 21 are entitled to continuing support from a PA allocated from their responsible Local Authority. The re-instated Pathway Plan must have a specific focus on the support that the individual Care Leaver with their responsible authority.

7. Reviews of Pathway Plans

The PA must make sure Pathway Plan is reviewed at 6 monthly interviews will also be responsible for convening additional reviews to resolve potential crisis faced by the Care Leavers where they require support or request it. For example, where there is a risk that a young person might be evicted from their accommodation, it will be essential that the PA convenes a review involving all relevant professionals, along with the young person, to develop a plan to enable the young person to maintain their accommodation or move in a planned way, therefore preventing them from becoming homeless.

The focus for the review of the Pathway Plan will also be to scrutinise the measures that actively prepare the young person for the time that s/he will cease to be looked after.

The role of the young persons IRO will be crucial in making sure that the Pathway Plan reflects the young person’s views. Before significant change can take place, such as moving from a regulated to an unregulated placement, or ceasing being looked after, the young persons statutory review meeting must evaluate the quality of his/her Pathway Plan.

In circumstances where young people move in a planned way, the first review will need to decide whether it will be necessary to review the Pathway Plan in a further three months or whether a review at six months is more appropriate. The decision to review sooner will depend on the PA’s assessment if the vulnerability of the child or young adult concerned. It will be good practice for reviews to take place at an early accommodation.

Given the serious implications for a young person’s future, the PA should hold a review in these circumstances.

  1. Where a young person has been charged with an offence there is a possibility of their being sentenced to custody, which will risk losing their (suitable) accommodation;
  2. Where a young person is at risk of being evicted from their accommodation or otherwise threatened with homelessness;
  3. Where professionals are concerned about the parenting capacity of a relevant or former relevant young person, with there being a possibility that their own child may need to become the subject of a multi-agency safeguarding plan.

The PA should hold a review also in the following circumstances:

  1. If requested to do so by the relevant or former relevant child;
  2. If the personal advisor considers a review necessary;
  3. If the PA provide the relevant child or former relevant child with accommodation;
  4. The results of the review and any change to the Pathway Plan must be recorded in writing;
  5. Fir young people in custody it will be good practice wherever possible to carry out a review of the Pathway Plan at least a month before release in order to give sufficient time for pre-release planning.

Ideally no later than 14 days before release, a Care Leaver must know the following:

  • Where the will be living;
  • Who is collecting them;
  • The reporting arrangements;
  • Sources of support including out of hours;
  • Arrangements for education or employment;
  • Arrangements for meeting continuing health needs;
  • Arrangements for Financial Support;
  • When they can expect to see their PA;
  • The roles and responsibilities of the respective Leaving Care and Youth Offending Staff.