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5.9.5 Pathway Plan Reviews


  1. Definitions
  2. Preparation and Assessment
  3. Pathway Plan
  4. Review of Pathway Plan

1. Definitions

1. Eligible Young People

They are aged 16 or 17, have been Looked After for a period or periods totalling at least 13 weeks starting after their 14th birthday and are still Looked After. (This total does not include a series of pre-planned short-term placements of up to four weeks where the child has returned to the Parent or for a disabled child where care was for respite purposes only). There is a duty to support these young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

2. Relevant Young People

They are aged 16 or 17 and are no longer Looked After, having previously been in the category of Eligible Young Person when Looked After. However, if after leaving the Looked After service, a young person returns Home for a period of 6 months or more to be cared for by a Parent or adult relative and the return Home has been formally agreed as successful, he or she will no longer be a "Relevant Young Person". A young person is also "Relevant" if, having been looked after for three months or more, he or she is then detained after their 16th birthday either in hospital, remand centre, young offenders' institution or secure training centre. There is a duty to support relevant young people up to the age of 18, wherever they are living.

3. Former Relevant Young People

They are aged 18 to 21 (or up to 24 if attending an agreed course in further or higher education), and have left the Looked After service having been previously either "eligible", "relevant" or both. There is a duty to consider the need to support these young people wherever they are living.

4. Qualifying Young People

They are over the age of 16 and under the age of 21, (or up to 24 if in full-time further or higher education, see 3, above), and have been Looked After or, if disabled, Privately Fostered after reaching 16, but do not qualify as Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant. They may receive support, advice and assistance wherever they are living.

5. Personal Adviser

A Personal Adviser is the person appointed to work with every Looked After young person, from the young person's 16th birthday, and will occupy a key role in providing support to the young person after he or she reaches 18. The Personal Adviser will hold a pivotal role in the planning and review of services as set out in the Pathway Plan (See Personal Advisers Procedures)

6. Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan sets out the route to the future for young people leaving the Looked After service and will state how their needs will be met in their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed until they are 21; or up to 24 if completing an agreed course of education or training begun before they were 21.

2. Preparation and Assessment

All Eligible, Relevant or Former Relevant Young People must have received a Pathway Plan Assessment to establish the advice, assistance and support they will need when leaving the Looked After service.

The Planning Transitions to Adulthood for Care Leavers Guidance (2010) specifies that the Pathway Plan must now include:

  • Any services being provided in respect of the young person's disability or needs arising from being in custody or as a result of entering the country as an unaccompanied asylum seeker;
  • The plan for the young person's continuing education or training when he/she ceases to be looked after (where the young person is no longer of statutory school age, the Pathway Plan may need to incorporate the goals and actions that were previously included in the PEP);
  • How the Responsible Authority will assist the young person in obtaining employment or other purposeful activity or occupation, taking into account his/her aspirations, skills and educational potential;
  • The financial support to be provided to enable the young person to meet accommodation and maintenance costs; taking into account his/her financial capabilities and money-management capacity, along with strategies to develop skills in this area;
  • The nature and level of contact and personal support to be provided, and by whom, to the young person;
  • Details of the accommodation the young person is to occupy (including an assessment of its suitability in the light of needs, and details of the considerations taken into account in assessing that suitability);
  • Details of the arrangements made by the authority to meet the young person's needs in relation to identity with particular regard to their religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.

The Pathway Plan Assessment will follow the format set by up in the Leaving Care Service. The young person's Social Worker will be responsible for co-ordinating and recording this.

In preparation for the assessment, the Social Worker will arrange for the young person to be provided with information about services available for care leavers.

Assessments will take place between 15 3/4 and 16 1/4 yrs, with the completion date no earlier than the young person's 16th birthday and no later than 3 months after this date. Where young people become Looked After over the age of 16, the assessment will begin when they become Eligible and be completed within 3 months.

The Pathway Plan Assessment will be based upon existing assessments.

The young person will be invited to any meetings held in connection with the assessment.

However where there are complex needs the Leaving Care Service Manager will request a professionals' meeting be held to co-ordinate roles and tasks. The young person will be advised of the meeting and a record of the meeting and any recommendations will be shared with the young person.

The Pathway Plan Assessment should take account of the views of the following:

  1. The young person;
  2. The Parents or other relevant family members;
  3. The current Carer, and Supervising Social Worker;
  4. The school/college and the education service;
  5. Any mentor or youth service worker who supports the young person;
  6. Any Independent Visitor;
  7. Any person providing health (including mental health) care or treatment for the young person;
  8. The Personal Adviser;
  9. Where the young person is a Parent, representative of any service supporting their child;
  10. Any other relevant person including, in the case of a young person with special needs, a representative from Adult Services.

A decision not to include significant people must be recorded in the young person's file.

Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.

Where the young person refuses to engage in the assessment process, this should be recorded, together with any actions taken to ascertain the young person's views.

The Pathway Plan Assessment will inform the development of a Pathway Plan which incorporates the Care Plan and any other existing support plan for the young person.

3. Pathway Plan

The young person's Social Worker/Personal Adviser will be responsible for drafting and distributing the Pathway Plan.

The Pathway Plan must be prepared within six weeks of the Pathway Plan Assessment being completed, and this should be no later than 3 months after the young person becomes eligible.

Each young person will be central to drawing up their own Plan setting the goals and identifying with the Personal Adviser how the local authority will help meet them.

Young people with particular language or communication needs should be provided throughout the process with appropriate interpretation, translation or advocacy support.

The Pathway Plan for under 18s will be reviewed by the young person’s Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). These reviews replace the Looked After Child Reviews but will take place at the same statutory intervals i.e. at least every 6 months or where there is a change in Care Plan.

For over 18s, the Pathway Plan will be finalised at a meeting set up and recorded by the Personal Adviser and attended also by the young person and any other agreed appropriate person where lead responsibilities will be agreed.

In the case of an Eligible or Relevant Young Person, the Social Worker will retain lead responsibility for progressing all areas of the Pathway Plan.

In the case of Former Relevant Young Person, the Personal Adviser will have lead responsibility.

The Social Worker or Personal Adviser with lead responsibility must contact all relevant individuals or agencies so that they are aware of their role within the Plan and responsibility for implementing the plan effectively. These may include:

  1. Family members, significant friends or mentors;
  2. Foster Carers, Supervising Social Worker or residential workers;
  3. The education service, for example the named significant adult for education;
  4. The school, college or training establishment;
  5. The Youth Offending Service or National Offenders Management Service (formerly probation provider);
  6. Housing providers;
  7. Health organisations;
  8. Any service supporting a young person as a Parent or providing a service to their child;
  9. Voluntary organisations including activity or interest groups with whom the young person is involved.

Those who have a role in implementing the plan should have a copy, at least, of the part which relates to their contribution.

4. Review of Pathway Plans

See Pathway Plan Review and Update form

Reviews of the Pathway Plan should take place at no less than six monthly intervals for as long as it stays in force.

For Eligible and Relevant young people, dates for the reviews will be at the same statutory intervals as Looked After Child Reviews.

For a Former Relevant Young Person, the date for the first review will take place within six months of the young person's 18th birthday.

For an Eligible and Relevant Young Person the Independent Reviewing Officer will chair Pathway Plan Reviews or support the young person to chair.

For Former Relevant young people the Personal Adviser or their supervisor will chair Reviews. Further development will aim to involve the IRO in their Chairing of reviews post 18.

For Former Relevant young people the Personal Adviser will be responsible for recording the review.

If the Relevant Young Person or Former Relevant Young Person moves to ‘unregulated’ accommodation (i.e. accommodation that is not regulated/inspected by Ofsted), the local authority must:

  • Arrange a review 28 days (or as soon as practicable thereafter) from the time the accommodation is provided; and
  • Determine at what intervals (not exceeding six months) subsequent reviews will be carried out;
  • Review should be brought forward where there is an assessed risk that a crisis may develop in a young person’s life, for example:
    • Where a young person has been charged with an offence and there is a possibility of their being sentenced to custody, which will risk losing the accommodation;
    • Where a young person is at risk of being evicted from his or her accommodation or otherwise threatened with homelessness;
    • 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 be subject of a multi agency safeguarding plan;
    • Where a young person requests a review.

In the event of a Relevant or Former Relevant Young Person breaking off contact and/or not engaging with the agreed support and advice being offered, a review of the Pathway Plan may take place by telephone, e-mail or letter, if agreed in advance by the Chair of the Review, Social Worker and the Personal Adviser. In these circumstances the Personal Adviser will attempt to negotiate a revised plan that is acceptable to all parties.

Where contact is lost, the emphasis of the Pathway Plan Review will switch to recording how attempts will be made to re-establish contact and these efforts will be reviewed within the established system. A route back for the young person to seek support in the future should be kept open where possible, for example by sending birthday cards and appropriate festive greetings, and ensuring that the young person receives any circulated information about services or events in which they may have an interest.