The terms and conditions of the business set out below are between Children’s Contact Services (CCS) (The Company) and the person(s) who are engaging in the services we provide (The Client) and are accepted by the client on engagement of an application of an applicant introduced by the company.
NOTE FOR SOCIAL WORKERS / SOLICITORS:
PLEASE ENSURE THIS DOCUMENT IS READ BY OR EXPLAINED TO FAMILY MEMBERS / YOUR CLIENT PRIOR TO THEIR COMPLETING AND SIGNING CHILDREN’S CONTACT SERVICES ‘REFERRAL AGREEMENT FORM’ FOR SUPERVISED CONTACT.
1. REFERRAL AGREEMENT FORM AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
1.1 Supervised contact will only take place on receipt of a satisfactorily completed Referral Agreement Form.
1.2 Contact will only take place on receipt of the Court Order(s) and Court paper(s) or the social workers most current Case Conference / Looked after report if referral is by Social Services.
1.3 Once CCS has received a satisfactory completed Referral Agreement Form a schedule of contacts will be agreed by CCS. Agreement of this schedule of contacts must be agreed in writing by the referrer 7 days before the first scheduled contact. CCS reserves the right to suspend or cancel contacts if appropriate confirmation is not received within the specified time.
2. COURT ORDERS
2.1 As an Independent Limited Company, CCS reserves the right to withhold, suspend, or terminate child contact as it sees fit following, where required, consultation with statutory funding agencies.
3. PUNCTUALITY, ATTENDANCE AND PAYMENTS
3.1 To avoid distress / uncertainty for children having contact, parents / carers must arrive within 15 minutes of the agreed meeting time otherwise the contact session will be cancelled and the children returned home. If a pattern of delayed or late arrivals is considered likely to be prejudicial to the children’s well being and will result in our suspending and possibly terminating contact.
3.2 Contact parents/family members who have been unavoidably delayed should telephone us and if practical we will arrange for the children to wait. Where children are brought to contact late, the time lost will be added to the end of the contact or to a subsequent contact.
3.3 Failure to attend for visits on three consecutive occasions will result in contact being suspended. A persistent pattern of poor attendance will result in our reducing the frequency of contact or suspending contact. We would ask parents/visitors to let us know as soon as possible if they are unable to attend. A period of 24 hours is required to cancel a contact with no penalty charge. Failure to give 24 hours’ notice will mean that a payment will still be required.
3.4 Supervised contact sessions that over run for a period of time up to, equal to or greater than 15 minutes will occur additional charges. These charges will be proportionate to an equivalent cost of the advertised hourly rate for that specified day of the week as per our advertised rates. Subsequent additional charges will be payable with intervals of 15 minutes will be charged at the same rate.
3.5 Any payment or invoice that has not been cleared and paid in full and / or has not been completed within the specified 30-day (inclusive) period will incur an additional admin charge of £50 per transaction per invoice regardless of the quantity of invoices per organisation.
3.5.1 Any payment or invoice that has not been cleared and paid in full and / or has not been completed within the specified 30-day (inclusive) period will incur statutory charges of 8% annual interest per invoice regardless of the quantity of invoices per organisation.
4. EMOTIONAL ABUSE
4.1 Emotional abuse may consist of one parent/carer denigrating or threatening the other in the child’s presence, interrogating/questioning the child for information about the other parent, undermining the child’s day care and upbringing or attempting to inappropriately manipulate the child’s views and feelings.
4.2 Emotional abuse will not be permitted and will lead to intervention by the supervisor and possibly the termination of the visit. If a visit is terminated, all further contact will be suspended.
4.3 If contact is suspended or terminated CCS will report the concerns in the form of a letter of concern to the referring agency.
5. PHYSICAL / SEXUAL ABUSE, NEGLECT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
5.1 In the event of any behaviour or threats to a child or others likely to involve a breach of the law, or in the event of behaviour seen to have caused fear to a child or visitor, CCS will intervene and take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the welfare of the child and others. The police will be called immediately.
5.2 If supervising staff become concerned about a child’s welfare and physical safety during contact, the concerns will be communicated by telephone to the referring agency, confirmed in a letter of concern and will be made known to the parent/visitor involved at the time of the incident, unless to do so would place the child at risk.
5.3 If a contact is terminated, all further contact will be suspended subject to a decision about further contact by the referring agency and/or the Court.
6. PHYSICAL SAFETY
6.1 The physical safety and wellbeing of the child is the responsibility of those indicated in the Referral Agreement Form. CCS is responsible for meeting its statutory obligations under the Health and Safety legislation.
7. SECURITY AND ABDUCTION
7.1 Whilst every precaution is taken to guard against abduction, CCS staff will not attempt to physically restrain a person from leaving the contact with the child. The police will be contacted immediately.
7.2 Where abduction has previously occurred, or is considered a risk. CCS reserve the right to notify details to, and lodge Court Orders with, the local police station. CCS may also require the passports of those having contact to be lodged with solicitors prior to each contact visit and for 24 hours after the contact.
8. RACIST OR DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOUR
8.1 Racist or discriminatory behaviour will not be permitted and CCS staff will intervene to protect the welfare of the victim.
8.2 All incidents will be reported to the relevant authority/ies. Any individual found breaking the law under any such act will be reported.
9. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
9.1 Drugs (excluding prescribed medicines) and alcohol are not permitted. Anyone known, or suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or to have misused drugs will be refused contact.
9.2 Repeated breaches of this policy will result in contact being suspended pending review and a letter of concern will be sent to the referring agency.
10. MOBILE TELEPHONES
10.1 Mobile telephones are requested to remain switched off during contact visits.
11. RECORDING EQUIPMENT
11.1 Audio/visual recording equipment must not be used during supervised contact. Supervised contact delivered by CCS has a therapeutic aim and the purpose and electronic recording of contacts breaches the privacy, confidentiality and security of the children involved.
11.2 If an electronic recording of contact was found to be made secretly, all further contact will be suspended, a letter of concern will be sent to the referring agency.
12. CCS RECORD KEEPING
12.1 Supervised contacts are recorded by the supervisor on a standardised Record of Supervision Contact Form. The referring agency will receive an e-mailed copy of this within fourteen days of the contact. Our paper copies are held in a locked filing cabinet within a secure office.
12.2 CCS’s recording of contact has a therapeutic aim; to ensure that issues, concerns and needs affecting children in contact are identified and worked with sensitively and consistently over time to effect positive change and bring about resolution of the contact problem.
13. CONFIDENTIALITY AND ACCESS TO RECORDS
13.1 PUBLIC LAW PROCEEDINGS
13.1.1 In public law proceedings where CCS is first and foremost providing child protection, records of contact will be made available to the Local Authority within fourteen days of each contact in order to assist the Local Authority in monitoring the child’s welfare and in reviewing the child’s care plan.
13.1.2 It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to ensure records of contact disclosed to them are made available to the family members or others attending for contact or to decide to restrict such access.
13.2 PRIVATE LAW PROCEEDINGS
13.2.1 Where a referral is made in the course of private law proceedings, the referral is accepted subject to the condition that CCS will not require to disclose its contact records of contact. In Private law proceedings CCS does not permit disclosure of its records of contact as to do so would undermine the privacy and security of the context in which the child is having contact and so negate the therapeutic value of supervised contact.
14. REPORTING POLICY
14.1 PRIVATE LAW PROCEEDINGS
14.1.1 A referral in private law proceedings (Parent v Parent/Relative) is accepted subject to the condition that CCS will not be required to disclose its records or provide written reports for use in court to do so would prejudice our goal of working therapeutically and impartially with the family to resolve the contact dispute in the child’s best interests. In such cases, records will only be disclosed if the court decides that there is an overriding need for disclosure in the interest of the child.
14.1.2 CCS will only provide a service of supervised contact once a court has ordered a statutory agency to prepare a report on contact where they consider it appropriate.
14.2 PUBLIC LAW PROCEEDINGS
14.2.1 In public law proceedings (Local Authority V Parent/Relative) CCS provides its records of contact to the Local Authority as at 13 above. It is the responsibility of the Local Authority in all cases to ensure these records are made available to parties in the proceedings.
14.3 PUBLIC LAW ASSESSMENTS
14.3.1 Where CCS has been contracted to undertake an assessment of contact a report to the court will be provided. It is the Local Authorities responsibility to ensure the report is made available to the parents/relatives involved.
15. LIABILITY FOR VISITORS, VEHICLES, AND BELONGINGS
15.1 Children’s Contact Services accept no responsibility for motor vehicles or any other property of visitors, which is brought to the contact session it is entirely at the visitors own risk.
16. REPRESENTATIONS AND COMPLAINTS
16.1 CCS wishes to ensure that all those who use our service receive a courteous and professional response and one that is appropriate to their needs regardless of gender, race, language, religion, or disability.
16.2 If you wish to complain about any aspect of service, in first instance your complaint should be made to the worker supervising contact. If your complaint concerns a member of staff it should be made in writing to the manager who will investigate the matter, in line with our complaints procedure.