Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 3: Identifying and responding to concerns about children 91 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Inter-agency referral discussions (IRD) Guidance on the decision to hold an IRD; and on IRD purposes, components and process. 3.15 Consideration of the need for an inter-agency referral discussion This next critical phase in risk assessment and response follows notification of a child protection concern. Where information is received by police, health or social work that a child may have been abused or neglected and/or is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, an IRD must be convened as soon as reasonably practicable. An IRD will co‑ordinate decision-making about such investigation and action as may be needed to ensure the safety of children involved as outlined below. 3.16 Definition An inter-agency referral discussion (IRD) is the start of the formal process of information sharing, assessment, analysis and decision-making following reported concern about abuse or neglect of a child or young person up to the age of 18 years, in relation to familial and non-familial concerns, and of siblings or other children within the same context. This includes an unborn baby that may be exposed to current or future risk. 3.17 Purpose IRDs are required to ensure a co‑ordinated inter-agency child protection process up until the point a Child Protection Planning Meeting (CPPM) is held, or until a decision is made that a CPPM is not required/that alternative action is required. 3.18 Instigation The decision to convene an IRD can be made by police, health or social work, but a request to consider an IRD may be made any agency. 3.19 IRD Record All aspects of the IRD must be recorded, responsibility for which must be agreed/ confirmed at the outset in line with local protocols. The Record must include the time and reason for starting an IRD, the professionals attending, the information shared, discussions held, reasoned decisions (including consideration of options), any lack of consensus, and the manner in which lack of consensus has been escalated and resolved, without delay. This will form a single core IRD record, to be shared by participant agencies. 3.20 Capacity As far as can be ascertained from earliest inquiries, consideration is given not only to the child’s age but to the child’s development, including: • linguistic abilities • memory retrieval capacities • suggestibility • effects of stress and trauma