East and West Practice and Resources Panel


The East and West Practice and Resources Panel is split into 2 parts:

Part 1 - To replace the Hertfordshire Access to Resources Panel (H.A.R.P), making decisions for both children/young people looked after and Children In Need (CIN) in relation to support packages.

Part 2 - To make decisions to accommodate a child and to agree care planning following Legal Planning Meetings (including Section 20, Public Law Outline (PLO) outcomes and Issue of Proceedings).

Referrals to East and West Practice and Resources Panel should be made using the 'Practice and Resource Panel' Referral Form on LCS.


This chapter was updated in March 2023 to include the replacement of H.A.R.P with the East and West Practice and Resources Panel (parts 1 and 2).

1. Introduction

The East and West Practice and Resources Panel replaces the Hertfordshire Access to Resources Panel (H.A.R.P) which is set up to ensure consistency of practice and decision making across the County and in response to acute budgetary pressures.

The panels are split into 2 parts. Part 1 replacing the current H.A.R.P panel and part 2 operating to provide support, and senior leadership oversight of key decisions affecting children and their families in relation to safeguarding, where legal steps are being considered.

Referrals for Part 2 of the panel will require Service Manager sign off.

2. Aims of the East and West Practice and Resources Panel

  • To focus on the needs of Children and Families where there is a risk of a child/ren coming into the care of the Local Authority;
  • To have panel members with the relevant skills and knowledge to advise on best practice;
  • To offer advice, guidance and support to social work teams in thinking about next steps for children and families;
  • To authorise outcomes of Legal Planning Meetings (LPM) including where decision is that threshold is met to seek Care Proceedings and/in order to accommodate the child;
  • Agree Parent and Baby Foster and Residential Placements;
  • To authorise the outcome of PLO;
  • Make decisions at key points in the child's journey;
  • Agreement to Section 20;
  • Agree resources where appropriate e.g., significant support packages to enable children to remain in the care of their family or to add stability to a placement;
  • Assist and advise social workers to create local solutions and avoid the separation of the child or young person from their family or community;
  • Produce a clear Action Plan;
  • To consider the educational needs of children as a result of the resources being requested;
  • Identify additional needs to be met by partner agencies;
  • Ratification of emergency decisions to accommodate children/provide support packages;
  • Please note - Where provision is being provided in response to either education, therapeutic or healthcare needs, panel should identify and direct professionals to follow MAP pathways and secure joint funding wherever appropriate".

3. Principles

  • Panel contributions will be child centred, child safe, and the child's assessed needs must be reasonably met with a primary focus on improving outcomes for children and young people;
  • The child's views and the views of parents will be taken into account;
  • The ethos of the Panel will centre around a “can do” and co-operative approach;
  • Decisions should enable a child to live as normal a life as is possible within a local environment;
  • Outcomes may require specific intervention of more than one agency.

4. Addressing Equalities Issues

Addressing Issues Concerning Disability, Race, Religion, Age and Gender

The Equality Act 2010 requires us to take reasonable steps to ensure that we do not discriminate against disabled children. Therefore the Panel will always seek to make provision for disabled children through the most appropriate service whether universal or specialist provision and seek to be creative in our approach to meet the assessed needs of the disabled child, young person and their family.

The Panel will ensure due consideration has been given to the child or young person wishes and feeling with due regard to his/her age and understanding.

The Panel will ensure due consideration is given to the child or young person's race, religion/belief, gender, culture and linguistic backgrounds, disability and sexual orientation.

5. Approval of Resources in an Emergency between Panels

Urgent matters that require discussion and/or decisions before the next panel date should be resolved by discussion between the workers and managers with agreement from the relevant Head of Service.

6. Referral Form to East and West Practice and Resources Panel

All referrals to East and West Practice and Resources Panel must be completed via the 'Practice and Resource Panel Referral' form on LCS.

7. Frequency

Panel will be held weekly on a Wednesday and will last approximately 3 hours. Slots will be up to 30 mins per family for this element. A maximum of 4-5 slots per week.

8. Administration Process

  • Referrals for Part 2 must be approved by the relevant Service Manager prior to presentation;
  • The allocated worker/Team Manager will present to the Panel;
  • Referral to the Panel Co-ordinator should be submitted at least 3 working days in advance of the meeting so that panel members can check information;
  • Any referrals received after the 3 working days (in advance of Panel) will be considered for the next weeks Panel;
  • Reports and supporting documentation should be typed and submitted electronically for ease of distribution;
  • Referrals should be made using the whole LCS referral form or by completing the first part and submitting LPM Minutes or PLO paper review;
  • The Panel Co-ordinator will circulate documents to Panel Members 2 working days in advance of the meeting.

9. Membership

Core panel:

Chair: Assessment, Family Safeguarding and SASH Heads of Service

Brokerage Service Manager/Head of Service

Service Managers on rota Assessment/0-25/Family Safeguarding and SASH

FGC rep

Head of QA/rep

Virtual School

SEN/Brokerage post

The Panels will be chaired alternatively by Head of Service FS West / Head of Service FS East alternate weeks and by the Head of Assessment and Head of SASH on alternate weeks. Any member of the Panel who cannot attend must notify the Panel Co-ordinator and, if possible, within 48 hours to allow cover to be organised.

The East and West Practice and Resources Panel may recommend that a referral be made to the following Panels:

  • Risk Management Panel;
  • Adoption Panel (where the care plan for a child or young person is Special Guardianship Order / Residence Order the case should be presented to the Adoption Panel).