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Integrated Children's System

Pathway Plan

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 requires a Pathway Plan for all eligible, relevant and former relevant young people. The Act defines an eligible young person as one who is aged 16 or 17, who has been looked after by the local authority for a total of 13 weeks since the age of 14, and remains looked after. A relevant young person is defined in the Act as a young person who was previously an eligible young person but who is no longer looked after and is under the age of 18.

The Pathway Plan fulfils the requirements both for assessing the young person's needs and planning services. The Pathway Plan replaces Part Two of the Care Plan and Assessment and Progress Record for all eligible children, and is informed by previous Care Plans, Review Records and Assessment and Progress Records.

View the Integrated Children's System Pathway Plan

Completing a Pathway Plan

The responsible authority must complete a Needs Assessment within 3 months of a young person becoming an eligible or relevant child whether he or she does so on turning 16 or later. It must also prepare a Pathway Plan for eligible and relevant children, as soon as possible after completing the needs assessment.

Arrangements to complete the Needs Assessment required for the Pathway Plan and a timetable for this assessment should be discussed and agreed at the young person’s statutory review meeting prior to their sixteenth birthday. The assessment should be completed no later than three months after this date.

Young people should be actively involved in the assessment and planning. To support their involvement in the process a consultation document, My Pathway Plan, has been developed to enable young people to give their views on their needs and how these needs should be met.

Methods of assessment should take full account of the young person’s communication skills and mobility requirements. Where a young person requires additional assistance to fully involve them in the assessment process then this should be offered.

The following people should also be consulted unless there is an exceptional reason not to do so:

  • young person’s parents, or others with parental responsibility;
  • any person who cares for the young person on a day to day basis;
  • a representative of the young person's school or college;
  • the young person’s GP;
  • an Independent Visitor, where appointed;
  • any other person whom the responsible authority or the young person considers relevant;
  • the Connexions Personal Adviser.

The Pathway Plan should also take account of any existing assessments and plans relating to the young person. These may include:

  • Assessment and Progress Record;
  • Care Plan;
  • Placement Information Record;
  • Personal Education Plan;
  • Health Plan;
  • Transition Plan.

The Pathway Plan records the social worker’s assessment and is intended to provide a formal record of an agency’s plan for a young person and the evidence upon which the plan was based. The Pathway Plan, however, should be informed by the views of the young person and other significant adults and professionals in the young person’s life.

Key Features

The Pathway Plan is in two parts:

  • Part One records the assessed needs of the young person;

  • Part Two records the actions and services required to respond to the assessed needs and to provide support during the transition to adulthood and independence.

Part One: Needs Assessment

The same principles underpin the Pathway Plan Needs Assessment as for all the other assessments of children and young people. The Pathway Plan Needs Assessment uses the same structure as the other assessment records. It considers the young person’s needs in relation to the seven developmental needs dimensions. Parenting Capacity is assessed under the heading of Support, as this heading is more relevant and understandable to young people leaving care. The section assessing the impact of Family and Environmental Factors has two subheadings - Accommodation and Finance, as these are two important areas where young people often encounter difficulties.

The structure of the Needs Assessment is similar to other assessments within the Integrated Children’s System.

  • The left hand side of the page in each domain or dimension contains a number statements which identify key issues that should be considered in the assessment;

  • Tick boxes are used to indicate whether the assessment has considered this issue and the practitioner’s assessment of the young person’s needs;

  • The right hand side of the page provides space is provided alongside the statements for practitioner’s to record their notes and evidence.
The information gathered in the Needs Assessment is pulled together in the Analysis Section and informs Part Two of the Pathway Plan.

The Needs Assessment should not be used mechanistically as a questionnaire. Nor should any part of the Needs Assessment be given to the young person or other person to complete. A good needs assessment will draw on information from a variety of sources which the practitioner will evaluate before recording their view in the Pathway Plan.

Example: In completing the needs assessment with George Hailes, aged 16, the practitioner is informed by George’s carer, Mrs Muldoon, that George, who is asthmatic, understands the nature of his condition and takes responsibility for his own medication. He is registered with a dentist and GP.

In discussions with George about his health he tells the practitioner that he is registered with a GP and dentist. He has not been to see either for over six months. He has a repeat prescription and uses his medication as required. George has no idea what causes his asthma attacks. Contact with George's Health Centre (with his consent) reveals that George has never attended the asthma clinic despite several appointments and that his medication is to relieve rather than prevent attacks.

In the Health section of the needs assessment the practitioner recorded:


In completing this section it will be important to agree with the young person the information about to their health that they are happy to share with others. This might include family members, carers, and other professionals such as teachers.

  Yes No Further Information
If the young person has any allergies or any other medical conditions they fully understand the nature of their condition George is asthmatic and takes responsibility for managing his condition. However he does not know what causes his attacks. George has never attended the asthma clinic to find out more about the causes and management of his asthma and would benefit from doing so.
The young person takes responsibility for obtaining treatment and taking any necessary medication  
The young person is registered with a GP and dentist George has not been to see his dentist for over six months and is therefore due another check.

In the practitioner’s opinion George does not understand his condition and reason for this conclusion is explained in the Further Information section. The information about George’s registration with a GP and dentist does not require comment. However, the practitioner does record that George is due for a dental check.

Part Two: The Plan

The information gathered in during the Needs Assessment should be used to inform Part Two of the Pathway Plan, which records the plan for the young person. The plan should be drawn up in partnership with the young person.

The structure of the plan follows the same format as in the Needs Assessment. The tabular format used for the Pathway Plan is the same as for all plans within the Integrated Children’s System.

For example the Health Section of George Hailes’ Pathway Plan included:

Identified needs and strengths in each domain
How will these needs be responded to: actions or services to be provided
Frequency and length of service: eg hours per week
Agency responsible
Date Service will commence/
Planned outcomes: progress to be achieved by next review or other specified date
George does not understand the causes of his asthma and would like advice on its management George to attend the asthma clinic. 1 initial visit

George to make appointment.

Mrs Muldoon to take George.

Within next 4 weeks George will understand his asthma and will be able to manage it more effectively.
George requires a dental check George to see his dentist Initial visit George Within next 4 weeks George will have had a check up and any follow up treatment.

At the end of each section there is a contingency plan, which sets out the actions that will be taken if it becomes clear that the original plan is no longer possible. The young person should be encouraged to comment on their plans and to highlight any areas where they are not in agreement.

Links to other records in the Integrated Children’s System

  • The Pathway Plan and Care Plan

    Where a young person has a Pathway Plan and continues to be looked after by a Council with Social Services Responsibilities, the Pathway Plan will replace Part Two of the Care Plan. Part One of the Care Plan, which sets out the overall objectives of care or accommodation, will remain in place and should continue to be reviewed regularly in accordance with the Children Act 1989 Regulations and Guidance. For many young people there may be an opportunity to bring the review of the Care Plan and Pathway Plan together into a single process.

    In situations that require only Part One of the Care Plan to be completed, the final section of Part Two should also be completed as this records the views of all parties regarding the Care Plan and asks for their signatures.

  • Using the Pathway Plan with an Assessment and Progress Record

    A young person’s first Pathway Plan should be informed by their most recent Assessment and Progress Record.

    Once a young person has a Pathway Plan in place it replaces the Assessment and Progress Record.
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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