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OxfordshireChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Pathway Plans and Reviews


In January 2019, this procedure was updated throughout to reflect local practice.


  1. Purpose
  2. Pathway Planning and Reviews
  3. Statutory Plan and Review Timings
  4. Who to Involve
  5. Pathway Plan Content
    1. Personal Support
    2. Family and Social Relationships
    3. Accommodation
    4. Education, Employment and Training
    5. Practical and Personal Independent Skills
    6. Financial Support
    7. Health and Leisure
  6. Risk Indicators and Contingency Planning
  7. What if the Young Person does not want Support or a Pathway Plan
  8. Pathway Planning for Former Relevant Young Adult Requesting Support, 21 – 25 yrs Not in Education, Training or Employment (new duty as of 1 April 2018)
  9. Comments and Dealing with Disputes
  10. Self-Assessment Tools for using with Young People
  11. Pathway Plan Audit Tool for Managers
  12. Related Policy, Procedures and Guidance

1. Purpose

The Purpose of this document is to provide more in depth guidance on the completion of Pathway Plans and Reviews.

This policy should be read alongside:

2. Pathway Planning and Reviews

Each young person who qualifies for services under the Leaving Act 2000 (eligible, relevant and former relevant young people) will have a Pathway Plan, which is a continuation of the Looking After Children materials. The Pathway Plan is a Care Plan, detailing the services and support needed by young people aged 16 to 21 years.

"The Pathway Plan should be pivotal to the process whereby young people map out their future, articulating their aspirations and identifying interim goals along the way to realising their ambitions. It will also play a critical part in making the new arrangements contained within the Act work".

"The Authority should work to ensure that the plan is owned by the young person and is able to respond to their changing needs and ambitions. It should look ahead at least as far as the young person's 21st birthday and will be in place beyond that where the young person is in a programme of education or training which takes them past that age".

Department of Health and Social Care Guidance on the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000.

3. Statutory Plan and Review Timings

Plan and Review Timings:

Preparation for the completion of the plan may start sometime after the young person's 15th birthday, but must be completed within three months of the young person's 16th birthday.

Minimum requirement is that subsequent Pathway Plan Reviews are undertaken:

  1. 3 - 6 monthly;
  2. 28 days after a move into  'unregulated' accommodation (i.e. accommodation that is not regulated/inspected by OFSTED), the Local Authority must:

Reviews 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 their 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 the subject of a multi-agency safeguarding plan;
  • Where a young person requests a review.

4. Who to Involve

The Pathway Plan should be developed with the young person, their family, their carers, and any other parties where appropriate. The views and wishes of the young person should be central to the decision about whose views are taken into account, especially on who to involve. Others appropriate people to think about involving should include: parents or anyone with Parental Responsibility, carers, a representative from school, college, an independent visitor, GP, the Personal Adviser or anyone else whom the responsible authority or the young person considers relevant. However, it should be recognised that it may not be possible to meet all their wishes.

A flexible and creative approach, which actively engages with young people themselves, will help ensure that the eventual plan is realistic and likely to be met. Practical assistance, including travel or subsistence costs, should be provided to help young people attend meetings and ensure the process is young-person friendly. Information to young people should be presented in a way that is suitable and meets any special needs they may have.

It should be an interactive process and owned by the young person. If appropriate, with guidance and discussion, they should be encouraged to complete sections of the plan. This could then form the discussion in the completion of the action planning section.

If the young person refuses to complete the Pathway Plan, the social worker and Leaving Care Personal Adviser should complete the action plan section of the Pathway Plan, as s/he should have a good insight the young person's essential support needs and action required.

A copy of the written Pathway Plan/Review should be given to the young person and all those consulted during the assessment process (with the consent of the young people involved).

5. Pathway Plan Content

The Pathway Plan will include a detailed plan of how the following needs will be met, any requests to meet them, resources identified and the person responsible for carrying out any identified tasks, including:

  • 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 Local 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 holistically support the wellbeing of the young person, 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 the young person's needs, and details of the considerations taken into account in assessing that suitability);
  • Details of the arrangements made by the Responsible Local Authority to meet the young person's needs in relation to his or her identity, with particular regard to their religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
  • Dual or Triple planning for UASC young people in all sections to reflect options based on immigration status.

The purpose of the Pathway Plan Review is to check that the goals and milestones are still right and that they are being met. An analysis of all support levels should be reviewed to ensure they are adequate and delivered according to plan. The planning should be flexible and sensitive to any problems and acknowledge the right of the young person to return for support.

5.1 Personal Support

The arrangements for contact frequency and contact details must be recorded. Although the social worker/Personal Adviser will have a central link role, it is very likely that there will be other people providing the young person with personal support. Therefore, it is important that the roles and responsibilities of all people involved are made clear both in the Pathway Plan and at subsequent reviews.

The extended family, role of substitute carers and social networks should always be considered and the action required in sustaining such relationships. In addition identified needs and action regarding culture, ethnicity, family and community support must be recorded here.

Transition to adult services, personal assistance, direct payments, specialist equipment for those who require it should also be included here.

In this section include immigration issues, including status, contact details and liaison with solicitor and immigration, identification of young person's home country and spoken languages, NGO contact details if appropriate. In addition for those whose future in the country is uncertain, parallel planning should occur.

The provision of information to the young person on the Leaving Care Service and making them aware of their rights, especially under the complaints procedures, independent visitors and access to advocates needs to be covered in this section.

5.2 Family and Social Relationships

The Pathway Plan should always include consideration of the core and extended family, the role of substitute carers and social networks. Pathway Plans should explore sources of informal support and a young person's ability to make and sustain such relationships.

Every effort should be made to combat social isolation and to enable young people to strengthen their resistance to exploitation by others. The Pathway Plan should include interventions by the Leaving Care Team.

5.3 Accommodation

The needs assessment should have identified what specific assistance a young person will need in relation to accommodation and what types of accommodation are suitable to meet their needs.

Three months prior to leaving care those in need of housing must be assessed through the housing joint protocol arrangements. This should ensure they receive statutory homeless status and are identified in the accommodation panel to enable coordinated planning. All young people should be encouraged to complete the general housing register.

It is important to:

  • Encourage young people to remain in care until aged 18;
  • Ensure carers and young people are given information on the housing options and understand the housing providers service aims and expectations;
  • Complete fully the housing applications and assessments, encourage the young person to be involved and undertake active liaison during selection and allocation stages;
  • Prepare the young person for assessments and interviews so that they understand the process, the housing provision/support and think about the information they wish to share;
  • Check out their understanding of the application process (including whether they require support to attend appointments;
  • Liaison with the housing departments//providers at each stage (especially when moving in, settling in, any concerns);
  • Ensure they are aware of tenure responsibility and the consequences of breaching tenures (i.e. formal warnings, evictions and intentional homeless status);
  • Avoid moving young people who are settled unless it is unavoidable, offers clear advantages in terms of moving or there are budget considerations;
  • Assess the young people's needs and prepare them for any move (including who is available to support them in the practical move);
  • Where practicable, offer a choice in the type and location of accommodation;
  • Review the plan at least three months after a move and one month if moved from being a looked after child;
  • Identify if a support package is required to support the accommodation;
  • Have a contingency plan in case the proposed accommodation breaks down and a risk assessment and management plan for those identified.

Matters to which the Local Authority is to have regard in determining suitability of accommodation (under Schedule 2 to the Care Leavers Regulations 2010 and Schedule 6 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010):

  1. In respect of the accommodation:
    • The facilities and services provided;
    • The state of repair;
    • The safety;
    • The location;
    • The support;
    • The tenancy status; and
    • The financial commitments involved for the relevant young person and their affordability.
  2. In respect of the Relevant Young Person:
    • His or her views about the accommodation;
    • His or her understanding of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the accommodation; and
    • His or her understanding of funding arrangements.

5.4 Education, Employment and Training

The Personal Education Plan should form the basis of the education, training and employment section of the pathway plan. 

It is important:

  • To reflect the young person's educational needs, potential and aspirations;
  • To identify the young person's achievements and attributes;
  • To chat with the young person about the difference between school and college;
  • To check out the young person is aware of the different qualifications and entry levels;
  • To record contact with the school/college and monitoring arrangements;
  • To identify any additional support required, especially for exams, transport, equipment and special needs;
  • To detail the action and support identified to encourage the NEET young people into reaching their potential;
  • To record in the outcome sections any interventions undertaken to resolve difficulties or overcome;
  • That the young person knows where to access help if things are going wrong;
  • To identify assistance and funding and the support/process for accessing these, including contact details;
  • If the young person's future in the country is unknown, to explore options that include contingency planning;
  • To identify the work which needs to be done to increase a young person's employability and how to support them (i.e. REACH UP, RAISE);
  • To ensure they are aware of their employee rights;
  • To establish whether the young person knows how to apply for jobs, and what their interview skills are and expectations around conduct at work;
  • For those who will be eligible to claim benefits, that they are aware of the process, expectations and have the relevant documentation. It is important to identify those who require support in the application process, especially the interview.

5.5 Practical and Personal Independent Skills

Pathway Planning must demonstrate a holistic approach, attaching equal importance to practical, emotional, and interpersonal skills. Self-care skills: personal hygiene, diet, health, sexual health. Practical skills: budgeting, shopping, cooking, cleaning. Resilience skills: self-esteem, identity, communication, negotiation, problem-solving, interpersonal, understanding and identifying with others, exploring and managing feelings, action planning and reviewing.

5.6 Financial Support

Young people need to develop skills in money management, especially rent, council tax, paying bills, food and living expenses, opening bank accounts, bank cards, savings accounts and borrowing money. The Pathway Plan and Review must state how the PA or SW will help to develop these skills and must ensure the young person is aware of the criteria and process for accessing financial assistance. It is essential to include a step by step breakdown of the processes.

Refer to the Financial Guidance including Setting Up Home Allowance for care leavers for further information

5.7 Health and Leisure

It is important to ensure that the Health Action Plan (HAP) informs the Pathway Plan health section. The CLA Health Liaison Nurse is willing to undertake assessments for care leavers and be a point of contact for professionals seeking advice or problem solving with health providers.

This section should include:

  • Understanding how to access local primary healthcare services;
  • Help in maintaining/developing a healthy lifestyle;
  • Help in accessing specialist help and therapeutic services;
  • Help in pursuing leisure interests;
  • Personal safety.

6. Risk Indicators and Contingency Planning

Any possible risks in reaching agreed goals should be discussed with the young person and contingency arrangements should be in place. These should identify risk indicators and potential difficulties young people may face and include the appropriate support. Contingency planning should be flexible and sensitive to any problems and acknowledge the right of young people to return for support. The risk assessment should be placed on the young person's file and referred to within the Pathway Plan and Review document. See Multi Agency Risk Assessment.

7. What if the Young Person does not want Support or a Pathway Plan

If after informing the young person about the advice, assistance and support available to them they do not want support or a Pathway Plan the following should be covered with them:

  • Is there a way forward for overcoming their reasons for not wanting support?
  • Is there another professional who supports them that they would like to be approached about taking on the role of a Personal Adviser?
  • To assess how their weekly allowance should be paid and keeping in touch arrangements to oversee their economic status (they have to remain in contact at least every three weeks if they are to receive an allowance), to monitor their welfare and, if they are seeking or in employment, to provide them with information about the advice, assistance and support available, especially the financial entitlements;
  • The social worker/Personal Adviser must complete the action plan section of the Pathway Plan, as s/he has an insight into the young person's needs. It is important to send the young person a copy if the contact details are known;
  • To explain that any financial assistance over and above the weekly allowance or rent payment can only be given if identified in a Pathway Plan. To inform him or her that a minimum of one-month contact must occur to ensure the young person is still eligible for financial assistance;
  • To inform them that we have a duty to keep in touch and to negotiate an agreement for this to occur and identify within a Pathway Plan;
  • If contact with a young person is lost, reasonable steps should be taken to re-establish contact, especially with those who are within the definition of Relevant Young People. It is important that a young person's wishes are respected and that attempts to maintain or re-establish contact is not perceived as harassment, but to convey an interest in their well being. Where it is not possible to establish such an understanding the Personal Adviser will have to balance the risk of alienating the young person with the need to maintain contact. The Personal Adviser should persevere with six monthly attempts to contact even if the young person remains unresponsive, while respecting the young person's right to be unresponsive. Any requests for case closure prior to 21yrs need to be agreed by Senior Area Managers;
  • Missing person's procedures should be undertaken for any young person that we believe to be missing. See Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, Joint Protocol for Safeguarding Children Missing from Home or Care in Oxfordshire.

8. Pathway Planning for Former Relevant Young Adult requesting support, 21 – 25 yrs Not in Education, Training or Employment (new duty as of 1 April 2018)

This applies to those who are 21 plus who have previously been a "Former Relevant" Young Adult. The aim is to ensure that care leavers don't feel alone whilst transitioning to adulthood however are still encouraged to become an independent adult.

Those who reach 21 yrs after the new duty commences April 2018

As the young person approaches 21 yrs, their PA will discuss with them whether they wish to continue to receive support (advice and guidance) beyond 21 yrs. Should they wish to the PA should update the Pathway plan to reflect their current needs and agreed contact. There is no statutory requirement in regard to contact as this is bespoke to the needs of the young person. This arrangement can continue as long as it is requested, or until they reach 25 yrs.

Those who are 21 – 25 yrs when the new duty commences April 2018

This duty enables care leavers to request PA support at any point after 21 yrs, up to the age of 25 yrs, even if they had previously ceased receiving support when they reached age 21. The local authority must:

  • Provide a PA to offer support and undertake a Needs Assessment. The Needs Assessment should identify the issues discussed, support the local authority can provide and what action has been taken in response to the request for support;
  • A full Pathway plan maybe required and reviewed 6 monthly covering each dimension of a care leavers life however, a full assessment and plan may not be needed for only one aspect of their life. For example, a care leaver receiving support for education may only need the relevant education section to be completed of the pathway plan. This approach can be used where a young person requests support that relates to only one aspect of their life. Where there are a number of issues and is likely to require on-going support, it will normally require a full pathway plan to be completed;
  • PA should provide support for as long as the issue remains and address new issues that arise in the process. If the young person does not want or require support on an ongoing basis, the case can remain inactive until the care leaver makes another request for support.

The new duty requires advice and support, however it does not introduce additional duties in relation to for example, accommodation. Any support already provided by other departments such as Housing and Adult Social Care should continue to be provided and funded by the relevant LA department. Existing provisions that already exist for care leavers in current legislation, such as priority need in homelessness legislation, will continue to apply.

9. Comments and Dealing with Disputes  

If the young person or other significant people have concerns about the services they receive they should:

  • Be reminded of the independent advocacy service;
  • Initially discuss this with their social worker/Personal Adviser;
  • If there are still concerns the young person should have the opportunity to discuss concerns with the SW/PA managers and have access to an independent advocacy service;
  • If an acceptable solution is not reached in an informal resolution within 14 days the full complaints procedure should be activated;
  • All concerns, views and follow up actions must be recorded within the Pathway Plan episode under the Views section.

10. Self-Assessment Tools for using with Young People

  • Making Your Money Work For You (see the Sharefound website);
  • Self-Assessment Independence Tool. Preparation for Adult Life Tool Kit. 

11. Pathway Plan Audit Tool for Managers

Points taken form Vol 2 & Vol 3 Guidance and Regulations in addition to manager, worker and IRO feedback.

Dimensions of Need Plan to include
1. Health and development Use of primary healthcare services and understanding of costs.
Arrangements for the young person's medical and dental care according to their needs making reference to the health plan established within the care plan in place when the young person was looked after.
Access to specialist health and therapeutic services.
Arrangements so that young person understands the actions they can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Opportunities to enjoy and achieve and take part in positive leisure activities.
Self -esteem, emotional, physical and sexual health addressed.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/Areas for development.


2. Education, training and employment Statement of the young person's aspirations and career ambitions and actions and support to achieve this.
Access to careers advice.
Education objectives and support - Personal Education Plan or College Support Plan. Strategies to overcome barriers identified.
Arrangements to support the young person in further education and/or higher education.
Support to enable suitably qualified young people to enter apprenticeships, make applications to university or gain necessary qualifications.
Arrangements for work experience, career mentoring or pathways into employment etc.
Courses that widen skills, social participation and confidence e.g. cooking, musical instruments, bike maintenance.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/Areas for development.
3. Emotional and behavioural development How the authority will assist the young person to develop self esteem and maintain positive attachments.
Does the young person display self esteem, resilience and confidence?
Assessment of their capacity to empathise with others, reason and take appropriate responsibility for their own actions.
Capacity to make attachments and appropriate relationships; show appropriate emotion; adapt to change; manage stress; and show self control and appropriate self awareness.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/Areas for development.
4. Identity How the authority intends to meet any of the young person's needs arising from their ethnicity, religious persuasion, sexual orientation.
How does the young person understand their identity stemming from being a child in care and a care leaver? Understanding of the world.
How the authority will assist the young person to obtain key documents linked to confirming their age and identity.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/Areas for development.
5. Family and social relationships Assessment of the young person's relationship with their parents and wider family.
Contact with family - carried across from care plan.
Young person's relationship with peers, friendship network and significant adults. Strategy to improve any negative features of these relationships.
How all these relationships will contribute to the young person making a successful transition to adulthood and how they will assist with integration into the community that they identify with.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/areas for development.
6. Practical and other skills necessary for independent living The young person is adequately prepared with the full range of practical skills they will need to manage the next planned move towards greater independence.
The young person is prepared for taking greater responsibility as they are expected to manage more independently.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/Areas for development.
7. Financial arrangements Assessment of care leaver's financial needs and their financial capability.
Does the young person have a bank account, national insurance number, and appreciate the value of regular saving etc.
Do they have access to financial support and adequate income to meet necessary expenses? Where is this from, how much and what does this pay for.
Pathway plan must include a statement of how the authority proposes to maintain a relevant child, the arrangements in place for the young person to receive financial support and contingency plans.
Statement of financial assistance to be provided to a former relevant child.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps/areas for development.
8. (Suitability of) Accommodation (Provision of) Accommodation An assessment of the quality of accommodation where the young person is living/any accommodation under consideration for them to live in.
How far is this suitable to the full range of the young person's needs?
What steps might need to be taken to improve it? (Schedule 2 of the Care Leavers Regulations)
Has the young person attended a housing meeting, registered on the housing register, nominated for Move On or other housing schemes, referred to floating support services post 18years. Access to deposits and payment of rent and bills been discussed.
Evidence of readiness for independence.
Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see.
Any gaps.
Personal Support Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see. Any gaps.
Consent and Participation Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see. Any gaps.
Self assessment and/or other tools used Evidence given. Positive notable points about what you see. Any gaps.
Miscellaneous Risk evident and management identified? Evidence of discussions about young people feeling safe?
Has the form been completed well - are there lots of blanks unnecessarily? Could you tell status easily E,R,FR (without looking at age)?
Has the form been written and presented for us or the y/p? e.g. 'Tom says that he….or Tom is/has' versus ' Tom, you felt your needs were and that you want to….so we agreed that'……..or 'I would like to…… and I think my needs are….'
Is there evidence of accurate transitional planning and information e.g. turning 18years, 21years, adult services, immigration dual or triple planning?
Any other comments/overall thoughts:  
  • Leaving Care Service;
  • Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers;
  • Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review;
  • Multi Agency Risk Assessment;
  • Pathway Planning;
  • Care Leavers Financial Policy for Eligible, Relevant & Former Relevant Young people in Semi or independent living;
  • Care Leavers Financial Policy for post 18yrs Staying Put placements;
  • FE Policy;
  • Minimum Standards for Support Packages for young people;
  • Care Leavers 21 - 25yrs EET Re-engagement Policy;
  • Consent to Share;
  • Case Closure Policy;
  • Move On Scheme Guidance;
  • Lord Mayors Deposit Scheme;
  • Housing Pathways Transition to 18years;
  • Care Leavers Staying Put Post 18yrs;
  • Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former LAC and young people in custody;
  • UASC and ARE Policy;
  • Complaints Procedure;
  • Missing Persons;
  • Suitable Housing Checklist;
  • Leaving Care Setting Up Home Allowance.