Core assessment completed

Core assessment completed

Key points

If at any point during the assessment (or after) it is thought that the child is at increased risk of significant harm, steps should be taken to protect them and a review conference requested.

It may be necessary to ask another agency to carry out a specialist assessment: a risk assessment on an offender, for example. If so, referrals should be made to those agencies.

How to do it

Although the social worker is responsible for the coordination and completion of the core assessment, other professionals should be involved in undertaking parts of the assessment or contributing to it from their own knowledge and records.

Children should be involved throughout the assessment process. Where parents agree, they should be interviewed separately and, where appropriate, have access to an advocate. However, where parents disagree the worker must decide whether

  • the child is able and old enough to be seen against parents’ wishes
  • what damage, if any, will be done to the relationship between the worker and parents if they see the child, and what effect this will have on the child’s well-being.

If the child is not able to understand, parental refusal must be respected unless the assessment is being completed as part of an enquiry into suspicions of significant harm (Section 47 Children’s Act 1989). If this is the case, the social worker and their manager will have to decide how they can talk to the child. This could include applying for an emergency protection order, on the grounds that they are being obstructed in their enquiry.

A copy of the completed core assessment should be provided to the child and parents. It may be appropriate to provide extra copies to other family members, but this should be discussed with the child and parents.