Back to The duty to report a child at risk of abuse, neglect and/ or harm

Gathering information to make a report

Anyone, including the public, may report actual, alleged or suspected abuse or neglect directly to social services by phone, e-mail or in writing.

All reports must be made immediately by [practitioners(#tooltip) to social services, and/or police where it is suspected that a crime has been committed or is being committed.

Where a report is made by telephone to local authority social services, the practitioner making the report must confirm the report in writing within 1 working day.

Practitioners must use the report forms provided by the local authority.

A report to social services should include the information available about the child, family and their circumstances, considering the role of the individual and their agency.

Information to include in a report

Whilst it is important to provide the information in the table below, if immediate action is required to protect the child at risk this must take precedence over gathering information.

The information required should be proportionate and include:

Basic information

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Cause for concern

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Information held

Whilst the above provides details of the information that should be gathered it is recognised that not all practitioners will have this detail.


Lack of detail must not prevent reporting a safeguarding concern.

Remember that a failure to share information can place a child at increased risk of harm and is a common feature of child practice reviews. Whilst information in isolation may seem insignificant when put together with information from other sources it may become important to safeguarding the child at risk.

For futher guidance see: (Working Together to Safeguard People; Information sharing to Safeguard Children)

Pointers for Practice: Making A Report:

Pointers for Practice: How to Apply the Safeguarding Process to Practice