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

Overview of section

This section includes procedures relating to practitioner roles and responsibilities, following receipt of a report by social services about a child at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. It is essential that practitioners understand what is meant by significant harm when assessing and intervening following a report about a child at risk of harm, abuse or neglect.

The first part of this section covers the procedures relating to specific practitioner responsibilities when responding to a report.

This includes:

Having obtained information from the report-maker and other practitioners, social services must decide on the action following a report: initial checks and decisions.

This includes:

Immediate protection and urgent action may be required at any stage of the safeguarding process. It is important practitioners understand:

If the initial checks, following a report, conclude that social services have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm they should convene a strategy discussion/meeting.

The procedures cover:

Key decision made at the strategy meeting/discussion is whether any s47 enquiry ensuing S47 enquiries should be:


The s47 enquiries commence once a strategy discussion/meeting decides that the evidence indicates they are necessary. In this case it is important that practitioners understand S47 enquiries: key considerations. Those engaged in the enquiries should know their roles and responsibilities in relation to:

Those involved in the strategy meetings/discussions need to play a part in S47 enquiries: analysis and decision-making.

This means:

Recording: s47 information and key decisions is essential throughout the process.

Practitioners need to know about:

The way in which the child and family are involved in the s47 enquiry process can impact on subsequent work that is undertaken with them. It is important therefore practitioners are working with the child and family during section 47 enquiries.

This includes: