In relation to children:
Assessments are undertaken of the needs of individual children to determine what services to provide and action to take. They may be carried out:
- To gather important information about a child and family;
- To analyse their needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child;
- To decide whether the child is a Child in Need (Section 17) and/or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm (Section 47); and
- To provide support to address those needs to improve the child's outcomes to make them safe.
Working Together 2013 removed the requirement for separate Initial Assessments and Core Assessments. One Assessment may be undertaken instead.
The maximum timeframe for the assessment to conclude, such that it is possible to reach a decision on next steps, should be no longer than 45 working days from the point of referral. If, in discussion with a child and their family and other professionals, an assessment exceeds 45 working days the social worker should record the reasons for exceeding the time limit.
Assessments should be conducted in accordance with Chapter 1 of Working Together 2015, and the Local Protocol for Assessment.
In relation to adults:
The process whereby the needs of an individual are identified alongside their impact on independence, daily functioning and quality of life so that appropriate care, health or other services can be planned. Where services might be required by more than one agency, multi-agency assessments may be undertaken.
See also Needs Assessment.