Local authority children’s social care should decide how they will respond to the referral and record next steps of action within one working day. This information should be consistent with the information set out in the Referral and Information Record (Department of Health, 2002). This decision should normally follow discussion with any referring professional/service, consideration of information held in any existing records and involve discussion with other professionals and services as necessary (including the police, where a criminal offence may have been committed against a child).
An initial consideration of the case should address; on the basis of the available evidence; whether there are concerns about impairment to the child’s health and development or the child suffering harm which justifies an initial assessment to establish whether this child is a child in need. Local authority children’s social care should ensure that the social work practitioners who are responding to referrals are supported by experienced and competent first line managers in making sound evidence based decisions about what to do next. Further action by children’s social care may also include referral to other agencies, the provision of information or advice; such as suggesting the completion of a common assessment by the referring agency or organisation; or no further action.