I was reminded by Elizabeth Isaacs QC in her talk to the ALC Conference about the revised Working Together guidance issued earlier in the year and updated in August 2013. The guidance replaces the previous guidance of the same name and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need & their Families.
There is a good summary of the guidance on the NSPCC website
from which page you can download the new guidance and there are links to the old documents.
A key change for local authorities is that they are no longer required to carry out separate initial and core assessments but can determine their own assessment methodology for which they should put in place a local protocol.
Local authorities must follow the new statutory guidance unless exceptional reasons apply and the guidance should also be applied by Local Safeguarding Children's Boards & senior managers in organisations who commission & provide services for children & families.
Gone are the five key outcomes for children. Instead local authorities must take action to enable all children to have the best outcomes but this is not defined.
The need for local authorities providing services to children to comply with the Equality Act 2010 is emphasised within the new guidance.
Social work practitioners are enjoined to ensure that they:
* focus on the needs and views of the child;
* review & revise their opinions & decisions in light of any new evidence;
* engage in critical reflection through supervision;
* record their decisions;
* complete assessments within 45 days
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