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National Homeless Advice Service

Child in need assessment

Local authorities must conduct an assessment of needs in order to determine what kind of support and assistance is necessary to meet the needs of a young person under 18.

The assessment should be carried out by a social worker from the children’s social services department with input from all agencies involved, and must be conducted in accordance with statutory guidance and principles established by case law.

See Shelter Legal: Children in need for more information.

Assessments should be ‘child-centred’ and take account of young people’s wishes.

If a local authority fails to carry out a child in need assessment, or if the assessment does not comply with guidance and case law, the authority maybe subject to judicial review through the courts.

Individuals unhappy about the action or inaction of a local authority can also complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).

Standard letter for making a referral to children social services