Details of how to respond to a referral are set out at page 26. It is confirmed here that a decision as to how to respond to the referral should be made within one day. Interestingly it is also stated here that this should include determining whether the child is in need and should be assessed under Section 17 of the Act. This seems to be the wrong way round in that it is this assessment which determines whether the child is in need rather than being carried out once a finding has been made. Perhaps this should be treated as referring to the social worker deciding that they have reason to believe that the child is in need and that an assessment should be carried out. It is also stated her that the child and family must be informed of decision which is to be made within one working day. This does give us a lot of leverage to be making complaints very early on where there is no movement.
Reference is made at page 29 to requests being made for need for assistance from other parts of the local authority such as housing. It is hard to think what other assistance housing can provide other than accommodation. It might therefore be useful for us to be asking the Children's Services Department to ask the housing department for accommodation from their stocks used for homeless families.
At page 30 it is stated that assessments should be carried out in a timely manner. This means that the 45 working day time limit should not be treated as the absolute maximum time for completing the report rather than as the target date.
At page 30 it is stated the assessment should determine whether the child is in need and that if services as to be provided then a child in need plan should be developed setting out measurable outcomes. This provision might be of use in challenging assessments where the service are only referred to in vague terms.