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3.1 Child in Need Plans and Reviews


This chapter does not apply to children who are the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Where the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, this will be drawn up in outline at the Initial Child Protection Conference and in detail at the Core Group meeting(s). It will be reviewed by a Child Protection Review Conference. Please see the Local Safeguarding Children Board's Inter Agency Procedures in relation to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan.

For children who are in receipt of Short Breaks, see also the Short Breaks Procedure.

See also Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Procedure.


In, May 2018 amendments were made throughout this chapter in line with local practice, and the chapter should be re-read. In Section 3, Reviews of Child in Need Plans - Reviews will be conducted at intervals as specified in the practice standards for practitioners. Child in need meetings should be held within 10 days of allocation, if the case is to remain open longer than 10 working days, and thereafter every 40 working days.


  1. Child in Need Planning Meetings
  2. Child in Need Plans
  3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

1. Child in Need Planning Meetings

Child in Need Planning Meetings should be arranged within 10 working days of the start of the single assessment.

The Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for a child and his or her parents/carers, together with key agencies, to identify and agree the package of services required and to develop the Child in Need Plan. The meeting should discuss, review and challenge the progress of agreed actions. Any written information provided by professionals not at the meetings should be shared. Any updates to the plans and any issues that cannot be resolved should be noted at the meeting.

All Child in Need Planning Meetings should be attended by the child (depending on age and understanding), parents/carers and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment or already in place.

The relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Child in Need Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting. A note taker should also be booked for the meeting.

It will be important that an appropriate venue suitable for the child and his or her family are used for the meeting. Consideration must be given to transport, timing and any child care issues. Where a child is attending a meeting and is of school age the meeting should be held outside of school time, wherever possible.

The social worker with the assistance of the contact and liason officer is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations.

A note of the meeting will be taken by the note-taker or Chair. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s. The child’s plan and meeting record should be written up, signed off by the manager and distributed in line with practice standards for practitioners.

2. Child in Need Plans

A Child in Need Plan will be developed in a Child in Need Planning Meeting.

Most Child in Need Plans will envisage that Children's Services intervention will end within a reasonable time period. For this reason a manager should chair the Child in need meeting once every 6 months. This will help to ensure that the child/ren are being held at the most appropriate level. It is acknowledged that some children and families may require longer term support, for example children with disabilities.

The Child in Need Plan must identify the Keyworker and Lead Professional, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved.

The Child in Need Plan should:

  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required;
  • Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child;
  • Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
  • Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable;
  • Not be dependent on resources which are known to be scarce or unavailable;
  • Identify the Lead Professional and his or her responsibilities, including frequency of visits to the child;
  • Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of other professionals and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals with children and family members;
  • Highlight how the plan will be reviewed and whether there has been sufficient progress.

The Chair of the Child in Need Planning Meeting is responsible for the distribution of the Child in Need Plan. A copy of the Child in Need Plan should be provided to the parents, child (if old enough) and the agencies or other professionals involved in the provision of services under the Plan.

The Lead Professional or another person who is identified in the meeting is responsible for implementing the plan including making referrals to appropriate agencies for services as described in the plan.

Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the plan and services provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies.

3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Reviews will be conducted at intervals in line with practice standards. This is 40 working days.

If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early meeting should be considered. However the meeting may take a different format, when for example a situation needs escalation.

Any Child Protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures and Social Care policy.

The Review meeting will focus on the Child in Need plan and will record progress and highlight where actions have not been completed within timescales.

The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the services provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the time-scales set.

Where it is proposed that a complex package of support being provided under a Child in Need Plan should continue beyond 6 months there should be a specific review chaired by the manager of the responsible team. Exceptions to this may be those cases where the plan acknowledges the need for longer term support, for example in relation to children who meet the criteria for a service in relation to a disability.

The child’s plan should be recorded and updated on the child’s electronic record.

A copy of the record should be sent to the child (if old enough), parent and all other participants in the Review process.

The outcome of a Review could be:

  1. That the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring Children's Social Care Services intervention, which will result in a recommendation to the team manager that the case will be stepped down to MAST services or lead professional within universal services. A child may continue to receive services from a single agency or under a multi-agency plan not involving Children's Social Care;
  2. That the child continues to be a Child in Need requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and minor amendment, as necessary, of the Child in Need Plan;
  3. That the child appears to be at risk of Significant Harm, resulting in the need for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and possible Section 47 Enquiry.

Where the outcome of the Review is an amendment to the Child in Need Plan, the Lead Professional should circulate a copy of the amended Plan to the child, parents, and other agencies/professionals involved in providing the services set out in the amended Plan, including any new services to be provided. This should be distributed in line with practice standards for practitioners.