View Working Together 2013 View Working Together 2013

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 Swindon 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 Through Statutory Assessment (Social Care) Procedure.

The legal framework for this chapter is contained in the Children Act 1989, Section 17.


This chapter was updated in August 2016, with the revised definition of children in need, and minor changes throughout.


  1. Child in Need - definition
  2. Child in Need Review Meetings
  3. Child in Need Plans
  4. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

1. Child in Need - definition

A Child in Need is defined in Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, if:

  • S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have opportunity to so do, a reasonable standard of health or development without provision of services by a local authority; or
  • Her/his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without such services; or
  • S/he is disabled.

2. Child in Need Review Meetings

Child in Need Review Meetings will follow a Statutory Assessment (see Assessment Procedure), where the assessment has concluded that a package of family support is required to meet the child's needs under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

The Review 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.

All Child in Need Review Meetings should be attended by the child (depending on understanding), parents/carers and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment. If the child does not wish to attend the meeting their views and wishes should still be sought and their views represented.

The child's allocated social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Review Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made 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 with the least disruption to the child.

The first Review Meeting will usually be chaired by the social worker and/or supervisor.

The allocated child's social worker, supported by the business support team, is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations.

The chair will be responsible for the meeting notes. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent(s), who will need to sign their agreement.

3. Child in Need Plans

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

The Child in Need Plan must identify the Lead Professional, who may not be a social worker, 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.

In particular, the Child in Need Plan will:

  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required;
  • Reflect the positive aspects of the family situation as well as the areas that require change or improvement;
  • 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;
  • A balanced approach to resources which are known to be scarce;
  • Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of all professionals and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals with children and family members;
  • Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed and the means by which it will be judged.

The Chair of the Child in Need Planning Meeting is responsible for the distribution of the Child in Need minutes and Plan. These will 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 will be responsible for implementing the plan including delegation of 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.

4. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Reviews will be conducted at intervals agreed with the Lead Professional’s line manager, which will be at intervals of 6 weeks, 3 months and six months thereafter. This can include disabled children whose circumstances remain consistent and the services provided do not require such a regular review.

If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early review should take place.

Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with Swindon Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.

The Review will usually be carried out by the Lead Professional, who should invite or seek the views of the child, parents and any service providers. The responsible team will administer all Child in Need Reviews. 

The Review will generally take place within a meeting, unless the manager agrees otherwise. The Lead Professional or line manager will usually chair the meeting. If the case is not allocated, the manager of the responsible team must undertake the review or arrange for it to be undertaken on his/her behalf.

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

All decisions made should be recorded on the child’s electronic record, together with reasons, and dated.

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 will be one of the following:

  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 be closed although the 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’s needs are sufficiently complex and/or (s)he requires additional services to safeguard and promote his or her welfare such as to justify a further Statutory Assessment to be undertaken;
  4. 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 as part of a Statutory Assessment.

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.