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1.3.1 Single Assessment Process: Overview


This chapter provides an overview of the Single Assessment Process it outlines the principles of a good assessment and describes the way the single assessment has been structured locally.


Single Assessment Practice Guidance

Single Assessment Process: Social Care (Part A and Part C)


Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015)

Derby City and Derbyshire Threshold Document


This guidance was reviewed locally in June 2016 and updated as required to reflect current practice.


  1. Introduction
  2. Principles for Good Assessment
  3. The Assessment Process
  4. The Assessment Framework Triangle
  5. Focus on the Child
  6. The Single Assessment Process (Parts A, B and C)

1. Introduction

As a result of changes introduced in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, and stemming from the Munro Review of Child Protection, Derbyshire’s Single Assessment Process was developed in conjunction with Derby City. Derbyshire’s Single Assessment Process encompasses both Early Help and Social Care Assessments and replaces the previously referred to Common Assessment (CAF), Initial and Core Assessments.

A Single Assessment Process in Derbyshire will help to:

  • Ensure the voice of the child is heard and recorded throughout the assessment process;
  • Enable a collaborative assessment where children, young people and their families are encouraged to participate;
  • Encourage and promote practitioner analysis;
  • Strengthen reflective and reflexive social work practice and supervision;
  • Strengthen the use of research in social work practice and analysis;
  • Recognise the importance of early, and outcome focused, planning in interventions;
  • Aid the creating and sustaining of positive relationships with children and families, where the relationship is seen as the context within which change can take place;
  • Ensure clarity for children, their families and other involved professionals in relation to the reason for our involvement;
  • Promote sustained improvements to the quality of life for children and their families;
  • Ensure the assessment process is accessible for all involved;
  • Promote transparency at all stages.

2. Principles for Good Assessment

High quality assessments:

  • Are child centred. Where there is a conflict of interest, decisions should be made in the child’s best interests;
  • Are rooted in child development and informed by evidence;
  • Are focused on action and outcomes for children;
  • Are holistic in approach, addressing the child’s needs within their family and wider community;
  • Ensure equality of opportunity;
  • Involve children and families;
  • Build on strengths as well as identifying difficulties;
  • Are integrated in approach;
  • Are a continuous process not an event;
  • Lead to action, including the provision and review of services; and
  • Are transparent and open to challenge.

3. The Assessment Process

The assessment process involves gathering relevant information, analysing that information, reaching professional judgements and making decisions and planning intervention. This should take place in partnership with children, families and other professionals. Intervention and service delivery should be founded on good quality assessment which becomes the baseline for further assessment, evaluation and review.

Assessment should be a dynamic process, which analyses and responds to the changing nature and level of need and/or risk faced by the child. And as an essential component of good social work practice, good assessment facilitates the monitoring and recording of the impact of any services delivered to the child and family and aids the review of the help delivered. Assessment is not a standalone event and should be seen as an essential part of undertaking quality social work with children and families. Whilst services may be delivered to a parent or carer, the assessment should be focused on the needs of the child and the evaluation on the impact any services are having on the child.

Assessment Cycle

Assessment Cycle

4. The Assessment Framework Triangle

The assessment triangle in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 provides a model, which should be used to examine how the different aspects of the child’s life and context interact and impact on the child. It notes that it is important that:

  • Information is gathered and recorded systematically;
  • Information is checked and discussed with the child and their parents/carers where appropriate;
  • Differences in views about information are recorded; and
  • The impact of what is happening to the child is clearly identified.

Assessment Framework Triangle

How the three domains interact with each other requires careful consideration during the assessment. The Assessment needs to address the central or most important aspects of the needs of a child and the capacity of his or her parents or carers to respond appropriately to these needs within the wider family and community context.

Assessment Framework Triangle

5. Focus on the Child

Children should to be seen, listened to and included throughout the assessment process to ensure the child’s voice is heard and acted upon. Every child communicates, including young children, it is the practitioner’s responsibility to listen and observe verbal and non-verbal communication in all circumstances. Their ways of communicating should be understood in the context of their family and community as well as their behaviour and developmental stage.

Assessments, service provision and decision making should regularly review the impact of the assessment process and the services provided on the child so that the best outcomes for the child can be achieved. Any services provided should be based on a clear analysis of the child’s needs, and the changes that are required to improve the outcomes for the child.

Children should be actively involved in all parts of the process based upon their age, developmental stage and identity, including the opportunity to say what they think might help them and their families. Direct work with the child and family should include observations of the interactions between the child and the parents/care-givers.

All agencies involved with the child, the parents and the wider family have a duty to collaborate and share information to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.

6. The Single Assessment Process (Parts A, B and C)

The Single Assessment Process incorporates the Early Help; Child in Need (S17) and Child Protection (S47) Assessments. It is structured in three parts – A, B and C.

Part A

Part A is completed for all assessments and provides basic information on a family and their current situation.

Part B

Part B is completed for an Early Help Assessment. The EHA is for use by any agency working with children and young people in Derbyshire and it aims to help the early identification of children and young people’s additional needs and to promote coordinated service provision to meet them. The assessment is a family assessment; the needs of each child in the family can be recorded in Part B of the assessment.

If during the Early Help Assessment it becomes evident at any time that a child has suffered significant harm or is at risk of suffering significant harm, workers must follow the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.

The template for use when completing an Early Help Assessment can be found on the Derbyshire County Council Website.

Part C

Part C is completed for a Child in Need (S17) or Child Protection (S47) assessment and will be undertaken by a qualified social worker. This assessment is designed to support confident professional practise and effective timely and purposeful social work interventions with children and families.

Single Assessment Process Part A Part B Part C
Early Help Yes Yes  
Child in Need Yes   Yes
Child Protection Yes   Yes

For further information see:

Single Assessment Practice Guidance

Single Assessment Process - Guidance for Schools