Working together to support disabled parents

The policy and legislative frameworks - Tools for inter-agency working

A key aim of current policy is to shift the focus from dealing with the consequences of difficulties in children's lives to preventing things from going wrong. Four initiatives are intended to help achieve this:

The Common assessment framework is designed to help people in contact with children (particularly those in universal services) to identify any additional needs children may have if they are to achieve the five Every child matters outcomes. It also aims to improve multi-agency working by providing a clear process for a holistic assessment of a child's needs, taking account of the individual, their family and their community. All local authority areas are expected to be using the Common assessment framework from April 2006 and before the end of 2008.

The 'lead professional’ is the person responsible for coordinating actions identified in the assessment and will be a single point of contact for children with additional needs who are being supported by more than one service or practitioner.

Information sharing will be promoted by Contact Point. This will hold core data on every child, including the general practice where they receive primary health care, the school they attend and contact details of practitioners working with the child. Such procedures are supported by DfES practice guidance on information sharing.

The Integrated Children's System (ICS) is a framework for working to improve the outcomes for children in need. By the end of 2006, all local authorities were expected to have implemented an electronic system locally to support the use of the Integrated Children's System. This means that children’s social care staff are using electronic case records routinely to help them in their work. This is intended to help managers and practitioners collect, use and share information systematically and effectively. (see