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2.5 Documentation Guidance


  1. Referral and Information Record
  2. Placement Information Record
  3. Child Plan
  4. Chronology
  5. Consultation Papers
  6. Review Form
  7. Assessment and Action Records

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, all documents should be completed with the child/young person and person with Parental Responsibility by the child’s social worker. 

Social workers must ensure that the forms (on ICS) are fully completed.

1. Referral and Information Record

Where services are being provided, the Referral and Initial Information Record should be regularly updated to ensure essential information about a child and family remains accurate and up to date. 

The Referral and Information Record has three functions:

  • To record the source and reason for referral or request for services;
  • To record the response of Children’s Social Care and Safeguarding Services and other relevant agencies to a referral or request for services;
  • To provide a record of essential information about a child.

2. Placement Information Record

This is designed to hold important information about a child/ young person about their placement. It is recorded on the Placement Plan.

3. Child Plan

All children and young people require a written Child Plan. This is to be distinguished from Care Plans which are prepared in legal proceedings. In situations where there are legal proceedings under Section 31 Children Act 1989, the legal Care Plan is still required.

The Child Plan ensures that all children/young people looked after have clearly stated objectives set out for achieving and meeting the welfare needs of that child/young person. The Child Plan must be kept up to date and rewritten when the plan for the child is changed.

It is important that the Child Plan records information which will help the child, parent, or carer understand why decisions have been, or are being, made. The plan should set out:

  • Information about the long-term plan for the child, including timescales;
  • The arrangements to meet the child’s needs, including arrangements for contact;
  • Details of the Placement Plan;
  • The name of the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • Details of the Health Plan and Personal Education Plan;
  • The wishes and feelings of relevant people about the arrangements and about any proposed changes to the plan.

There should be a contingency plan, in the event that the Child Plan is not achievable.

Foster carers should play an active role in agreeing the contents of the Placement Plan, including essential information about the child, such as health, educational and emotional needs, how these may affect the child and appropriate strategies for responding. This will include information about any behaviour which was of concern in a previous placement or other setting.

4. Chronology

A Chronology can be used in different ways. Many professionals, such as social workers, are required to maintain a Chronology for children on their caseload, to records all significant events and changes in the life of a child.

Also, as part of the process for Serious Case Reviews, agencies are required to draw up Chronologies relating to their involvement with children. These Chronologies are then brought together as an Overview Integrated Chronology, which can be used as an analytical tool to help understand the impact of events and changes on the child in question.

5. Consultation Papers

There are three types of consultation papers:

  • For parent/person with Parental Responsibility;
  • For foster carer/residential worker or independent visitor;
  • For child/young person.

These papers allow people to have an opportunity to have their view heard and recorded before a statutory review. It is important that these documents are completed.

6. Review Form

A review form, following proper consultation and completion is intended to inform the LAC Review of the six month period since the last review. It is to be completed by the named social worker as a social work report as fully and comprehensively as possible.

The Placement Information Record must be updated prior to any review.

7. Assessment and Action Records

Assessment and Action Records are intended to be used by the foster carer or social worker as a practice tool and should be completed with the child.

The six ages related Assessment and Action Records are designed to promote good quality care for children/young people for whom the Local Authority shares/holds responsibility.

The Assessment and Action Records are designed to assess the quality of care across the seven dimensions of a child's developmental needs as agreed by the Department of Health.

Assessment and Action Records are to be considered for all children at their second LAC Review which will be approximately four months after they enter the Looked After system. The decision to complete an Assessment and Action Record will be made at the second LAC Review and arrangements should be made to complete the Assessment and Action Record for all Looked After Children unless a definite return date within the following two months has been agreed.

The frequency of completing Assessment and Action Records for children of 5 years and under will be every 6 months whereas children over 5 years they will be completed annually.

The Assessment and Action Records are most valuable when completed as part of the planning and review system to provide a means for putting identified plans into action and ensuring that identified needs are met.

The completed summary sheet should be brought to the Review, the agenda for which should be set, partly by the issues raised during the completion of records.

The records raise sensitive issues for young people and it may be more appropriate for them to be completed by a foster carer or residential care worker who may have a positive and closer relationship with the child/young person.