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1.4.1 Section 47 Enquiries


The purpose of a Section 47 Enquiry is to gather information by interviewing parents/carers, other professionals. Separate interviews with the child/ren should be undertaken, except where it can be demonstrated that it is not practical or consistent with the child’s welfare at this time. (See also Section 4, Participation in Assessment and Section 47 Enquiries of Participation of Children and Young People in Assessments and Decision Making Procedure).

An essential feature of a Section 47 Enquiry is the evaluation of information gathered related to the assessment and consequent management of risk.


Statutory Assessments (Child and Family Assessments) Procedure

Newcastle SCB Procedures Manual, Section 47 Enquiries


  1. Responsibilities of the Social Worker
  2. Section 47 Enquiries Guidance

1. Responsibilities of the Social Worker

  • Lead Section 47 Enquires alongside the Police Protection Unit (PPU) as identified in the Strategy Discussion;
  • Undertake a Statutory Assessment;
  • Consider the need for a medical examination, which may be necessary for evidential purposes and/or the child, may require assessment and treatment;
  • Contact the on-call paediatrician;
  • Consider whether there is a need to video interview a child, with a view to gathering evidence for criminal proceedings;
  • Convene further Strategy Discussions as necessary;
  • Inform parents and professionals involved of the outcome of the Section 47 Enquiries;
  • Record Section 47 on pro forma soon as possible.

2. Section 47 Enquiries Guidance

This section provides direction or advice to a decision or course of action.

Children's Social Care is responsible for taking a lead role in the child protection process.

A Statutory Assessment must always be undertaken when there is a concern that a child may have suffered unexplained injuries, particularly where the child is immobile (e.g. young baby or child with disability, complex health needs).

There may be circumstances where the welfare of the child dictates that contact should not immediately be made with the parents. These may include:

  • Where either or both of the parents are alleged or suspected perpetrator(s);
  • Where risk of significant harm to the child is feared from either or both parents or where other children in the same household are felt to be at risk of Significant Harm;
  • Where a child, of sufficient age and competence, expressly wishes their parents not to be informed of the early stage of an investigation;
  • Where other reasons apply.

Parental permission should be sought prior to any medical examination and written consent granted using the medical consent form.

See Newcastle SCB Procedures Manual, Section 47 Enquiries (Initial Investigations) Procedure, Medical/Paediatric Assessment for further information.

A young person has the right to refuse to participate in a medical examination, so long as he or she is of sufficient age and understanding (Fraser Guidelines).

Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings lays out good practice guidance for video interviews. Further Strategy Discussions may be required to consider the plan or agree further action.