Laming recommendation on initial assessments scrapped

The government has scrapped a key recommendation made by Lord Laming after the death of Baby P after the LGA said it would need 6,000 extra social workers to implement it.

Laming said all referrals to children’s services from other professionals should lead to an initial assessment, including direct involvement with the child or young person and their family.

However, in its one-year on response to Lord Laming’s report, the government has watered down this recommendation, saying individual councils should decide whether to do this.

“It is the local authority’s responsibility to decide whether to undertake an initial assessment based on the information provided by the referrer, other professionals involved with the child and information held in existing records,” the report said.

The government has also decided not to implement Laming’s recommendation that police and other agencies automatically refer all cases to social services when “domestic violence or drug or alcohol abuse may put a child at risk of abuse or neglect”.

More than three-quarters of councils recently surveyed by Loughborough University said local police “automatically refer” all cases of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse where children were involved without consideration of social care thresholds.

The government said today that local children’s trust boards needed to come up with local agreements and protocols to assess and manage the risk in such cases and subsequent referrals.

The report said: “Arrangements for shared common assessment and early support are also part of the local solutions to this recommendation.” it adds that children’s trusts should also be ensuring that children living with violence, the mental ill health of a parent or a substance-abusing adult should be prioritised in statutory plans

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