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3.1.6 Guidance For Completion of Section 47 Documents

This chapter details the practice around completing a Section47 Enquiry.


Sussex Child Protection & Safeguarding Procedures, Response to Child protection Referrals


  1. The Process
  2. Informing Families and Professionals that a s47 Investigation is being Undertaken and the Outcome
  3. Using the document
  4. Quality and Standards

1. The Process

The decision to undertake a Section 47 investigation is the responsibility of the POD Team Manager. This decision will be made following a case discussion between the Social Worker and the POD Team Manager. Once a decision has been made to undertake a s47, a case management decision case note will be completed by the POD Team Manager and placed on CareFirst. The POD Team Manager is also responsible for opening the s47 assessment document and the completion of a Strategy Discussion form which will include as a minimum, input from Police and Health colleagues. This initial strategy discussion/meeting will be undertaken on the same working day.

2. Informing Families and Professionals that a s47 Investigation is being Undertaken and the Outcome

If a decision is made to undertake s47 investigation, families must be provided with the s47 information pack.

In all cases, (although contact may already have been made with children and their families), a letter must be sent confirming this. Please send with this letter, the leaflet ‘Child Protection Enquiries & Investigations’.


In all cases a letter must be sent to relevant professionals advising that we are conducting a Child Protection investigation. (A letter must be sent even if you have contacted the relevant agency to undertake checks).

In all cases, (unless you have management agreement not to), a letter must be sent to families advising them of the outcome of the investigation, and future planning. i.e. continuing assessment via SA, ICPC, Early Help, Closure etc, as agreed with your manager.

In all cases, letters/emails must be sent to professionals/agencies advising them of the outcome of the s47.

(A copy of the letter/email must be saved in case notes).

3. Using the document

The s47 document is a ‘stand alone’ assessment, which can be initiated at the same time as a Strengthening Families Assessment and also whilst a Strengthening Families Assessment is being conducted should the case progress to threshold.

In most cases in Front Door for Families and Assessment Services, a s47 is opened alongside a Strengthening Families Assessment determined by the referral information and initial visit. Therefore the start date of both assessments in this circumstance will be the same. In All cases, a s47 will be linked to a strategy discussion form.

The two documents mirror each other, and CareFirst has the facility to ‘view last’ on both documents so that the information will transfer from one document to the other.

The ‘view last’ option becomes available to use once the assessment document has been authorised by a manager. Please refer to the SA Guidance for advice on completion of those sections that are duplicated within the SA.

When working with a Strengthening Families Assessment and s47 document at the same time, in ALL cases, Social Workers must use the s47 assessment document as their working document and input the information into the s47. The date of the visit to the child however MUST be input into the Strengthening Families Assessment document as our data collation for this Performance Indicator is generated by this action).

At the point that the Pod Team Manager makes the decision on the s47 i.e. Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC), continuation of SA etc, the s47 will be authorised and closed. The Social Worker can then use the ‘view last’ to pull all information input into the s47 through to the Strengthening Families Assessment document.

In cases where a Strengthening Families Assessment has been open for some days before a s47 the information from the Strengthening Families Assessment will need to be cut and pasted onto the s47.

4. Quality and Standards

An Initial Child Protection Case Conference must be held within 15 working days from the start date of the s47. This is a Performance Indicator which we are measured on.

Therefore as a minimum requirement the following information (as fully as possible) must be input into the s47 document by the 4th/5th working day from the start date of the s47 to enable the Pod Team Manager to make an informed decision relating to requirement for ICPC.

1. Background Information Section

Please note: (unless agreed by TM child/ren MUST be seen on the same day). N.B. The date that the child is seen MUST be input into the ‘dropdown’ on the Strengthening Families Assessment document as soon as the visit has been completed. Ensure ethnicity/religion are recorded and considered.

2. Family Details Section

Input into chronology as fully as possible in this timescale.

3. s47 Information Section

The grid must be FULLY completed. It is the responsibility of the Social Worker to follow up requests to other professionals for s47 checks. Agencies have a statutory obligation to provide this information in a timely way. Should a named professional involved in the family be unavailable (i.e. on annual leave etc), then there is a clear expectation that a colleague from the same agency provides as much information as possible in response to the s47 request for checks. (PLEASE INSIST ON A TIMELY RESPONSE AND REPORT ANY ISSUES TO YOUR MANAGER).

3b. Transferring information from this grid into SA/ICPC report

The full detail from the grid MUST NOT be copied and paste or ‘view only’ into SA/ICPC report. A summary of findings outlining strengths/concerns from specific agencies contacted is required.

N.B. All agencies are required to provide a report to conference with full updated information.

Summary of checks must be completed. A visit to the child must be completed.

4. Assessment of Risk Factors Section

As a minimum, the ‘presenting concerns’ must be completed in the timescales of 4-5th working day from start of the assessment.

All other information in this section can be input during the course of ongoing assessment. (of course any information that you may have in these timescales should be included).

5. Analysis Section

An analysis of reasons for ICPC should be completed by the social worker in conjunction with the Pod Team Manager. The S47 document must be authorised by the Pod Team Manager as they make the decision whether to go to ICPC. If ICPC is agreed, TM can input into this section alongside the Social Worker.

Should outcome of s47 be continuation of the Strengthening Families Assessment the analysis from the s47 document should not be cut and pasted into the SA analysis as there should be an updated analysis in this document.

A decision may also be taken to continue s47. The full timescale for completion of the s47 assessment is 15 working days maximum.

6. Outline Plan

This should be completed as fully as possible to inform the Child Protection Plan.