View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures View Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

1.3.3 Section 47 Enquiries

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Where a Section 47 Enquiry is carried out, it should also be read in conjunction with the Local Safeguarding Children Board Inter Agency Procedures.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children Board Inter-Agency Procedures Manual:

Underlying Principles and Values

Agency Roles and Responsibilities Procedure

Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children Procedures Manual, Section 47 Enquiries Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

DfE, Working with foreign authorities: child protection cases and care orders (2014).

AMENDMENT

This chapter was fully reviewed and revised in March 2016 to reflect Working Together.


Contents

  1. Conducting Section 47 Enquiries
  2. Outcomes of a Section 47 Enquiry
  3. Recording Section 47 Enquiries


1. Conducting Section 47 Enquiries

This section should be read in conjunction with Local Safeguarding Board Procedures and the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children Board Inter-Agency Procedures Manual:

1.1 The Single Assessment is the means by which a Section 47 Enquiry is carried out. The objective of the Section 47 Enquiry is to determine whether action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. The decision to initiate a Section 47 Enquiry will be taken by the team manager after a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and where such a decision is made the Section 47 Enquiry must be completed within 15 working days.
1.2 The social worker, when conducting a Section 47 Enquiry, must assess the potential needs and safety of any other child in the household of the child in question. In addition, Section 47 Enquiries may be required concerning any children in other households with whom the alleged abuser may have contact.
1.3 In determining who should be involved in a Section 47 Enquiry, consideration should include with whom the family is most likely to cooperate, and whether there are any risks. In all cases where there is a known propensity to violence within the family household, consideration should be given to the strategy to be adopted, with Police advice/assistance if appropriate, about how to reduce the risks before any visits take place.
1.4 The child must always be seen and communicated with alone in the course of a Section 47 Enquiry by the Lead Social Worker, unless it is contrary to his or her interests to do so. The Strategy Discussion/Meeting will plan any interview with the child. The Record of Section 47 Enquiry and Reports to Child Protection Conferences should include the date(s) when the child was seen alone by the Lead Social Worker and, if not seen alone, who was present and the reasons for their presence.
1.5 Before a child is seen or interviewed parental permission must be gained unless there are exceptional circumstances that demonstrate that it would not be in the child’s interests and to do so may jeopardise the child's safety and welfare. Relevant exceptional circumstances would include:
  • The possibility that a child would be threatened or otherwise coerced into silence;
  • A strong likelihood that important evidence would be destroyed; or
  • That the child in question did not wish the parent to be involved at that stage, and is competent to take that decision.
1.6 In such circumstances, the social worker must take legal advice about how to proceed and whether legal action may be required, for example through an application for an Emergency Protection Order or a Child Assessment Order.


2. Outcomes of a Section 47 Enquiry

The outcome of a Section 47 Enquiry must be endorsed by the team manager.

A Section 47 Enquiry may conclude that concerns were unsubstantiated, concerns were substantiated but the child is not judged to be at continuing risk of suffering Significant Harm, or the concerns are substantiated and the child is judged to be at continuing risk of suffering Significant Harm.

2.1 Concerns not substantiated

  1. No Further Action
    Enquiries have revealed that there are no causes for concern. The child may be a Child in Need but the family do not wish for services to be provided, in which case the case will be closed;
  2. Family Support to be provided
    Enquiries have revealed that there are no causes for concern but that there are needs that could be met by the short term provision of services either under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 or by signposting the family to another agency. The family are willing for a short-term package of support to be provided, or continue to be provided;

    Where services are to be provided under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, the social worker/team manager should convene a Child in Need Planning Meeting within 7 working days to agree a Child in Need Plan – see Child Action Meetings and Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure.

2.2 Concerns substantiated but no continuing risk

  1. Enquiries have confirmed that the child suffered Significant Harm, but it has been agreed between the agencies most involved and the child and their family that a plan for safeguarding the child’s future safety and welfare can be developed and implemented without having an Initial Child Protection Conference or a Child Protection Plan. This decision must be endorsed by a suitably experienced and qualified social work manager;
  2. The social worker/team manager must convene a Child in Need Planning Meeting to be held within 7 working days to agree a Child in Need Plan - see Child Action Meetings and Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure.

2.3 Child at continuing risk of suffering Significant Harm

  1. Enquiries have revealed that the child may continue to suffer or to be at risk of suffering Significant Harm;

    An Initial Child Protection Conference must be convened within 15 working days of the Strategy Discussion/Meeting where the decision to initiate a Section 47 Enquiry was made. The request to convene the conference must be supported by a team manager. For the detailed procedure in relation to Child Protection Conferences, see the Local Safeguarding Children Board Inter Agency Procedures;
  2. Where immediate protective action is required, the advice of Legal Services should be sought;
  3. The Single Assessment should be completed within 45 working days of the commencement of the Section 47 Enquiry;
  4. Consideration should be given by the date of the Initial Child Protection Conference where one is convened to whether the Single Assessment had been completed or what further work is required before it is completed.


3. Recording Section 47 Enquiries

10.1 The social worker should record the Single Assessment on a Single Assessment Record.
10.2 The completed Assessment must be approved by the Team Manager.
10.3 The child (depending on age and understanding) and parent should be given a copy of the record.
10.4 The Single Assessment is deemed completed once the assessment has been discussed with the child and family and authorised by the manager.
10.5 Where a Section 47 Enquiry is conducted (see Section 1, Conducting Section 47 Enquiries), the social worker should record their actions/information gathered during the course of the enquiry and its outcomes on a Record of Section 47 Enquiries, which should be approved by the team manager.

End