Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 requires the local authority to make enquiries to enable it to decide whether action is required to safeguard and promote the well-being of the child. Children's social care will carry out an assessment as a means of conducting the Section 47 enquiries using the SET child protection procedures.
The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether the child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm and to assess whether action is required to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. Health, education and other services have a statutory duty to help children's social care to carry out the Section 47 enquiry. Social workers will work with the police in the case of a criminal investigation.
All professionals in agencies with contact with children and members of their families must make a referral to the Thurrock MASH if there are signs that a child or an unborn baby:
- is suffering significant harm through abuse or neglect
- is likely to suffer significant harm in the future
The timing of such referrals should reflect the level of perceived risk of harm, not longer than within one working day of identification or disclosure of harm or risk of harm.
In urgent situations, out of office hours, the referral should be made to children's social care emergency out of hours service.
Further advice about recognition of abuse and neglect can be found in the SET child protection procedures.