In England, 531.8 children’s social care assessments* per 10,000 children were conducted in 2017/2018. This implies an 11.9% increase in the national assessment rate since 2014/1015.
- In 2017/18, the East of England has 40% less social care assessments* per 10,00 children than the North West.
- Nationally there has been an increase in children social care assessments of 11.9% since 2014/15.
- The assessment rate in the South East has increased the most with 24.56% over the period of 2014/15 to 2017/18, while the East of England has experienced a decrease in its assessments rate of 3.6% over the same timeframe.
The number of Child in Need (CIN) assessments has been steadily rising over the past three years. But as the chart shows, this increase has been very different regionally. By and large, Councils want CIN numbers to be appropriate and for ‘Early Help’ to have helped as many children as possible before beginning statutory processes. Whilst demographic factors, stress on families and relative child deprivation play a part, the differences between regions are not wholly explained by relative need. Many Councils will say they want to be carrying out less assessments and using their scarce resources better. That is why a group of other factors are likely to be very important in managing this demand. These factors include regulation (a critical OFSTED inspection will drive up assessments) but also social worker caseload, the strength of partnership working with other agencies like police, the quality of social work practice, good local leadership and the stability of workforce.
Since 2014/2015, not only the number of children social care assessments has grown by 11.9%. Also the national average unit cost expenditure for children’s social care has increased by 9.18%, averaging to £774 per head in 2017/2018. Find out more about the regional variation in expenditure and the implications of the growth here.
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* Referrals and Assessments: Upon receiving a referral, indicating that there are concerns about the safety and well-being of a child, Children’s Services have 24 hours to decide what type of response is required. Unless the child requires immediate protection, social workers conduct an assessment within 45 days from the point of referral to analyse the child's needs and the level of risk or harm the child is exposed to. (Source: Child Law Advice)