Multi-Agency Neglect Tool Box

It is important that children and young people receive the right service at the right time.  In order for this to happen, all staff and volunteers who have contact with children, young people and families have a duty of care to identify issues at the earliest opportunity and assess what intervention is required.

Assessment should be a dynamic process that identifies, analyses and responds to the changing nature and level of need and/or risk faced by a child or young person. A good assessment will enable practitioners to intervene at the right time with the right level of support and to monitor and record the impact of any services delivered to the child and family. Continuous assessment is crucial in ensuring that the help and support being delivered is having the intended impact.

This multi-agency neglect assessment toolbox has been developed to support practitioners accurately identify appropriate cases in need of early help or onward referral to Children’s Social Care. The tools included should also be used to review the effectiveness of the support plans that are in place and the outcomes for the child/ren.

Who should use the toolbox?

These tools are available for any services, schools or organisations who work with children and families in the City of London and the London Borough of Hackney.  All staff and volunteers need to be familiar with the tools provided and know when and how to use them. Managers should facilitate practitioner’s attendance at relevant training events to support the use of these tools and seek assurance in supervision that they are completed where appropriate.

Why is it needed?

Learning from Serious Case Review Findings, Local Reviews and Thematic Inspections frequently highlight missed opportunities as a consequence of poor quality assessments and lack of early intervention.

The 2018 Working Together guidance lists the following as features of a high quality assessment:

– are child-centred. Where there is a conflict of interest, decisions should be made in the child’s best interests: be rooted in child development: be age-appropriate; and be informed by evidence
– are focused on action and outcomes for children
– are holistic in approach, addressing the child’s needs within their family and any risks the child faces from within the wider community
– ensure equality of opportunity

– involve children, ensuring that their voice is heard and provide appropriate support to enable this where the child has specific communication needs
– involve families
– identify risks to the safety and welfare of children
– build on strengths as well as identifying difficulties
– are integrated in approach
– are multi-agency and multi-disciplinary
– are a continuing process, not an event
– lead to action, including the provision of services
– review services provided on an ongoing basis
– are transparent and open to challenge.

These principles should be applied when completing any assessment.

Wishes and feelings of the child

It is important when completing any assessments that the wishes and feelings of the child are listened to throughout. Staff and volunteers need to ensure the voice of the child runs through everything we do. Seeking the views of the child will ensure that there is not over reliance on parental accounts which can therefore minimise the risk of disguised compliance.

These tools are there to be used when you are concerned that the quality of care of a child you are working with suggests that their needs are being neglected. It will help you to reflect on the child’s circumstances and will help you put your concerns into context and identify strengths and resources.

Assessment tools

– Hackney Child Wellbeing Framework

– City of London Thresholds of Needs

This chronology template can be used by any organisations who currently do not have a recording structure in place.

– Chronology guide

The Department Of Health developed a pack of tools and resources that can be used to support evidence based practice and assessments. Although developed in 2000, they can still be a helpful tool for practitioners to use to support evidence based practice when working with neglect. 

The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales

 An assessment tool which can be used with the parents/carers to consider their view of the children’s needs and how they are coping with these needs.

Parenting daily hassles scale

– Strengths and difficulties

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural screening tool to consider whether a child or young person has emotional or behavioural difficulties. The questionnaire can be completed with the parents/carers and also other professionals such as teachers

– Home conditions assessment

An assessment tool which can be used if making a home visit where there have been concerns about neglect and poor home conditions.

The Clutter Image Ratings can be used to assess the condition of a hoarded home as well as the hoarder’s level of insight.


These posters provide a reminder of lessons learned from local reviews. Please click, print and share the following posters in your settings

– Home Visits

– Think Families