Terminology is complex and changing as services are reshaped. Key terms used in the NYSCB Procedures and NYSCB Practice Guidance are:




A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)


Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 enables a local authority to provide accommodation for a child who has no person with parental responsibility for him/her, is lost or abandoned or whose parent cannot provide suitable accommodation and care.

Achieving Best Evidence Interview

An investigations interview with a child who is a witness to a crime. "Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidance for Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesses" was issued jointly by key government departments led by the Home Office.

Allocated case

A case that has been made the responsibility of a named social worker or other key worker until such time as the case is closed, transferred or managed in such other way that the named worker no longer has responsibility for it.


The assessment of developmental needs of a child within their family and wider environmental context to determine, if the child has needs and what services they require. The assessment may be general in nature (e.g.,) CAF, Initial or Core or relate to a specific developmental need (e.g.,) health or education.


A youth justice assessment tool comprising a main assessment, a serious harm risk assessment and a young person's self-assessment. It is used to assist in planning interventions and review progress and outcomes.

Care order

A court order under s.31 of the Children Act 1989 placing a child in local authority care to protect the child from harm they are suffering or may suffer, whilst under the care of his/her parent (and/or being beyond a parent's control).


Anyone under 18 years of age.  The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.

Child in need

Section 17 (10) of the Children Act 1989 defines a child in need as a child who, without the provision of local authority services: 

a)      Who is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services to them by a local authority

b)      Whose health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for them of such services; or

c)       They are disabled,

and “family”, in relation to such a child, includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person with whom they has been living.

Child protection

Part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. 

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Child protection enquiry

Where a local authority:

(a) are informed that a child who lives, or is found, in their area

                (i) is the subject of a emergency protection order, or

                (ii) is in police protection; and

(b) have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm 

Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 gives children's social care a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive “something” (e.g., food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of their performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities.


Anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Children perceived as 'different'

Research and anecdotal evidence indicates that children who may be perceived as 'different', e.g. disabled children, children from minority ethnic groups or cultures and children with differing sexual orientations, are more vulnerable to abuse. It is therefore vital that all agencies promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice. Failure to do so may expose particular children to significant harm.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The CAF is a standardised approach to conducting an assessment of a child's additional needs and deciding how those needs should be met. It can be used by practitioners across children's services in England. The CAF is intended to provide a simple process for a holistic assessment of a child's needs and strengths, taking account of the role of parents, carers and environmental factors on their development.

Competent Authorities (CA) In the UK the two Competent Authorities are:
  • The UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), which deals with referrals from the police, local authorities, and NGO’s
  • The Home Office Immigration and Visas (UKVI), which deals with referrals identified as part of the immigration process, for example where trafficking or modern slavery may be an issue as part of an asylum claim

Once a referral has been made to a competent authority via the National Referral Mechanism, trained decision makers in the Competent Authority will assess and make a decision on whether an individual is a victim of trafficking or modern slavery. There are several steps in the process:In the UK the two Competent Authorities are:

  • The UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), which deals with referrals from the police, local authorities, and NGO’s
  • The Home Office Immigration and Visas (UKVI), which deals with referrals identified as part of the immigration process, for example where trafficking or modern slavery may be an issue as part of an asylum claim

Once a referral has been made, trained decision makers in the Competent Authority will assess and make a decision on whether an individual is a victim of trafficking or modern slavery. There are several steps in the process:

CDOP (Child Death Overview Panel Manager) Business Support Officer

Professional nominated by the chair of the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board to whom the death notification and other data on each unexpected child death should be sent.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

The DBS is responsible for:

  • processing requests for criminal records checks
  • deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list
  • placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Duty children's social worker

Professional from the Children's Social Care team that receives and responds to all child concern referrals – in office hours.

Emergency duty team

A social work team providing an out of hours social care service for the county.

Emergency Protection Order

A court order under Section 44 of the Children Act 1989 giving Children's Social Care and the Police the power to protect a child from harm by removing the child to suitable accommodation or preventing a child from being removed (e.g. from hospital).

Emotional Abuse

The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Enquiry checks

Checks made of agencies involved with a child for Section 47 child protection investigation purposes.

Electronic Social Care Record (ESCR)

Fully electronic case record – not implemented in North Yorkshire at this time.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as:

"...all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons" WHO (2014).

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as amended) narrows the definition of FGM to not include:

  • a surgical operation on a girl that was necessary for her physical or mental health, or
  • a surgical operation on a girl who was in any stage of labour, or had just given birth, for purposes connected with the labour or birth
Framework for the Assessment of Children
in Need and their
Families (often referred
to as the Assessment Framework)
The Assessment Framework is a systematic way for professionals to assess a child's needs and whether s/he is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, what actions must be taken and which services would best meet the needs of the child and family. All professionals should be competent to contribute to an assessment, which is usually led by children's social care under the Children Act 1989.

First line manager

The manager with responsibility for supervising the frontline professional with case or immediate responsibility for the child, adult or family.

First Responder

Authorities who refer a potentiall victim of trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism, these include:

  • National Crime Agency
  • Police forces
  • UK Border Force
  • Home Office Immigration and Visas
  • Gangmasters Licensing Authority
  • Local Authorities
  • Health and Social Care Trusts (Northern Ireland)
  • Salvation Army
  • Poppy Project
  • Migrant Help
  • Medaille Trust
  • Kalayaan
  • Barnardos
  • Unseen
  • TARA Project (Scotland)
  • New Pathways
  • Refugee Council

Gillick competence / Fraser Ruling

The competency test resided by Lord Fraser, 1985 (known as Gillick Competence), which laid down criteria for establishing whether a child, irrespective of age, had the capacity to provide valid consent to treatment (by health professionals) in specified circumstances.

Impairment of health
and development

Where professionals are seeking to judge whether a child's health and development have been significantly harmed, the Children Act 1989 (s31 (10)) directs them to make a comparison with the health and development which could reasonably be expected of a similar child.

Integrated Children's System (ICS)

Case management system for case recording within Children's Social Care. Introduced in 2008, this is a government sponsored system with national criteria for local software providers to adhere to. It ensures that there is consistency of practice across all social work teams, improves transparency and accountability.

Key worker

The key worker has an important role that involves administration, information, co-ordination and the professional management of a case. Their prime responsibility is to maintain a child protection focus to the work being undertaken with families and to maintain and co-ordinate the core group, who will ensure the progress of the Child Protection Plan.

Lead professional

The practitioner who has the most on-going contact with a child at the time and who is in a position to co-ordinate the professional network to support the child

Local Safeguarding Children Board ( LSCB)

Local Safeguarding Children's Boards (LSCBs) are a statutory bodies established in each local authority area under Section 14 of the Children Act 2004.  The purpose of LSCBs is:

a)      to coordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the Board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area; and

b)      to ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for those purposes.

National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking or modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.

The NRM is also the mechanism through which the UKHTC collect data about victims. This information contributes to building a clearer picture about the scope of human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK.

The NRM was introduced in 2009 to meet the UK’s obligations under the Council of European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. At the core of every country’s NRM is the process of locating and identifying “potential victims of trafficking”.

From 31st July 2015 the NRM was extended to all victims of modern slavery in England and Wales following the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.


The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Network checks

Checks made of agencies for screening and for initial assessments – helps Children's Social Care decide whether a section 47 investigation is required.

Nominated safeguarding children adviser

The person/people in each agency who has/have responsibility for child protection issues in that agency and provide child protection advice to frontline professionals / clinicians, e.g. child protection lead in schools, designated and named doctors and nurses etc.


Parent or carer of a child.

Parental Responsibility

All the duties, rights, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property.  A Care Order confers the responsibility to a local authority but it does not remove it from the child's parents.

Physical Abuse

A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Police Powers of Protection (Section 46)

Section 46 of the Children Act 1989 giving the police powers to protect a child from harm by removing the child to suitable accommodation or preventing a child from being removed (e.g. from hospital).

Private Fostering

An arrangement made directly by a parent for their child to be looked after for 28 days or more by an adult who does not have parental responsibility for the child and is not a close relative/step parent.


A request for services to be provided by a local authority. A case can become current only after a referral has been made.

Regulated Activity with Children

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) defined Regulated Activity with Children as:

a)      Unsupervised activities - Teaching, training or instruction, care for or  supervise children, provide advice / guidance on wellbeing, drive a vehicle only for children
b)      Work for a Limited Range of Establishments (Specified places) – Where there is an opportunity for contact, for example schools, children's homes, childcare premises (but not work by supervised volunteers)
c)       Healthcare / Relevant Personal Care - for example washing or dressing; or health care by or supervised by a professional, even if done once
d)      Registered Child-minding and Foster-Carers

Risk to child

Description of an adult or child who has been identified (by probation services / Youth Justice Service, Police or health services, individually or via the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) as posing an on-going risk to a child (replaces the term Schedule 1 Offender).

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare
of children

Defined for the purposes of this guidance as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children's health or development;
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best life chances.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Section 17

Section 17 of the Children's Act 1989 imposes on every local authority a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area who are in need.

Section 47 Enquiry

Section 47 of the Children Act requires every local authority to make enquiries about children thought to be at risk, enabling them to decide whether they need to take further action to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.

Senior Manager

Manager in any agency above first line manager.

Serious Case Review

Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) sets out the purpose and process of serious case reviews (SCRs) as defined under Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006.

 SCRs are undertaken when:

(a) abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected; and

(b) either —

(i)      the child has died; or

(ii)    the child has been seriously harmed and there is cause for concern as to the way in which the authority, their Board partners or other relevant persons have worked together to safeguard the child.

Sexual Abuse

Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Significant Harm

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm.  Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include the degree and the extent of physical harm, the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, the extent of premeditation, and the presence or degree of threat, coercion, sadism, and bizarre or unusual elements. Each of these elements has been associated with more severe effects on the child, and / or relatively greater difficulty in helping the child overcome the adverse impact of the maltreatment. Sometimes, a single traumatic event may constitute significant harm (e.g. a violent assault, suffocation or poisoning).

More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, change or damage the child's physical and psychological development. Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long-term emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm. In each case, it is necessary to consider any maltreatment alongside the family's strengths and supports.

Social Worker or Child's Social Worker

Social work qualified professional with case responsibility.

Staff / staff member

Any individual/s working in a voluntary, employed, professional or unqualified capacity, including foster carers and approved adopters.

Trafficking in human beings

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs


The achievement of the best outcomes for children. That is, for every child to:

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well-being
  • Not cause harm to others

Working day

Timescales in these procedures relate to the working day i.e. from 08.30hrs to 17.00hrs on Monday to Thursday, 08:30 to 16:30 on Friday, unless otherwise expressed (e.g. 24 hours).

Working Together

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) is a guidance document produced by the DCSF setting out how all agencies and professionals should work together to safeguard children and promote children's welfare.

Young Carers

Are children and young people who assume important caring responsibilities for parents or siblings, who are disabled, have physical or mental ill health problems, or misuse drugs or alcohol.

(Definition provided by Working Together 2015)

Last Updated: 22/10/2015

Review Date: 22/10/2017

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