Referrals and assessments for support and care


If your child / young person has a disability, as defined by the Children's Act (1989), you are eligible for a social care assessment from the Council.

You can ask the Council for an assessment.

If other agencies are already supporting you, they can also refer you to the Council.

Support without an assessment

Not all families want or need a full assessment.

Most children and young people with SEND can access universal services to support them and their family.

See support and care services.

Types of assessment

If your child / young person's needs cannot be met by universal and community services, you may need an assessment to find the right service for your family.

Child and Family Support Assessment

This assessment brings together a range of agencies so you can get the support you need as soon as possible.

It is often used if you are asking for a specific type of support.

It will look at the strengths and needs of your family, and the outcomes for your child / young person.

The assessment will help to find the right service for your family.

Single Assessment

If the Child and Family Support Assessment will not give a full appraisal of your child and family's needs, you may need a more in-depth assessment, known as a 'Single Assessment'.

This assessment will be carried out by a social worker from the Children's Disability Team and will include a visit to your child's home.

When it has been agreed that a Single Assessment is needed, we will complete the assessment within 45 days.

We will:

  • Gather information from yourself, your child / young person and other relevant organisations (school, health services)
  • Ask for your consent to contact other agencies - if you decide not to give your consent we may not be able to fully assess your needs
  • Include a carer's assessment if necessary
  • Use this information to assess the needs of your whole family
  • Discuss the findings with you and agree the next steps

Request an assessment

Assessments are carried out by the Children's Disability Team.

The team will look at the needs of your child / young person and your family, and ask about the concerns that you have.

The team will also let you know about services that may be able to help you, and where you can go for help and advice.

You can request an assessment by phoning the Contact and Referral Team on 0191 424 5010.

Support plans and packages

After your assessment, if it is agreed that you need support, a support plan will be developed with you.

Your plan may include:

  • Supporting your child / young person to access universal and, where necessary, targeted services
  • Thinking about who can deliver support and care
  • Packages of support or care to support your child / young person and your family
  • Thinking about Direct Payment and Personal Budget options

Support packages

Support packages are unique to every child / young person.

They can range from supporting access to an activity, through to providing a Personal Assistant. 

The need for a support package will be assessed and reviewed through the Children's Disability Team.

You may have ongoing contact with the team, depending on the outcome of the assessment.

Support and care can be provided through the Council, or by independent providers.

Approving your support package

Services provided to your child / family will not be looked at individually, but as part of a package of care and support that meet the needs of your child / young person.

The needs of your child / young person will be the focus of all decisions.

  • A copy of the assessment will be presented to the panel, with a report and funding request
  • The report will describe the assessed needs of your child / young person and your family, and the level of service needed to support these needs
  • A breakdown of specific costs will be included
  • Your social worker or allocated practitioner will attend the panel to help to explain your child and family's circumstances

Your support package and any funding needs must be approved either by the Children's Disability Team Resource Panel, or the Complex Case Panel.

Children's Disability Resource Panel

For most children with disabilities who are eligible for a support package, the Children's Disability Resource Panel will review your assessment and agree the support package for your child / young person and your family, as well as any funding required.

Complex Case Panel

If your child / young person has complex, additional and exceptional care needs, it is likely they will also have unique health and education needs.

A team made up of different agencies and professionals will look at your child / young person's needs. This is the Complex Case Panel.

If your child is assessed as needing residential care and support (other than short breaks), this will also be discussed by the Complex Case Panel.

Your assessment and support needs will be considered. Funding may come from Health, Social Care and / or Education to support your child / young person's care, health and education needs.

Support package decisions

We will write to you to let you know the decision of the Panel, and agree with you how your child's support package is going to be delivered. 

This might be through direct access to services, a Direct Payment, or a Personal Budget.

You will be allocated a practitioner to support your child.

Payments will be awarded for a fixed period. 

The support you get will be regularly reviewed.

Reviewing the support you get (SEN and Disabilities social care)

Your support package / plan will be regularly reviewed to make sure:

  • it continues to meet your child's needs
  • your child is achieving their outcomes

Your allocated practitioner will:

  • update the assessment
  • review the package / plan
  • suggest changes to the support you get
  • recommend if the support needs to continue

Reports on your child's outcomes, and proposals for changes to the support you get, will take into account the complexity of needs and the cost of the care package.

Your social worker or allocated practitioner will attend the panel to talk about your child and family's circumstances.


You have 28 days to appeal against a panel decision.

You can appeal by writing to the Director of Children's Services.

We will consider your appeal within 28 days of receiving your appeal.

Your appeal will be looked at independently of the panel process.

If you would like advice and support in your appeal, you can contact the SENDIASS service.

We will write to you to let you know the outcome of your appeal.