Early help assessment (record) and plan

Page updated: 01/11/2022

The Early Help Assessment and Family Plan is the common process for supporting children, young people and families with additional needs through early identification of problems, swift intervention and a planned, co-ordinated response. The aim is to consider the needs of the child or young person in three key areas:

  • The development of the child/young person, including health and well being
  • Parenting/caring
  • Family and community

The intention is for all children, irrespective of their circumstances, to have the best start in life, to grow up safe, stable and healthy, to fulfil their potential and make a contribution to their community.

The Early Help Assessment and Family Plan is part one of a single assessment process that aims to empower parents and provide a timely, seamless service if needs escalate.

How Does the Process Work?

The practitioner who identifies a child’s needs gains consent from the young person, parent or carer to undertake an assessment, following which he or she coordinates an Early Help Assessment and Family Plan and, if appropriate, initiates a Team Around the Child and Family (TAC/F) meeting.

The purpose of the TAC/F meeting is to bring together practitioners with the appropriate skills to meet the identified needs of the child and develop a support plan. The parents and practitioners concerned will agree the most appropriate person to undertake the Lead Professional role. Goals will be identified and regular reviews undertaken, with the focus on a child-centred approach, positive engagement with the family, increased community involvement and collaboration between agencies.

Statutory Needs Assessment and the Education, Health and Care Plan

The Early Help Assessment and Family Plan should be used by schools, early years settings and colleges as part of the graduated response to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN to record, monitor and evaluate provision, intervention and progress against outcomes set. This can then be used as a basis and evidence for statutory assessment for an EHC Plan if this is required in the future.

New Early Help Assessment Forms

Colleagues across Early Help/FISS and schools have been working with the Business Improvement Team, to improve the Early Help Assessment process, including streamlining and digitising the process as part of SBC’s modern, efficient, effective programme.

Since April of this year, a number of workshops with multi-agency stakeholders have been held to inform requirements for future solutions, to ensure the Early Help Assessment supports the needs of children, young people, families and professionals. A new version Early Help Assessment and Plan (Word document) has been developed, piloted and iterated based on the pilot group’s feedback.

Early Help Assessment forms and plans


Our continued commitment to the improvement of the current Early Help Model is laid out in the following strategy document: