Assessing with Risk 2

Risk is about uncertainty. Risk Assessment is a process where this uncertainty is explored, recorded and reviewed. It should lead to increased focus and clarity.

Risk Assessment within Children’s Services considers whether the child is suffering or likely to suffer harm or significant harm as a consequence of their needs not being met. It is focused on evaluating the effect (impact) on the child and the likelihood that this is going to happen.

This Risk Assessment Tool provides a framework for reviewing the critical components of risk in Children’s Services. It prompts the worker to consider each of these components in turn, forming a view or judgement about these. It may identify areas where the information is not adequate, available or where the worker remains unclear. This prompts workers to consider follow up actions to obtain further information or use specialist tools to explore specific areas.

The critical components of assessing risk include:

  • Understanding the capacity of the parents/carers

  • Understanding the needs of the child

  • Assessing the level of harm

  • Classifying the harm

  • Predicting the likelihood of future harm

  • Summarising risk

  • Considering whether the harm is significant

  • Making decisions

  • Follow up actions


The Risk Assessment recording format can be completed in less than 1 hour where case information is available. The Risk Assessment structures information across the various sections, and this information can be drawn together as a Reason for Decision summary.

For information about using other Specialist Assessment tools to support your risk assessment please click here.