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3.1.9 Chronologies and Historical Information


For fuller guidance see Preparing Significant Events Chronologies CS0237 and CP Risk Analysis Check List and Tool.

Chronologies are essential to enable social workers and managers make decisions about risk and need, sometimes for the child's own child when they become parents. They will be written from the perspective of someone who does not know the case or the child's situation, in third party past tense (put your full name instead of 'I' and write about an incident as if it occurred in the past).

Set a date every month where you review your case and input appropriate information onto the chronology. Chronologies will not have every casenote or change of social worker copied over from another tab in LCS without thinking about whether this enhances the reader's understanding of the child's situation.


In March 2014, Section 3, Core Significant Evens to Include in a Chronology on ALL Cases, was revised. Hyperlinks throughout the chapter were also revised and updated.


  1. When to Start, Update and End a Significant Events Chronology
  2. How to Write Entries
  3. Core Significant Events to include in a Chronology on ALL Cases
  4. Where Chronologies should be Stored
  5. Updating Chronologies before Transfer or Closure
  6. Shared Chronologies for Siblings
  7. Historical Information to be Included in Assessments

For detailed guidance read the 'Practice Guidance - Preparing Significant Events Chronologies'.

Click here for LCS User Guide and User Guide.

1. When to Start, Update and End a Significant Events Chronology

  • A significant events chronology should be commenced when a social care file is first opened for a child;
  • It should always be updated when any new significant event occurs in a child's life or immediately this is known to the case worker;
  • It must be readily available and up-to-date at the point of case transfer and /or closure;
  • Click here for LCS Guidance.

2. How to Write Entries

In the third person and concise, with enough detail to make it clear who said/did what, so that someone unfamiliar with the people involved in the case can easily understand an entry.

3. Core Significant Events to include in a Chronology on ALL Cases

  • Dates of births/deaths within the family or significant others;
  • Child's moves in and out of the family home and any change of address for the child and / or family;
  • Changes of address, local authority;
  • Change of carers e.g. Parent separation/new partner. Any adult or child moving into or out of the family home;
  • Key developments in the life of the child and siblings incidents and accidents, domestic abuse notifications, life events such as separation of parents etc;
  • Referrals - who made and why, outcome and manager’s decision making;
  • When local authority involvement started and why;
  • Reasons for involvement - issues of concern;
  • Action taken in response including assessments completed, with a short summary of the outcome of the assessment;
  • Any important meetings: CIN, pre-birth, CP, CLA review etc with a summary of what was discussed, and a summary of what was agreed;
  • Level of parental/family cooperation;
  • What service have been provided;
  • Change of school;
  • Health information (including any significant injury or illness, hospital admission, attendance at accident & emergency dept.); A very brief note of an event e.g. a fall down stairs, coming to school with a bruise etc;
  • Facts e.g. child subject to a CP Plan, MAPPA meeting, Court Order made, change of name;
  • Key professional interventions e.g. reviews, hearings, tribunals, prison sentences, FGC's Court - issue date, outcome of court hearings etc;
  • Change of allocated workers;
  • Transfer summarises/ case closure;
  • Key decision points, when decided, by who i.e. Panel decisions, in supervision, S 47 Enquiries, meetings and outcome;
  • Significant new information from partner agencies -not every phone call, but information which changes the child or family's situation or our response;
  • Significant events from children's statutory visits.

4. Where Chronologies should be Stored

The LCS tab must say exactly where a chronology is, if it is not simply detailed there. It should be placed in the Essential Information folder in Live Link  - see guidance.

5. Updating Chronologies before Transfer or Closure

A chronology, whether on LCS or Word document must be updated within the last 2 weeks before transfer or closure.

6. Shared Chronologies for Siblings

All siblings should have the chronology cut and pasted across to each record (as this can now be done as a whole document), but individual significant events for a child should be recorded separately.

7. Historical Information to be Included in Assessments

Any current referral or incident/concern in relation to a child must be considered in the context of the fullest possible background and historical information of him/her and the wider family unit. Episodic consideration of individual incidents should be avoided, and attention paid to identifying patterns of behaviour/injuries.  Information about significant events in a child or his or her family’s history is one of the most useful tools in effective analysis of risk. Previous history is one of the strongest indicators of likely future Significant Harm to a child, and it is essential that all historical information is considered as part of the CP Risk Analysis Check List and Tool when making decisions about the level of concern in relation to a child and what actions are required to protect him or her from any future harm.

The assessment must evidence that historical information and family context have been taken into account, and where this information has been sourced. If there are known to be gaps in information or family history, then this should be clearly identified and the significance of this highlighted. A Chronology should also be completed at this time, and will assist in the overall decision making.

No assessment can be authorised by a Team Manager without the history being documented, and actively considered within the analysis and risk assessment. Team Managers should comment on the validity of the overall assessment, and what actions or Plan would be appropriate to mitigate any identified risk to the child.