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3.2.3 Written Agreements Guidance


The guidance is linked to the PGN entitled Written Agreements (December 2016).

This chapter was added to the manual in March 2017.


  1. Introduction
  2. Written Agreements
  3. When to Use Written Agreements
  4. When Not To Use Written Agreements
  5. Written Agreement Form

1. Introduction

We work with children and families in order to keep children safe, give information, advice, support and enable families to make the best possible decisions about children’s future.

It is best practice that parents and carers attend and participate in Child in Need (CIN) meetings, Child Protection (CP) conferences and core group meetings.

As part of this best practice Assessments, CIN and CP plans should incorporate agreements and expectations both of the parent/s and of services that will be provided to support the family and address the issues covered in the plan.

Families we work with should expect us to work in cooperation with them, help them to understand why we are involved and offer them support through our social workers/adult workers to manage their behaviours that impact on their child/ren’s wellbeing and safety.

Plans should provide family members and professionals with clarity about the detail of what they have agreed or are being required to do include:

  • The aim or goal of work/actions to be undertaken;
  • What they can expect from us;
  • The timescales for work/actions;
  • Contingency plan(s).

2. Written Agreements

Written agreements should only be used as an exception in the assessment service where there is no CIN or CP plan in place or when an emergency situation arises in a CIN or CP case in Family Safeguarding 0-25 Together Service where a written agreement is required to ensure that the primary carer understands the expectations and their responsibilities to keep the child/ren safe in the absence of a plan or review of a plan.

3. When to Use Written Agreements

Where a written agreement is used it should:

  • Ensure that everybody is clear about the expectations of them (parent/carer), including their understanding of why they are expected to behave in a certain way;
  • Include what support or services they (parent carer) can expect to receive from you and the service;
  • Ensure that everybody is clear about the duration of the undertaking. (until a plan is in place).

4. When Not To Use Written Agreements

Written agreements should not be used:

  • To put pressure on parents to behave in ways which they are reluctant/refusing to do e.g.:
    • Where a child is Section 20 or about to be Section 20 that the parents are not allowed to remove their children from care (as we do not hold parental responsibility);
    • Insisting on contacts being supervised or supervised by a specific relative;
    • That the child must live with a specific relative.
  • As an attempt to put controls around a situation which has been out of control. (Note written agreements do not normally have a legal standing);
  • To delay other protective action being taken such as seeking an EPO.

Note: Motivational interviewing should be used to work with parent and reach agreements within the work undertaken and supporting the parents to reach a decision that supports the plan and safeguards the child/ren.

5. Written Agreement Form

Click here to view the Written Agreement Form.