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2.4 NARRATES (including NARRATES S46)


  1. Initiating NARRATES Section 46 Enquiries
  2. NARRATES Section 46 Enquiries

1. Initiating NARRATES Section 46 Enquiries


There are 2 principal documents to consider prior to determining whether or not NARRATES S46 should be undertaken:

  1. Children and Young Persons Act 2001;
  2. The Isle of Man Integrated Continuum of Needs.

Both of these are commented on below:

CYP Act 2001
Section 46 of the CYP Act 2001 sets out the duties of the department to investigate the circumstances of children with safety and protection needs:

  1. Where the Department:
    1. Is informed that a child is in police protection; or
    2. Has reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, The Department shall make or cause to be made such enquiries as it considers necessary to enable it to decide whether it should take any action to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.
  2. Where the Department has obtained an emergency protection order with respect to a child, it shall make or cause to be made such enquiries as it considers necessary to enable it to decide what action it should take to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.

IoM Integrated Continuum of Needs
In the document called The Isle of Man Integrated Continuum of Needs, the needs applicable to Children with Safety/Protection Needs is set out as follows:

Caption: Children with Safety/Protection Needs table
LEVEL 4 Safety / Protection Needs

A small number of children and young people will have needs that are enduring, complex and intense and the measurable deficit in their health, education and well-being places them at risk of harm or abuse. Some will require a crisis response and/or a statutory response – either removal to CIC, legal intervention, child protection or safeguarding support or a specialist health or youth justice response. Features at this level will demonstrate a measurable deficit in the resilience factors of the child’s development placing them at risk, a deficit in the parenting and/or environment which compounds the risk. [significant harm, a child beyond parental control, a child who is neglected or abandoned, or a child with a significant mental health difficulty]. The child and young person’s needs are met through a statutory response co-ordinated by either a specialist health/youth justice or, social care worker.

Outcome: Families have access to statutory intervention and support and children and young people at risk are protected in a timely and effective way.
Descriptors Development -
  • Failure to thrive and neglect;
  • Physical/sexual Abuse and risk indicators of potential abuse;
  • Severe mental health conditions – suicide, psychosis, anorexia etc.;
  • Under 13 engaged in sexual activity;
  • Offending behaviour resulting in sentence in the community or in custody;
  • High level disability requiring care away from home;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Sexually harmful behaviour to others;
  • At risk as a result of substance use/self-harm/behaviour placing self at risk;
  • Child is beyond control of parent and putting self and/or others at risk.
  Parenting -
  • Adult/parent posing a risk to children within the home or in contact with the home;
  • Parent/carer rejects or abandons child;
  • Parental substance use significantly impairs parenting or health of unborn child;
  • Parent is subject to MAPPA;
  • Family crisis likely to result in breakdown of care of child/young person;
  • Parent has a history of abuse and neglect of children.
  Environment -
  • Serious or repeated domestic abuse;
  • Suspicion of child abuse;
  • Extreme poverty/homelessness;
  • Child or family need immediate support due to harassment or discrimination.

When it has been decided that a NARRATES Section 46 is required, the Manager or Senior Practitioner must ensure that:


2. NARRATES Section 46 Enquiries

2.1 A NARRATES S46 is the means by which a Section 46 Enquiry is carried out. The objective of the Section 46 Enquiry is to determine whether action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child or children who are the subject/s of the enquiries. NARRATES S46 provides the framework for analysing risk, harm and need.
2.2 Children and Families Service has lead responsibility for a NARRATES S46; however, all agencies which have relevant information must assist the Social Worker throughout the assessment process. NARRATES S46 must be led by a qualified and experienced Social Worker who has experience and appropriate specialist training in interviewing children.
2.3 NARRATES S46 must be completed within 15 working days of the Strategy Discussion/Meeting where the decision was made to initiate it.
2.4 Where the outcome of the NARRATES S46 is that an Initial Child Protection Conference is required, this must be held within 25 working days of the start of the NARRATES S46.

The NARRATES S46 must always:

  • Be carried out in such a way that distress to the child is minimised;
  • Involve separate interviews with the child who is the subject of concern, and interviews with parents and/or caregivers, and observation of the interactions between parents and children. A child who is competent to take the decision can decide that they do not wish the parent to be involved. Exceptionally, it may be agreed between Children and Families Service and the Police that in order to ensure the best possible evidence it is necessary to speak to a suspected child victim without the knowledge of the parent or the caregiver. If parental consent for an interview is refused, the Senior Manager (IRT) or Head of Social Work Statutory Services in Children and Families Service must be immediately informed and legal advice sought as a matter of urgency;
  • Include other children in the family being seen/considered for interview;
  • Treat families sensitively and with respect;
  • Use the NARRATES Professional Operational Guidance (April 2016) to collect and analyse information and before completion cover all dimensions in the Guidance;
  • Give consideration to conducting interviews with all those who are personally or professionally connected with the child, and/or their parents and caregivers;
  • Ensure a commissioned interpreter is provided where a child or parent speaks a language other than that spoken by the interviewer as their first or preferred language. Wherever possible, this interpreter must be trained or briefed in safeguarding issues;
  • Ensure children and parents with disabilities are provided with help with communication as required;
  • Use alternative means of understanding the child’s perspective, including observation if a child is unable to take part in an interview because of age or understanding;
  • Avoid using leading or suggestive communication where possible, although it must be recognised that some communication systems used by children with disabilities are leading in nature. This must not prevent the child’s views being ascertained;
  • Copying forward from an existing NARRATES assessment has been switched off on Protocol system and it is expected that a new NARRATES will be started with new a new investigation, i,e, no previous information already completed will be automatically added to the new NARRATES. This is to ensure any new assessment is completed with a fresh pair of eyes and each section should be completed with new and relevant information. Copying and pasting from a previous assessment must therefore not be undertaken.
2.6 At all stages of NARRATES S46 the child’s views, wishes and feelings must be ascertained and recorded.
2.7 In the event of parents choosing not to co-operate with the NARRATES S46, but concerns about the child’s safety are not so urgent as to require an Emergency Protection Order, the Children and Families Service may apply to court for an Assessment Order. In these circumstances, the court may direct the parents/caregivers to cooperate with an assessment of the child, the details of which must be specified. The order does not take away the child’s own right to refuse to participate in an assessment, for example, a medical examination, so long as he or she is of sufficient age and understanding.


Medical Assessment

2.8.1 For advice and guidance regarding Medical Assessment or treatment, please refer to the Isle of Man Safeguarding Board Procedures, Child Protection Enquiries - Section 46 Children and Young Person's Act 2001 Procedure, Sections ‘Medical Assessments’ , ‘Consent’; and ‘Recording’.


Police Investigative Interviews

2.9.1 For advice and guidance regarding police investigative interviewing and Section 46 enquiries, please refer to the Isle of Man Safeguarding Board Procedures, Child Protection Enquiries - Section 46 Children and Young Person's Act 2001 Procedure.


Action Following Section 46 Enquiries


NARRATES S46 will result in one of the following outcomes:

  • Concerns not being substantiated;
  • Concerns being substantiated but the child is not judged to be at continuing risk of Significant Harm;
  • Concerns being substantiated and the child is judged to be at continuing risk of Significant Harm.

This outcome will be recorded on the Outcome of NARRATES S46 pro forma on Protocol by the Social Worker undertaking the enquiries following consultation with their Manager or Senior Practitioner.
These are:

  • Strategy Meeting;
  • Specialist Assessment;
  • LAC;
  • Initial Complex Needs Meeting;
  • Step down to Early Help;
  • Continue with current process;
  • Other actions;
  • NFA.
2.10.3 If concerns about Significant Harm are not substantiated it may still be appropriate to consider the need for an Initial Complex Needs meeting to be held See Children's Services Threshold Criteria for Children with Complex Needs (Children in Need) Procedure.
2.10.4 A decision by the Manager or Senior Practitioner will be required and recorded for cases where concerns were substantiated but there is no evidence to suggest that there is a continuing risk of Significant Harm. The Manager or Senior Practitioner will decide and record whether the NARRATES CwCN process should be followed or whether an Initial Child Protection Conference must still be held.
2.10.5 If the concerns are substantiated and the child is judged to be at continuing risk of Significant Harm an Initial Child Protection Conference must be held.
2.10.6 The need for immediate protective action must be considered throughout the assessment process and legal advice sought where appropriate.


Feedback on NARRATES S46


The Social Worker conducting the enquiries will provide feedback to the following groups regarding the outcome of the enquiries, including provision of written documentation where appropriate:

  • Their line manager or other team manager;
  • The child/ren where appropriate;
  • Parents and carers;
  • Professionals who have contributed to the enquiries.


NARRATES S46 in Pre-Birth Situations

2.12.1 In the case where concerns about the safety of an unborn child exist the process outlined above applies and must be followed.


Feedback on NARRATES S46 for LAC

2.13.1 The above procedures apply equally to children who are Looked After if concerns arise that they have suffered or are likely to suffer Significant Harm from whatever source.
2.13.2 If it is determined that a Looked After child must be the subject of a Child Protection Risk Action Plan a copy of the Plan must be sent to the Independent Reviewing Officer responsible for reviewing the Care Plan. Wherever possible the Child Protection Review Conference must be timed to take place before the Looked After Child Review. It must be remembered that only the Looked After Review can make significant changes to the Care Plan.
2.13.3 Given that the Care Plans must take account and make arrangements to manage any risk factors present it may be that it will only be in a very small number of cases that children who are Looked After are also subject to a Child Protection Risk Action Plan.




3.1.1 Assessment is the first stage in helping a vulnerable child and his or her family, its purpose being to contribute to the understanding necessary for appropriate planning and action (Compton and Galaway, 1989).
3.1.2 NARRATES CwCN provides the opportunity for an in-depth assessment, which addresses the central or most important aspects of the needs of a child and the capacity of his or her parents or caregivers to respond appropriately to these needs within the wider family and community context. Whilst this assessment is led by the Children and Families Service it will invariably involve other agencies who will either provide information they hold about the child or parents, contribute specialist knowledge or advice to Children and Families Service. Specialist assessments may already have been completed or may be required, the findings of which must inform NARRATES CwCN. These may not be concluded within the period of NARRATES. If this is the case, appropriate services must be provided whilst awaiting the completion of the specialist assessment.




A NARRATES CwCN must always be completed (or updated) when:

  • Required in respect of children in court proceedings;
  • When the terms of Section 23 (CYP Act 2001) and the needs outlined in the Integrated Continuum of Need for children with complex needs have been identified;
  • A NARRATES S46 has determined that the outcome should be CwCN The child has become Looked After or is at risk of becoming Looked After;
  • At least every 12 months;
  • In the manager’s professional judgement, a NARRATES is required.

The circumstances in which the manager must always consider exercising their professional judgement in favour of a NARRATES include when:

  • An existing Plan to meet the child’s needs is not achieving the desired outcomes;
  • There have been previous referrals in respect of any child in the family in the 12 months prior to the current Referral;
  • Where a child is disabled;
  • Where there is reluctance to engage with services;
  • Where there is a high level of need with a significant range of inputs and resources likely to be required.
3.2.3 NARRATES CwCN must be completed by a qualified social worker or exceptionally, an unqualified worker under the close supervision of a qualified worker or manager.
3.2.4 NARRATES CwCN must be conducted within a maximum of 45 working days.
3.2.5 NARRATES CwCN are undertaken in a variety of circumstances. The level of detail required must be proportional to the complexity of the case. NARRATES is an in depth assessment which addresses the central or most important aspects of the needs of a child and the capacity of his or her parents to respond appropriately to those needs within the wider family and community context. The Social Worker and Manager or Supervising Social Worker will define the central or most important aspects, informed by the referral and any other enquiries made about the child/family.
3.2.6 It must address the domains described in the NARRATES Professional Operational Guidance, determining the nature of the child’s developmental needs, the parents’ capacity to respond to those needs and the wider family and the environmental factors that bear upon the situation. An analysis of the information gathered in light of what is known of normal child development and messages from research will determine what further actions are required to safeguard the child and to promote his or her development and well-being.
3.2.7 Relevant professionals in other agencies must be consulted and involved as appropriate as part of NARRATES.



3.3.1 If the situation meets the criteria set out above for NARRATES CwCN the relevant Team Manager or Supervising Social Worker will assign a social worker to lead the NARRATES.
3.3.2 The social worker assigned will plan, prepare and coordinate the assessment, communicating with other professionals as required. The assessment will be recorded on the ICS System using the NARRATES pro-formas.
3.3.4 On completion of NARRATES, it will be sent automatically via Protocol to the appropriate Manager or Senior Practitioner for authorisation of the assessment and outcome recommended.


Practice Guidance

3.4.1 For practice guidance on how a NARRATES must be conducted please see the NARRATES Professional Operational Guidance (April 2016); Pages 14 – 25 explain the assessment process and the domains for children with complex needs. Pages 38 – 47 explain the process and domains, and dynamic risk assessment for children with safety and protection needs.