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Your Borough Of Poole

Early Help and Assessment of Need

Poole Threshold of Need and the Continuum of Support

In Poole, we want children, young people, parents and families to be able to easily access 'the right help at the right time.'

The Threshold of Need document includes a matrix outlining the criteria used to identify and address four of the 'levels of need' when assessing and working with families. 

This is so that all professionals will understand processes and thresholds and apply them consistently, so that families and children receive the right help at the right time and so that children are safeguarded. 

The four levels are: 

  1. Universal for children with Universal Needs
  2. Universal Plus help for children with Additional Needs
  3. Partnership Plus help for children who are Vulnerable
  4. Statutory/Specialist help for children in need of Protection

The four levels are not exclusive - all children will access Universal Services, even at the highest levels of need.

All practitioners are expected to use the Threshold of Need document when identifying and supporting families who need more help than can be provided within universal services.

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Early Help Assessments

All practitioners in Poole are expected to complete an Early Help Assessment whenever a family is identified as having needs at Partnership Plus - Level 3. It can also be helpful to those at Level 2. The Poole Early Help Assessment (PEHA) and the Common Assessment Framework are Early Help Assessments. 

During an assessment, information about a child or young person and their family is gathered and recorded in a systematic and holistic yet simple way, so that they, and the family, can begin to understand the needs of the family and what can be done to address them. 

An Early Help Assessment enables practitioners from all agencies to follow the same processes and achieve more consistent assessments that can, with consent, be shared and understood by other agencies, reducing the need for multiple assessments.

This helps families because it means they don't have to repeat their story every time a new service becomes involved with them or when they need some additional support. 

It also means that practitioners working with a family can keep in touch with each other more easily and make sure the child or young person’s needs are being addressed. 

Early Help Assessments are only undertaken with the involvement and consent of the parents and/or young person and, under normal circumstances they would only be shared with consent (please see the Children's Services Privacy Statement for more information about this).

The Poole Early Help Assessment (PEHA) has been adopted by Poole Children’s Services as their standard Early Help Assessment tool and free training on the PEHA and Integrated Working is available for all Poole practitioners.

Please search the Poole Workforce Development website for forthcoming courses. We are continuing to accept CAFs from partner agencies who work across Local Authority boundaries or who have not yet had an opportunity to attend the PEHA training. 

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Lead Practitioner

Once an Early Help Assessment has been undertaken and it is agreed that there is a need to involve more than one service to support the child or young person, a meeting should take place with all the people who will be involved, including the parents and young person, to agree the actions. 

At this point one of the professionals should take on the role of Lead Practitioner. That person will:

  • act as a single point of contact for the child or family
  • co-ordinate the delivery of the actions agreed. This will reduce any overlap and inconsistency in the services received
  • ensure the actions are reviewed after an agreed period so make sure the needs of the child are being met

The parents and young person should be given a copy of the Early Help Assessment once it is completed, so they can also share it with professionals if they wish to.

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Forms and Guidance

Further Information

Practitioners who need more information about Early Help processes in Poole, or who would like advice on whether or how to use an Early Help Assessment, should contact the Children’s Services Referral, Information and Advice Hub on 01202 735046 or email eha@poole.gov.uk.

The Children's Services Privacy Statement explains why personal information is retained and your rights.

You can use the Family Information Directory to find out about local childcare, activities and a range of other services. 

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Contact us


01202 735046

Text Relay
18001 01202 735046

Children, Young People & Learning
Dolphin Centre
BH15 1SA