Early Help Assessment

3. Assessing needs

Starting the EHA

Talk to the child and their family about the EHA. They need to understand and feel comfortable with it and know that its purpose is to help them.

You need to get signed consent from the family before you start the assessment. You should hold onto this signed consent in case you need to evidence it later in the process.

The information you need

Key points to remember about your discussion:

  • working together; you're working with the child or young person and their family to find solutions: often they will know better than you
  • listening to the child or young person; an assessment should never be done without talking to them
  • voluntary; if the child, young person or family member does not want to take part, you cannot force them
  • focussed on the positives; this is a chance to talk about what a family does well, not just their challenges
  • leads to a plan; an assessment should lead to a plan that helps a child, young person or family
  • transparent; the child, young person or family should know what's happening at every point and have given their consent

If at any point you are concerned about the safety or welfare of the child or young person, seek immediate advice at the end of the discussion.


Consent for the assessment should be discussed with the family at the beginning of the process. Practitioners should gain consent and tick the relevant box on the form to confirm this.

The form contains guidance and links to the information sharing and data protection policy. Information will also be shared anonymously with the National Impact Study unless families choose to opt out. We would encourage practitioners revisit this if a family choses to opt out at the start of the assessment process, as this is vital information that can support the future development of services for children and families.

If you cannot get consent, contact the MASSH to discuss your concerns and your next steps.


The MASSH is for those working with children and families. We can offer advice or guidance around:

  • the Early Help Assessment process
  • advice and guidance to support you when applying a team around the family meeting
  • advice on accessing services, interventions and training.

Telephone: 0161 217 6028 and then press option 2
Email: MASSH@stockport.gov.uk

Start an Early Help Assessment

If you've:

  • discussed with the family and gained consent and;
  • are happy that an EHA is the best course of action

If you're a practitioner read the Early Help Assessment guidance (PDF 206Kb).