Section 35 enquiries

Section 35 enquiries are named after the section of the Children (Guernsey & Alderney) Law 2008 which places a duty on the department to investigate where there are concerns that a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant impairment to his health or development. This duty is expanded within the States of Guernsey, The Children (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Guernsey and Alderney) Ordinance, 2009


Social Care are the lead agency when s35 enquiries are being undertaken. These enquiries may run on their own or concurrently with police investigations. When joint enquiries do take place the welfare of the child is paramount.

If, during the course of s35 enquiries further concerns arise of a different nature to those already being assessed, then a further strategy meeting must be held to discuss these and plan how to ensure they are adequately addressed.

s35  Assessments follow a similar format to other assessments incorporating the risk assessment - for details on undertaking the s35 assessment see the assessment section.

The assessment should:

Below is an overall summary of s35 enquiries with identification of roles and responsibilities.


If there is to be an child protection case conference then this must happen within 15 working days of the strategy discussion / meeting.


Involvement of children and relevant family members


Section 47 enquiries should always be carried out in such as way as to minimise distress to the child, and to ensure that families are treated sensitively and with respect

London Child Protection Procedures (2010; 7.71)

The way in which a case is initially approached can affect the entire subsequent process, if handled well there can be a positive effect on the eventual outcome for children.  Parents (or carers) should be informed and involved at the earliest opportunity unless there is a clear reason not to (e.g. place the child at risk of significant harm), with care being taken to ensure that they understand what they are being told (i.e. there is consideration of their language needs, impact of factors such as race, culture, religion and the fact that such conversations can cause significant anxiety).

As a part of s47 enquiries the child should always be spoken to alone, with the consent of the parents (unless there is clear reason not to seek consent, in which case legal advice may need to be sought).  Initial detailed conversations with the child may be in specific circumstances (e.g. Achieving Best Evidence interviews) which will require specially trained staff.  Communication must be in the first language of the child which may mean that an independent interpreter is required.  If the child is not able to communicate verbally due to a communication impairment, then alternative means should be sought utilising the advice of those who know the child well.  Where the child is a young baby observations of their interaction with others will provide an indication of their relationships with others.



All decisions should be ratified by the relevant line manager who should provide their own analysis of the information and reasons for the decision they have made.


Concerns of significant harm not substantiated


If the decision is not to proceed with a child protection conference then other agencies can still request an Initial Child Protection Conference if they have serious concerns that a child remains at risk.


1.discuss the case with the child, parents and other professionals

Social Worker

Before decision finalised
2. determine whether support from any services may be helpful and help secure these services. This may include the Social Worker continuing ti support the child as a child in needAll agenciesBefore decision finalised
3.Decide whether there should be on-going reassessment against specific objectives and who should do thisAll agencies Before decision finalised




Significant harm substantiated and child judged to be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm



1.Convene an Initial Child Protection ConferenceSocial WorkerBy 15 days from strategy discussion that began s47 enquiry or sooner if required
2.Ensure the child & parents understand the purpose of conference and who will attendSocial WorkerImmediate
3.Give information about advocacy agencies to the child and family and explain the family may bring an advocate, friend or supporterSocial WorkerImmediate prepare the child if he or she is attending or making representations through a 3rd partySocial WorkerAhead of conference
5.consider whether any professionals with specialist knowledge should be invited to participateSocial WorkerIn time for attendance at conference
6.share report with the family ahead of the conference. If the report should not be shared the chair must be consultedAll agencies2 days ahead of conference