Lead professionals information


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Lead professionals information

What are they and what do they do?

When a child or young person has a number of additional needs, requiring the involvement of several different practitioners, a lead professional will be appointed in order to co-ordinate the range of support provided to a child for a time-limited period.

The term 'lead professional' is used in relation to the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), but this and the term ‘key worker’ is also used for a practitioner carrying out the co-ordinating role in relation to ‘specialist statutory assessments’.

These assessments are for children with more complex needs (for example children with complex disabilities and health needs, special educational needs, looked after children, young offenders).

When a lead professional is appointed during the CAF process there will be some flexibility in who is appointed to carry out the role, but some factors which may be considered are:

  • the wishes of the child, young person and the family
  • selecting the person whose agency is likely to be the most involved in meeting the needs of the child or young person
  • selecting the person who has an existing trusting relationship with the child, young person and the family
  • selecting a person who has the skills, ability and capacity to carry out the role
  • to facilitate the Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting
  • to ensure good information sharing and joint planning.

The role


  • act as a single point of contact for the child, young person, parent/carer so the child and family are kept
  • well informed and can discuss their progress and any concerns with one person that they can trust
  • act as a single point of contact for other practitioners to report back to
  • co-ordinate the delivery of actions agreed in the CAF, and ensure that the package of support is regularly reviewed and monitored
  • reduce any overlap and inconsistency in the services received
  • support the child and family to ensure that a careful ‘handover;’ takes place if it becomes more appropriate for someone else to be the lead professional.

Many different practitioners within the children’s workforce may act as lead professionals at certain times with children and families they are working with. For example, health visitors, midwives, youth workers, education welfare officers, school support staff, children's centre workers among others may take on this role after taking account of the factors described above.

A TAC local checklist can help Lead professionals to set up a Team Around the Child Meeting, which is a meeting involving the family and all practitioners involved to develop the CAF Action Plan and plan the delivery of services to a specific child or young person. A Team Around the Child Meeting is also used for children with complex disability or health needs who are receiving support via the Child Development Service or Barnet Support.

There are also template invite letters which Lead Professionals can use to invite the parent/carer/young person to a Team Around the Child Meeting and invite other practitioners.

Please note that practitioners can complete the blank fields and print out these letters to send to the family and other practitioners, but please note that the completed letter cannot be saved in electronic form.

More in depth information about the Lead Professional role is contained within the CWDC's national guidance (July 2009) on the Lead Professional and Team Around the Child which can be found on the DfE website and within Barnet's CAF Guidance for Practitioners which can be downloaded from this page.

If as a Lead Professional you feel that the Team Around the Child is not working effectively or are concerned that your CAF action plan is not progressing, try resolving the issues first by discussing with your line manager, but if you still feel that you may need further support or advice, then please refer the case (with the family’s consent) to the Multi-Agency Groups (MAGs).