Common Assessment Framework (CAF) practitioner information

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CAF duty desk
North London Business Park
Oakleigh Road South
N11 1NP

Phone number
020 8359 4405

Fax Number
0871 911 6184


Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

Practitioner information

The information below provides practitioners will all the information required to use and complete the CAF process. Please contact the Multi Agency Support Team (MAST) also known as the CAF Duty Desk if you have any further queries.

Practice guidance

The Barnet CAF practice guidance shows practitioners the entire CAF process, including:

National guidance around the CAF and Lead Practitioner role is available to practitioners and managers on the Department for Education website.

Referral pathway 

The CAF referral pathway and guidance outlines where the CAF is to be used as the referral process to access a range of more targeted services.

The CAF may be used as a multi-agency assessment and planning tool in its own right, but it can also be used to support requests for a number of more targeted services. These include the Early Years Vulnerable Families Fund; Clinic based CAMHS services and the Intensive Family Focus Team. Where the CAF is being used to request these services, please provide as much information as possible to evidence the need for these services, and outline the desired outcome for the child. (Please note that a CAF will not guarantee delivery of another service, as the Provider will prioritise referrals on the basis of need and have their own eligibility criteria.

CAF forms

The CAF form is used to gather information about who else is involved in a child's life and to assess the child's needs and strengths. The CAF form and related documents are available below for you to download.

A CAF may not be necessary if a CAF already exists, or if the child is receiving specialist assessment and support from a social worker. Please confirm this with the MAST (CAF Duty Team) before starting a CAF. 

Once the CAF form has been signed and agreed by the child/family and shared with the other practitioners as agreed by the family, a copy should be sent to us by secure means using the email address shown on the left.

Assessment tools

In Barnet we use the Barnardo's domestic violence risk identification matrix to help screen domestic violence cases involving children. This assists in knowing when to undertake a CAF and when to refer to Children's Social Care.

In addition, there are some useful assessment tools that are designed to be used alongside the CAF to assist practitioners working with particular groups of children and young people. These cover information on assessing teenage parents, those affected by substance misuse and those involved in youth offending.

These are known as the London Continuum Descriptors which are part of the Pan-London CAF Protocol.

Further information can also be found on Barnet Online about domestic violence, drugs and alcohol abuse along with information about the Youth Offending Service.

CAF and Social Care Thresholds

If the practitioner is concerned about a child but is unsure where on the threshold of need the case sits, they should use the eMASH form and refer their concern directly to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), so appropriate checks can first be made to assess whether Children’s Social Care need to become involved, or whether a CAF should be started then contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) using the details on the right.

The CAF and Social Care thresholds document was launched by Barnet's Safeguarding Children's Board in 2009, and is based on some Pan-London work which attempted to clarify thresholds between boroughs.

The document is aimed at supporting practitioners who come into regular contact with children as well as social workers working within Children's Referral and Assessment Teams. The purpose of the document is to make it more transparent regarding how thresholds are applied by Children's Social Care, and to assist practitioners to be clearer as to when to use the CAF process, and when to make a referral to Children's Social Care. The document provides a description of the referral pathways and services from early intervention through to child protection. It provides a useful contact list; a grid showing the levels of needs from low priority through to high priority need and a list of useful references and documents.

MAGs (Multi-Agency Groups)

If there are difficulties locating appropriate services for a family, appointing a Lead Professional or regarding multi-agency working, you can request that your case is brought to a MAG meeting. These groups are chaired by senior managers from Children's Services, with representation from all key agencies and seek to ensure that CAF action plans are on track and are working well. 

For further information see the MAGs page.

CAF practitioners group

The CAF practitioners group aims to offer practitioners the opportunity to share best practice, raise any issues and gain cross-sector peer supporting relation to the CAF.


If you are interested in attending any of our courses or workshops please click on the links below to the training pages for further information and booking forms. All practitioners working with children need to have completed Barnet Council's one day multi-agency CAF training before initiating a CAF or acting as a Lead Professional.

CAF Training
These one day courses aim to raise awareness of the legislation and to prepare participants/practitioners for the implementation/use of the Common Assessment Framework.

CAF refresher training 
This training is for practitioners who have completed the initial training some time ago.

CAF and social care thresholds workshop
The CAF and Social Care thresholds workshop introduces Barnet's CAF and Social Care thresholds document and explores how to apply these thresholds so that practitioners are clear when to undertake a CAF and when to refer to Children's Social Care.

Lead Professional and Team Around the Child Awareness training
The Lead Professional awareness training course is aimed at practitioners who have undertaken the CAF training and who are likely to take on the Lead Professional role.   

Frequently asked questions

This document includes answers to questions raised frequently by practitioners working within Barnet.

CAF information leaflet for young people, parents and carers 

The CAF information leaflet below gives straightforward information to parents, carers and young people about the CAF process.

If you would like a supply of printed CAF information leaflets, please contact the CAF team using the contact details on the left. 

Information for the public about the CAF can be accessed from Barnet Online on the following page: