Skip to content

Early Help

A guide to being an early help lead practitioner

The lead practitioner is the named professional who has been identified as the person who will be the family’s main point of contact throughout the process.

The family should be offered the opportunity to choose their lead practitioner.

They are normally someone the family already knows, trusts and has a good relationship with.

They will provide the family with advice, support and guidance throughout the process.

They will work closely with the other agencies involved to organise the assessment, develop the plan and coordinate the support needed.

Any professional supporting the family can take the lead practitioner role. For example, GPs, family support workers, school nurses, teachers, health visitors or special educational needs coordinators. The important thing is that they have a good relationship with the family.

Decisions about who should be the lead practitioner should be taken on a case-by-case basis and should be agreed with the child or young person and their family.

Being a leader practitioner does not have to take up a lot of time, in fact in the longer term it should save time as a co-ordinated approach is proven to increase the chances of a child’s needs being met earlier.

If you do an early help assessment you will be the lead practitioner until the first TAF (Team around the Family) meeting where it will be confirmed who the lead practitioner will be.

Key duties include:

  • ensuring the family have given their consent
  • arranging and chairing the initial Team Around the Family meeting
  • supporting the family to engage with the Team Around the Family meeting
  • adding practitioners to the ‘Team Around the Family’ on the Right for Children system
  • ensuring practitioners undertake their part of the assessment and plan for support
  • finalising the assessment on the Right for Children system
  • coordinating the plan for support
  • reviewing the plan as required
  • adhering to safeguarding guidelines if there are safeguarding concerns
  • closing the case of the Right for Children system if early help is no longer required

The lead practitioner is not responsible for inputting other practitioners’ assessments, plans and reviews into the Right for Children system.

All practitioners involved in early help should be registered to use the Right for Children system so they can fully engage with the early help assessment and plan.

To request access to the Right for Children system email with your full name, role, service, organisation, office address, contact telephone number and email address.


Locality officers in all areas can offer advice, support and guidance. Please view their contact details using this link.

There are also local practitioner forums where you can get peer support, advice and guidance.

If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person in Devon,
please complete the request for support online form.


If you think that the child is at risk of significant harm,
contact our Front Door directly by calling 0345 155 1071.


In an emergency call 999.