New Guides: Supporting Social Work in the Courts


Following approaches by members of the Social Work profession, we are in the process of developing a range of guides and tools to support social workers in their report writing and court work.

These guides are primarily intended to support social workers employed by Local Authorities, albeit may interest Independent Social Workers and others.

Section 7 Reporting

While some Local Authorities provide in-depth guidance for their staff, it became apparent others provide little or no support in the area of case analysis, report writing and court attendance and particularly in the area of Section 7 reporting in private family law proceedings. When Local Authorities have previously been involved with families who become involved in private family law proceedings, the Local Authority rather than CAFCASS or the Welsh Service may be asked to produce a Section 7 Welfare Report. Unlike public family law proceedings, the reporting officer will not be legally represented and may struggle to get advice from the council’s solicitor.

While undertaking the Section 7 work, the reporting officer is expected to be knowledgeable about the powers of the court, strategies, developments in legislation, practice directions and common law guidance. This poses particular difficulties for new social workers with cutbacks further hampering Local Authorities in addressing this problem themselves. A lack of information channels can cause experienced social workers to be unaware of developments in case law and guidance issued by senior judiciary. These were the issues we were asked to address.

Today we publish a 22 page guide specifically on Section 7 Reporting. In support of this, we also provide a blank Section 7 template for social workers to use, and a ‘draft’ version with subsections of the report including recommended content to assist in their case analysis.

Section 7 ReportingSection 7 Guide For Social WorkersRecommended Report Content by SectionBlank MSWord Section7 Template

We now have a dedicated page which will host guides for social workers. Guides are produced in association with MAAPP, who co-host this content (in addition to their own). MAAPP is an independently produced web based Multi-Agency Application currently in development by social workers for social workers.