PLEASE NOTE: The Children’s Workforce Development Council closed on 31 March 2012. Its key work and publications have transferred to either the Teaching Agency (for Early Years, Educational Psychology and Standards and Qualifications) or the Department for Education (Sector Leadership and Social Work).

On 1 October 2006, the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) took over responsibility from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) (previously the Department for Education and Skills – DfES) for the implementation of the toolkits and guidance which support integrated working.

This guidance replaces the Common Assessment Framework for children and young people: practitioners’ guide originally published by the DfES in 2006 and reprinted in September 2007. It remains non-statutory guidance. The new guidance has been updated and re-titled in order to reflect policy developments and include revisions identified in consultation with practitioners and managers across the children and young people’s workforce. It also seeks to link together the processes and tools mentioned above, to show how collectively they provide a package of support to help practitioners and managers implement integrated working in their practice.


  • Foreword
  • Executive summary: the CAF at a glance
  • About the CAF for children and young people
  • Why the CAF has been introduced
  • CAF and Every Child Matters
  • Children and young people with additional needs
  • Who will do a CAF and when
  • Who can offer a CAF?
  • When to do a common assessment?
  • When not to do a common assessment?
  • What makes a good assessment?
  • What makes a good action plan?
  • CAF and integrated working
  • The common assessment and specialist assessments
  • How to do a common assessment
  • Annex A: The policy context
  • Annex B: Every Child Matters outcomes and aims
  • Annex C: CAF and specialist assessments
  • Annex D: Guide to definitions