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About the Integrated Children's System

What is the Integrated Children's System (ICS)?

The ICS has been developed to improve outcomes for children defined as being in need, under the Children Act 1989.

It provides a conceptual framework, a method of practice and a business process to support practitioners and managers in undertaking the key tasks of assessment, planning, intervention and review.

It is based on an understanding of children's developmental needs in the context of parental capacity and wider family and environmental factors. It has full regard for current legislation.

Because the work with children in need requires skilled use of detailed and complex information, ICS is designed to be supported by an electronic case record system. A key aim of ICS is to provide frontline staff and their managers with the necessary help, through information communication technology (ICT), to record, collate, analyse and output the information required.

Why has it been developed?

ICS has been developed over a several years in response to the findings of inspections, research and inquiries. These findings have demonstrated the need for conceptual systemisation in working with children in need.

The use of information required for recording the facts and events of children's lives, for assessing the needs of children and monitoring their developmental progress is fundamental to good, safe practice and better outcomes. Central to many of the shortcomings in children's social services has been the failure to record, retrieve and understand the significance of information about children.

A consultation document published in 2002, sets out in more detail the background to the development of the ICS, the knowledge base which underpins it, and what work has been undertaken and is likely to be required to implement it successfully.

Download the consultation document.

The aims of ICS

Objectives of ICS

What is required?

Each LA is required to produce its own solution for ICS that delivers the business requirements set out in the local authority circular LAC(2005)3, making use of guidance documents that address practice, core information requirements, ICT functionality, information outputs and the learning from pilots.

Download LAC(2005) 3 or to go back to the main ICS page on this website to see a list of the available guidance.

Please note: LAC (2005) 3 should be read in conjuction with the ICS Minimum Compliance Criteria.


Integrated Children's System Factsheet - (March 2007)
An introduction to ICS including key features of the system, implementation and pilot studies.

Integrated Children's System, the Common Assessment Framework and ContactPoint - an overview 


Associated documents

Download the contents of this page: docas a Word Document

Last updated on 30/04/2009