Thresholds of Need

Children, young people and their families have different levels of need and these may change over time.

There are four levels of need and it is important to identify children and young peoples needs at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they get the right help at the right time.

1. Low level needs

Most children and young people have low level needs that can be supported through a range of general services provided by:

  • Education and early years providers 
  • Health providers 
  • Leisure facilities 
  • Housing providers and tenants support organisations 
  • Community groups and organisations

2. Emerging needs or identified needs

Children and young people who have additional needs can be addressed by professionals working in a universal setting as they come to light through early help assessment.

3. Multiple or complex needs

Children and young people may need a more targeted support offer through targeted services such as Gateway, Restorative solutions, etc.

4. Complex or serious needs including child protection concerns

Children and young people who have more complex needs may need support from specialist services such as Social Care, the Youth Offending Team and the Targeted Disabilities Services.

The Child’s journey

The needs of children and young people change and develop over time making it essential that we provide the right help at the right time.

The key to this is early help. The Early help assessment is used to identify a child’s needs.

This is most useful for children and young people in the low level needs and emerging needs categories but can also be used as a starting point for those with multiple or complex needs.

For those with complex or serious needs immediate referral to the Children’s Duty Team is the most appropriate action.

The Thresholds of Need guidance has been refreshed for 2014 and provides a detailed walk through of the child’s journey through the four levels of need.

The guidance includes: 

  • Making and managing referrals to services 
  • Who to refer to and when 
  • More information on the type of needs and services available 
  • When to complete an early help assessment 
  • When early help is not enough 
  • Section 47 child protection concerns 
  • Examples of the different thresholds 
  • An easy to follow 3 step guide to what action and follow up you should take in each of the 4 levels of need.

Greater Manchester procedures

This includes a detailed guide on Wigan’s assessment process (Chapter 3.3) and pre-birth assessments (chapter 3.11).

Further information

For early intervention on universal and targeted services contact the Gateway team on 01942 486262.