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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lowe

Spotlight on the Short Parent Report

What is it?

It is an easy read version of the ParentAssess Main Report which explains the outcome of the assessment. This has been an important part of the ParentAssess Framework since it was created in 2016. The Short Parent Report has received considerable praise in the family courts, and we are proud to say many other professionals have adopted a similar format since.

There are 3 headings which keep the content focussed on what the parent needs to know:

· Things that are good and you do well

· Things I’m concerned about

· What I am going to tell the Court (or the Meeting if pre-proceedings)

The layout is kept to short sentences which are spaced out and in a larger font if needed. Most Short Parent Reports are no longer than 3 pages.

Language is clear, straightforward, balanced, and respectful. There should not be any jargon or acronyms used.

Although it is much shorter than the longer assessment report, it should still capture the main points of the Assessor’s findings.

Why is this needed?

Case law (Re D (A Child) (No 3) [2016] EWFC 1) and the Good Practice Guidance 2021 underline the importance of using clear simple language the parent can understand.

Parents have told us they often find long reports overwhelming and many have said they actively avoid reading them. It is vital the parent has a version of the report they can read themselves. Sometimes parents will want to re-read this many times to reflect on the assessment outcome.

Advocates who support parents with learning disabilities have praised this Short Parent Report and have told us it helps their work with the parent.

Solicitors acting for the parents have told us it assists them in explaining the outcome and taking instructions.

When is it shared with the Parent?

Ideally, it should be given to the parent following the end of the assessment if possible. Parents have told us the wait to discover the outcome of an assessment can be very stressful. However, there will be some situations where this report will not be shared in advance and the Assessor will be able to explain this.

For those parents who have literacy difficulties, the report can be read out and a voice recording can be made for the parent.

A copy of the Short Parent Report should always be contained in the appendices to the Main Report.


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