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1.1.5 Lone Working Policy

Please note: this policy is currently under review to ensure a consistent approach across the department. If in doubt, please speak to your Line Manager.


Corporate Procedural Document SPD 16 Lone Working

Guidance Note GN 23 Lone Working

Statutory guidance: Keeping children safe in education


In July 2015, minor amendments were made to this chapter as an interim measure whilst large-scale work is still on-going in regard to lone working as a whole. 


  1. Introduction
  2. Risk Assessments
  3. Home Visits
  4. Caseload Supervision

1. Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to give guidance on the arrangements to reduce risk to employees who work alone. There are employees for whom lone working is an integral part of their work. As part of professional practice, there will be occasions when those working with children and their families come into contact with behaviour that may cause them to feel threatened or intimidated. It is essential that appropriate procedures and risk assessments are in place to safeguard children, young people and the adults who work with them.

It is anticipated that all services within Children’s Services will adopt the policy and devise procedures that are fit for purpose and directly support workers within their service areas.

2. Risk Assessments

Prior to undertaking the initial visit, the allocated worker will view any existing Children's Social Care records and information from Police, health, school and other appropriate agencies. The worker will assess the family circumstances, identify any potential risks and appropriate risk management measures to be put in place before home visits are agreed.  

The outcome of the risk assessment, details and decisions will be recorded  on the child’s file.

A parent, carer or young person may be regarded as hostile and / or aggressive if they present an explicit or implicit challenge to a worker's health, safety and well being. Some examples are:

  • Physical violence;
  • Shouting / swearing;
  • Throwing things;
  • Using intimidating or derogatory language;
  • Using written threats;
  • Using domineering body language;
  • Using dogs or other animals as a threat;
  • Racial abuse;
  • Deliberately damaging property of an organisation or its workers;
  • Knowledge of a previous conviction that suggests that they present a threat, e.g. for serious assault or gun crime.

Risk assessments will be reviewed when updating the case file and / or when necessary.

3. Home Visits

Managers and Staff need to be aware that there are many visiting situations that are potentially dangerous and it is important that the risks are assessed prior to any visit.

The most common types of risky situations are:

  • Any visits that require investigation into alleged abuse, or possibly the removal of a child from a risk situation;
  • Any visits which involve clients who may be assessed for compulsory admission into hospital;
  • Any visits to people who use drugs or alcohol;
  • Any visits to people who are alleged to have knives or guns on the premises.

Always consider whether a home visit is really necessary or whether the client could be seen in the office or another safe environment.

Mobile phones enhance security for staff. It is therefore essential that the phones are:

  • Kept charged up at all times;
  • Switched on during home visits that are unfamiliar to staff or where there are known or possible safety issues;
  • That the mobile phone remains easily accessible;

Workers should take responsibility for their own personal safety by:

  • Ensuring their location and whereabouts are known and accessible;
  • When potential risks have been identified, a discussion between worker and Manager must  take place prior to the visit;
  • Workers should always adhere to risk management strategies;
  • When there has been no or little information gathered, workers should visit in pairs;
  • Keeping electronic calendars up to date;
  • When undertaking unplanned visits, workers should keep their team informed and admin support should add the visit to the relevant electronic diary;
  • Ensure that Outlook calendar is up to date, that a manager knows that you are conducting a lone visit, and that there is an arrangement in place to inform them or a colleague once the visit has taken place;
  • Team Manager, Deputy Team Manager or named colleague should always be contacted following an after hours visit;
  • Where there is potential risk, the worker will agree a timescale for the visit. Team Manager to contact worker  if visit exceeds timescale;
  • In specific circumstances, the police can be informed of the visit and if appropriate surveillance will be made on the home address;
  • Following specific incidents, home visits may be carried out alongside police;
  • If at any point during a visit a worker is feeling under threat, intimidated or at risk, they must remove themselves from the situation immediately and safely.

4. Caseload Supervision

The worker will have regular supervisions where individual cases can be discussed and appropriate actions agreed and recorded on the case management information system. If there is a situation or behaviour which gives cause for concern the worker must inform their Team Manager immediately. Appropriate action will be taken where necessary.