Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) Practice Guidance 3 – The role of the lead professional

This guidance on the role of the lead professional aims to clarify who would be the appropriate practitioner to fulfil this role and the responsibilities in the management of a child’s plan.

7. Choosing the most appropriate lead professional

A lead professional should be able to provide confident leadership and should be familiar with the remit of different agencies to be able to coordinate the help needed. It is important that, as far as possible, children, young people and families are supported and enabled to fully participate in any decisions about who is to be the lead professional. An example of a lead professional could be a Health Visitor, Community Children’s Nurse, Pupil Support Teacher, Head Teacher, Social Worker, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Professional, Community Child Health Professional, Allied Health Professional, Family Nurse, Youth Worker, Early Years practitioner, Young Carer Support Worker or Third Sector practitioner. This list is not exhaustive.

Therefore, choosing the lead professional should be influenced by:

  • the child, young person and/or family’s needs;
  • the best interests of the child or young person;
  • the child, young person and family’s full participation in decision-making;
  • previous contact or positive relationship with the child, young person and family; and
  • any statutory obligation defined in law towards a child or young person, for example when a child or young person needs a Coordinated Support Plan under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.

Once it has been agreed that there is a need for a lead professional, choosing the lead professional should be influenced by the type of support being offered; the strength of existing relationships; and any statutory responsibility to coordinate support, for the child, young person or their family. Where no agreement can be reached on who should assume the role, it should be escalated to the GIRFEC lead officer for the local authority or Children’s Services Planning Partnership.



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