SOCIAL SERVICE INVESTIGATIONS A local authority social services department (LA) has a range of obligations under the Children Act (CA) 1989, to assist and provide services to children in need, and to ensure that children are protected from abusive situations wherever possible (s 17). In order to enable the LA to decide what steps, if any, to take in relation to a child, the CA 1989 gives them a power of investigation under s 47. The duty to investigate a child’s situation arises if:

the child is subject to an emergency protection order (EPO) granted in favour of an applicant other than the LA;

the child is subject to police protection under s 46;

the LA has reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.