Parent Carer Needs Assessment (PCNA)

Details on the process for getting an assessment in Reading

The chart above explains the process. Further information can be found on the Reading SEND Local Offer website but a full explanation on the process is below.

Guidance on requesting a Parent Carers Needs Assessment

Under the Children Act 1989, it has always been expected that an assessment of a Child In Need under Section 17, including all disabled children, will be ‘holistic’ so that it will take account of the needs of other family members.

However, parent carers also have rights to stand-alone assessments and to services under the Children and Families Act 2014.

Section 97 of the Children & Families Act 2014 amends the Children Act 1989 (by adding s17ZD to s17ZF) to require local authorities to assess parent carers on the appearance of need or where an assessment is requested by the parent.

This is called a Parent Carers Needs Assessment (PCNA).

In Reading the statutory duty to carry out Parent Carers Needs Assessments (PCNA) has been delegated by BFfC to the Reading & West Berkshire Carers Partnership.

When requested, the Reading & West Berkshire Carers Partnership, on Brighter Futures for Children’s behalf, will carry out the PCNA to determine whether that parent carer has needs for support and if so, what those needs are.

The assessment will include an overview of whether it is appropriate for the parent carer to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent carer/s needs for support, other needs and wishes.

The assessment will also consider:

  • the well-being of the parent carer
  • the need to safeguard / promote the welfare of the disabled child and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility.

If the Reading & West Berkshire Carers Partnership carries out a PCNA, and recommends that the parent carer or the child/ young person would benefit from a package of support as a result of the child/young person’s disability and the impact this has on them, the PCNA needs to be sent to BFfC as a referral for support under S.17 Children Act 1989. This may include a recommendation for direct payments to fund a personal assistant or short breaks.

Services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under sections 17ZD-17ZF of the Children Act 1989 can be included in Section H1 of the EHC plan, if the child has one.

If all needs identified through the PCNA can be met by providing advice, information and connecting the parent carer to support, the Reading & West Berkshire Carers Partnership will provide this support and advice regarding contingency planning.

With the parent carer’s consent the contingency plan can be sent to BFfC and be uploaded on the BFfC recording system in case support is required in the future.

If the PCNA identifies concerns regarding the child/ young person being at risk of harm a safeguarding referral will be made to BFfC.

How to get in touch

Parent carers who need support for a child/young person with a learning disability or want to request a PCNA should, in the first instance, contact Reading and West Berkshire Carers Partnership. The contact details are below.

Telephone: 0118 966 2618



PCNA – child/ young person currently open to BFfC

When the Carers Partnership carries out the PCNA and the parent carer’s needs can be met by providing information, advice and connecting to support, the PCNA will be sent by the Carers Partnership to BFfC with the parent carer’s consent and recorded on the child’s file.

If the parent carer requires further intervention from BFfC, the Carers Partnership will send a referral to BFfC for threshold review and if appropriate, allocation to the correct team. BFfC will keep a record of the PCNA and have a conversation with the parent carer to begin a single assessment taking this information into consideration.

If a parent carer requests a whole family assessment and declines a PCNA, this will be carried out by the BFfC team the child is already open to.