Luton LSCB has adopted the Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) tool to assess family situations where there is known or suspected neglect.

This list of Frequently Asked Questions may address the queries individual practitioners have about using the GCP2.

Graded Care Profile 2 is an assessment tool that measures the quality of care being given to a child, helping social workers to identify neglect and spot anything that’s putting that child at risk of harm. For more information visit:…


What is the Graded Care Profile 2?

The Graded Care Profile 2 is a tool designed to provide an objective measure of the care of children. It is primarily based on the qualitative measure of the commitment shown by parents or carers in meeting their children’s developmental needs.

The Graded Care Profile has been designed and developed by Dr O Prakash Srivastava, Community Paediatrician, arising from his work first in Barnsley and then in Luton. The GCP is based on a children’s developmental needs perspective and seeks to measure compliance and commitment to meeting those needs.

The original GCP tool was first trialled in 1995 and showed itself to be an user-friendly tool which was reliable and could replicate scores when re-tested by practitioners. The tool was published in 1997 and was formally introduced across the Luton multi-agency partnership. Here, further evaluation work indicated that the tool was liked by parents/carers who could work alongside professionals in a way that focussed on the issues.

The NSPCC undertook a national evaluation of the tool and found that it was a useful tool and suggested some modifications to enhance the tool. These modifications have resulted in the Graded Care Profile 2. Luton LSCB became licenced to use the new GCP2 in November 2015.

What are the differences between the original GCP and the new GCP2?

The GCP2 has built on the NSPCC’s evaluation of the GCP and is therefore an updated version.

The core concept, design and structure of the original GCP remains as before. Some of the language has been changed to make it more accessible. There are some new areas for assessment such as ‘obesity’ and ‘online safety’. The tool has been enhanced to make it easier to understand and use. The updated version of the tool has been tested for reliability and validity.

What does the GCP2 measure?

The GPC2 measures the quality of care given to an individual child over a short window of time (i.e. it represents the current level of care). The care given is graded between 1 (most positive) and 5 (most negative) in all areas of a child’s needs. The grades are based on the extent to which the needs of the child are currently being met and the commitment of the parent/carer to the child in relation to particular areas of care.

The areas of care are based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (physical care, care of safety, emotional care (love and belonging), and developmental care (care of esteem) which are then further sub-divided.

The GCP2 doesn’t explore reasons why a particular level of care is given to a child. However it encourages further exploration of the reasons at the analysis stage and this is supported by the practitioners report and records.

I have used the previous (older) version of the GCP tool – so can I now use this new version of the GCP2?


The updated GCP2 is now a licenced tool. The Local Authority area that the practitioner is working in has to be licenced for its staff to use the tool (Luton LSCB was an early adopter of the GCP2 and is licenced). Further, every practitioner in the licenced Local Authority area that uses the tool has to be accredited. Accreditation is achieved by undertaking an assessed one day training (this is offered by Luton).

Therefore unless a practitioner has completed the training and been satisfactorily assessed by the trainers, it is not possible for them to use the GCP2.

I have not received training in the new GCP2 but wish to do a GCP assessment with a family. What should I do?

Unfortunately, unless a practitioner has attended training and been successfully assessed during the training, it is not possible for them to use the GCP2 tool.

However there are several ways forward to enable practitioners to use the GCP2:

– Luton has planned a number of training events for staff from across the whole partnership to attend the GCP2 training, so look up the dates for this training and apply. You will need to attend the whole of the event from start to finish, have your line manager’s permission and commit to undertaking at least 3 GCP2’s with families and complete an evaluation of your use of the GCP2.

– If you know a colleague from within your own agency or another agency who is licenced to use the GCP2, then co-work the assessment using the GCP2 with them. This is an excellent way of becoming familiar with using the tool.

– Use the original GCP tool for which you do not have to be licenced. Please note however that this is an interim measure until the end of March 2017 when the option to use previous versions of the tool will cease.

I have done the GCP2 training in another local authority area. So can I use the GCP2 here in Luton?

You will need to provide evidence (e.g. your certificate of attendance which shows you were assessed satisfactorily) to your manager before you can use the GCP2 here in Luton.

I have done the GCP2 training and I am now accredited to use the GCP2. How do I now get access to copies of the GCP2 tool and the accompanying materials?

If you have done the GCP2 training, your trainers will have supplied you with one set (hard copy) and advised you how you will get access to the documentation by electronic means. Eventually, each organisation will host the GCP2 documents in ways that trained GCP2 staff can access.

Unfortunately, due to the licencing requirements, it is not possible to put the GCP2 materials on a public-access website.

Which practitioner that is working with a family should undertake the GCP2?

Only those who have received the GCP2 training and been assessed as competent to undertake assessments using the GCP2 can use the tool.

Luton LSCB is committed to the tool being used across all agencies – so any accredited practitioner can use the tool in circumstances where neglect is known or is suspected.

Where there is a multi-agency group of practitioners working with a family, e.g. a Team Around the Family or a Core Group, those practitioners may wish to explore who is best placed to use the GCP2 tool. Equally professionals could do the GCP2 assessment together, either co-working the whole assessment or dividing up the assessment between practitioners.

There is further detail in the question/answer below ‘what is the criteria for using the GCP2 in Luton?’

What is the criteria for using the GCP2 in Luton?

Luton LSCB has agreed the following principles and criteria for using the GCP2 in Luton.

Download the ‘Principles’ checklist

Can the GCP2 be done retrospectively?

No. The GCP2 is used to measure and assess the current care being given to a child.

It is important to record the dates during which the GCP2 is completed because it is recognised that care can fluctuate over time. Clarifying the current level of care means that when the scoring is repeated, it can provide evidence about whether there have been improvements or deterioration in the level of care for a child.

Can I use one GCP2 for more than one child?

It is intended that each child in the family has their own GCP2 assessment undertaken. This recognises that different children in the same family are at different ages and stages of development and therefore the care that parents/carers need to provide to them will need to be different. Even where children are at very similar age and stage, parents/carers may provide differing types of care to each child.

It is possible for assessments for more than one child in a family to be undertaken at the same time, e.g. when an observation of the parent offering care to all their children is being undertaken.

Can I undertake some parts of the GCP2 and not others?

The GCP2 measures care given to a child across the whole continuum of a child’s needs. It is this that supports planning and interventions, so practitioners are clear where the strengths and concerns are in the care given. As such the whole of the GCP2 needs to be undertaken to ensure there is a clear and balanced view about how children’s needs are being met.

Naturally if there are aspects which are not relevant for a particular parent or child, then that area should be left out.

Sometimes a practitioner will only be able to contribute to one or a few parts of the tool (for example a midwife) and it is important that they can contribute their knowledge to the completion of the tool.

What are the timescales for using the GCP2 tool?

Because care of children can fluctuate over time and to avoid results being distorted the GCP2 should be undertaken over several sessions and through announced and unannounced visits.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of sessions because each family situation will be very different. As an example and guide, where there is a parent/carer who is fully engaged with the GCP2 assessment and is able to explore matters in a relatively straightforward way (e.g. without any additional requirements for translation) and there is one child in the family who does not have additional or complex needs, a GCP2 could take about 4 sessions, lasting about 1 – 1½ hours each. Naturally additional time may be needed if a situation is more complex.

Where can I go to for any additional questions about using the GCP2?

Many of the agencies in Luton has accredited GCP2 staff and some agencies also have accredited GCP2 trainers who are champions of the GCP2 tool and so collectively there is a sound knowledge base within many agencies across the Borough. Further supervisors and line managers can offer support and advice. The documents that were given to delegates undertaking GCP2 training offer a considerable amount of information and background about the GCP2 and how to use it also.

If you want to understand more about GCP2 and how it is used in practice please watch the following clip: