Accessing your records

Childrens Services must keep all of your case records such as reviews, assessments and pathway plans.

Once you have requested access to your records they will be prepared and some third party information (about other people) may be removed.

The team have 40 days to provide the information and they will share information with you securely, using a password protected CD.

Your personal adviser will be able to explain more about this and support you with applying for access. You may want to consider having someone with you when you read through your records to provide support.

For more information about your records and how to request access to them see the guide your information your rights (PDF 246KB) See page 7 and 8 for the request form. You can also email

It is essential that when you submit your request to access your files you provide your ID. If you do not submit your request with proof of identity it could add a significant delay to you getting your files.

Please make sure all your information is correct when you complete the application.

It is your responsibility to keep the team updated with your contact details. If you change address or phone number, you must inform them immediately.

The team will send you your files on a password protected disk. You'll get the password by email so make sure your email is correct on your application.

Once the request is received and If it includes ID the information team have 40 days to gather all your information and send it to you.

They get the information from two places usually, Social Services database – Document Management Service (DMS) or from the hard copy files in archives – Record Management Service (RMS).

Most of our documents are saved electronically now, but sometimes information can be requested from many years ago (sometimes before you were born!) This means the team would only be able to find it in the Record Management Services files which means going through lots of paper files.

Sometimes 40 days may not be long enough for the team to gather all your files, the team have a legal requirement to contact you and let you know how long it will be until you receive your information before the end of the 40 days.

When the team have gathered your files, they review the files to remove anything that you are not allowed to see. Usually this would be removing 'third party information'.

Once they have reviewed the file it is sent to qualified social workers for 'screening'.

When you apply for your records, it is really important that the information is checked for the following reasons.

  • To ensure that all records about you are collated
  • To check what kind of information is contained in records and whether some of this information may cause you, or someone else serious harm.

Two qualified social workers will review the information contained in your records. They want to ensure that the information is suitable for you to review, and most of the time, the full range of records will be sent to you.

There are some situations when information is blanked out and that decision has been made by the social worker.

You can always discuss your records with your social worker or personal advisor who will be able to give you more details.

Some parts of your records may be excluded if the information:

  • may cause you, or someone else serious harm.
  • is classed as third party information (third party is a term used for a person or people who cannot be named when you receive your records).

The reasons will always be fully explained when you receive your records.

If anything is removed it is most likely going to be because it is third party information not because it was classed as something that was deemed to be going to cause serious harm.

Please don't think that the county council is hiding anything from you. There may be something that cannot be included because the information will be very difficult to process. However, information is rarely removed.

We think it's a really good idea to let your social worker, personal advisor or key worker know that you've requested access to your records.

Although they may support you throughout your care journey, they are not updated by the Information Team when you request your files, so if you would like anybody to know you have accessed your stored information just let them know!

It is a good idea to let your social worker or personal advisor know because you may already know a lot of the information that is held, but there may be some extra information that is new. Reading the information might make you experience feelings that you weren't expecting or there may be words or phrases that you don't understand.

Reading the information with a professional who knows you and wants to support you will be valuable. They'll be able to point you in the right direction for extra support and they'll be able to provide ongoing support as you begin to understand what you've read.

Sometimes, the information won't be a surprise at all, but it's definitely better to tell your social worker, personal advisor or key worker what you're doing, so that they can plan how to support you.

If you have a social worker, personal advisor or key worker, they are the best person to provide advice and guidance. They understand the processes of children's social care, fostering and adoption and if they don't know something, they'll be able to find an answer.

If you work with another professional, for example a teacher and you feel like you want to share what you've read, ask them to help you. They'll want you to feel supported.

If you feel like you need extra support, there are lots of organisations to contact.

  • Samaritans - If you need anybody to talk to for emotional support Samaritans offer phone support all day and night.
  • Useful contacts on the Mind website - Mind has tons of details of places you can go if you're a young person looking for support or information outside of your support from Lancashire County Council.
  • Young Minds - Whether you want to understand more about how you're feeling and find ways to feel better, or you want to support someone who's struggling, Young Minds can help.

If you're a care leaver aged up to 25, you can seek support, advice and guidance from your personal advisor. You can also find out about extra support on the Care Leavers Local Offer.

If you're a care leaver, aged over 25, then help and support can be found on the links above. Unfortunately, a personal advisor cannot be provided.

Sometimes professionals will write acronyms or use abbreviations because it is faster than writing terms in full. You might use some yourself like LOL and FYP. It is not always obvious what these mean so we've put together a list of common terms and acronyms that you might find in your records. You can also ask your social worker, personal advisor or key worker  for help.

If you do not feel like you have received the best service, then you are able to make a complaint to Lancashire County Council.

Email  or call the team on 01772 539414.