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3.3 The Use of Warnings in Social Care Records (Mosaic)


This guidance relates to when to note concerns on Framework.i regarding an adult or situation that poses a risk to the safety of staff.


UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR)

Data Protection Act 2018

Human Rights Act 1998

Children Act 1989


In January 2016, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read throughout including the addition of Section 2, How to Record a Warning.


  1. When to use a Warning
  2. How to Record a Warning
  3. Recording Evidence
  4. Authorisations of Warnings
  5. Information to be Recorded in the General Notes Field
  6. When to Review Warnings

1. When to use a Warning

Information should be recorded on the child's records that indicate any information known that an adult poses a risk to the safety of staff. The warnings field in Framework is in the top left hand corner of the front screen and warnings are displayed in red print. This field should be used to display warnings about a risk to the health and safety of staff. It should also be used to alert colleagues to duplicate records until this issue is resolved.

Warnings should be used when the behaviour of an individual includes:

  • Unwanted physical contact, including sexual overtures;
  • Physical assault;
  • Threatening or aggressive behaviour;
  • Fear of reprisals on self or family;
  • Feeling intimidated;
  • The presence and behaviour of a pet; for example dogs, reptiles etc.

Unsafe premises or other environmental hazards; for example, levels of cleanliness and hygiene in the home, needles in stair wells etc.

The headings below should be all the information that is held in the warning notes field, along with a review date for the warning and information about whether or not the subject is aware of its use.

  • Potential risk to staff of violence or abuse - see risk assessment (include date);
  • Potential risk from pets - see risk assessment (include date);
  • Environmental risk - see risk assessment (include date);
  • Duplicate record.

Staff must not include personal details, including names, addresses and convictions, in the warning or general notes fields.

Details about individuals should be recorded in the case notes and colleagues that need to know the information should be directed to the appropriate record.

2. How to Record a Warning

On the case front screen select ‘Amend’ from the left hand side menu.

Click on ‘Notes’. Select ‘Add’ and in that screen select the drop down of ‘Warning’.

3. Recording Evidence

Staff should complete a risk assessment to provide evidence for the use of a warning. This can be done using one of the Department's risk assessment forms, which include the following:

E.g. SR12 and SR 32
which can be found by clicking here.

Further information about the assessment and reporting of risk can be found by clicking here.

4. Authorisations of Warnings

The use of warnings on paper or electronic records must be authorised by a Team Manager. When authorising use, Team Managers must:

  • Be familiar with the compliance advice from the Information Commissioner;
  • Ensure that a risk assessment is completed to provide evidence for the use of the warning. The reasons for authorising a warning should be clear, consistent and defensible.
  • Set a date to review the use of the warning.
  • Decide whether or not to inform the individual that their record has a warning following a discussion with a senior manager. The decision not to inform an individual must be based on a "substantial chance" see Information Commissioners advice that the information might provoke a violent reaction and the reasons must be recorded.
  • Ensure that team members are aware of the current policy on violence to staff.
  • Ensure that the warning on the front screen does not contain sensitive data about the person it relates to, beyond the possible risk posed.
  • Ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities and duties in relation to Framework. These are set out on the front screen of Framework and all new staff are expected to have completed the appropriate E-learning.
  • Consider the risk posed by an individual or pet to staff in other agencies and record the reasons for disclosing information of this kind. Individuals should be informed that their information has been passed on unless there is a "substantial chance" that this might cause a violent reaction.
  • Ensure that staff taking over a case have read the risk assessment where the record has a warning. Records should state clearly if staff should not undertake visits alone.

5. Information to be Recorded in the General Notes Field

The following information should be recorded in the general notes field:

  • Allergy alert - this should include allergies for which medication may be needed, for example, peanuts or wasp stings;
  • Preferred formats - this should include how people need information, for example, in large print, Braille, tape etc;
  • Complaint - stage 2 in progress - it is not necessary to record complaints in this field if they are dealt with on the same day or in one stage. See "Instruction for using Framework as part of the complaints procedure" for further information(6);
  • Home care services received from the Independent Sector;

    All other information should be recorded in the case record, except for the following which can be recorded in other fields on the front screen;
  • The field for phone numbers can be used to record if a number is ex-directory or to record phone numbers of next of kin. Next of kin numbers should be recorded by putting, "next of kin + the number", as the number of characters you can use in this field is limited;
  • Information about other workers or organisations can be recorded in the relationships field.

6. When to Review Warnings

The use of warnings must be kept under review by Team Managers and the evidence to support continued use must be reviewed at least annually. The date of review should be recorded in the warning field. The person who is the subject of the warning should be informed of the review date, if appropriate.

Warnings must always be reviewed on the closure or transfer of the case.