Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

1.2.2 Initial Contacts and Referrals


Contents

  1. Making a Referral to Children’s Services (Worried about a Child)?
  2. Initial Contacts
  3. Referrals
  4. Timescales
  5. Screening Process
  6. Initial Disposal of Referrals 
  7. Recording of Referrals

    Appendix 1: Greater Manchester Police (Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Unit): Change of Address Notification Form

    Appendix 2: Greater Manchester Police: Police Check Policy


1. Making a Referral to Children’s Services (Worried about a Child)?

Salford Council and its partners have established a new Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (BRIDGE) to screen all contacts to Children's Services previously dealt with by the Duty and Assessment Team (DAT).

Agencies involved:

  • Children's Services;
  • Early Intervention and Prevention Services;
  • Greater Manchester Police;
  • Environment and Community Safety;
  • Other agencies will join at a later date.

The aim of this approach is:

  • To be more responsive to contacts;
  • To ensure your contact is dealt with by the most appropriate service;
  • To avoid duplication of work by internal and external agencies.

This new Hub is based within Unity House on 0161 603 4500.

All enquiries concerning the welfare or safety of a child must go through the Hub Worried about a child on the Salford City Council website.

As a professional/practitioner you should continue to use the Secure upload page of the Salford City Council website.

DAT will remain based on the 3rd floor in the Civic Centre but the new number will be 0161 603 4222.


2. Initial Contacts

An initial contact is made where Children’s Services is contacted about a child, who may be:

  1. Child in Need;
  2. Child in Need of protection;
  3. Child in Need of specialist support.

And when there is a request for general advice or information.

Contacts for Early Prevention and Prevention

To request a service for Early Intervention Service a referral form for Children’s Social Care must be submitted to Worriedaboutachild using the secure upload facility. It must be made clear that the EIP service is requested. A CAF should also be sent explaining why the service is being requested.

An EIP Practice Manager will consider the referral and signpost to the appropriate service. If the EIP practice manager has any concerns about the appropriate threshold, they will consult with the BRIDGE social work manager, with reference to the Threshold Criteria.

In all other cases, at the point when an Initial Contact is made, the BRIDGE social worker should establish whether the enquiry can be dealt with by the provision of information and advice or re-direction to other agencies or services.

Any significant information received about a child who is an open case should be recorded as an observation on the child’s ICS record, and passed to the allocated social worker.


3. Referrals

An Initial Contact will be progressed to a Referral where the social worker or manager considers an assessment and/or services may be required for a Child in Need. The Referral and Assessment Team provides a single point of entry for all referrals that are received on all children and young people.

The duty social worker will arrange to visit or contact the referrer and obtain as much of the following information as possible:

  • Full names, dates of birth and gender of children;
  • Family address and, where relevant, school/nursery attended;
  • Identity of those with Parental Responsibility;
  • Names and dates of birth of all members of the household;
  • Ethnicity, first language and religion of children and parents;
  • Any special needs of the children;
  • Any significant recent or past events;
  • Cause for concern including details of allegations, their sources, timing and location;
  • The child's current location and emotional and physical condition;
  • Whether the child needs immediate protection;
  • Details of any alleged perpetrator;
  • Referrer's relationship with and knowledge of the child and his or her family;
  • Known involvement of other agencies;
  • Information regarding parents' knowledge and agreement to referral.

Referrers should have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker. The referrer should be asked specifically if they hold any information about difficulties being experienced by the family/household due to domestic abuse, mental illness, substance misuse and/or learning difficulties.


4. Timescales

Once received, all referrals must be written up and a decision made about their disposal within one working day. 


5. Screening Process

The following process applies to new cases of children previously unknown to the authority, and to closed cases.

The process of Referrals must include screening against the Threshold Criteria for Children in Need and must include internal (ICS) and agency checks to establish whether the family is previously known, and whether there is a Child Protection Plan in relation to the child and/or whether the child is Looked After.

The screening process should establish:

  • The nature of the concern;
  • How and why it has arisen;
  • What the child's needs appear to be;
  • Whether the concern involves Significant Harm;
  • Whether there is any need for urgent action to protect the child or any children in the household.

This process will involve:

  • Discussion with the referrer;
  • Consideration of any existing records, including whether the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • Involving other agencies as necessary.

If there are indications that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, the manager may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from Significant Harm, which may result in the immediate provision of services.

If there is suspicion that a crime may have been committed including sexual or physical assault or neglect of the child, the Police must be notified immediately.

Personal information about non-professional referrers should not be disclosed to the parents or other agencies without the referrer's consent.

The parent's consent should usually be sought before discussing a referral with other agencies unless this may place the child at increased likelihood of suffering Significant Harm, in which case the manager should authorise the discussion of the referral with other agencies without parental knowledge or consent. The authorisation should be recorded with reasons. 


6. Initial Disposal of Referrals

The initial disposal of a Referral, which must be authorised by the manager, may be:

  1. That the child does not appear to be a Child In Need, which will result in one of the following: the provision of information, advice, sign-posting to another agency and/or no further action;
  2. That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a moderate level of need, in which case, the manager may authorise a Children and Families Assessment;
  3. That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a high level of need, which must result in a Children and Families Assessment;
  4. That it is suspected that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer from Significant Harm, which will result in a Children and Families Assessment, with a view to conducting a Strategy Discussion, prior to a Section 47 Enquiry and Children and Families Assessment commencing.

If there are indications that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, the manager may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from Significant Harm, which may result in the immediate provision of services.

Professional referrers should be advised of the disposal of the referral.

Feedback on the outcome of the Referral should also be provided to non-professional referrers in a manner consistent with respecting the confidentiality of the child. 


7. Recording of Referrals

All Initial Contacts and Referrals should be recorded on ICS - see Universal Assessments Procedures/Guidance, Section 1, Recording.


Appendices

Appendix 1: Greater Manchester Police (Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Unit): Change of Address Notification Form.

Appendix 2: Greater Manchester Police: Police Check Policy.

End