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

This Chapter should be read in conjunction with:

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

DfE, Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners

RELEVANT LOCAL GUIDANCE

Thresholds of Need and Response in Salford

Safeguarding Children in Salford: Thresholds, Salford Safeguarding Children Board

Greater Manchester SCB Inter Agency Procedures:

Resolving Professional Disagreements/Escalation Policy

Signs and Indicators of Abuse Procedure

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Protocol for the Disclosure of Information from Salford Children's Services Records to Police / Crown Prosecution Services in Child Abuse Cases

AMENDMENT

In May 2018, this chapter was revised throughout to set out in more detail the timetable and partnership requirements associated with effectively managing contacts and referrals, including information sharing.


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 (SSALFORC PARTNERSHIP 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 Help;
  • Outreach Team;
  • Salford Royal Foundation Trust;
  • Greater Manchester Police;
  • CAMHS;
  • SIDASS;
  • VICTIM SUPPORT SERVICES;
  • GREATER MANCHESTER WEST (MENTAL HEALTH) WITH ACCESS TO ADULT SERVICES SYSTEM;
  • ACHIEVE (DRUG AND ALCOHOL SERVICES).

AGENCIES THAT ARE NOT CURRENTLY LOCATED WITHIN THE BRIDGE BUT FORM PART OF THE INFORMATION SHARING AGREEMENT

  • GMP – offender management unit;
  • GMP – GULF (guns and organised crime);
  • City West Housing;
  • Salix Housing;
  • Trading Standards;
  • National Probation Service;
  • GM Fire Rescue Service;
  • Pendleton Together;
  • Probation Service;
  • Youth Offending Service.

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.

Duty and Assessment Team continue to be situated on the ground floor of Unity House.


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 Worried about a child using the on-line referral form. It must be made clear that the EIP service is requested. A Family Assessment 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 and a decision made within 24 hours regarding the level of response required.

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. (See Section 5, Screening Process).


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 Bridge Team provides a single point of entry for all referrals that are received on all children and young people.

The social worker will 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 of the initial contact. (Note: This should be as soon as possible where it is evident the child is seen as requiring immediate protection/urgent action).


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 appropriate and in accordance with Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners:
    • Consent from the parent or carer should normally be sought;
    • However, the Data Protection Act should never be a barrier to ‘sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm’ or indeed on those occasions where seeking consent might increase the risk of harm;
    • Information should always be ‘necessary and proportionate’.

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. (See Salford LSCB).

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. There should be consideration of a Strategy Discussion and of a multi-agency response. (See Greater Manchester Safeguarding Partnership, Strategy Discussions).

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 CRM / ICS.


Appendices

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

Appendix 2: Greater Manchester Police: Police Check Policy.

End