Enquires, Contacts and Referrals
This chapter should be read in conjunction with:
In September 2020 a link to Guidance for Undertaking Return Home Interviews was added.
1. Enquiries and Contact & Referrals
The Access & Referral Hub receives Enquiries through telephone calls, letters, faxes and emails.
The Referral and Advice Officers and Early Help Officers on the hub provide the immediate response to all enquiries.
Every day the RAOs answer all calls relating to concerns around children, whilst the EHOs answer all calls relating to Family Information and Early Help and these calls are logged as enquiries on MOSAIC (formerly FWI). Relay respond to police referrals covering Relay Schools and log these as enquiries.
All emails, faxes and letters are triaged by a Duty Social Worker, with input from the Early Help Team Leader,and then tasked out to RAOs and EHOs in accordance with their RAG rating. All contact and referral records are considered alongside thresholds for Child in Need and/or Early Help Assessment. A contact is marked as a referral on MOSAIC when it is assessed that the information provided deems the child as being 'in need' under Section 17 of the Children's Act 1989. A decision made within 24 hours regarding the level of response required.
The triage (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.
If during the initial screening, the case is found to be open to Social Care, the information is passed to the relevant team admin inbox, allocated Social Worker and Team Manager to be logged and for the information to be considered.
Green and Amber: Green rated contacts, once risk assessed by the Duty Social Worker, with input from the Early Help Team Leader are progressed by RAOs and EHOS. It is the responsibility of RAOs and EHOs to review the information, collate the history on MOSAIC and Early Help PSS database, liaise with the referrer, parents and other professionals and identify and offer appropriate support and services to the family in order to reach the recommendations. The RAOs and EHOs use their professional judgement and offer a recommendation as to the outcome of the contact.
Amber/Red and Red: All Amber/Red and Red rated contacts are progressed by RAOs and Social Workers on the Hub and undertake similar checks in order to make recommendations.
If during the triage and/or during the analysis of the Contact & Referral there are indications that a child may be at risk of 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. However there may be circumstances where the identity of referrer will become known through the information that is shared.The parent's consent should usually be sought before discussing a referral with other agencies unless this may place the child at risk of 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.
The outcome options for enquiries on MOSAIC are:
- Information and advice;
- Early Help Assessment received;
- Contact and referral.
The outcome options for contact and referral records on MOSAIC are:
- Information and advice
This option is used when there is a clear indication that the child/family does not require further direct intervention from social care and may benefit from other services and agencies that may be able to support them better. This may include information about Family information or Early Help support and services, or signposting families to school or health professionals for support. The contact is tasked to the Hub practice manager for final sign off within 24 hrs of information being received.
- Early Help Assessment/support recommended
This option is used when it is clear that the family will benefit from Early Help support or services, accessed via the Early Help Access and Assessment Team. The RAO or EHO is responsible for liasing with the family, and gaining their consent if it is decided that an Early Help Assessment is the best approach to support the child's needs, in other cases Early Help can provide more detailed information and advice to the family. The contact is tasked to the Hub practice manager for final sign off within 24 hrs of information being received. Following this the Early Help Access and Assessment team will work to get the identified support in place for the child and family.
- Referral to other services
This option is used when it is clear that the family may benefit from any of the services that can be accessed directly through the Hub; these include Homelessness & Mediation Service, Return Home Interview service or FAST 4 week intervention. This outcome can be used in conjunction with other outcomes such as requesting a Child & Family Assessment to be completed. The Contact is tasked to the Access & Referral Hub Practice Manager for final sign off within 24 hours of information being received.
- Allocation of FAST 6 week case will be completed by FAST/FISS Social Worker on the day;
- Allocation of HAMS case will be completed by HAMS Supervisor on the day;
- Allocation of Missing/Return Interviews are agreed between the interviewers on the day
- Child & Family Assessment
This option is used when it is clear that the child is likely to be a Child in Need or where sufficient information is provided to initiate Child Protection procedures. If the concerns are significant, the Social Worker on the Hub works alongside the Assessing Social Worker to liaise with the referrer, the police and other professionals to organise a Strategy Meeting. The case is to be passed to the Assessment Team Manager for allocation and chairing of the Strategy Meeting. The Hub Social Worker is available to sit in on the meeting to provide any relevant information gathered during the course of the enquiries and to offer a recommendation. Child Protection and CIN referrals are tasked to the relevant Assessment Team Manager for case allocation, recommending an assessment plan and final sign off on the day.
Once received, all referrals must be entered on to the database and a decision made 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).
Professional referrers should be advised of the outcome of the referral. Within 72 hours and, in writing, 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.
4. Recording of Enquiries, Contacts and Referrals
All Enquiries and Contact & Referrals should be recorded on the electronic database.