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Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 ‘A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ states ‘the safeguarding partners should publish a threshold document, which sets out the local criteria for action in a way that is transparent, accessible and easily understood. This should include:

  • the process for the early help assessment and the type and level of early help services to be provided
  • the criteria, including the level of need, for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under:
    • Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (children in need)
    • Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 (reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm)
    • Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 (care and supervision orders)
    • Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (duty to accommodate a child)
  • clear procedures and processes for cases relating to:
    • the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children
    • children managed within the youth secure estate
    • disabled children

The guidance for thresholds of need and intervention is a vital tool that underpins the local vision to provide targeted support services at the earliest opportunity – right through to specialist and statutory interventions when it is needed to promote the welfare and safety of vulnerable children and young people. It aims to offer a clear framework and a common understanding of thresholds of need for practitioners within all agencies, to help to promote a shared awareness of the different interventions required to effectively support children, young people and their families or carers.

The presentation from the Effective Support for Children and Families (Threshold) Document launch events can be found here

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a change to the Referral Form?

No the Referral Form stays the same, it will be updated in the New Year.

As of the 17th December the email address and telephone number will change (See Page 17 of Effective Support for Children and Families in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire).

Automatic diverts will be put on existing phone lines and email addresses. The Safeguarding Board will notify agencies of the changes.

2. I haven’t got consent can I refer?

If you believe the child to be at risk of significant harm you refer. (This remains the same as previously)

Click here to find out more about information sharing and consent

3. Can we not have “What if” conversations?

In the light of learning from Serious Case Reviews there will no longer be what if conversations the expectation would be that you contact your agencies Safeguarding Lead or Designated Safeguarding Lead to discuss.

4. Can you use a Referral form to request Early Help?

No you need to complete an Early Help Assessment. (This remains the same as previously)

5. Can I make a telephone referral?

You can make a telephone referral but you will then need to follow this up in writing within 24 hours (This remains the same as previously). See page 17 of Effective Support for Children and Families in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

6. What can we do if we are not happy with the decision?

Contact the part of the service where the decision was made and if still not happy use the Resolving Professional Differences (Escalation) Policy.

7. Issues around Parental consent

One parent can consent, but it is good practice to seek consent from both parents, unless it would increase the risk to the child or family.

8. Should I include the lived experience of the child in the Referral?

We would expect the lived experience of the child to be captured in the Referral. Within your information, please differentiate what is fact and what is your opinion. Further information, tools and resources can be found here

9. Gcsx has been dropped from the email address for referrals is this safe to use by my agency?

The email address has been agreed following an information sharing agreement, if concerned check with your own agency.

10. Where a case is stepped down from Children in Need to Early Help when will we be notified?

There should be a handover meeting,  this should be a smooth transition, if you have not experienced this contact the Early Help Helpline.

11. What wording/levels should we use on the Referral form?

We recognise that the Referral Form uses old language, please use the new wording – emerging, complex and specialist

12. Does an electronic referral need a consent?

Yes, the form hasn’t changed. A physical signature is not required on the electronic version as there is a check box to confirm they gave consent.

13. Is the telephone referral process the same?

The telephone referrals should be used for immediate concerns where a referral is completed over the phone via the call centre staff. You would still be required to complete a written referral within 24 hours of making your call though.

14. Can we still call the centre if it is not a section 47?

Yes, however you will be expected to complete a written referral.

15. What are the possible consequences of sharing information without consent?

GDPR regulations requires you to consent however you have a right to share if there are child safeguarding concerns which fall within the criteria.

If you do not receive consent we will not be able to contact the parents however this would all be logged and if there was a cause for concern it may be moved up a scale from early help.

View our page for more information on Information Sharing and consent

17. If a 14 year old and above who is Gillick confident does not wish for their parents to be contacted, will Social Care do this?

If it is made clear on the referral that the young person does not want their parents to be contacted Children’s Social Care would always contact the young person first.

18. I have concerns regarding receiving calls from MASH asking for information on a particular child but feel obliged by the GDPR regulations that I should not be giving away this information freely when I do not know who the person is on the other end of the phone, how can I manage this?

If you ever feel it is inappropriate to give information to someone over the phone, you can call the MASH contact number so you know you are speaking to the right team to give this information

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