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1.3.1 Initial Contacts and Referrals

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in April 2017 to reflect changes in the initial referral system and process. Note the Central Advice and Duty Team (CADT) has been replaced by the Integrated Front Door (IFD) and reflects changes in the consultation and decision-making process with respect to the threshold criteria.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Consultations
  3. Incoming Requests for Service to the Integrated Front Door
  4. Incoming Contacts to the EDT (Out of Hours)
  5. Level 4 - Social Work Assessment Required


1. Introduction

Wirral Council’s Integrated Front Door (IFD) has a responsibility to accurately identify the needs of children, young people and their parents and carers and to ensure that the appropriate services and support are provided at the right time allowing safeguarding outcomes to be achieved and sustained.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a joint responsibility with Wirral Council and Partner Agencies. The sharing of information between Professionals and local agencies is essential for effective identification, assessment and service provision.

Part of the IFD process is to determine whether a Single Assessment is required or whether requests for service into Children’s Social Care could be appropriately dealt with by another single agency or through a multi-disciplinary Team Around the Family (TAF) approach using the Family Common Assessment Framework (Family CAF).

This document reflects the guidance issued in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and details the procedure from the point of a request for service being received, providing advice and information, consulting with Professionals, progressing requests for service, that cannot be signposted elsewhere through the MASH screening process and to a referral which will be allocated to Social Workers in the Locality Teams for assessment.

This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Integrated Working Guide and the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual.


2. Consultations

If an Early Help Professional has concerns regarding a child’s welfare they should request a consultation with the Locality Social Worker. The Locality Social Worker will then record the consultation on the child’s file. If after consultation the Locality Social Worker believes that the needs of the child meet the Level 4 threshold for intervention a discussion will be held with the staff at the IFD to confirm threshold. (Please see Wirral Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual, Thresholds for Services to Children in Need Procedure).

If the IFD is in agreement that the child’s needs meet the Level 4 threshold for intervention the Locality Social Worker will advise the Professional to complete a Request for Services Form, this is available on Wirral Intranet.


3. Incoming Requests for Service to the Integrated Front Door

The Integrated Front Door operate between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm and the Emergency Duty Team operates out of office hours, weekends and Bank Holidays. The Emergency Duty Team threshold is different to that of Integrated Front Door Team and should only be used to share information where there are immediate safeguarding concerns for a child.

IFD – 0151 606 2008
EDT – 01516776557

3.1 Request for Service

A request for a service is required from professionals when they have concerns that a child’s needs are not being met or they have safeguarding concerns. If professionals need advice they must follow the consultation process as above prior to submitting the request for service.

A request for service can only be accepted when IFD agree the threshold and consent has been obtained except for Level 4 or where further information needs to be gathered to consider whether a child is in need and therefore requires a service. This decision should be made within one working day.

3.2 Information Gathering

If a Professional or member of the public contacts the Integrated Front Door (IFD) the initial call or correspondence will be dealt with by a Call Advisor.

The Call Advisor will gather the minimum information required to help them to make a decision on where to direct the call or correspondence.

The Call Advisor will then do a check on Liquid Logic, in both the Early Help and LCS module. Liquid. Logic is the database used by Wirral Council to record information on children who have been brought to their attention and then any subsequent referrals and actions, this database will also identify if the child is known to Specialist Services, is an open case or closed.

3.3 Open Cases

If it is an open case the Call Advisor will record the relevant information on Liquid Logic and transfer the caller or correspondence to the responsible Social Work Team.

If anyone other than a Professional contacts the IFD the Call Advisor will not give any information out about the case or its status.

3.4 New Cases

For all new cases the Call Advisor will consult the Social Workers at IFD for a threshold decision, in some circumstances they may need to transfer the call or correspondence directly.

The Social Worker will speak to the person to discuss their concerns for the welfare of the child.

The Social Worker will accurately record the information which had been discussed on Liquid Logic and gather as much information as possible to enable a decision about the level of need

The Social Worker will take the following actions according to the level of identified need:

Level 4

If the Social Worker has received a call or correspondence from a Professional which they have identified as meeting the threshold for Level 4 intervention, they will ask the professional to complete a Request for Services form within 24 hours.

If a child is subject to a Team around the Family (TAF) or Family Common Assessment Framework (Family CAF) the Social Worker must ask the Professional to attach the Family CAF document to the Request for Services Form

The Social Worker must ensure that all the details on the Liquid Logic system are correct and that all the relevant information has been recorded.

When a request for service is received by the IFD, and recorded onto the child’s file, the IFD will review the information to determine if it meets the threshold for Specialist Services under Section 17 or Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

When a decision is reached regarding Level 4 Threshold, risk of Significant Harm or likelihood of significant harm, the request for service will be RAG rated accordingly will be progressed through MASH module, proceeding to a referral in Liquid Logic; before being sent out to the Locality Teams for assessment. Under S17 Children Act 89. If the concerns are of a safeguarding nature the First Response Team, based in the IFD will manage all new S47 investigations.

If the Level 4 safeguarding has been identified the IFD and MASH screening process have a timescale of up to 4 hours to gather information from Multi Agency Partners. While MASH is being processed, the request for service is assigned to the First Response Team or Locality Teams if it’s an open case for a Strategy Meeting to be undertaken, therefore preventing delay for the referred child/children.

If a request for services is Level 4 Child in Need, with clear evidence within the contact, that the threshold is met for Specialist Services, this will be processed from the request for service through the MASH module with a RED Rating, where MASH has up to 4 hours to gather information from Multi Agency Partners. The MASH Manager/ASWP will direct a timescale in which MASH information will need to be gathered. MASH Social Worker will send out the request for information sharing under MASH, informing of when the information will be required to be returned and by use of the Threshold document make a recommendation on whether Threshold for Specialist Services is met, and if so, why it is met.

When a request for service is received, where concerns are raised that sit between Level 3 and Level 4 Threshold, and further information is required from multi agency partners to inform threshold decision, the request for service will be progressed through the MASH screening process with an AMBER Rating, where MASH has 7 hours to gather multi agency information. The MASH Manager/ASWP will direct a timescale in which this information will need to be gathered. MASH Social Worker will send out the request for information sharing under MASH, informing of when the information will be required to be returned and by use of the Threshold document make a recommendation on whether Threshold for Specialist Services is met, and if so, why it is met.

The information gathered within the MASH may raise the MASH rating to RED as multi agency information may highlight immediate safeguarding concerns – therefore the MASH Manager/ASWP will discuss with appropriate Locality Team Manager on open cases and First response team on all new cases and will recommend a Strategy meeting. If the threshold is not met, the Social Worker will recommend whether the request for service should be stepped down to Early Help and CAF team.

On occasions it is necessary to screen using the MASH module under a GREEN rating to assist in the threshold making decision, these requests for service do not meet Level 4 Threshold, but by the gathering of information from Multi Agency Partners, alongside holding a MASH Meeting, appropriate support services can be identified, Lead Professional agreed and agreement for CAF/TAF to be implemented. MASH GREEN can be completed in up to 24 hours.

It is not possible for MASH to be undertaken on every request for service reviewed by the IFD

The MASH Manager/ASWP will place a rationale onto Liquid Logic explaining the reasons why the threshold for Level 4 intervention has been met.

The Social Worker will complete a feedback form to the Professional within 24 hours of a decision being made In respect of threshold and recommended action and wherever possible inform the child and family of the action to be taken.

Where a request for service was made by a member of the public the Social Worker will provide feedback in a way which will respect the confidentiality of the child.

Level 3 or Level 2

If the Social Worker at IFD establishes that the information received does not meet Level 4 intervention but does meet the need for Level 3 or Level 2 intervention the Professional will be asked to complete a request for services form and send it to Early Help and CAF Team.

The Social Worker will record the outcome on Liquid Logic as ‘referred to Early Help’.

The Social Worker will notify Early help that they have asked a Professional to complete a Request for Services Form.

The MASH Manager/ASWP will review every Social Worker decision to pass the case on to Early Help and record and sign off their rationale and decision making.

Where a request for service was made by a member of the public the Social Worker will provide feedback in a way which will respect the confidentiality of the child.

Level 1

If the IFD decides that the child’s needs can be met by universal services they will offer advice to the caller and record the outcome on Liquid Logic.

Request for Service Form

If a request for Service Form is received into the IFD the staff there will check the form to see if consent has been given by the parent. The Integrated Front Door will not accept requests for service from Professionals if consent has not been obtained, unless the delay will increase the risk for a child.

If there is no consent then there are two options available:

  • Safeguarding concerns have been established and the IFD and MASH Manager has the authority to dispense with consent;
  • Discussion with the professional regarding obtaining consent.

A Social Worker at the IFD will systematically work through the task list to establish the level of need.

The following actions will be taken according to the level of identified need.

Level 4

The Social Worker will discuss the case with the MASH Manager/ASWP who will make the final decision to whether the request for service meets the threshold for Level 4 intervention.

If the MASH Manager/ASWP agrees that there are concerns for the welfare of the child the referral will be transferred to the relevant social work team, based upon the geographical location of the family for assessment or to the Children with Disabilities Team.

The MASH Manager/ASWP will place a rationale onto Liquid Logic explaining the reasons why the threshold for Level 4 intervention has been met.

The Social Worker will complete a feedback form and send to the referrer if they are a Professional within 24 hours of the decision being reached and wherever possible inform the child and family of the action to be taken.

The Social Worker will also send a feedback form to the responsible Social Work Team advising them of the decision regarding the case.

Where a request for service was made by a member of the public the Social Worker will provide feedback in a way which will respect the confidentiality of the child.

Level 2 or Level 3

If the Social Worker at the IFD decides that the child’s needs can be met by a Single Agency response or Multi-agency response then the Request for Services Form will be transferred to the Early Help and CAF Team.

A letter will sent to families from IFD informing them that the referral will be passed to Targeted Services.

Level 1

If the Social Worker at the IFD decides that the child’s needs can be met by universal services they will offer advice to the ‘referrer’ and record the outcome on Liquid Logic.


4. Incoming Contacts to the EDT (Out of Hours)

During the out of office hour’s period an EDT Social Worker will prioritise all the calls received. The Social Worker will make a decision to whether the caller can be safely advised to contact the IFD or the responsible District Social Work Team the following day. All calls must be recorded in Liquid Logic.

Those Contacts that require urgent assessment and response will be recorded on Liquid Logic and will be dealt with by EDT.

For open cases the request for service will be transferred on Liquid Logic to the responsible social work team to deal with during office hours.


5. Level 4 - Social Work Assessment Required

IFD will transfer the referral to the appropriate team through Liquid Logic. All referrals will appear on the Team Task List. If there are immediate safeguarding issues the MASH Manager/ASWP will contact the District Manager, Team Manager or Duty Social Worker and inform them of the incoming referral. The District Manager will make a decision as to the most appropriate Team for the referral to be transferred to.

If the District Manager cannot be contacted the referral will be transferred to the relevant Team Manager.

The Duty Social Worker will be responsible for checking the team task list on a daily basis and the Team Manager/ Advanced Social Work Practitioner will have overall responsibility for overseeing the task list.

The Duty Social Worker will discuss the referral with the Team Manager or Advanced Social Work Practitioner who will make a decision on how the case will progress and clearly record the actions to be taken and timescales within 24 hours of receiving the referral. They will also book in the first review date of the Single Assessment.

Where the Team Manager or Advanced Social Work Practitioner is unavailable the Duty Social Worker will discuss the case with the Manager who is covering during absence. The covering Manager will make a decision about the next steps to be taken in relation to the case.

It will be the responsibility of the Team Manager or Advanced Social Work Practitioner who held the initial discussion about the case to record the Management Decision and date of first review on Liquid Logic.

If a case spans two or more separate districts one District MUST take responsibility for managing the case within 24 hours of the case being referred to Children's Social Care. There is scope for across District co-working in the first stages of the referral being received but roles and responsibilities must be clearly agreed and recorded. If a resolution cannot be agreed as to which District is taking responsibility then the issues must be escalated to the Senior Manager as a matter of urgency.

The Team Manager or Advanced Social Work Practitioner will allocate the case based on individual caseloads, developmental needs and capacity (i.e. annual leave, training, etc). If the case cannot be allocated the unallocated case procedure should be followed.

The Social Worker will be advised by the Team Manager or Advanced Social Work Practitioner that the case is being allocated to them for assessment. The information will then appear on the Social Worker task list.

The Social Worker will then be required to undertake a Single Assessment on the case. The only exception to this is if the Team holds significant, additional information that clearly indicates no need for assessment.

Where a Team Around the Family Team is Already in Place

The Social Worker will contact the members of the Team Around the Family as soon as possible and involve them in Single Assessment and any meetings (CIN/statutory reviews etc). Any minutes from meetings must be sent to all parties.

Where there is No Existing Team Around the Family Team

The Social Worker must contact all agencies involved with the child/ family as soon as possible and include them in assessments and any meetings (CIN/ statutory reviews etc). Any minutes from meetings must be sent to all parties.

The Social Worker will complete the assessment and monitor and review plans within existing processes.

All parents/ carers should receive a privacy notice, covering letter and 'information about you leaflet' and children that are 12 and over, unless this would be likely to cause serious harm (e.g. Domestic Violence or prejudice to a Child Protection Plan).

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