Additional support when deciding whether a referral is required.
We are now operating a new phone duty system within our Newcastle Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) that will be a change in how we previously accepted professional referrals to the service. We are hoping this will be a positive change, strengthening multi-agency relationships and developing practice in working together to safeguard children.
The main change to the way we operate, is that professionals can now contact the Initial Response Service (0191 2772500) to seek advice and guidance as to whether a referral is required, before submitting a verbal/online safeguarding referral.
During initial contact, professionals will speak to one of our business support workers who will ask whether this is an urgent safeguarding matter or whether the professional is seeking advice. The business support team will take brief details of the concern/issue from the caller alongside their contact details. At this stage, none of the children’s details will be taken until the information is passed through to our duty social worker and further discussions have taken place.
Should a professional wish to seek advice regarding a support need/issue/concern, the duty social worker will discuss the situation and provide advice without taking details of the family, to ensure that we are complying with GDPR. This advice should allow agencies to make an informed, professional judgement as to whether a safeguarding referral is needed.
Based on the discussion and information shared, the social worker will advise accordingly. If the advice/decision is to make a safeguarding referral, they will provide advice to the referrer to submit this using our usual referral process online at NCC Report a Concern webpage.
Should a professional identify an immediate safeguarding concern for a child, then full details of the child/concern will be taken over the phone to enable us to respond to this in a timely manner, and then the referrer can follow up with a written referral.
We hope that this will assist wider agencies with safeguarding processes and be of benefit to professionals, where we can offer advice around other avenues of support, in-line with thresholds. We work closely with the Early Help Service who are part of our front door and where appropriate, calls to Childrens Social Care could be directed to the Early Help duty team to offer further advice and support to professionals/families.