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1.5.4 Emergency or Immediate Action


  1. Introduction
  2. Responsibilities of the Social Worker
  3. Guidance

1. Introduction

In some instances it may be necessary to take immediate emergency action. In such cases the social worker must seek authorisation for action from relevant service manager. It is essential in such cases that a Strategy Discussion is undertaken between a team manager, Police, health and school.

Where the life of a child is at risk or there is a likelihood of serious harm, Children’s Social Care should liaise with the Police quickly to secure the immediate safety of the child and/or any siblings/other children in the household, or elsewhere through Police Protection or an application for an Emergency Protection Order. Emergency action may be necessary as soon as a referral is received, or at any point during the involvement. Consideration must be given as to whether the guidance in respect of trafficked children; forced marriage; honour based violence are applicable (see Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual).

In all cases when a child or young person is made subject to Police Protection, a Section 47 Enquiry must be undertaken.

2. Responsibilities of the Social Worker

  • Consult with team manager;
  • Liaise with the police/PPU;
  • The Team Manager (Out of Hours Duty Manager for referrals outside normal office hours) will seek legal advice before initiating legal action i.e. Emergency Protection Order;
  • If the Local Authority is refused access to the child or denied information as to the whereabouts of the child then the Local Authority must apply for an Emergency Protection Order, Child Assessment Order, Care Order or Supervision Order, unless they are satisfied that the child's welfare can be safeguarded satisfactorily without an Order;
  • If no emergency action is taken, but safeguarding concerns are identified, continue as for planned enquiries;
  • If emergency action is taken:
    • Consider ongoing action to ensure continued safeguarding if required;
    • Arrange a planned Strategy Discussion according to the guidance below within 1 working day, led by the Team Manager;
    • Once the child's immediate safety is secured, ensure the process for planned enquires is followed i.e. investigation, Statutory Assessment, planning and review, in addition to the additional guidance of an EPO or PPO is taken;
    • Record all discussions, decisions and reason on ICS.

3. Guidance

Emergency action addresses only the immediate circumstances of child/ren and should be followed with Section 47 Enquiries conducted during the course of the Statutory Assessment, if this has not already been done, to plan longer term action. This decision must be kept under constant review.

The following issues should be considered:

  • Where an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) applies, whether to initiate Care Proceedings or other proceedings;
  • If the child is taken into Police Protection, whether it is in the child's interests to apply for an Interim Care Order;
  • If emergency arrangements are agreed with the extended family members and a placement with extended family is made, this will only be done on a temporary basis with the authorisation of a Service Manager and a fuller assessment will be required. The Social Worker must ensure that such arrangements will be sufficiently safe for the child, and consent of parents will be required. (See Placements with Connected Persons Procedure);
  • In cases where Police Protection is obtained, consideration should be given to not using placements with friends/family during the period of protection. All placements where Police Protection is obtained, whether with friends/family or looked after placement must be authorised by a Service Manager;
  • Placements with family/friends must never be used in cases of suspected forced marriage or honour based violence.