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1.3.6 Taking Referrals where there is a Safeguarding Concern: Practice Guidance


This chapter outlines the responsibilities of the social worker when taking referrals. It also provides guidance in relation to taking referrals, that is direction or advice to a decision or course of action.


Receiving Contacts and Referrals Procedure

See also Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual, Making a Referral to Children's Social Care.

Responsibilities of the Social Worker:

  • Gather relevant referral information with the referrer (including self referrals from families);
  • Establish, in the case of a referral of a parent aged under 18 years, whether there is any risk to his/her child/ren;
  • Where the information identifies the alleged abuser as a child/young person who is not part of the same family or household as the alleged victim, s/he is made subject to a separate referral;
  • Where the alleged abuser is not a member of the household, ascertain whether there are children in his/her family and make them subject to a separate referral;
  • Identify if the referrer has discussed the concerns and the referral with the child/family;
  • Request professional referrers to complete written referral (CiN2B) and return this within 24 hours;
  • Undertake checks on the child and household members;
  • Advise Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in Children's Safeguarding Standards Unit if the referral connects to any employee, foster carer or any professional working with children;
  • Provide feedback to the referrer, within one working day of the referral. Written feedback should be provided, as appropriate, within two working days of the referral;
  • Create/update a separate ICS Contact Record in respect of each child;
  • Referral on an open case that raises concerns will be discussed with the allocated social worker who will undertake the investigation if required;
  • In relation to allocated cases and cases closed within 3 months, the allocated social worker will consult with the team manager, family / carers, the child and relevant professionals, as appropriate, to determine whether the concerns can be addressed by an alteration to the plan;
  • In relation to new referrals, or referrals on closed cases (more than 3 months) the social worker should consult with team manager, identify if concerns about Significant Harm are suspected and agree further action.


This section provides direction or advice to a decision or course of action.

Clarify with the referrer:

  • The identity and contact details of the referrer;
  • The nature of the concerns;
  • How and why these have arisen;
  • What appear to be the needs of the child and family;
  • Whether there are clearly identified safeguarding concerns and, if so, whether immediate action is necessary to ensure the child, or children, is kept safe (see below);
  • If there are any siblings or other children in the household;
  • Whether a professional referrer has undertaken a Child Protection Plan check.

Relevant information regarding a referral includes:

  • Full names, including any known alias or also known as, date of birth, gender, address of child and siblings, including whereabouts);
  • School/nursery attended (where relevant);
  • Names and date of birth of those with parental responsibility and all household members;
  • Ethnicity, first language and religion of child/ren and parents/carers and any other details known;
  • Any special needs of child/ren;
  • Any significant recent or historical events/incidents in child or family's life;
  • Current situation/whereabouts;
  • Details of alleged perpetrator, if relevant;
  • Referrer's relationship and knowledge of child and parents/carers;
  • Known involvement of other agencies/professionals, e.g. GP.

If it appears during the investigation that the child is ordinarily resident in the area of another local authority, Newcastle Children's Social Care must consult with that local authority.

A referral should be made to the other local authority where the alleged abuser lives outside the area. Refer to Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) Procedures for Cross-boundary working (to follow).

Professionals should seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the family and, where possible, seek their agreement to making referrals to Children's Social Care, unless to do so would place the child at increased likelihood of suffering Significant Harm or cause significant damage, or compromise evidence which may be required in any criminal proceedings. (See Strategy Meetings Guidance and also NSCB Procedures Manual, Strategy Discussion/Meeting Procedure).

It is good practice to keep professional referrers and any significant others updated as to developments in the case.

Undertake checks on the child and household members, including a Child Protection Plan Enquiry (if not already undertaken) and ICS

In the case of referrals from members of the public, written or verbal feedback should be in a manner consistent with respecting the confidentiality of the child and the family. Professional referrers cannot remain anonymous.

A child who is currently receiving services from Children's Social Care will have been, or will be subject to an assessment of need. They will have a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan to address identified need.

If the allocated worker at the time of the referral does not have the appropriate level of experience or training to deal with investigations of harm to children, the investigation will need to be led by an appropriately experienced worker.

It may be appropriate to convene a Care Team or Core Group meeting to formally discuss the concerns about the child.

Outcomes of the referral may be: