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General public

If you are concerned about a child or young person, or wish to refer yourself to Early Help or Safeguarding services, please contact the City of London Corporation Children and Families Team on:

If you need to make a referral outside office hours, please phone the Hackney Emergency Duty Team on 020 8356 2710.

If the child is at immediate risk, you should contact the Police directly on 999

More information

If you wish to find out more about the referrals process or the Thresholds of Need, please phone the Children and Families Team on 020 7332 3621.

Materials for practitioners to use with the Virtual Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

The City of London Corporation has developed materials for practitioners in the safeguarding partnership to use with the relaunched Virtual Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), including the MASH protocol and MASH information-sharing form.

What is the MASH?

The MASH is a partnership of agencies that have a duty to safeguard children and who have agreed to share information they have on families and children and work within an integrated team in order to improve decision-making whenever there are concerns about a child.

The MASH will ensure:

  • all safeguarding referrals are dealt with in a timely and effective manner
  • decisions on referrals are of a high quality following good information sharing from agencies
  • thresholds for services are consistently applied across agencies
  • families are referred on to the most appropriate service at the first point of contact
  • partner agencies are confident that they can share information safely and securely
  • sharing information outside of MASH is a controlled activity done only with the agreement of the relevant agency
  • decision-making for families is streamlined and transparent
  • intelligence on community-based risk held by individual agencies is shared and analysed at an appropriate forum to ensure a multi-agency response to that risk.

Colleagues from the City Corporation’s social work teams will be using these materials from now on. If you have any questions, please email Rachel Green, Service Manager – Children’s Social Care and Early Help.

Referral guidance for practitioners

Thresholds of Need

If you are concerned about a child's wellbeing or feel a family may benefit from some additional support, the City of London Corporation Thresholds of Need document (2MB) provides a framework to:

  • identify children with additional needs
  • escalate concerns appropriately
  • make a referral for Children's Social Care or Early Help services using the City of London Corporation Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) (120KB).

Please email children.duty@cityoflondon.gov.uk for an editable version of the MARF.

The Thresholds of Need sets out four tiers to help you identify children's needs:

  • Tier 1 – Universal services (children with no additional needs).
  • Tier 2 – Children with additional needs that can be met through Early Help services.
  • Tier 3 – Children with high or complex multiple needs.
  • Tier 4 – Children in acute need who require immediate referral.

Consent

Tiers 2 and 3

All referrals for Tier 2 (children with additional needs) and Tier 3 (children with high or complex needs) must be made with parental consent or the child's consent, where the child is of age and understanding to give consent.

Tier 4

Practitioners should seek consent to share information with related agencies, including the Police or health services, for Tier 4 referrals (children with acute needs), except where this would place the child at potential risk of harm or compromise a Police investigation.

If consent is withheld for a Tier 4 referral, the practitioner should consider with their Designated Safeguarding Lead whether they have grounds to override consent in order to protect the child. Where a referral is necessary to protect the child, practitioners will have a legal basis to share information without parental consent.

How to make a referral

Once consent has been obtained from the family and young person, practitioners can make a referral to either Children's Social Care or Early Help services.

During office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)

Contact the City of London Corporation Children and Families Team following this process:

  1. Initial referrals must be made by phone to the Children and Families Team: 020 7332 3621/1620/3394.
  2. Complete the City of London Corporation Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF), using the Thresholds of Need for guidance.
  3. Mark it for the attention of the Duty Social Worker.
  4. Email the completed (password-protected) MARF to: children.duty@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Outside office hours

Contact London Borough of Hackney following this process:

  1. Initial referrals must be made by phone: 020 8356 2346/2710.
  2. Complete the City of London Corporation Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF), using the Thresholds of Need for guidance.
  3. Email the completed (password-protected) MARF to: edt.cyps@hackney.gov.uk

Next steps

When the Duty Social Worker receives the MARF, they will verify if the child is known to other services, involve other practitioners and decide what further action is needed. This could be a number of options:

  • No further action and signpost to services in the community.
  • Recommend the case for Early Help services (Tier 2) to an Early Help practitioner who will complete the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).
  • Allocate the case as a Child in Need (Tier 3) to complete a Single Assessment.
  • Convene a strategy meeting and pursue a Section 47 investigation (Tier 4).

In all cases where the case falls within Tiers 2 to 4, then an Early Help professional or social worker (where appropriate) will assume the role of Lead Professional.

If, after completing the MARF, the Children and Families Team decides no further action is required, the agency who completed the referral must continue to monitor the child or young person's situation.

If the child's needs increase or the situation deteriorates, the agency must re-refer. If you do not agree with a decision made by the Duty Social Worker, you can discuss it with the Children and Families Team Service Manager on 020 7332 3621.


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