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1.2.1 Referring Safeguarding Concerns about Children


Contents

1. Introduction
2. How to Make a Referral
3. Agency Internal Procedures
4. The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
5. Contact the MASH
6. When to Make a Referral
7. Who Should Make a Referral
8. Questioning Behaviours
9. Asking for Help
10. Anonymity and Confidentiality
11. Information Sharing
12. Talking to Children
13. Talking to Parents/Caregivers
14 Information Required when Making a Referral
  14.1 Essential information
  14.2 Additional useful information that might be included in the referral
15. Non-Recent / Historical Abuse
16. What to Expect After a Referral has been Made to Children's Social Care
17. Recording
18. Safeguarding Adults at Risk


1. Introduction

No matter where someone works, they are likely to come into contact with children during the course of their normal working activities. They are in a unique position to observe signs of abuse or neglect, or changes in behaviour which may indicate a child may be being abused or neglected.

All practitioners should make sure they are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect, that they question the behaviour of children and parents/carers and don’t necessarily take what they are told at face value. They should make sure they know where to turn to if they need to ask for help, and that they refer to Children’s Social Care or to the Police, if they suspect that a child is at risk of harm or is immediate danger.

All practitioners should make sure they understand and work within the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements that are in place in Rotherham. In doing so, they should be guided by the following key principles:

  • Children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect;
  • The welfare of the child is paramount and delay is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child (CA89, s1);
  • Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility;
  • It is better to help children as early as possible, before issues escalate and become more damaging;
  • Children and families are best supported and protected when there is a coordinated response from all relevant agencies.

Practitioners should not let other considerations, like the fear of damaging relationships with adults get in the way of protecting children from abuse and neglect. If they think that referral to Children’s Social Care is necessary, they should view it as the beginning of a process of inquiry, not as an accusation.


2. How to Make a Referral

Anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to Rotherham Children’s Social Care. Within Rotherham, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the principal point of contact for welfare concerns relating to children. See Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

When there are concerns about Significant Harm to a child, the referral must be made immediately by telephone to the MASH – see Section 5, Contact the MASH, followed up by completion of the online Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF). The greater the level of perceived risk, the more urgent the action should be. The suspicion or allegation may be based on information which comes from different sources. It may arise in the context of an Early Help assessment or intervention. It may come from a member of the public, the child concerned, another child, a family member or Practitioner from any agency. It may relate to a single incident or an accumulation of lower level concerns.

The information may also relate to harm caused by another child, in which case both children, i.e. the suspected perpetrator and victim (generally called “peer on peer abuse”), must be referred - see also  Abuse by Children and Young People Procedure.

The suspicion or allegation may relate to someone who works with the child in paid employment or as a volunteer or caring for the child - see also Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure.

A referral must be made even if it is known that Children’s Social Care is already involved with the child/family. If it is known, the details of the social worker should be included in the referral information.

If it appears that the concern is not one of child protection, but may require the provision of other Children’s Social Care services, the referring agency must seek the consent of the parents for assessment by Children's Social Care to proceed. See also Early Help Guidance: Integrated Working With Children, Young People and Families With Vulnerable or Complex Needs and Children's Assessment Protocol and Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.


3. Agency Internal Procedures

Each organisation and agency must have its own written procedure for responding to reported concerns about children. This should include the process to quickly identify:

  • What the concern is - what indicates that the child/family is in need of support or protection;
  • Evidence of the concern and its possible impact on the child;
  • What the agency has done about the concern;
  • The impact of actions taken already;
  • Other relevant knowledge of the child and family;
  • Concerns about a child or young person's welfare must always be recorded whether or not further action is taken.

The internal procedures should identify a Designated Senior Person or Named Professional - managers or staff, who are able to offer advice on child protection matters and decide upon the necessity for a referral – for more information see Section 9, Asking for Help. Consultation can be directly with the MASH Team or the allocated social worker in Children’s Social Care.


4. The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) has been developed by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, South Yorkshire Police, Clinical Commissioning Group, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDASH) in order to improve multi-agency information-sharing, decision-making and response in relation to child safeguarding concerns.

The MASH will receive all child protection concerns, check Social Care systems and decide on the next course of action. The MASH is a screening, information-sharing and decision-making process - it is not a case holding team, so when the decision has been made by the MASH Manager on the most appropriate outcome, the case will be passed on to the relevant team to progress.

Where consultation with other partners is sought and MASH then conclude that the information meets the threshold for referral then the referrer must be advised accordingly –they must confirm their referral in writing within 24 hours by completing the online MARF. See Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and Guidance for the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF).

When practitioners refer a child, they should include any information they have about the child's developmental needs and the capacity of the child's parents or carers to meet those needs within the context of their wider family and environment. For more information see Section 5, Contact the MASH and Section 14, Information Required when Making a Referral.

The information may be included in any assessment, including the early help assessment, which may have been carried out prior to a referral into MASH. Where an early help assessment (see Early Help Guidance: Integrated Working With Children, Young People and Families With Vulnerable or Complex Needs Procedure) has already been undertaken it should be used to support a referral to MASH, however this is not a prerequisite for making a referral.

There is a clear expectation that referral agencies will obtain consent prior to making contact about individual children and families, unless it is not appropriate to do so – if it would place a child at increased risk of harm, prejudice the prevention, detection or prosecution of a serious crime or lead to an unjustified delay in making enquiries about allegations of harm. There is an obligation to consider, on all occasions and on a case by case basis, whether information will be shared with or without consent. This determination must always be based on what is reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

Within one working day of a referral being received, a MASH manager should make a decision about the type of response that is required and acknowledge receipt to the referrer. See Action Following Referral of Safeguarding Children Concerns Procedure.

WHEN IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT – CALL THE MASH. See Section 5, Contact the MASH.

Referrers will have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker; advice and consultation may be sought about the appropriateness of the referral from the MASH or, if the case is open, from the allocated social worker.

At the end of the conversation between the MASH worker and the practitioner an agreement must be reached about whether this enquiry will proceed to a referral. If agreed, a telephone referral made to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) must be followed up with a completed online Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) within 24 hours.

If a practitioner disagrees with any practice or decisions made by the MASH, they should discuss their concern with their Line Manager or Safeguarding Lead. If the concern remains, the practitioner and manager can escalate their concerns using the Practice Resolution Protocol: Resolving Professional Differences of Opinion in Multi-Agency Working with Children and their Families.


5. Contact the MASH

Referrals to Children’s Social Care should be made to the MASH:

The MASH is located at Riverside House within the First Response Service. Any child, parent, family member, professional partner or member of the public can contact the Single Point of Contact between 8.30 am – 5.00pm, Monday – Thursday & 8.30 - 4.30pm Friday on 01709 823987 or by sending a secure email to MASH-referral@rotherham.gcsx.gov.uk.

Outside of these hours, if the matter is urgent and cannot wait until the next working day, referrals can be made by phoning the Out of Hours Social Work Team on 01709 336080. The MASH function will not be available to out of hours.

If the concern about the child relates to possible criminal activity:

Call South Yorkshire Police on 999 if it is an ongoing crime or emergency;
or 101 in all other cases
.

If the contact or referral is about a child who already has social worker involvement, then please contact the social worker directly for advice. If you don’t know who the social worker is, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).


6. When to Make a Referral

For information about thresholds, see Rotherham Multi-Agency Continuum of Need Guidance and Multi-Agency Threshold Descriptors.

A referral should be made to MASH when:

  • A child or young person makes a clear allegation of abuse;
  • A child has been abandoned;
  • Further concerns have arisen in relation to an open case to Children's Social Care;
  • Concerns of significant harm have risen for a child receiving a service as a Child in Need;
  • Further concerns have arisen of increased or additional risk to a child currently subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • A child sustains an injury and there is professional concern about how it was caused;
  • There are any circumstances which suggest that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  • An unborn child may be at risk of significant harm – for more information see Safeguarding Unborn and Newborn Babies Procedure and Concealment and Denial of Pregnancy Procedure;
  • A non-mobile infant sustains any injury - the presence of any bruising, of any size, in any site should initiate a detailed examination and inquiry into its explanation, origin, characteristics and history, and the child should then be referred to MASH; 
  • A baby or child or young person is not meeting appropriate developmental milestones or they appear to have faltering growth – for more information see Safeguarding Children at Risk Due to Faltering Growth Procedure;
  • A member of the public makes an allegation that someone has abused a child;
  • Professional concern exists about abuse or neglect, despite no allegation being made;
  • A child has been made the subject of an Emergency Protection Order or a Police Protection Order;
  • Concerns have arisen for a child who is the subject of a Supervision Order or Care Order;
  • Despite professional intervention, either on a single agency basis or as part of early help intervention, because of suspected neglect or abuse there is concern that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm or requires additional support – see Practice Guidance: Significant Harm - The Impact of Abuse and Neglect for more information;
  • There are concerns that a child or young person is being sexually exploited - for more information see Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation Procedure;
  • A child is reported missing from home or care and there are additional concerns about their vulnerability – for more information see Safeguarding Children and Young People who go Missing from Home and Care;

Please note this list is not exhaustive.


7. Who Should Make a Referral

As well as the responsibility of all practitioners to consider the welfare of children, a number of local agencies have specific duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. If they work in an organisation with such responsibilities, they should ensure that they take account of them in their day to day work.

If they work in an organisation without such responsibilities they should be aware of and understand the local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements in place in Rotherham. Even if their primary responsibility does not relate to children, many practitioners will have the opportunity to observe and identify behaviour which could indicate a child is being abused or neglected.

If they work with children on a regular basis, for example, as a practitioner working in a school or early years setting, they are well positioned to be able to identify abuse or neglect, including peer on peer abuse.

If they are in a profession where they may not encounter the same children as frequently, for example, as a doctor or a Police officer, they will nevertheless be in a position to observe signs of abuse and neglect. A Police officer attending a domestic abuse incident, for example, should be aware of the effect of such behaviour on any children in the household.

If they only encounter children infrequently in their job, for example, if they are a probation officer or a housing officer, they may observe possible abuse and neglect (e.g. when dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour by young people).

There are four key steps to follow to help practitioners to identify and respond appropriately to possible abuse and/or neglect:

  • Be Alert;
  • Question Behaviours;
  • Ask For Help;
  • Refer.

It may not always be appropriate to go through all four stages sequentially. If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of serious significant harm, the practitioner should contact the Police (999) and refer to MASH as soon as possible. For more information see Action Following Referral of Safeguarding Concerns Procedure, Immediate Protection.

Before making the referral if there is time, the practitioner should try to establish the basic facts. However, it will be the role of social workers and the Police to investigate cases and make a judgement on whether there should be a statutory intervention and/or a criminal investigation. The practitioner should record, in writing, all concerns and discussions about a child’s welfare, the decisions made and the reasons for those decisions.

The first step is to be alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and be familiar with these procedures. For more information see Practice Guidance: Significant Harm - The Impact of Abuse and Neglect.

All practitioners should also consider what training would support them in their role and what is available in Rotherham: for more information see Learning & Development - Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board website.


8. Questioning Behaviours

The signs of child abuse might not always be obvious and a child might not tell anyone what is happening to them. Practitioners should therefore question behaviours if something seems unusual and should try to speak to the child, alone, if appropriate, to seek further information.

If a child reports, following a conversation they have initiated or otherwise, that they are being abused and / or neglected, the practitioner should listen to them, take their allegation seriously, and reassure them that they will take action to keep them safe. They will need to decide the most appropriate action to take, depending on the circumstances of the case, the seriousness of the child’s allegation and the information contained in these procedures.

They might refer directly to MASH and/or the Police, or discuss their concerns with others and ask for help. At all times, they should explain to the child the action that they are taking. It is important to maintain confidentiality, but they should not promise that they won’t tell anyone, as they may need to do so in order to protect the child.


9. Asking for Help

Concerns about a child’s welfare can vary greatly in terms of their nature and seriousness, how they have been identified and over what duration they have arisen. If a practitioner has concerns about a child, they should ask for help.

Within each single agency a decision will need to be made about who is going to make the referral to MASH or the Police and who makes this decision should be documented in their agency’s safeguarding procedures.

The person should be a Designated Professional (or, for health provider organisations, Named Professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support practitioners in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including rescue from possible abuse or neglect. They should be the person to whom all allegations or concerns of abuse by staff are reported and whose responsibilities include ensuring that the correct procedure is followed when such allegations or concerns are raised.

This can differ from agency to agency, but the important thing is that everyone with a child protection concern has a responsibility to ensure the referral is made. It is good practice for the person with first-hand information to make the referral or at least be available to pass on their information. Referrals must be made as soon as possible - immediately if urgent action (threat to life or serious significant harm) is required; for all others within 24 hours.

For school staff (both teaching and non-teaching), concerns should be reported via the schools’ or colleges’ Designated Safeguarding Lead. The safeguarding lead will usually decide whether or not to make a referral to MASH.

For early year’s practitioners, the Early Years Foundation Stage sets out that providers should ensure they have a practitioner who is designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children and who should liaise with children’s services agencies.

Childminders should take that responsibility and notify MASH (and, in emergencies, the Police) if they have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child.

For health practitioners, all providers of NHS funded health services have identified a Named Doctor, a Named Nurse and a Named Professional (and a Named Midwife if the organisation provides maternity services) for safeguarding. GP practices should have a lead and deputy lead for safeguarding, who should work closely with Named GPs. Named practitioners should promote good practice within their organisation, provide advice and expertise for fellow practitioners, and ensure safeguarding training is in place.

For the Police, all forces have child abuse investigation units or teams, which normally take responsibility for investigating child abuse cases. If they are a Police officer with concerns about a child or young person, they can speak to their child abuse investigation unit or team for advice.

All Practitioners can also seek advice at any time from the NSPCC helpline – help@nspcc.org.uk or 0808 800 5000.

Next steps might involve making a referral directly to MASH /the Police – see Section 2, How to Make a Referral.

If they have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child and feel they are not being acted upon by their manager or named/designated safeguarding lead, it is their responsibility to take action.


10. Anonymity and Confidentiality

Any professional making a referral should not expect anonymity. However, in exceptional circumstances where disclosure to third parties could endanger the referrer, managers should assess risk and if necessary agree anonymity at this stage.

Where a member of the public expresses concern to a practitioner about significant harm to a child, the practitioner should assume responsibility for making the referral to MASH if appropriate. The practitioner should assure the member of the public that confidentiality will be respected wherever possible.

A member of the public can make a referral, either anonymously or giving their details. Personal information about the member of the public, including anything that could identify them, should only be disclosed to third parties with their consent. The member of the public should be assured that their concerns relating to the child will be acted upon. They should also be advised who to contact should they have either further concerns or additional information.


11. Information Sharing

Sharing information is essential to put in place effective child protection services. Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at risk of abuse or neglect. No practitioner should assume that someone else will pass on information which may be critical to keeping a child safe.

Sharing information is an intrinsic part of any practitioner’s role. The decisions about how much information to share, with whom and when can have a profound impact on people’s lives. The practitioner should weigh up what might happen if the information is shared against the consequences of not sharing the information. Early sharing of information is key to providing effective early help where there are emerging problems.

For more information on sharing information see Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure and Information Sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers.


12. Talking to Children

It is good professional practice to ask a child why s/he is upset or how an injury was caused, and to respond to a child who wants to talk to them. However, it is important to remember that it is not the role of practitioners, other than the enquiring/investigating social worker and/or Police officer, to conduct the child protection investigation/enquiry.

It is important that the child understands the following:

  • That information cannot be kept confidential;
  • With whom the information will be shared;
  • When the information will be shared;
  • His/her wishes and feelings will be listened to.

A child volunteering information about abuse or concern should be allowed to:

  • Talk without interruption and be listened to;
  • Expect a calm, kind, non-judgemental response;
  • Expect a non-directive approach, which avoids asking leading questions.

A non-directive approach should be adopted with nothing required other than the child's verbal account. It is essential for practitioners to make notes of their conversation with the child as soon as possible after it has taken place.

The words used by the child and practitioner should be recorded exactly as they were said. Ensure time, date, location of conversation are recorded and the initial record is preserved. Use full names and job titles of any other practitioners referred to, sign the record and print their name clearly.


13. Talking to Parents/Caregivers

In the majority of cases it is good practice to be open and honest at the outset with parents/carers about the concerns, the possible need for a referral, and information sharing between agencies. Where appropriate, all reasonable efforts should be made to inform parents / carers before making a referral. However, an inability to inform them should not prevent a referral being made.

There are cases where it will not be appropriate to discuss concerns with parents/carers before referral. In such situations, the timing of contact with parents/carers will be agreed with MASH and/or the Police once the referral has been made.

Situations where it would not be appropriate to inform family members prior to referral include where:

Please note this list is not exhaustive.

Reasons for not informing the family of the referral must be documented, as must the conversation and outcome of any advice sought.

If it appears that the concern is not one of child protection, but may require the provision of other Children’s Social Care services, the referring agency must seek the consent of the parents for assessment by Children's Social Care to proceed. See also Early Help Guidance: Integrated Working With Children, Young People and Families With Vulnerable or Complex Needs and Children's Assessment Protocol and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.


14. Information Required When Making a Referral

The referrer should have as much of the following information as possible prior to making a referral. However gaps in essential information should not result in a delay in making a referral.

For more information see Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and the Guidance for the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF).

14.1 Essential information:

  • Information about the child and family and person suspected of causing harm to the child:
    • Full name/s, gender and dates of birth (expected date of birth if unborn), ethnicity (if possible), details of disabilities of the child/ren, parents/carers and any other family members;
    • Who has Parental Responsibility for the child/ren;
    • Address and daytime contact telephone number for parents/carers;
    • The child's full address and telephone number;
    • Child and family's first language and communication issues if there are any;
    • Full name, date of birth and address of any person suspected of causing harm to the child (if possible);
    • Current location of child/ren and person suspected of causing harm to the child;
    • Details of other adults that reside within the household;
    • Any immediate or impending danger to the child;
    • Special needs of the child and parents/carers, including the need for an interpreter, signer or communication therapist – see Working with Interpreters and others with Special Communication Skills Procedure;
    • If there are any known issues that may present risk to professionals visiting the household.
  • Information about agency involvement:
    • Summary of previous concerns and any relevant background information, including a summary of why the child or family are known to their agency;
    • If they are aware of any previous Social Care, including adult Social Care involvement and the details;
    • If they are aware of any workers / practitioners that they know are currently involved with the family, (including adult services such as drugs & alcohol, probation, domestic abuse etc.).
    • If an Early help assessment has been completed, the name of the early help professional.
  • What they are concerned about and why are they making this referral now - this section needs to be answered as fully as possible in the context of the relationship they have with the child or family. This means that if they work only with parent/s, the answers should be given in that context with any impact on the child considered where relevant:
    • What are they are worried about and why - reason for referral, including description of any injuries observed, (photographs of the injuries should only be taken by Police or medical staff as part of a Section 47 investigation), details of any allegations made, discussions with the child or relevant others, details of any witnesses. Include dates/times/locations of alleged incidents and action taken and people contacted since the concern arose;
    • Historical / complicating factors – Patterns / Conditions / Behaviours that contribute to greater difficulty for the family;
    • Grey areas - Factors which are not clear if they are a risk or strength, or there is insufficient information or areas of dispute; what might happen if the current situation continues;
    • Strengths - Positives in child and family’s life;
    • Safety /Protective Factors - strengths demonstrated as protection over time, things that mitigate or address risks; presence of research based protective factors.

14.2 Additional useful information you might include in your referral:

  • If there are no safeguarding concerns, information about the consent of child (if of sufficient age and understanding) and parents or others with Parental Responsibility;
  • Addresses of family members or other significant people not living in the household;
  • Previous addresses of the family;
  • Information regarding contact between any person suspected of causing harm to the child and other children, i.e. in a work, community, extended family or other settings;
  • Schools, nurseries, etc. attended by the child and other children in the household;
  • Name, address and telephone number of GP;
  • Name, address and telephone number of health visitor/school nurse;
  • Hospital ward, consultant, named nurse or Named Professional, and date admitted/discharged;
  • Name / address / telephone number of other practitioners involved with the family;
  • Child's legal status (e.g. Child Arrangements Order, Care Order) and details of anyone not already mentioned who has Parental Responsibility;
  • Ethnic origin, religion, cultural background of the child and caregivers;
  • Whether People who pose a Risk to children are present in the household – for more information see Persons who Pose a Risk to Children Procedure;
  • Previous concerns and any relevant background information, including a summary of why the child or family are known to their agency. This should be structured using the domains of the 'Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families', i.e.:
    • The child's developmental needs;
    • The parents or caregivers capacity to respond to those needs;
    • The wider family and environmental factors; and
    • Any opinion they have formed about how the child and family are likely to react to the referral and any potential Section 47 Enquiries, including in particular any factors which are likely to place the child or others at risk (e.g. where there is Domestic Abuse, a history of violent behaviour, parental substance misuse or mental ill health problems or learning difficulties).

For more information see Children's Assessment Protocol.


15. Non-recent (Historical) Abuse

Non-recent abuse is sometimes called historical abuse. The terms mean the same thing.

Allegations of child abuse are sometimes made by adults and children many years after the abuse has occurred. There are many reasons for an allegation not being made at the time including fear of reprisals, the degree of control exercised by the abuser, shame or fear that the allegation may not be believed. The person becoming aware that the abuser is being investigated for a similar matter or their suspicions that the abuse is continuing against other children may trigger the allegation.

Reports of historical allegations may be complex as the alleged victims may no longer be living in the situations where the incidents occurred or where the alleged perpetrators are also no longer linked to the setting or employment role. Such cases should be responded to in the same way as any other concerns and the a Referral to MASH should be made - see Section 5, Contact the MASH. It is important to ascertain as a matter of urgency if the alleged perpetrator is still working with, or caring for, children. If so, the referral to MASH should include this information and contact should be made with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) if there needs to be further discussion – for more information see Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure.

Organisational responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child must be of as high a standard as a response to current abuse because:

  • There is a significant likelihood that a person who abused a child/ren in the past will have continued and may still be doing so;
  • Criminal prosecutions can still take place despite the fact that the allegations are historical in nature and may have taken place many years ago.

If it comes to light that the historical abuse is part of a wider setting of institutional or organised abuse, the case will be dealt with according to the Safeguarding Children and Young People Involved in Organised or Multiple Abuse, and other Complex Investigations Procedure.

Consideration must be given to the therapeutic needs of the adult and reassurance given that, even without her/his direct involvement all reasonable efforts will be made to look into what s/he has reported.

Agencies investigating the allegation(s) should consider the need for a referral to adult social care, in respect of the alleged perpetrator, if there are fears that the allegation(s) may trigger mental health needs, leading to the possibility of suicide or self-harm.


16. What to Expect After a Referral has been Made to Children's Social Care

A practitioner making a referral to MASH should be informed of the outcome and the reasons for any decisions made within one working day by telephone and in writing. Both the MASH worker and the referrer should record the outcome of any discussion and agreement about any ongoing action required by the referrer.

If a practitioner is actively involved in Section 47 Enquiries, s/he should be kept fully informed throughout.

A member of the public giving information to a practitioner that leads to a referral being made should only be told that appropriate action has been taken but may not be given further details. This is because of the need for confidentiality.

For more information about what happens about a referral is made, see Action Following Referral of Safeguarding Children Concerns Procedure.


17. Recording

If a practitioner is concerned about a child they should record the details in their agency record of the issues outlined in Section 14, Information Required when Making a Referral. In addition they should record any action taken and people contacted (including when the referral was made, to whom, their response and any agreed action).

The record should indicate the original source of all information given and be clearly signed and dated by the author. This record may be needed for:

The practitioner must complete the online Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and consult the MARF guidance within 24 hours. The PDF copy of the original referral should be kept securely in accordance with the agency workplace procedures. If the practitioner has not received an acknowledgment of a written referral within 3 working days, they should contact a manager within MASH or follow the escalation procedure as outlined in Practice Resolution Protocol: Resolving Professional Differences of Opinion in Multi-Agency Working with Children and their Families.

If they decide not to make the referral after consultation with their Designated Professional or Senior Manager, they should still record their initial concerns and the details of any discussions they have had about them for future reference.


18. Safeguarding Adults at Risk

An adult at risk of harm is defined as someone who has needs for care and support, is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect and is unable to protect them self. This means that regardless of whether they are providing any services, councils must follow up any concerns about either actual or suspected adult abuse or neglect.

For information about safeguarding adults, please see the Safeguarding Adults: South Yorkshire's Adult Protection Procedures.

To make a referral about an adult at risk, contact the Rotherham Adult Social Care Safeguarding Team.

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