Contacts and Referrals

Scope of this chapter

This chapter describes the procedures for dealing with contacts and referrals made to the Children’s Social Work Service Duty and Advice Team through the Front Door Safeguarding Hub.

Related guidance


In February 2023, this chapter was refreshed in line with local procedures.

February 9, 2023

A Contact is made where the Front Door Safeguarding Hub is contacted about a child who may be at risk of harm or who may be a Child in Need (CIN) or where there is a request for general advice, information or a service. All Contacts are dealt with at the Front Door Safeguarding Hub by the Duty and Advice Team. The contact number for professionals is 0113 376 0336 and the contact number for the public is 0113 222 4403.

When a professional from a partner agency calls the Duty and Advice Team, the worker will gather the relevant information and a Contact is completed and is formally logged on the Mosaic system. Initial checks may be undertaken. This could include contacting other professionals to obtain more context and clarity of information. Professionals who make a Contact will have an opportunity to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker.

The parents / carers should normally be informed that a Contact is being made unless to do so would place a child or vulnerable adult at risk of harm. In addition, parents / carers should usually be informed before further enquiries can be made with other agencies unless this may place the child at risk of harm. In this instance, the Duty and Advice Team Manager must authorise the discussion of the referral with other agencies without parental knowledge. The authorisation must be recorded with reasons.

Where the caller is a professional from a partner agency and the child / young person already has an allocated social worker, the area office contact telephone number can be passed over for the agency to make direct contact with the allocated social worker / team manager. This can be a fieldwork, child looked after or child health and disability team. Where the referrer is a professional from a partner agency, the Contact must be followed up in writing with the duty and advice team (see Leeds Safeguarding Children's Partnership, Concerned About a Child).

This form must be completed whether the Contact proceeds to a referral or not.

Professional referrers must be advised if the Contact does not proceed to referral status and is closed following the provision of advice, information, or signposting.

Where the caller is a member of the public, the details are taken, and a Contact is recorded on Mosaic by the customer services officer (CSO). This is then passed to a Duty and Advice Team Manager to decide if further action is required. The customer may be passed to another service to resolve the issue.

Where the child / young person / family does not have an allocated social worker at the point when a Contact is made, the Duty and Advice Team must establish whether the Contact could be dealt with by the provision of information and advice or redirection to other agencies or services through the Early Help process. If not, then the Contact can be passed to CSWS as a referral.

The following information may be gathered at the point of Contact, the Duty and Advice Team will obtain as much of the following information as possible:

  • Full names, dates of birth and gender of children;
  • Family address and, where relevant, school/nursery attended;
  • Identity of those with Parental Responsibility;
  • Names and dates of birth of all members of the household;
  • Ethnicity, disability, first language and religion of children and parents;
  • Nationality and immigration status;
  • Any additional needs of the children;
  • Any significant recent or past events;
  • Cause for concern including details of allegations, their sources, timing and location;
  • The child's current location and emotional and physical condition;
  • Whether the child needs immediate protection;
  • Details of any alleged perpetrator;
  • Referrer's relationship with and knowledge of the child and their family;
  • Known involvement of other agencies;
  • Information regarding parents' knowledge of the referral.

Referrers will be asked why they are contacting CSWS and what information they have about safeguarding / child protection concerns, difficulties being experienced by the family/household due to domestic abuse, mental illness, substance misuse and/or learning difficulties.

A Contact will be progressed to a referral where a social worker at the Duty and Advice team at the Front Door Safeguarding Hub considers an assessment and/or services may be required for a child at risk of significant harm or a Child in Need. See West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Procedures Manual, Recognising Abuse and Neglect Procedure.

Referrals will be passed to the relevant geographical area social work team within 24 hours of the initial call being received by the Duty and Advice Team.

Within one working day of a referral being received, a team manager should make a decision about the type of response that is required and acknowledge receipt to the referrer. For example, start a Child and Family Assessment, Section 47 Enquiry or another action.

The process should establish:

  • The nature of the concern;
  • How and why it has arisen;
  • What the child's needs appear to be;
  • Whether the concern involves Significant Harm;
  • Whether there is any need for urgent action to protect the child or any children in the household.

The process will involve:

  • Discussion with the referrer;
  • Consideration of any existing records, including whether the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • Involving other agencies as necessary.

This section should be read in conjunction with the Children in Specific Circumstances section of the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Procedures, Children in Specific Circumstances Section.

If there are indications that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, the area team manager will consider initiating a S47 Enquiry and may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from significant harm, which may result in the immediate provision of services.

If there is suspicion that a crime may have committed including sexual or physical assault or neglect of the child, the Police must be notified immediately. The area team manager will arrange a strategy discussion with the relevant agencies including at least the Police, following the procedures for a S47 Enquiry. See Assessments Guidance.

Any decision to remove a child must be discussed with the relevant head of service.

Personal information about non-professional referrers should not be disclosed to the parents or other agencies without the referrer's consent.

The initial outcome of a referral, which must be authorised by the area team manager, may be:

  1. That the child does not appear to be a Child in Need, which will result in one of the following: the provision of information, advice, signposting to another agency / Early Help services and/or no further action;
  2. That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a moderate level of need, in which case, the manager may authorise a Child and Family Assessment;
  3. That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a high level of need, which must result in a Child and Family Assessment.
    That it is suspected that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer from significant harm, where the manager should consider initiating a Section 47 Enquiry by conducting a strategy discussion, where the various decisions may be made, including that to undertake a section 47 enquiry and commence a Child and Family Assessment;
  4. If there are indications that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, the manager may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from Significant Harm, which will result in the immediate provision of services.

Professional referrers should be advised of the outcome of the referral.

Feedback on the outcome of the referral should also be provided to non-professional referrers in a manner consistent with respecting the confidentiality of the child.

All Contacts and referrals must be recorded on Mosaic - see Assessments Guidance.

Last Updated: February 9, 2023