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1.4.1 Referral and Assessment Guidance including Making a Safeguarding Referral and the Transfer Processes across the Social Work Service


This policy covers case transfers from:

  1. Making a Safeguarding Enquiry and transfer points from Front Door for Families to Social Work Pods;
  2. Transfer from Social Work Pods to Integrated Child Development and Disability Service (ICDDS);
  3. Transfer from Social Work Pods to Leaving Care Team (LCT);
  4. Transfer to Adolescent Service.


Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners (DfE, 2018)


Accessing Children's Services

Strengthening Families Assessments


This chapter was amended in November 2018, to update links to Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners Guidance on information sharing for people who provide safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers. (See Relevant Guidance above).


  1. Principles
  2. Making a Safeguarding Enquiry and transfer points from Front Door for Families to Social Work Pods
  3. Case Transfer from Social Work Pods to Children’s Disability Service CDS
  4. Transfer from Social Work Pods to Leaving Care Team (LCT)
  5. Transfer to the Adolescent Service

    Appendix 1: The MASH Meeting

    Appendix 2: Social Workers’ Procedure for Reporting Concerns - Worried about a child who is your client?

1. Principles

  • Case transfers between teams should be thorough and safe whilst also trying to be efficient and manageable for staff and not waste social work time unnecessarily;
  • Good knowledge and transfer of key issues promotes safety for children at potentially vulnerable points of transition.

2. Making a Safeguarding Enquiry and transfer points from Front Door for Families to Social Work Pods

The centralised system in Brighton and Hove for receiving safeguarding enquiries is via the Front Door for Families - Tel 01273 290400 or

Enquiries can come from the child themselves, professionals such as teachers, the police, GPs and health visitors as well as family members and members of the public. Children’s Social Care within the Front Door for Families has the responsibility to clarify with the referrer the nature of the concerns and how and why they have arisen.

Children’s Social Care are a part of the Front Door for Families and receive approaches from professionals, agencies and the public. These consist of:

  1. Requests for information from Children’s Social Care;
  2. Provision of information such as notifications about a child;
  3. Requests, for services for a child.

When professionals refer into the Front Door for Families, they should state if there are any pre-existing assessments, (such as an Early Help Assessment), in respect of the child. Any information they have about the child’s developmental needs and the capacity of their parents and carers to meet these within the context of their wider family and environment should be provided as a part of the enquiry information. Such Early Help Assessments should identify what services the child needs and why the child and family require further support to prevent the concerns from escalating to the child needing statutory services.

All enquiries from practitioners should be confirmed in writing, by the referrer, within 24 hours. If the referrer has not received an acknowledgement of the enquiry within three working days, they should contact the Front Door for Families again.

2.1 Who is in the Front Door for Families

The Front Door for Families consists of:

  • One Team Manager;
  • 2.6 MASH Managers;
  • 5 Social Workers;
  • 1 Education Safeguarding Officer;
  • 1 Safeguarding Nurse and 1 part-time health administrator;
  • Police Detective Sergeant (on rotation);
  • Police Detective Constable;
  • 1 police researcher (on rotation);
  • 6 Referral Officers;
  • Virtual link to YOS, Early Help, Housing, Pavilions and Probation.

2.2 Process once a Front Door for Families enquiry is made

  • A MASH Manager will initially screen an enquiry and decide on an immediate course of action;
  • If they decide that the enquiry requires a MASH assessment they will RAG-rate accordingly, Red (4 hrs), Amber (24 hrs), Green (72hrs). They will also provide a commentary on the enquiry and will state what welfare checks and conversations need to be undertaken. Checks are used on a need-to-know basis so the MASH Manager and Safeguarding Nurse will make judgements on what is required. Checks are undertaken to make a decision re pathway, they may not be appropriate or in sufficient detail for a subsequent social work Strengthening Families Assessment / Strategy Discussion / S47;
  • Good practice dictates that where possible and where safe to do so, consent should be obtained from a parent or carer with Parental Responsibility for the child. However, the Data Protection Act should never be a barrier to ‘sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm’ or indeed on those occasions where seeking consent might increase the risk of harm. Information should always be ‘necessary and proportionate’. Where a decision has been made to override consent a clear management rationale for doing so must be recorded in the Guardian record (see Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners (DfE, 2018));
  • If a social worker has gained consent from a parent, agency checks will be placed in the disclosed section of the Guardian record. Police checks and checks gained without consent will be placed in the sensitive section of Guardian record and will not populate into CareFirst. Good practice dictates that verbal consent should gained from the parent as soon as possible and parents advised of the consent they provided and the outcome of the enquiry, in writing at its conclusion;
  • Once all of the information has been obtained a Front Door for Families social worker will collate the information and will formulate a succinct analysis and a view around pathway. A decision will then be made re pathway by the Front Door for Families MASH Manager;
  • Where a pathway is unclear or the case has had multiple enquiries there is an option to discuss the case at a MASH meeting. Membership of this meeting is multi-agency and is chaired by a Front Door for Families MASH Manager. It is expected that a Front Door for Families social workers compile a detailed risk tool and present the case to the meeting (see Appendix 1: The MASH Meeting);
  • If a case has been subject to 3 enquiries in the past 12 months the Front Door for Families Service Manager will have oversight and provide approval for pathway if it is felt that an assessment is not required;
  • If an enquiry has exceeded the recommended time-scale, a MASH Manager will have oversight of this enquiry and where possible will provide written commentary on the reason for the delay and what information is required to inform the pathway decision.

2.3 Enquiry Outcomes

Decisions are made in conjunction with the Threshold Document and protocols currently in place and a clear rationale will be clearly articulated in every case. The MASH Manager will decide one of the following outcomes:

  • 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 and sign-posting to another agency;
  • That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a moderate level of need, in which case, the manager may authorise a Strengthening Families Assessments or a referral for Early Help intervention;
  • That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a high level of need, which must result in a Strengthening Families Assessment;
  • That it is suspected that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer from Significant Harm, which will result in a Strengthening Families Assessment, with a view to conducting a Strategy Discussion, prior to a Section 47 Enquiry and Strengthening Families Assessment commencing.
  • Referrers are informed of the Front Door for Families decision via email. Front Door for Families partners will also share this information with agencies on a need-to-know basis. (See Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners (DfE, 2018));
  • If a parent has been spoken to as part of the enquiry they will receive a letter from the social worker informing them of the outcome.

2.4 Process for Pod Managers when it is decided that an assessment / strategy discussion is required

  • The Front Door for Families Practice Manager will complete the record on Guardian. When completed, an Initial Contact record will be populated through to CareFirst- this will contain the disclosed information. Guardian will also create an assessment record or a strategy discussion record on each child on CareFirst in the name of the Pod Manager on duty; 
  • The assessment is automatically generated upon the closure of the Front Door for Families Enquiry. The Assessment will be assigned to the Pod Manager covering for the whole week. The Pod Managers on duty will need to work together to decide upon allocation and reassign the assessments once they have been sent through, using the Business Support Officer to track the fair share of allocations over the week;
  • The Pod Manager will be informed on email (via the Duty Assessment inbox) that an assessment is required. This email will contain the detail of all the children in the household (including CareFirst No.). It will contain a brief synopsis of the case and the rationale as to why further social work is required. The duty DS and Front Door for Families Safeguarding Nurse will also be included in the email so that they have awareness of the case and can give a view if required;
  • If the case requires an immediate strategy discussion the Pod Manager will have access to the Duty DS and to the Safeguarding Nurse. If given enough notice, the Safeguarding Nurse will liaise with the relevant health professionals to see if they can attend the meeting;
  • On high-risk cases (RED) a decision may be made very early on in Front Door for Families that a strategy discussion is required. If this is the case the Pod Manager / DS / Health rep will be informed immediately. However, Front Door for Families will keep the enquiry open for a further 4 hours to allow agency checks (Police / Education / Health) to be undertaken;
  • If the Pod Manager disagrees with the decision to progress to a Strategy Discussion / Strengthening Families Assessment then it is suggested that they discuss with the Front Door for Families decision-maker in the first instance as sometimes understanding that there may be relevant information that has not been effectively conveyed. If the Front Door for Families manager remains clear that further social work is not required then the Pod Manager has the option of terminating further action on the case;
  • If a Pod Manager does terminate action on a case they need to complete an IC audit tool and upload a clear rationale for doing so in a Management Decision on CareFirst, sending a copy of the audit to the relevant Head of Service and Front Door for Families Service Manager.

If a Strengthening Families Assessment is started and it is decided at some later point that a strategy discussion with the police is required, this should not be actioned through the Front Door for Families system. Please see the separate flow-chart for this process. See Appendix 2: Social Workers’ Procedure for Reporting Concerns - Worried about a child who is your client?

  • Agency partners within Front Door for Families do not undertake S47 checks. These must be undertaken by a suitably qualified social worker;
  • Once a decision has been made regarding allocation, Pod Managers will need to alert their Business Support Officer to allocate the cases on CareFirst (including all siblings under 18 living in the household) and ensure that the correct records are open and allocated to a named keyworker;
  • As of November 2015, should a case require a same day response and overall Pod capacity be impacted by the number of emergencies being dealt with, there is one SW, from within the Front Door for Families who will be rostered on to support with the need for a same day visit / completion of immediate S.47 checks for cases that have been opened that week. The SW will not be case holding but will have capacity to implement immediate safeguarding action to secure a child’s safety. The case will be allocated to the Pod Manager at source from the Front Door for Families for their oversight, strategy and decision making to allocate at the earliest opportunity. Any request to use the Front Door for Families SW must be made via the TM / PM on duty.

3. Case Transfer from Social Work Pods to Children’s Disability Service CDS

3.1 The criteria for a child to be allocated in this service is as follows:

Children with a severe learning and/or physical disability, and children with moderate learning difficulties, where it is assessed that their needs in terms of challenging behaviour / mental health issues can be met only through the input of specialist services. 

3.2 Procedure for Pod social workers for making a referral to CDS

  • A referral should be submitted on the Internal Referral Record and the Duty Practice Manager in CDS informed;
  • The referral from should be completed with the above criteria in mind. Supporting evidence must be provided, in particular, where a child or young person who has a moderate learning difficulty;
  • A clear distinction must be made between what is diagnosed and what is not;
  • The decision to accept a referral is made by the managers in CDS and, if necessary, with a Senior Manager.

It is expected that prior to transfer all case recording is up to date, including a transfer summary, and that the Pod social worker attends a handover meeting.

4. Case transfer from Social Work Pods to the Leaving Care Team (LCT).

  1. When the young person reaches 17 ½ years old, the Pod Social Worker emails the LCT Pod Manager with details so allocations can be planned. LCT work with young people over 18 years old;
  2. LCT Pod Manager call Pod Social Worker to find out if young person has any particular needs - this will help with allocating the case;
  3. LCT Pod Manager will identify an LCT Worker (Personal Advisor / Social Worker) and inform Pod Social Worker, Pod Manager and IRO;
  4. LCT Worker and Pod Social Worker to make contact with each other - discuss transferring case;
  5. LCT Worker to ideally co-work case with Pod Social Worker for a period leading up to the transfer point;
  6. When a young person is 15 years 9 months old, the Pod Social Worker to help the young person apply for a National Insurance Number. Young people must have their National Insurance number in order to apply for benefits at 18 years old. See GOV.UK.
  7. The Pod Social Worker to update young person’s case records - see check list below;
  8. Pod Manager update Supervision record;
  9. LCT worker and Pod Social Worker to meet face to face for a formal Transfer Meeting;
  10. If the case is complex, please invite key professionals and the LCT Pod Manager to the Transfer Meeting;
  11. At the Transfer Meeting, the Pod Social Worker to share information about young person;
  12. The Pod Social Worker & LCT worker to check that case record complete and identify any outstanding tasks from Pathway Plan Review.
  13. The Pod Social Worker to complete Pathway Plan and attend the Pathway Plan Review meeting if date is a month before or after the transfer point. LCT Worker to also attend Pathway Plan Review Meeting. 
  14. Pod Social Worker to give young person any documents held for safe keeping e.g. birth certificate;
  15. Pod Social Worker to advise all key professionals and significant people that a young person has been transferred to the LCT – incl. contact details of the LCT worker.

4.1 Leaving Care Team Transfer Checklist for POD Social Workers and Business Support Officers.

  1. Transfer Summary– this document is located in CareFirst / Assessments.

Remember to include details about:

  1. Existing finance arrangements;
  2. Existing contact arrangements;
  3. Significant events and relationships;
  4. YP’s talents and strengths;
  5. Areas of risk / concern, (e.g. missing, Sexual Exploitation, low self esteem, mental health, self harm, suicidal idealisation / attempts, drug use, criminal behaviour, violence etc.);
  6. Themes, (e.g. family narrative of abuse, crime, mental health, addiction etc.);
  7. Any information that may have a bearing on young person’s behaviour or capacity to manage change, relationships or difficult situations;
  8. ‘Soft’ and evidenced information, (e.g. might be best to talk about birth family once you’ve got to know him, she likes to meet me at… / he likes receiving a birthday card).
  1.  Pathway Plan Report;
  2.  POP;
  3. Case notes up to date;
  4. Record of Stat Visits up to date;
  5. National Insurance Number applied for;
  6. At the point of transfer, the Pod Business Support Officer to:
    1. End relationships on CareFirst;
    2. Reassign Events on CareFirst;
    3. Check any ongoing payments;
    4. If young person is in foster care the Service Agreement needs to be ended on the young person’s 18th birthday;
    5. For in House carers – agreement ended by Fostering Team BSO;
    6. For IFA carers agreement ended by Children’s Agency Placement Team;
    7. Check contact details up to date;
    8. If YP was Sec 17, but retrospectively accommodated (Sec 20) this needs to be reflected in LAC episodes.

Any questions? Call the Leaving Care Team 01273 295400 Leaving Care Team, Lavender St Housing Office, Brighton, BN2 1JU.

5. Transfer to the Adolescent Service

Remit of the adolescent pod:

  • Working to safeguard and support young people within the community, reducing the likelihood of entering care and/or custody;
  • Young people at high risk of exploitation who are hard to engage and require intensive intervention;
  • Young people who require protective measures enacted to protect them from exploitation and/or who require support through the criminal justice process of evidence gathering and prosecution;
  • Young people at high risk of radicalisation who are hard to engage and require intensive intervention & management;
  • Young people remanded to the care of the local authority or remanded into youth detention accommodation;
  • Rapid response and intervention at the point of crisis / family breakdown / edge of care.

5.1 Criteria

Case mapping of young people currently known to Children’s Services has outlined the following key themes:

  • Children who have been known to children’s services (on CareFirst) for four years or more;
  • Children who have had at least three missing episodes;
  • Children whose school attendance is below 75%;
  • Children who have come into contact with police / criminal justice services.

5.2 Pathways

There will be no additional forms to complete to access the adolescent pod, referrals will be received directly from Front Door for Families or by way of case / transfer summary and discussion.

Referrals are identified via case discussion at the Adolescent Vulnerability and Risk meeting and the Missing meetings.

5.2.1 Pathway A – Referral made to Front Door for Families

5.2.2 Pathway B – Transfer from Pod – case / transfer summary

  • Required for transfer;
  • Review / up to date assessment and plan;
  • Statutory visits and reviews recorded and scheduled;
  • Court ready Chronology;
  • Case / transfer summary;
  • Joint handover / network meeting with family.

5.2.3 Pathway C – request for support alongside generic pod

  • Request for advice and information;
  • Request for attendance at strategy discussion, case; mapping / planning / network / review meeting;
  • Request for specific (time limited) support to assist allocated social worker to address assessed need, risk and/or vulnerability as part of overall plan.


Click here to view Appendix 1: The MASH Meeting

Click here to view Appendix 2: Social Workers’ Procedure for Reporting Concerns - Worried about a child who is your client?