Emergency Duty Service Request for Assessment from Daytime Services
All alerts should be passed on to EDS where there may be contact overnight and or over weekends and Bank Holidays. See Section 6, The Emergency Duty Service 'Alert' form.
There is a general expectation that referrals received during normal office hours will be dealt with by daytime staff, including in an urgent situation when daytime staff needs to work into the evening. Transfer of work from daytime to Emergency Duty Service can compromise their capacity to provide a response to other urgent referrals received during its operational hours. However, it is recognised that transfer is sometimes necessary, for example, where there is an urgent need for a formal assessment.
If you are working out of office hours (including on a weekend or bank holiday) please consider alerting EDS particularly if there are issues relating to lone working or other health and safety issues.
2. Prior to Making a Request to EDS
Requests for immediate action should be made to EDS only after consultation with a Team or Duty Manager. Daytime staff are expected to resolve referrals received in normal office hours unless:
- There are unacceptable and immediate risks involved in not providing a Social Work response overnight or over a weekend. (You would be expected to carry out a risk assessment);
- And there is substantial delay in the availability of essential professionals or the service user is unavailable - where service users are missing and they themselves or others are thought to be at risk, it may be appropriate to report them missing to the Police and to ask the Police to alert EDS when they are found. EDS are unable to make repeated visits to establish if service users are at or have returned home.
All efforts should be made to secure support services for service users overnight and at weekends to prevent the transfer of referrals to EDS.
3. Making a Request to EDS
Direct contact must be made by telephone with an EDS duty social worker via the EDS Helpline to request a possible handover of responsibility.Making requests via email or a telephone message is not appropriate. EDS staff will make a judgement about the specific request and the service's capacity to receive the work. Where EDS do not take on the work, the responsibility will remain with the daytime service.
4. Where a Transfer of Responsibility is Agreed
Daytime staff should ensure that EDS have all the necessary information to carry out the requested task. The EDS Alert form can be completed (or other existing assessment or Care Plan document) and emailed or faxed once an agreement to transfer has been made.
Where EDS accept responsibility for the transfer of a referral or an assessment they will send details of work completed or assessments carried out to the daytime team at the beginning of the next working day.
5. Where There is Disagreement Between Daytime Staff and EDS Staff
Where daytime and EDS staff are unable to agree about transfer of responsibility contact should be made with the EDS Team manager. See Section 9, Escalation Process.
6. The Emergency Duty Service 'Alert' Form
This form is used by any daytime staff or those working in joint Health & Social Care teams to inform EDS social workers, about situations affecting service users and/or their carers and families, which may occur outside normal office hours. This may include notification of a possible referral or to provide information where a need for emergency assessment is handed over from daytime staff to EDS (please see Section 2, Prior to making a request to EDS and Section 3, Making a request to EDS).
The sections on the form cover all service user groups and some may be more applicable than others in any given circumstances. The more background information you give and the more specific you can be in describing any action you would want EDS to carry out (or not), the more effective the intervention is likely to be. This is especially important if daytime staff are taking a particular approach with a service user and want to achieve consistency. An assessment should be included - e.g. Single Assessment, Children in Need Plan, Child Protection Plan etc. and other relevant information.
The form will be kept, please update the Emergency Duty Service if there are any changes.
The Alert form can be sent by Email, fax or internal mail.
Where the circumstances of a case are complicated or urgent daytime staff should also telephone the EDS duty social worker after 5.15pm (4.45pm Fridays) to ensure that EDS have received the 'Alert' and to discuss the information and any possible EDS response in detail.
7. Requests for Emergency Protection Orders (EPO) or Urgent S47 (Children Act) Investigations
It is rare for EDS to make Emergency Protection Orders applications. When circumstances arise where this is necessary any request should be accompanied by the detailed history and evidence needed in order to make such an application. Similarly, EDS need to be given adequate information in order to execute a court order where the subject is missing and reported missing to the Police.
In the event of a referral to daytime services indicating child safeguarding concerns warranting an emergency S47 (CA) investigation which daytime workers are unable to pursue due to the unavailability of the child and/or carers or a delayed medical examination, EDS may be able to carry out essential urgent tasks. All details will need to be passed to EDS once an agreement as Section 3 has been made to transfer responsibility for such tasks. Details will need to include history, assessment to date and any expected outcomes.
8. When a Baby is to be Removed at Birth the Following Information is Necessary for the Emergency Duty Service to Take Action
A clear plan of action to the ward staff and to the Emergency Duty Service about what will happen when the baby is born. Specifically, can the baby be left with mother or does the baby have to be physically removed from mother at birth. E.g. Does the baby at point of discharge at hospital have to be removed to foster placement or can the baby stay with mother; go home with her; are there concerns about the father; or members of the extended family; or other people in the household etc?
If an Emergency Protection Order will be required then EPO forms will need to be sent to the Emergency Duty Service. Discussion needs to take place between Legal Section and the Magistrate's Clerk about the appropriate course of action when the baby is born. This advice needs to be shared with the Emergency Duty Service.
If a placement is necessary liaison is necessary with the Family Placement Unit.
If an Emergency Protection Order or an Interim Care Order is likely to be applied for out of hours then the Emergency Duty Service need to have a copy of the papers that would justify an EPO or ICO as well as the partially completed application to court.
If it is likely that parents will remove a child from hospital shortly after birth the day teams will need to liaise with the appropriate Police Child Protection Unit and discuss whether or not they are willing to take Police Powers of Protection in that situation. (If the Police are not willing or able to take Police Powers of Protection refer to the paragraph above).
In all cases of potential removal at birth a telephone discussion needs to take place between the referring worker and the Emergency Duty Service Manager or in their absence with an Emergency Duty officer.