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OxfordshireSafeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual

Locality and Community Support Service including No Names Consultations

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Information on the Locality & Community Support Service (LCSS) – what the service provides and information about the No Names Consultation process.

No Names Consultations offer professionals an opportunity to discuss cases about which there is concern without the need to make a formal referral. The chapter sets out the benefits contacting the LCSS as well as the purpose of a No Names Consultation and the possible outcomes ranging from no further action to formal referral to Children's Social Care.

Contents

  1. Locality & Community Support Service Offer
  2. Requesting 'No Names' Consultations
  3. The Outcome of the No Names Consultation
  4. Requesting 'No Names' Consultation on Open Cases to Children's Social Care
  5. Subsequent Request for 'No Names' Consultations
  6. See also No Names Consultations - Guidance for MASH v1 and Referral Pathway.

1. Locality & Community Support Service Offer

Offer: The LCSS has been created as part of Oxfordshire County Council's, Children's Services Integration Programme to support partner agencies across Oxfordshire. It is a professional facing service (including community/voluntary sector). It provides a service for community professionals when they:

  • Have emerging concerns for a child that does not require an immediate safeguarding response;
  • Need support or guidance with an Early Help Assessment or TAF;
  • Wish to complete a No Names Consultation.

Professionals should:

  • Discuss their concerns with the family;
  • Gain advice from LCSS with family's knowledge;
  • If you wish to discuss a concern without a family's consent you can gain advice via a No Names Consultation only;
  • Refer to the Threshold of Need Matrix.

The Locality & Community Support Service (LCSS) will provide advice and guidance to those in the community who work with children and families. This includes educational settings, health services and voluntary and community groups with the aim of enabling them to support children, young people and families within their community.

Professionals can ask for advice and guidance if they have not used an Early Help Assessment before. LCSS could be invited, with the consent of a parent/carer, to a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting to support a family plan.

Professionals may also invite LCSS to TAF meetings in order to discuss whether or not further support is required from the Early Help Service or to provide information of other services/groups that can help.

2. Requesting 'No Names' Consultations

'No names' consultations provide the opportunity for professionals to discuss cases where there is anxiety or concern about how to progress an issue relating to a child and their family without making a formal referral to Children's Social Care. Parental consent is not required as discussion is done without disclosing the personal details of the child or their parents.

All No Names consultations take place with the LCSS who can advise and support professionals. LCSS operate across the North, Central and South of Oxfordshire - the contact numbers are for all partner agencies in Oxfordshire (including our voluntary/community agencies) not for members of the public use.

LCSS North Tel: 0345 2412703
LCSS Central Tel: 0345 2412705
LCSS South Tel: 0345 2412608

The consultation process should not replace Child Protection procedures. If you think there might be child protection issues please contact the MASH on Tel: 0845 050 7666 for discussion without delay.

The following process should be followed whenever a consultation takes place:

  • The consultee must have a discussion with a designated safeguarding lead within their organisation to ensure management over sight and accountability prior to requesting 'No Names' consultation. The service does not provide a supervision function to practitioners;
  • Caller initially tries to call their link Locality & Community Support worker. If the Locality worker is available, they will complete the consultation. If unavailable, the caller will be advised to contact/ the main LCSS number where there will always be a duty worker available. Professionals should not contact the MASH in the first instance;
  • Establish the fact that you are not making a referral. This is a consultation only (all referrals must be directed through the MASH);
  • The consulting agency is responsible for providing detailed information about the concern to ensure appropriate advice is given (e.g. any historical social care involvement, Early Help Assessment / Team Around the Family in place, settings child/ren attend and any other consultation by another agency etc.);
  • The consultation will be recorded by the Locality Worker and a reference number will be given;
  • No names consultation document will be saved on Children's Social Care's electronic database using the unique reference number which will identify the consultation but will not identify a child and their family;
  • The consultation form will be emailed//copied to the consulting agency as soon as possible;
  • The consulting agency should then file the consultation in their own records.

3. The Outcome of the No Names Consultation

The range of outcomes following 'No Names' consultations can be:

  • A practitioner offering further advice, guidance or services including preventative work;
  • A period of further assessment or monitoring;
  • A referral to Children's Social Care should the concern reach the threshold for a child in need (s17 of the Children Act 1989) or child protection plan (s47 of the Children Act 1989) (see Threshold of Needs Matrix).

    Whilst it is good practice to share with families an intention to make a referral to Children's Social Care about their child's welfare, it is not a prerequisite as in some circumstances parents should not be informed especially if doing so it is likely to place a child at increased risk of harm. The Locality Worker providing advice must make it clear in circumstances where informing parents would be inappropriate. This must be recorded clearly in the consultation document and the reasons given. Following receipt of the referral a copy of consultation will be uploaded on the child's record;
  • No further action etc.

4. Requesting 'No Names' Consultation on Open Cases to Children's Social Care

'No Names' consultation can only be requested on cases not open to Children's Social Care. Practitioners must liaise directly with the allocated Social Worker supporting the child and their family should they have any concern. Having an open discussion with the family will allow you to find out whether or not there is Social Worker involvement.

5. Subsequent request for No Names Consultations

The consulting agency is responsible for providing previous 'No Names' consultation reference number/s and date/s of consultation to Children's Social Care to ensure all the information is linked.

Further professional guidance is available from "What to do if you're worried that a child is being abused" revised by the Department for Education and Skills in December 2006.

The information may also relate to harm caused by another child, in which case both children, i.e. the suspected perpetrator and the victim, must be referred.

The suspicion or allegation may relate to a parent or professional or volunteer caring for or working with the child. See also Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers Procedure.

A referral must be made even if it is known that Children, Education and Families are already involved with the child/family. Referrals should include details of all children within a household, and any other children suspected to be in contact with an alleged perpetrator.

WHEN IN DOUBT, CONCERNS MUST BE SHARED.