Making a referral
If you are a member of the public and have concerns about a child’s welfare, or feel that they may be being abused or neglected, please call the Integrated Access and Referral Team (iART) or the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) for help and advice. Alternatively you can call the police.
- Telephone: i-ART - 0300 123 7047
The team can be contacted 8.30am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday and 8.30am – 4.30pm on Friday.
If you have an urgent concern outside these hours, or over a bank holiday, please call the Emergency Duty Team (out of hours) on 01244 977277
Alternatively call Cheshire Police: 0845 458 0000/01244 350000 (999 in an emergency)
Please note, if you are a professional sharing a concern the iART criteria has been reviewed as of 2nd October 2018 – see below for advice and guidance.
Please do not send a referral without first discussing the referral with the Integrated Access and Referral Team (i-ART).
Integrated access and referral team (iART)
Purpose of iART:
The reviewed iART criteria aligns with the well-established Cheshire West and Chester Continuum of Need and outlines the role of the Integrated Access and Referral Team (iART) as follows:
- To receive evidence based referrals for children in need of social work led intervention because there is a risk of significant harm to a child.
- To provide advice on request for cases at Partnership Plus on the continuum of need where a TAF is not achieving outcomes or the case is on the point of escalating to enable a package of support from Early Help and Prevention Service (formerly IES).
- To receive and respond to statutory notifications.
This means that in the absence of an LSCB endorsed early help assessment (Team Around the Family being recommended and progressed) and an evidenced based referral which is supported by the use of an evidence based assessment tool, contacts will not be accepted into iART, with the exception of those that clearly meet threshold for statutory social work intervention.
The expectation is that professionals work with families to offer evidence based early support at the earliest possible time.
Emergency duty team (for out of hours emergencies)
- Email (ordinary): email@example.com
- Telephone: 01244 977277
- Opening hours: 4.30 pm to 8.30 am from Monday to Thursday, from 4pm on Friday and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays
Please note, the link to the Multi-agency referral form goes directly through to the iART team during working hours and will not be picked up by the Emergency Duty Team.
Emergency referrals should be telephoned through to the above numbers as appropriate.
Do not send any personal information about specific children or young people via the ordinary email addresses provided above but please ensure you use the electronic Multi-Agency Referral Form to send details of your referral.
As a professional contacting iART you have a responsibility to secure consent from families and/or individuals to confirm they are happy for their information to be shared. The law is clear consent must be specific, informed and freely given. On contacting iART a member of the team will explore this with you. There are some exceptions to this, for example if someone is at significant risk or to prevent crime and disorder. Please contact iART for advice if you are unsure.
The Council privacy notice provides information about how agencies in West Cheshire may use personal information. All agencies have to tell people how they might use information provided and give the choice to say yes or no to using that information. Professionals must share a copy of the privacy notice at every first visit and record this on eTAF.
Making a referral
Professionals making a referral online must observe the following guidance:
- As many fields as possible should be completed. Some fields must be completed in order for the referral to proceed. The name, address and contact details of the person making the referral must be included
Please note that the Multi-Agency Referral form will confirm whether you are a referring professional or a member of the public.
- Online referrals are checked throughout the day on weekdays. The team aim to assess each referral within 1 working day and will respond on a priority basis. The Integrated Access and Referral Team (iART) will decide whether threshold is met to progress the referral either to Children’s Social Care for a statutory social work assessment or to Early Help and Prevention, or whether threshold has not been met for the referral to progress and provide other information/advice/guidance.
- Individuals have a right by law to view records held about them. It is exceptional that information is withheld from a service user and this should be borne in mind when making an online referral. Please refer to the privacy notice for more information.
Please note the above reference to the continuum of need and the purpose of iART as the integrated front door for Children’s Social Care and Early Help and Prevention.
What happens next?
Online referrals will only be acknowledged where the referrer is the person concerned, the carer or a professional such as a GP, teacher or nurse. A decision as to next steps will be completed wherever possible within 1 working day.
Further information can be found on the West Cheshire Local Safeguarding Children Board website.