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EDT Protocol

The Emergency Duty Team (EDT) provides a service at all times outside office hours. The service runs from 17:00 on weekdays (16:30 on a Friday) until 08:00 the following working day. At weekends and Bank Holidays cover is for 24 hours a day.

The EDT phone service is staffed by a duty social worker and cover is provided for all social work emergencies in Cumbria arising out of hours involving children and their families. The EDT will also provide support to Cumbrian children/young people that are placed out of county. The EDT service also has a duty social worker (runner role) normally available when a home visit, attendance at a child protection medical is required or placing children and young people into accommodation.

Contacts can be made to the EDT service by members of the public, service users and their families and from other agencies. From the presenting information, the EDT duty social worker will assess whether this request for a service meets the social care threshold. The EDT duty social worker will ensure that recording is complete on the appropriate ICS system when any action by the worker is undertaken. The EDT duty social worker will record the following information from each caller:

  • Name of the caller;
  • Name of agency, if appropriate;
  • Contact telephone number;
  • Child/Young person’s details and address;
  • Brief outline of the request for assistance.

The EDT duty social worker will then assess the degree of potential risk presented, taking into account our statutory duties and/or Directorate policy and whether a response can wait to the next working day. Because of the team's limited resources, the EDT duty social worker must restrict its response only to those in the highest need. However a response will be provided to any child at risk of significant harm.

The EDT duty social worker cannot take on work which has been referred during office hours. Calls which have come in before 17:00hrs (16:30hrs on a Friday) must be completed by the day team, other than in exceptional circumstances which will be covered in Section 3, Exceptional Circumstances.

After assessing the presenting information if the EDT duty social worker decides that a home visit or agency visit is required they should contact the EDT Manager to discuss the need to contact the EDT runner to undertake this role. If the EDT Manager agrees that a visit is required the EDT Manager and the EDT runner will then formulate a lone worker safety plan prior to the visit, which will consist of:

  • Reason for the visit;
  • Any perceived or recorded risks to their safety from the service user, family members or carers;
  • Where they are going;
  • Expected return time;
  • Journey details;
  • Consideration to requesting Police assistance.

The EDT runner will call the EDT Manager on their return back to their base to confirm their return and discuss the outcome of the home or agency visit.

The EDT telephone number is 0333 240 1727, this is the same number used for the Cumberland Safeguarding Hub or Westmorland and Furness Safeguarding Hub and calls to this number out of hours will be re-directed to the EDT.

Only our colleagues in daytime services have access to the EDT service e-mail mailbox. If social care staff anticipates that an emergency may arise with one of their cases out of hours they should alert the EDT duty social worker by e-mail: by 16:30hrs (16:00hrs on a Friday) and provide the following information:

  • Name of the family and the child(ren) involved;
  • Age(s) of the child(ren);
  • Address and telephone numbers;
  • ICS number(s);
  • Details of what the concern is, why it is thought the duty social worker need this information/ or assistance requested;
  • Proposed action for the duty social worker to undertake;
  • The referring social worker’s contact details including a mobile number which can be called if the social worker has left the office;
  • Any social work statements, safeguarding agreements, contact details, birth plans or legal papers should be attached.

Please note that the EDT duty social worker is unable to accept an e-mail requesting that they read ICS case notes to find out what the issues are, the above information must be included.

The EDT duty social workers and manager will check the team inbox e-mails at the start of their shift and periodically throughout their shift.

If the information included in the e-mail requires the EDT duty social worker’s urgent attention, a telephone call should be made to confirm an e-mail has been sent. Referring social workers should call the main EDT phone number, (0333 240 1727) and speak to the EDT duty worker, if they are busy the caller will be invited to leave their contact details and ask for a call back. The EDT duty social worker will try to respond quickly, but at busy times there may be a delay.

While maintaining the principle underlying this procedure that the EDT task is to only cover emergencies that arise outside office hours, there will be rare occasions when it will be necessary for a day social worker to ask the EDT duty social worker to follow up a case. For example, where an attempt to assess an urgent safeguarding situation has not been able to proceed and it is considered that the assessment cannot wait until the next working day.

EDT are able to support pieces of work that daytime services are managing out of hours, for example access to fostering placements.

Where it is necessary to ask the EDT duty social worker to take action, this request must be made in direct discussion between the day Team or Service Manager (or with agreement from the Service Manager) and the EDT Team Manager/Deputy Manager so that it is entirely clear whether the EDT duty social worker can assist, what action has been agreed, and where the responsibility for the task lies. The EDT Manager/Deputy Manager will record this discussion on an ICS case note under management oversight.

The ability of the EDT Manager to accept the request will depend upon staffing levels, the nature of the intervention requested, and what other work is currently under way.

The work of EDT focuses on:

  • Children in need of protection;
  • Children and young people who are missing from home;
  • Placements at risk of immediate breakdown;
  • Children and young people who are at risk of child sexual exploitation;
  • Young people requiring the Appropriate Adult service when being interviewed by the police (commissioned service that is requested via EDT);
  • Unaccompanied young people asylum seekers requiring initial age assessments/support;
  • Families in emergency/crisis situations.

If a daytime allocated social worker believes that a child/young people they are working with is at risk of being accommodated and require the EDT duty social worker support to prevent this, they need to provide a contingency plan to assist any decision making. The EDT duty social worker will offer emergency telephone support and provide advice to families dealing with crisis and emergency situations.

Placing children in foster care causes significant disruption to a child’s life and is only used where absolutely necessary, however when children and young people need to be accommodated, this can only be done with the agreement of the on call Senior Manager. This agreement will only be given in exceptional circumstances, when there is a serious and immediate risk of significant harm to the child and where no alternative family or friends are available to care for them.

If a foster carer believes that a placement is at risk of breaking down they are advised to contact the child’s social worker during normal office hours to devise a plan of support. If there is a crisis out of hours the EDT duty social worker will provide telephone support to the foster carer and young person to help manage difficulties until the next working day.

All work carried out by the EDT duty social worker will be recorded and communicated to colleagues in the day service by 08:00 on the next working day, urgent cases will be followed up with an e-mail. On very rare occasions the EDT duty social worker may be so busy with duty work that this is not possible, but the most urgent matters will be prioritised and passed over as soon as practicable. The EDT social worker will use ICS or EHM to record activity undertaken within their shift.

When the EDT has a more detailed involvement in a case such as when a Strategy Discussion takes place or Need To Know document is required, this will be recorded on the relevant templates. Not all relevant multi agency information will be available to the EDT, but as much as possible will be included within these templates.

All the EDT permanently employed staff are Advanced Practitioners and they will undertake the initial case decision making, risk assessment and care planning. For complex cases and child protection cases they can contact the EDT Manager or the Deputy Manager for management oversight and guidance. When the Deputy Team Manager is providing management shift cover, their role will be provide case management oversight and not overall team management

Management oversight will be recorded on ICS case notes or in EHM general notes.

The EDT Manager/Deputy should be contacted to agree any case where a child/young person may need to be accommodated and to give authorisation to look for a placement. The EDT Manager/Deputy will then share this information/plan with the Senior Manager who is on call. The EDT Manager should be contacted to discuss any shift problems/issues, any staffing/rota problems. The EDT Manager can give authorisation for budgets spend of up to £50.

Decision Making by Senior Management

Children’s Social Care Senior/Service managers operate an on call rota (the centralised copy of this rota is held within the Safeguarding Hub) and need to be called by the person providing management cover for the team (Team Manager or Deputy Team Manager) for:

  • Need To Know Documents;
  • Confirmation for the EDT to accommodate children/young people;
  • A change in Local Authority Placements or for agreement needed to have additional children/young people placed in placements;
  • CLA children and young people missing more than 24 hrs;
  • CLA children and young people requiring authorisation for medical treatment;
  • Budget decisions for over £50;
  • Cases that may attract media attention or are high profile.

Last Updated: February 5, 2024