Single Point of Access Open for All Child Welfare Concerns

AN EASY way for professionals and the general public to raise any concerns about child welfare has been launched in Reading.

The Children’s Single Point of Access has been set up to deal with all levels of issues relating to young people up to the age of 18, whether it is parents seeking extra support or individuals wanting to report child protection or safeguarding issues.

Practitioners and member of the public, including children, can contact the dedicated team by telephone or internet.

Having a single point of access will allow the Council to make timely, informed, evidence based decisions to ensure a child’s safety. The scheme has been developed in partnership with services across Reading to create a simple communications channel for everyone.

The service can be contacted by: Practitioners if they believe a child or their family is in need of additional support or a child is suffering harm; Parents or carers if they are in need of extra support or advice; Children if they are stressed or worried about something and the general public if they have concerns for a child’s protection or if they think there is a safeguarding issue.

A trained team will make an initial assessment of each report and decide the most appropriate course of action.

Depending on the nature of the report, cases may be sent to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), direct to a social worker or referred to the Early Help Service for follow-up.

Councillor Jan Gavin, Lead Member for Children’s Services, said:

“The Children’s Single Point of Access makes it as easy as possible for professionals and members of the public to get in touch with the Council with any concerns about a child.

“Nobody has to worry about the right people to contact as the trained response team will screen each case, similar to a triage nurse in a hospital, and then pass it on to the most appropriate place for action.

“This new system will allow social workers to concentrate on cases that require their immediate attention while less urgent cases are referred to the Early Help Team to follow up.”

There are a number of ways to contact the Children’s Single Point of Access:

·        Using a web form, which is the most secure and effective way of requesting help for a child. This can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/childrensreferralform

·        Calling the team on (0118) 937 3641 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm)

·        For urgent enquiries out of hours, call the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543. If a child is in immediate danger contact the Police on 999.