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4.1 Initial Referrals


This chapter should be read in conjunction with:

Pathway to Provision

Transfer Policy


Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board

Working Together 2015

DfE, Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners


This chapter was significantly updated in January 2016 and should be re-read throughout.


  1. Purpose
  2. Referrals
  3. Timescales
  4. Referral Process

1. Purpose

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) receive referrals sourced from professionals and or; members of the public via telephone, e-mail, fax or written correspondence where it is believed that there are concerns in relation to the safety and wellbeing of a child, young person.

It is imperative that the referral information is clear and concise, detailing a factual account and there is a distinction between events reported and those actually witnessed which should include differences in opinion, judgement and hypothesis which is then recorded in a referral on Framework.

2. Referrals

Referral details are collated by a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub Officer (MASHO) who will then discuss the information gathered with a social worker. It is the social worker’s responsibility to provide advice, guidance and professional judgement.

The social worker will complete an analysis of the referral information along with any background knowledge known previously about the family. S/he will then make their recommendation regarding Level 4 Threshold being met as identified in the Pathway to Provision. The social worker will then make a decision regarding the urgency of the case which is in association with the “rag rating” (click here to view the 'rag rating' document) as outlined in section 3 - Pathway to Provision (See also Appendix B MASH Recording Process).

3. Timescales

Referrals are “rag rated” (click here to view the 'rag rating' document) based on the timeliness of the response required and the level of risk identified which is key to the rating of a referral which is made within 24 hours.

4. Referral Process


It is expected that professionals making a referral seek consent from the family except in exceptional circumstances whereby to do so would significantly increase the risk of harm to the child, young person or jeopardise a potential police investigation. The expectation is that professional referrers provide written confirmation of their concerns within 24 hours of making the referral.

Prioritisation (Rag Rating – Red/Amber/Green Referrals)


Threshold has clearly been met and an immediate response is necessary for example, whereby a child, young person has or is likely to suffer significant harm (Section 47 Enquiries); or alternatively cases whereby a response is required on the same day e.g. Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) and homeless young people.

In the event of a child having suffered or likely to have suffered Significant Harm, the case would be brought to the immediate attention of a MASH Team Manager by a social worker or MASHO. The Team Manager who will in turn discuss the safety concerns with MASH Police colleagues if a strategy discussion is required, and will alert the Assessment Team Duty Manager whose role it is to agree a plan of action with either the MASH Police/Agencies or if the case has left the MASH for allocation then with the Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU).

Referrals ragged red will be sent for information sharing to partner agencies within the MASH e.g. (Police, Health, Education, Probation and Early Help) in order to progress the case however this does not hinder or prevent the actions undertaken by the Assessment Team in the interim.


Threshold may have been met but further information is required in order to assist decision making as to determine whether the need has been met for Level 4 Social Care intervention. Therefore information sharing with partner agencies within the MASH is undertaken. Following receipt of the information, the social worker can reach an informed decision about the progression of the referral either to assessment, no further action or pass to another agency for intervention.


These referrals would not go through information sharing. The threshold for an assessment has been met, however, there is no suggestion that the child/young person is at risk of significant harm which would require an immediate response.

Managerial Responsibility

All referral details are read along with the social worker’s analysis and recommendation based on the referral details, any previously known information and the information gained by information sharing by a MASH Team Manager who will then sign off the referral, place a management oversight in case notes before either transferring the referral into the relevant service area incoming box to undertake an assessment or would close the case.

Threshold – Not Met

In such circumstances whereby Level 4 Threshold has not been met but a child/young person has been identified as being in need of early help services the referrer will be signposted to the Early Help Unit and no further action will be taken by Social Care.

However, if via processing a referral the decision is that Level 4 Threshold is not met and the needs of the child, young person could be met via Early Help the first two pages of a MASH Enquiry would be completed and stepped down via Framework to the Early Help Unit who would complete an EHAF if consent from the family has been gained. [1]

Whereby advice and information only is provided a “Front Sheet” (first two pages of a MASH Enquiry) is completed by a MASHO and then passed to a social worker who will record their rationale for closing the case which is recorded in Framework.

Recording and Acknowledgment – Referrals

All recording needs to be logged on Framework, written acknowledgement of all referrals for Children in Need as a result of, or at risk of, abuse or neglect is sent to the referrer/family within 5 working days from receipt of referral using MASH standard letters unless to do so would place a child, young person at risk of significant harm.

[1] A MASH Enquiry is the current vehicle for recording within Mosaic, however for the purposes of professionals and members of the public they are making a referral to the Local Authority regarding concerns they have in relation to the safety and wellbeing of a child, young person.