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9.3 Early Support Sitting and Befriending Service


In July 2015, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.


1. Introduction
2. Role of the Sitting and Befriending Service
3. Thresholds and Eligibility
4. Referral Process
  4.1 Child Contacts
  4.2 Referral and Decision Making
  4.3 Prioritisation
  4.4 Allocation
5. Reviews

1. Introduction

The purpose of this document is to set out the procedure that should be followed when receiving referrals for the Sitting and Befriending Service. Its aim is to ensure that contact and responses given are consistent across the service.

All work undertaken should be compliant with relevant legislation issued in relation to The Children Act 1989 and Care Quality Commission.

The procedure complements Nottinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures. Staff should be familiar with these documents and ensure they are complied with at all times.

A copy of this document will available at the Sitting and Befriending Duty Point.

2. Role of the Sitting and Befriending Service

The Sitting and Befriending Service is a Short Breaks Service, which provides support to Disabled Children and young people, to be either cared for in their own home while their parents have a break, or to enable the young person to access their local community and leisure facilities.

3. Thresholds and Eligibility

Children and young people who will be eligible for Sitting and Befriending support will be:

  • Disabled children and Young people living in Nottinghamshire;
  • Children and Young People aged 5-18 years (up to their 18th Birthday);
  • Children open to CDS fieldwork team with an identified need for community support;
  • Children receiving support from Targeted Short Breaks where more specialist support or providers are unable to meet their needs.

Commissioners will:

  • Recommend the service with identified outcomes.

    E.g. access to community provision safely and appropriately.

Providers will:

  • Use the Resource Allocation System to identify the level of support required.
  • Provide the service in a way to meet the assessed needs / identified outcomes

    E.g. provide 144 hrs of community support per year.

4. Referral Process

4.1 Child Contacts

All Contacts are taken through the Sitting and Befriending Duty Point which is open Monday to Friday, – 4.00pm (excluding bank holidays). 

A Case note record will be completed on all enquiries to the Sitting and Befriending service and the team manager will be alerted.

A referral form will be sent to the referrer to complete and return to the Team manager.

4.2 Referral and Decision Making

Upon receipt of a completed referral form, a decision whether to progress to allocation will be made based on:

  1. Does the child or young person meet the criteria described in Section 3, Thresholds and Eligibility;
  2. If it is felt that the child has needs which can be met by universal and targeted services in which case the professional referrer or most involved person will be advised to undertake a CAF to consider the child’s need for early preventative and targeted provision.

Outcomes of referrals must be clearly recorded on framework by the team manager with the reason for the decision clearly stated.

4.3 Prioritisation

If the threshold for a service is met, the Team Manager will decide on the level of priority.  Priories have been designed so that children with the greatest need/s receive a timely response and service.

Priority 1. Safeguarding needs – children who are referred for support with concerns around Safeguarding
Priority 2. Referrals for severely disabled children who currently have no support in place and where a timely delay in provision will have a detrimental effect on their development and health
Priority 3. Referrals for severely disabled children who currently have some support in place but for whatever reason the support is not working and the family is at risk of breakdown
Priority 4. Referrals for severely disabled children who currently have some support in place but for whatever reason the support is not working but there is no immediate risk of breakdown

4.4 Allocation

Following the decision to allocate, the manager will:

  1. Undertake a visit to the child and family to begin the process of completing the personal support plan, including the detailed This Is Me document;
  2. Discuss with the Specialist Support Nurse, if any health needs are identified that may require protocols to be in place before support can be started;
  3. Take to the next Resources Allocation meeting (monthly) to identify an appropriate support worker with the relevant skills and abilities to meet the young person’s individual needs;
  4. Introduce the workers, arrange any required training, agree a start date with the family and arrange the first review.  Inform the referrer that care is in place.

5. Reviews

Where Sitting and Befriending is supporting a child and the case is not open to a social worker, reviews will be carried out by the Sitting and Befriending service at timely intervals. The use of the RAS may be used in reviews to assess changing needs, with a possible increase/decrease or ending of the support.

Where a child’s case is open to a social worker and Sitting / Befriending is supporting, an initial six week review takes place with the social worker, family and Sitting/Befriending team to confirm the support is appropriate and meeting the assessed outcomes for the child. Following this, reviews will be co-ordinated to take place alongside the child / Young person CIN review.