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Changes to Children Services due to Covid-19

During these unprecedented times it has been necessary for Childrens Services to make some immediate changes to the way in which services will be delivered. We need to reduce the volume of work coming into the Front Door so that we can ensure that our reduced resource is absolutely able to focus on the children and families that require immediate support and intervention.

Significant Harm

We will continue to receive telephone referrals for significant and immediate risk to children and a written referral should follow this phone call within 24 hours. These are the cases that are likely to require immediate safeguarding action to be taken.

Section 17 Support

We will continue to receive referrals for children who require a comprehensive assessment of need, where there are concerns about parental capacity to meet their needs effectively and where there is a risk of harm. This is an intervention that requires parental consent and therefore we would ask that this is obtained and that all other appropriate resources have been utilised/explored to support the child/children and their family before a referral is made. We would ask that to assist us in triaging and prioritising these cases that you are clear what the impact of the current situation is on the child and why statutory intervention is needed. If there is no parental consent obtained and there are no identified safeguarding concerns the referral will be rejected and returned to referring professional for follow up


MASH staff will focus on completing enquiries on those cases were further information is required to filter out whether a statutory intervention is absolutely required. It is appreciated that partner agencies may be challenged to contribute fully to MASH information gathering but we would ask that proportionate and relevant information is provided as a minimum and within the requested timescales to ensure that decisions as to what is required can be made.

Early Help

In respect of Early Help support within Cambridgeshire the Early Help District Teams will continue to function albeit on a reduced level to offer support to children and families and within Peterborough the MASG panels will continue to operate virtually.

To assist us in dealing with the priority cases we would ask that you do the following:

  • Review the LOCAL OFFER and signpost families to resources that are available to support them
  • Please only complete an Early Help Assessment if you feel that by not doing so at the current time, the children could be placed at risk of potential harm
  • If you are unsure about whether an Early Help Assessment is required please email or

What we will be suspending for 12 weeks

The following should NOT be sent through to the Customer Service Centre

  • Domestic Abuse referrals that are judged to be standard by police
  • Requests for Information on whether children are known or have been known to our service
  • Chaperone checks
  • Any new EHCP requests or associated paperwork
  • Background checks for example for Ofsted/CAFCASS
  • IDVA notifications
  • Court orders where there is no safeguarding risk or action to be taken
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