Concerns about a child

Helping you understand the front door to Children's Services

Immediate concerns about a child

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) will remain the front door to Children’s Social Care for all child protection and immediate safeguarding concerns. If there is an immediate safeguarding concern, for example:

  • allegations/concerns indicating a serious risk to the child e.g. physical injury, injury to a baby or serious neglect – e.g. bruises evident, implement used to chastise.
  • allegations that the child has been sexually/physically abused and is to be returned to a situation that may place him/her at risk
  • the child is frightened to return home
  • the child is already subject to a child protection plan
  • concerns that the child is suffering from severe neglect or other severe health risks
  • the child has been abandoned or parent is absent (e.g. unaccompanied asylum seeker).

You should call the MASH immediately

Tel: 0345 050 7666
(This number will take you through to Customer Services who will ask a series of questions and triage into MASH where safeguarding concerns are raised)

  • Office hours (8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am – 4pm, Friday): Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
  • Outside office hours: Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833 408

A No Names Consultation should not be used for the above scenarios

Non-immediate concerns about a child

If you have a concern about a child/family but it is not an immediate safeguarding concern, as described above, then you should look at the Threshold of Needs matrix.

This tool is designed to support professionals to make decisions as to whether contact needs to be made with Childrens Services and if so which team.

For non-immediate concerns you can contact your Locality and Community Support Service

Reporting concerns or allegations about a professional working with children

If you are a professional and have concerns about another professional or volunteer who works with children, or you need to report them, you will need to contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

The role of the LADO is to ensure that allegations against people working with children are progressed in a timely and appropriate way. The role covers all settings where people work with children (e.g. football clubs, church groups, childminders) not just Oxfordshire County Council employees.

The LADO should be made aware of all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children

There may be up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:

As an employer you may be requested to attend a ‘Strategy Discussion’ to provide information and help agree how the Children and Families Assessment Team and the police will undertake their enquiries.

As part of this process the LADO will liaise with the employer to ensure that whoever is the subject of an allegation is supported appropriately and to assist the employer in deciding whether individuals should receive a suspension from work during the enquiry.

LADO contact details

  • a police investigation of a possible criminal offence
  • enquiries and assessment by children’s social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services
  • consideration by an employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual
  • To contact the schools LADO re an allegation about a member of staff or volunteer please phone Alison Beasley on 01865 323457 or Oxfordshire Safeguarding Team on 01865 810603.