Children’s social workers are assessing more referrals that lead to no further action due to cuts to early prevention services and a lack of understanding around thresholds, experts say. More than a quarter of referrals that were assessed in 2016-2017 were judged to need no further action after assessment, according to the government’s official statistics on the characteristics of children in need.
Of the 646,120 referrals to children’s services from the police, education, health, local authorities and other agencies, 10.2% resulted in no further action after initial consideration, while 27.8% were assessed and then required no further action. This means that social workers assessed more than 160,000 referrals that did not require subsequent statutory services. Cuts to early help services may be one factor contributing to this discrepancy, says Maris Stratulis, England manager at BASW. “We are being advised that, in a number of areas, preventative services have experienced significant cuts. Children’s centres are closing and support services – such as domestic violence services for parents and children in the voluntary sector – have been cut,” she says. “Rather than people getting help earlier and a lower tier level, they are being referred into social care.” Read more.