Skip to content
You are here: Home | Children and young people | For professionals | Request for help and support guidelines and contact information

Request for help and support guidelines and contact information

A new way to contact Swindon Borough Council’s children’s social care team will launch in January 2024, providing a single point of contact to request help and support for families or report safeguarding concerns for a child. 

Contact Swindon is the new ‘front door’ for the Council’s children’s social care services, and will be available for families, residents and professionals across the borough from 8 January 2024.

From this date anyone who has a concern about a child, or wants to request help from the service, should:

The new approach is part of our wider improvement work across children’s services and has been developed to ensure that families and children get the right help, at the right time, from the most appropriate teams.

Contact Swindon will deliver improved targeted support and safeguarding decisions for children, young people and their families, and will see the council work more closely with its partners across the NHS, Police and in the community to achieve its vision of supporting children and young people to grow and flourish within their families, where it is safe to do so. 

All practitioners have a responsibility to refer a child to Children's Social Care under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 if they believe or suspect the child:

  • has suffered significant harm
  • is likely to suffer significant harm
  • has disability, developmental or welfare needs which are likely only to be met through provision of family support services (with agreement of the child's parent) under the Children Act 1989
  • is a Child in Need whose development would be likely to be impaired without provision of services

The referrer must always have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker.

New referrals and referrals on closed cases should be made to Contact Swindon. Referrals on open cases should be made to the allocated social worker for the case, or in their absence their manager or the duty social worker.

Contact details

When completing the request for help and support form, the referrer should provide information about their concerns and any information they may have gathered in an assessment that may have taken place prior to making the referral. The referrer will be asked for information about some of the following:

  • Full names (including aliases and spelling variations), date of birth and gender of all children in the household
  • Family address and, where relevant, school or nursery attended
  • Identity of those with parental responsibility and any other significant adults who may be involved in caring for the child such as grandparents
  • Names and date of birth of all household members, if available
  • Where available, the child's NHS number and education UPN number
  • Ethnicity, first language and religion of children and parents
  • Any special needs of children or parents
  • Any significant or important recent or historical events or incidents in the child or family's life
  • Cause for concern including details of any allegations, their sources, timing and location
  • Child's current location and emotional and physical condition
  • Whether the child needs immediate protection
  • Details of alleged perpetrator, if relevant
  • Referrer's relationship and knowledge of child and parents
  • Known involvement of other agencies or professionals, for example, a GP
  • Information regarding parental knowledge of, and agreement to, the referral
  • The child's views and wishes, if known

Other information may be relevant and some information may not be available at the time of making the referral. However, there should not be a delay in order to collect information if the delay may place the child at risk of significant harm.

The parents' permission should be sought before discussing a referral about them with other agencies, unless permission-seeking may itself place a child at risk of significant harm. Where a professional decides not to seek parental permission before making a referral to Children's social care, the decision must be recorded in the child's file with reasons, dated and signed and confirmed in the referral to Children's Social Care.

For more detailed information, refer to the South West Child Protection Procedures.

Useful resources