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17 October 2018, 08:34 | Updated: 17 October 2018, 08:39
A new service launches today that will improve how agencies in Norfolk work together to keep children safe.
Norfolk County Council has created the new Children's Advice and Duty Service to help ensure that all children are getting the right support, as soon as safeguarding concerns are raised.
The new team of senior social workers will provide advice and support to other professionals who are worried about a child, talking through the risks and strengths within families and agreeing together who is best placed to meet the child's needs.
It will mean the end of written referrals and the creation of a new direct line to social workers.
Cllr Stuart Dark, Acting Chairman of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: "We want our social workers to be spending their time working with families where they can make the greatest difference, whilst recognising that other agencies and other services can offer support too. This is a never do nothing approach.
"At the moment we are doing too many unnecessary formal assessments where families do not need a social work service and this takes up valuable time and resources. This new approach, which supports our partners by providing expert advice, has worked well in other outstanding authorities. It will help us to keep children safe by giving social workers more time to work with those families where children are at real risk."
The number of experienced social workers dealing with initial contacts and calls will increase as part of the new service, ensuring callers get straight through to a named social worker. The service will also have extended hours, running from 8am to 8pm.