Understanding Safeguarding Thresholds

We all want better lives for children and young people. As part of everybody’s responsibility for safeguarding children and considering their welfare, we want to identify vulnerable children and young people earlier and work in a coordinated, integrated way to help them before things reach crisis point.

The Wiltshire’s Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance provides a model of integrated working and gives practical guidance on making decisions across service thresholds:

Wiltshire Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance – for children and families in need of help and support

This guidance has recently been revised and includes a new Blue-Red-Amber-Green, or BRAG rating system

  • Resilient family; thriving child
  • Child and family needing help
  • High stress family; child at risk of harm
  • Child and family in crisis

Many families will occupy more than one of even all of these levels at any one time. Even families deemed to be in crisis will also be demonstrating characteristics of the other levels – it will be the relative balance between them and the risks presented by the crisis that will determine the response.

The new threshold guidance introduces a threshold matrix tool that helps practitioners to think about the balance of strengths, needs and challenges of the family to determine appropriate action.

In addition, the DART (Diagnostic And Referral Tool) – is a bespoke online tool for practitioners to help them identify their concerns for a child or young person, the level of their concern (risk) and be presented with possible sources of support, consultation and guidance. The tool can also be used to refer to services and create a basic assessment. The DART is accessible by logging in at: https://dart.wiltshire.gov.uk/ (requires creation of an account).

Identifying and assessing needs, strengths and risks will help you decide on your response or next step. This may be to …

  • Complete an Early Help Assessment (CAF)Please send completed signed Early Help Assessments (CAF) for registration to: Wiltshire Council, DCE Coordination Team, County Hall, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8JN
  • Make a referral to MASH Professional Notification to Social Care (MASH Inter-agency Referral Form)
  • Or take early action that you can do yourself or with advice from other local colleagues
  • Under the Families and Children’s Transformation (FACT) Programme, transformational change is being developed across our partnership and this includes:
  • Exploring shared IT for better partnership working
  • An expanded response to early support enquiries within the MASH through the creation of an Early Support Hub
  • Launching an online replacement for the CAF (called an Early Support Assessment)