It is important to keep the referrer involved. They should be contacted by services for children and young people within 24 hours of referral, even if nothing has yet been decided about the best course of action.
Consideration needs to be given as to what the care arrangements for the child are at the time of the referral being made and whether earlier communication with the referrer is required i.e teachers making referrals should be told by 3pm the same day what action, if any, Services for Children and Young People will be taking; even if no decision has yet been made. The teacher must be told this before the parents come to collect the child. If there has been no feedback and the child is about to be collected it would be advisable to call the social worker who took the referral.
When getting back to a member of the public who has made the referral, you must consider issues of confidentiality, but balance these with the need to assure them that suitable action is taking place or to inform them why it is not. Where possible positive relationships with parents should be maintained, this is often more achievable when professionals are able to be open and honest.
How to do it
Feedback should be given by telephone to enable the referrer to ask questions or give any additional information that may be useful. Consider whether your telephone conversation should be followed up by a letter setting out (subject to observing confidentiality) what action was taken and thanking the referrer.
Be prepared to reconsider your decision if the referrer gives you more information.
Lessons from research
In many cases, children who have needs, and who have been the subject of child protection inquiries, do not get offered services once it has been decided that they are not at risk of serious harm. See Child protection: Messages from Research, HMSO (1995).