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Derby City Children's Social Care Procedures

3.1.5 Derby City Care Line: Out of Hours Social Care Service Protocol with Area Teams


In March 2020, Section 4, Line Manager Responsibility was amended to include information on how to contact the On Call Manager. Section 10, Services for Adults was also updated to note that DCCL Careline no longer have responsibility for carrying out mental health assessments, these will be carried out by Derby Royal Hospital.

Derby City Council uses a Strengths Based Approach for all work with children and families.


  1. Introduction
  2. Operational Duties
  3. Charter of Services
  4. Line Management Responsibility
  5. Casework Responsibility / Handover of Work between Area Teams and DCCL
  6. Visits
  7. Alerts
  8. Services for Children and Families
  9. Courts / PACE Interviews
  10. Services for Adults
  11. Financial Assistance
  12. Communication Arrangements
  13. Referral Data
  14. Complaints
  15. Contact Details

1. Introduction

The Out of Hours Protocol sets down minimum standards of service between Mainstream Services and Derby City Care Line (DCCL).

2. Operational Duties

DCCL delivers an emergency social care service for Derby City Council from 1700-0900 hours Monday-Friday, and 24 hours per day at weekends and Bank Holidays.

The service has an answer phone which is triggered when staff are busy. However, at peak times, or when the worker is out of the office, calls to DCCL will be diverted to Carelink shift operators who will take messages on behalf of the team.

When the office is closed the answer phone does not take messages. Contact can be made via telephone, email, SMS or fax. If an urgent response during daytime hours is required, DCCL staff may be contacted at home.

3. Charter of Services

DCCL guarantees that:

  • All referrals will be responded to in a safe way. Work will be undertaken to resolve problems wherever possible at the point of contact, or supported until they are transferred to area teams on the next working day;
  • A record of contacts will be made and these will be sent to the relevant outlet service for information/follow up as required;
  • Callers will be given the name of the member of staff they speak to;
  • Complaints will be investigated and receive a reply within designated time limits.

4. Line Management Responsibility

DCCL workers can provide support, guidance and assistance to area/local unit staff who are working outside normal office opening hours. However, the team will not provide line management responsibility for workers who are contracted to work outside normal office opening hours.

On Call Manager

During the hours of 5pm -9am Monday to Thursday and Friday 5pm - Monday 9am there is a designated On Call Manager which is available to make decisions and give direction in urgent or complex cases. In the first instance, Careline will need to be contacted to establish who the On Call Manager is and how contact can be made.

5. Casework Responsibility / Handover of Work between Area Teams and DCCL

Mainstream services will be responsible for processing all referrals received by them from 0900 to 1700 hours Monday-Friday. DCCL will deal with referrals received outside office hours and will make casework decisions based on information from all available sources. The team will aim to provide, wherever possible, continuity of response in accordance with known Unit decisions. DCCL operates on minimum staffing levels at all times and cannot accept handovers of casework other than in exceptional circumstances. Staff who normally work 0900-1700 hours could be expected to work up to 2000 hours where intervention cannot wait until the next working day. DCCL may take over if work looks likely to progress beyond 2000 hours if it is appropriate to do so and staffing is available to do it. This must be negotiated between the Daytime Manager and the DCCL Manager. DCCL will continue working beyond their usual hours in similar circumstances. Area staff should avoid guaranteeing that DCCL will make contact with clients on their behalf.

6. Visits

Having a maximum of two staff on duty during peak times dictates that visits cannot be routinely undertaken by DCCL workers.

DCCL staff will assess situations on a shift-by-shift basis and make decisions about the necessity to visit. The team will prioritise work accordingly. If relevant and possible, visits will be done jointly with other professionals in line with Council guidance regarding lone working.

7. Alerts

Daytime staff should provide DCCL with alerts on cases which may become active outside normal office opening hours. Alerts may be communicated to the Team at any time by Fax, Post, the DCC Care Line E-Mail box, or after 1700 hours by telephone in the absence of these facilities. Where action is required out of hours, the alert form should be backed up with a telephone call to DCCL. Please note: The Careline, DCC mail box is checked up to 1830 hours. Any alerts sent after this time should be supported by a phone call to the team to make the social workers aware of what needs to be done.

There are separate alert forms for both children and families referrals and for adults. These should be completed fully and if possible, additional paperwork attached e.g. court forms, care plans.

At Christmas, New Year, and any other Bank Holidays area staff should provide additional information to DCCL e.g. Day Care placement options and transport arrangement for service users.

8. Services for Children and Families

In line with City Council policy, DCCL will not Accommodate children unless there is a significant risk of harm and there are no suitable alternatives in the community.

Where a placement move that is begun by area workers extends beyond normal office hours, DCCL may be contacted to assist with transport arrangements.

Area staff have responsibility for identifying carers/placements and for passing information to DCCL.

Where a placement is required in unforeseen circumstances and foster care is required, DCCL staff will liaise with the on-call Fostering Team worker/manager. Foster carers can access support via the on-call duty service operated by the Fostering Teams.

Where a placement is required in unforeseen circumstances and foster care is required, DCCL staff will liaise with Fostering Team Managers. Foster Carers can access support via a separate on-call duty service operated by the Fostering Teams.

Where a residential placement is required the DCCL social worker will initially contact the Unit Manager where there is an available bed. The vacancy list is circulated to Careline each Friday. Liaison with the relevant Head of Service may be required for advice or authorisation of an independent provider placement. A separate document exists which outlines the processes involved in accessing emergency residential accommodation for young people. See Derby City Children's Homes Procedures.

DCCL will inform the nearest relative of any significant event affecting a child who is looked after, including change of placement and admission to hospital, which arises outside office hours.

9. Courts / PACE Interviews

TAAS have been commissioned to act as Appropriate Adults for juvenile PACE interviews where the child is detained within the City. DAAS will act as AA for juveniles arrested in the County and who are brought to St Mary's Wharf custody.

YOS maintains a roster of workers who attend Saturday courts. Where involvement is needed beyond 1500 hours on those days, the YOS worker will hand over the case for follow up by DCCL.

YOS is sub-contracted by DCCL to attend Bank Holiday/Special courts.

Service Director approval is required for authorisation of a secure placement under S38 [6] PACE 1984.

DAAS will provide workers for adult PACE interviews.

Where a vulnerable adult witness interview is needed, DCCL will aim to supply a suitably qualified worker to attend. If this is not possible, consideration may be given to deferring the interview until the next working day; and the Safeguarding and Professional Standards team will be informed on the next working day.

10. Services for Adults

Domiciliary Care

Support to Home First is partly operated by Carelink. Carelink will respond to out of hours staffing issues and arrange cover for existing Home First customers. DCCL staff will deal with all other calls relating to domiciliary care: calls direct from service users, and individuals such as their carers/family; issues relating to medication, contacts from Independent Provider Agencies and other professionals such as EMAS, and with requests for respite care.

Carers Contingency Plans

In the event of a carer becoming ill out of hours, DCCL will activate the CCP logged on ESCR/AIS and notify key workers in the area by the next working day.

Residential/nursing placement

In circumstances where a residential/nursing home placement is requested for an adult, the DCCL worker will liaise with that person; and his/her family/carers and other professionals as far as is possible in an out of hours setting. An assessment will be undertaken to ascertain the best method of meeting that individual's needs at the time that the emergency arises - due to necessity, this may take place by telephone. The customer will be informed that there may be financial implications arising from this, and that Social Care will only guarantee payment until the next working day.

Mental Health

DCCL Careline no longer undertake mental health assessments within the team. Any referrals received of this nature will be directed to the Radbourne Unit at the Derby Royal Hospital (01332 623 700) where the Community Mental Health Out of Hours Team are based. They will consider and respond to all requests for assessments in respect of the 1983 Mental Health Act for individuals who are presently in the City within timescales as detailed in local procedures and the Codes of Practice to the Mental Health Act. Derbyshire County Council will respond to requests for assessments under the 1983 Mental Health Act if the person is picked up in the County prior to the assessment being requested.

11. Financial Assistance

In cases of genuine emergency, DCCL will provide a range of financial assistance to service users, including Section 17 payments, rail warrants and accommodation charges. The team will also supply electricity meter cards as necessary. DCCL will refer clients on to the out of hours Department of Work and Pensions (Benefits Agency) where appropriate.

 Where emergency private Part III accommodation and Nursing Home placements need to be arranged, DCCL will not commit any funding to that home beyond the next working day.

Invoices arising from emergency private Part III accommodation, Nursing Home placements, and private domiciliary provision arranged by the team will be processed at the DCCL office. The Accounts Department will re-charge the costs to area budgets.

12. Communication Arrangements

Local offices will provide DCCL with information which will assist the team to effectively discharge its duties e.g. unit profiles, staffing lists, and management home telephone numbers, updated on a regular basis.

DCCL staff may contact mainstream staff and managers at home up until 22.00 hours, and after 0800 hours, for information and advice (or in the case of domiciliary care staff, from 0630 hours until 2200 hours). When essential, senior managers may be contacted at any time for access to resources. If daytime staff are not immediately available for consultation, confidential information will not be left on an answering machine or divulged to third parties.

In special circumstances e.g. Peace Time Disasters, media publicity or similar, DCCL may contact appropriate members Senior/Departmental Management Team and mainstream services staff at any time.

DCCL will provide Daytime Managers, and Senior/Departmental Management Team members with Out of Hours staff contact telephone numbers, updated on a regular basis.

The ex-directory telephone number 01332 785799 will be available for daytime staff to use for contact during the operational times of the service which must not be released to service users.

During normal office opening hours mainstream workers may contact DCCL staff at home to discuss Out of Hours casework involvement, and the Team Manager on any urgent matter at any time - subject to availability.

Local offices, Units and the Child Abuse Unit should be mindful to invite Out of Hours staff to attend Child Protection Conference/Vulnerable Adult Conferences, and team members will endeavour to attend where appropriate.

13. Referral Data

DCCL will send a referral report to appropriate teams. Where on-going casework needs have been determined by DCCL, service users will be encouraged to contact their own social worker or the duty officer at the earliest opportunity. DCCL will avoid guaranteeing specific contact arrangements and home visits on behalf of daytime staff.

DCCL will provide Senior/Departmental Management Team staff and local offices with data on referrals at agreed intervals.

14. Complaints

Complaints about DCCL will initially be investigated by the Team Manager. If a complaint is specifically about the Team Manager, the investigation will be undertaken by the DHOS.

Copies of complaints and replies will be sent to the parties concerned and designated outlets as dictated by Council policy.

15. Contact Details


Public number: 01332 786986

Ex Directory - staff only: 01332 785799

There is no admin support to DCCL and no facility to leave voice messages during the day.

Fax: 01332 7786965
: 01332 785642
: 07771 814085


Internal Alerts/messages for the team
Via Careline, DCC