Support our #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Referrals down by 20% during latest lockdown

Referrals to children’s social care fell by more than 20% in January during the latest national lockdown, official Department for Education statistics has shown.

The Ofsted chief inspector warned before Christmas that child abuse could be going undetected and the latest DfE figures show that referrals between 25 and 31 January 2021 was 23% lower than the usual number of referrals at that time of year.

“In Wave 19 (25 - 31 January), the total number of referrals was 23% lower than a three year average of the same week across 2017 to 2020; this is similar to 22% lower during Wave 18,” said the report.

The total number of referrals to children’s social care services reported in Waves 1 to 19 of the survey was 195,030, this is around 10% lower than an average of the same weeks during 2017-20.

The first wave began on 27 April to 3 May.

Due to schools only being open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children during the latest wave, referrals from schools were 57% lower than usual, similar to the first wave of national restrictions in 2020. However, unlike the first wave of national restrictions, referrals from the police were lower than usual levels in Wave 19 and were 10% less while referrals from individuals were also 22% lower than usual during the latest wave of the survey.

In parts of the survey where respondents could provide open text responses, there were very mixed experiences in the numbers of referrals received across local authorities. Some local authorities reported that referrals to children’s social care had, in fact, increased and were now at levels higher than average.

Others report that referrals remained lower than average or as expected at this time of year. In the latest survey waves 18 and 19 (January and February) the mixed experiences in the number of referrals received continue but slightly more local authorities revealed that their referral numbers have fallen like they did back in March during the early stages of the (COVID-19) pandemic.

The data also revealed that the total number of looked after children was 2% higher than the same time in 2019-20 and the total number of children on a child protection plan (CPP) was around the same as 2019- 20.

It also showed that:

- 73% of looked after children had been in contact with a social worker in the previous four weeks

- 95% of children on a CPP had been in contact with a social worker in the previous four weeks

- 65% of children in need (CIN) had been in contact with a social worker in the previous four weeks

The proportion of social workers not working due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has stabilised, with 4% of local authorities reporting over 10% of social workers unavailable due to COVID-19 in waves 18 and 19. The lowest point was in Wave 16 on 14-16 December 2020 when 1% of local authorities reported more than 10% of social workers were unable to work due to COVID and the highest point of 13% was in May 2020.

The proportion of local authorities reporting over 10% of their residential care staff unable to work due to coronavirus (COVID19) has decreased to 17% in Wave 19, compared to 21% in Wave 18 (25 – 27 January).

The DfE established a survey of local authorities in England to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on Children’s Social Care. Local authorities are asked to report to DfE every two weeks with the exception of four weeks between Waves 7 and 8 and Waves 16 and 17 on contact with children supported by the local authority children’s social care, the workforce and system pressures.

Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey Summary of returns Waves 1 to 19


Working Together For Children

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work, psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic and family support services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Blame culture results in risk aversion in social work

19/10/2021

A blame culture in social work impacts on risk aversion in the social work profession, some respondents to The Case for Change have warned.

Publishing the Case for Change in June, chair of the independent review of children’s social care Josh MacAlister said: “This Case for Change sets out the urgent need for a new approach [...]

Read Full Story

Schools dealing with social work issues during COVID pandemic

15/10/2021

Schools were forced to step in to support vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic for many issues that were previously dealt with by social workers, research has found.

Schools found themselves helping vulnerable families with problems such as mental health problems, domestic abuse and poverty during the pandemic as more families were turning to schools [...]

Read Full Story

Young people at Oakhill STC held in rooms for 23 hours a day

13/10/2021

Children and young people at Oakhill Secure Training Centre are being held in their rooms for 23 hours a day, a joint inspection has found.

Children have spent approximately 19 hours per day on average locked in their rooms on average since mid-July 2021, the centre’s records show and on some days, this has increased [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram