How to Raise a Concern

Please be advised that CADS does not accept written referrals. The new process is explained below.

If you have a concern about an adult in a position of trust see the section on Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) at the bottom of this page.

For information about Child Protection and Contextual Safeguarding Conferences, see the section at the bottom of this page


Children’s Advice and Duty Service

If you are a professional, i.e. working with a child or young person in a formal or voluntary setting and not a family member or member of the public, you can contact the Children’s Advice and Duty Service on their direct line: 0344 800 8021.

If you are a member of the public you can do this through Norfolk County Council’s Customer Services on 0344 800 8020.

If you have an emergency, please call 999.

For any call raising concerns about a child, the Children’s Advice and Duty Service will ask for:

  • all of the details known to you/your agency about the child;

  • their family composition including siblings, and where possible extended family members and anyone important in the child’s life;

  • the nature of the concern and how immediate it is;

  • Any and what kind of work/support you have provided to the child or family to date.

They will also need to know where the child is now and whether you have informed parents/carers of your concern.

Notice to Callers:

  • Preparing for the conversation: please see the tools developed by the Children’s Advice and Duty Service to support communication. This includes, FAQs and a flow chart. Please remember to record your concerns for your internal audit trail.

  • Consent: Please can you ensure you seek consent for the referrals unless the concerns being raised suggest that the child/children or someone else (including the referrer) would be placed at risk of significant harm, or it might undermine a criminal investigation if the parents/carers are informed. Reasons for not seeking consent should be clearly stated when speaking with Children’s Advice and Duty Service and recorded on internal systems for your records.

Only applicable those calling as members of the public:

  • If you are calling with a safeguarding concern, you need to be aware that you have the right to remain anonymous, please state you want to remain anonymous when making your call.  Whilst every effort will be made to respect your anonymity, as you may be known to the family who you are sharing your worries about, it is possible they may identify you as the referrer, beyond our control.   Your identity will not be confirmed, but this will not stop the family making their own assumptions. If you would like any advice regarding this please talk with the person taking your call.

    It is often the case that the call-taker will need to talk to the person who you are sharing concerns about, this will involve making them aware of the worries that have been shared. The call taker can talk to you about the way they will do this so as to maintain your anonymity, for example leaving out specific details if you feel this could identify you. You can share any worries you have about this so that the call taker can consider how your worries are shared. However, please be aware that the safeguarding of children is of paramount importance and at times it will be necessary to share all of the worries in order to protect a child/children. This does not mean that your name or details will be shared, just the worries you have reported.

For more information see the Norfolk Continuum of Need.

Child Protection Conferences in Norfolk

The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for Child Protection in England. It sets out policy, legislation and statutory guidance on how the Child Protection system should work.

A Child Protection Conference is held where concerns of significant harm are substantiated, and the Children/Young Person is judged to be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. It may also take place where there are concerns about an unborn child.

The first meeting is called an Initial Child Protection Conference and any subsequent meetings are called Review Child Protection Conferences.

At the Child Protection Conference relevant professionals, in collaboration with parents and family members, will be asked to share information relating to the concerns of risk and harm for Children/Young People and the impact of this. Information about the strengths and safety in the lives of Children/YoungPeople are shared.

In England, this meeting must happen within 15 working days of a Strategy discussion being held.

Young People can attend the Child Protection Conference, or they can have someone speak on their behalf, such as a family member or independent Advocate.

If a Child Protection Plan is agreed family and professionals will produce an outline Child Protection Plan which the Core Group will develop and implement.

A Core Group comprises of family members and professionals.

All conferences are chaired by an Independent Child Protection Chairperson and are attended by a Social Worker from Norfolk County Council.

For further information on Child Protection Conference processes please click the links below:

Contextual Safeguarding Conferences


Norfolk Child Protection Procedures are clear that an Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) must be convened when it is believed that a Child/Young Person is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

However, we are increasingly working with Children/Young People who have suffered or are at risk of suffering significant harm where the risk is attributed to Criminal and Sexual exploitation.

The Contextual Safeguarding Conference is a way of acknowledging, sharing, managing and reviewing the risk to the Child/Young Person in partnership with the Child/Young Person, Parent/Carer/Family Network and Partner Agencies. The aim is to develop a plan with measurable outcomes to reduce the risk to the Child/Young Person within appropriate timescales.


To ensure we can best address and meet the needs of children/young people who are being exploited, the Contextual Safeguarding Conference Guidance goes through the stages from ‘Assessment to Plan’.

Next steps

Whilst the attached guidance outlines the stages pre and post Contextual Safeguarding Conference, please contact the Independent Reviewing Team on 01603 222288 should you wish to discuss any aspect of the Contextual Safeguarding Conference process.