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BSCP Thresholds & Early Help

Early Help is about ensuring that our children and their families get the right help and support as early as possible. This helps to achieve the best outcomes for children and families and helps to prevent problems from escalating and becoming more severe. This is a holistic approach, working with all the family to support their needs.

‘Working together to Safeguard Children (March 2015): A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’, says the following about Early Help:

‘Working together to Safeguard Children (March 2015): A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’, says the following about Early Help:

‘Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later.  Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years’.

Effective early help relies upon local agencies working together to:

  • identify children and families who would benefit from early help;
  • undertake an assessment of the need for early help; and
  • provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child.

It is important that all professionals working with children and families, understand the role they have to play in identifying where children and their families may need additional support, to reach their full potential. They also need to be confident in taking the appropriate action to secure that support.

Resources that can help support you:

  • Thresholds Document and referral flow chartIf you have a concern about a child these documents should be used alongside professional judgement, experience and knowledge to help you make a decision about what to do next.
  • Early Help Strategy: Sets out how Early Help will be implemented and the expectation that agencies will use the agreed Early Help approaches and tools to facilitate a coordinated approach.

 All these documents and further resources can be found on the BSCP website at:

Guide for what to do if you have a concern about a child in Buckinghamshire


  • Use the Thresholds document, discuss with your safeguarding lead and use your professional judgement to identify the level of need of the child
  • If you think the need has reached level 3 or 4 and you need advice or guidance, you can consult by calling First Response 01296 383962


  • For level 1 (Universal Services) & level 2 (Additional Support) gain consent from the family to work with them to support their needs and prevent escalation of problems
  • For level 3 (Complex needs/Specialist/Children in Need) talk to the family and gain written consent to ensure they agree to the referral, information sharing, assessment and intervention.
  • For level 4 (Acute / Child protection) if there are safeguarding issues which place the child at risk of significant harm or could lead to loss of evidential material, you do not require consent. If you are unsure about whether consent is required you can call First Response who will advise you.


  • Level 1 (Universal Services) & level 2 (Additional Support): Can you support the child and their family through your own service? Or can you signpost to another service? See the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website for a directory of services or call 01296 383065.
  • Level 3 (Complex needs/Specialist/Children in Need: Contact First Response: send a Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) or call 01296 383962 (0800 999 7677 out of hours)
  • Level 4 (Acute / Child protection): Collect all the information you have and contact First Response immediately on 01296 383962 (0800 999 7677 out of hours), followed up with a MARF. Call Police on 999 if there is immediate risk.