The increased use of non-social work qualified support staff to
field out-of-hours enquiries in social services departments is
causing concern among some emergency duty teams.
The quality and supply of support staff was a problem in eight
local authorities in a study of 28 EDTs by the Thomas Coram
Institute. Other councils said the lack of status given to EDTs had
failed to attract experienced social workers.
This caused some managers to speculate whether all child
protection referrals to EDTs were being dealt with most
More and better training to enable support staff to distinguish
between the types of referrals and appropriate responses was
needed, according to the respondents. Call takers needed to have
greater awareness of the types of referrer to social services, and
the states of distress people might be in.