4.4.1 Emergency Response Team


In June 2014, contact arrangements and details were updated.


  1. Team Location
  2. Communication and Contact Numbers
  3. Duty Time Cover
  4. Hours Team are Available
  5. Working Arrangements Between ERT and Daytime Staff
  6. Emergency Protection Orders and Police Protection
  7. Walsall Residential Establishments
  8. Transfer of Referrals From ERT
  9. Information for ERT

1. Team Location

The Emergency Response Team is based at:

Social Care & Inclusion Response Centre
6 Brownhills Road

2. Communication and Contact Numbers

Direct Telephone Number: 0845 111 2922 or 0845 1112836

Emergency Number: 01922-650000 (Civic Centre Number)

Calls to all council offices are diverted to the above number after 17.15. These calls are answered by Community Alarms.

ERT staff are not present during office hours at Goscote. If calls are made to this number these will divert to Community Alarms who will take a message and this will be passed on if requested. They have a list of contact numbers for all ERT staff.

Personal numbers are not given out by Community Alarms.

If the team are out of the office during out of hours or all lines are busy, all calls divert to Community Alarms who will take a message and forward this to the team. The team have mobiles/ pagers when out of the office.

Admin Support: ERT share admin support with the Integrated Care Team who are also based at Windsor Ward. If referrals have not been received by the service areas for any reason please contact the ERT admin on: 01922-494370.

They will be able to re-send any referrals to area offices as they will have access to the ERT referrals/documents. 

Fax Number: 01922 495567

E-Mail: Emergency  Response Team - Children & Families Emergency

Please ensure that all referrals/information that will/may require any action by the ERT is sent to the appropriate team e-mail boxes for adults or child care and not to the managers e-mail boxes.

3. Duty Time Cover

Start Time Finish Time
Monday  17.00 Tuesday  08.45
Tuesday  17.00 Wednesday  08.45
Wednesday 17.00 Thursday  08.45
Thursday  17.00 Friday  08.45
Friday  16.30 Monday  08.45

And all Bank Holidays during office hours

4. Hours the Team are Available

The team is available at the office as follows:

Start Time Finish Time
Monday  16.30 Tuesday  10.00
Tuesday  16.30 Wednesday  10.00
Wednesday 16.30 Thursday  10.00
Thursday  16.30 Friday  10.00
Friday  16.30 Monday  10.00

And all Bank holidays during office hours

There will be one Social Worker covering the above hours for the whole of Walsall; however, the on call worker has access to additional social work resources to support exceptionally busy periods.

The team respond to all child care referrals this includes providing support to the Appropriate Adults for PACE referrals on behalf of the Youth Offending Team. A Homelessness service is also provided by the team on behalf of Social Care and Supported Housing. The family placements service also provide their own out of hours support for Foster Carers. 

The Mental Health Crisis Team provide their own out of hours service.

The Emergency Planning Team have a joint working protocol with ERT.

There is always a manager on duty for the ERT and the Senior Management Team also provide cover on a rota basis. (Access to the SMT is via the ERT Manager).

Operational experience to date has demonstrated a need for half an hour before duty onset to “catch up” on information. It should be realised that ERT staff could have been off duty for several days and therefore need to familiarise themselves with current events. However referrals for information will be received in this period.

Similarly experience has shown that ERT staff do work beyond 10am and use this period to for up referrals and to ensure that there has been effective liaison with the day time staff where appropriate. If there are queries on any of the information passed to day time staff ERT staff can be contacted via Community Alarms. 

5. Working Arrangements Between the ERT and Daytime Staff

The following criteria are set down to reflect the reality of high demand on both day time and ERT staff. The balance therefore has to be struck between ensuring a high quality service and the maintenance of a duty of care for both staff groups.

ERT will take referrals from fifteen minutes before daytime closure if:

  1. the family are closed to day time teams.
  2. if there are no staff in the area who are able to follow up the referral
  3. If it appears that it is an emergency and cannot wait until the opening hours of the next day.

It is expected that service area staff are on duty until at least 5.15pm. It also has to be acknowledged that Walsall operates a flexi time system and service areas should attempt to deal with families and offer them consistency of service wherever possible.

It is important to note that the reduced out of hours staffing will mean that EMT will inevitably have to prioritise cases/needs. 

The established practice of day time teams progressing referrals received before the ERT Start time will continue. (Also referred to in Child Protection Procedures). Calls should not be transferred over to ERT at 17.00, Social Work and Admin staff in the day teams should first establish the above three points in.

However ERT staff will be sensitive to daytime staff working hours and the progress of the referral with a view to giving appropriate support as priorities allow. The above consideration will also be applied to those cases open to staff where an emergency arises in the final fifteen minutes before daytime closing.

There may be that there are exceptional circumstances whereby requests may be made for the ERT to be involved. Such circumstances should be discussed with the team members on duty and if necessary the manager on call.

Day time staff need to be aware that the team continues to operate on an EMERGENCY basis only and therefore it is not in a position to provide an “arranged service”. It can therefore only protect vulnerable persons as the situation demands.

Therefore it is the responsibility of the day time team to establish strategies in risky situations that ensure there is a mechanism of some responsible person contacting ERT if it deemed a vulnerable person is at undue risk.

There should be no expectation that the ERT have the capacity to carry out monitoring visits. If this is is required then day time staff must consider commissioning appropriate staff such as sessional workers who could contact ERT if there was a cause for concern.

ERT staff should always be invited to attend Child protection conferences where they have had involvement; staff will try and attend.

The impact of these working protocol will be reviewed regularly.

6. Emergency Protection Orders and Police Protection

The appropriate use of Police Protection is clearly outlined in the Children Act 1989 section 46. Requests to the police should not be made merely on the basis that it is quicker and easier.

Where there is a history of concern and the view is that a legal order is necessary it is appropriate to make an application for an Emergency Protection Order (section 44) or Interim Care Order (section 38).

Where an Emergency Protection Order is recommended by day time staff, particularly in respect of an unborn baby, ERT should be supplied with clear written evidence on the grounds for an order. See Safeguarding Unborn Children: Pre-Birth Assessment Protocol. This should be in the form of a statement from the Social Worker accompanied by an appendix of other relevant documents.

There should also be a case discussion with the ERT, so that the team have the opportunity to have any questions answered. If there is a planning meeting the ERT will be invited as outlined in the Safeguarding Unborn Children: Pre-Birth Assessment Protocol.

The ERT will need details of the placement that has been identified. Contact times/venue and the person responsible for supervision should be also identified. Other issues e.g. propensity to violence should also be identified. 

It should be noted that that the ERT will also be required to make an assessment to ensure that criteria for making an application for an order are fulfilled.

7. Walsall Residential Establishments

There is usually an on call officer on duty to cover the outside office hours.

If there are any difficulties, these should be referred by the staff to the on call officer who will make a decision as to whether ERT need to be involved or whether it will be referred to the Area teams the next working day.

There are cases that clearly need to be referred to ERT; such as Child Protection. If staff are unsure whether a situation should be pursued as a protection issue then ERT are available to offer advice and guidance. 

In cases where there is a death under suspicious circumstances ERT will inform the on call member of SLT.

8. Transfer of Referrals From ERT

Referrals are passed over to the day time teams the next working day via e-mail or fax.

The hard copies of any faxed referrals are usually sent via the internal mail system or left with the service user.

Service Areas should ensure that their fax machines are in working order and have paper in them. Staff/ Admin should check their e-mail for referrals. A list of referrals sent by e-mail will also be faxed to the service area.

If the service area fax is not working and ERT are unable to deliver, it will be requested that the area team collect their referrals from the ERT office base.

A referral form is completed for each referral, ERT.

If a child is Accommodated LAC forms are always completed. The referral form should indicate where these forms are (e.g. with the foster carer/residential home) because it is not possible to fax them. If a legal order has been obtained in respect of a child then the original order will be left with the child’s carer at that time and if possible a copy sent to Team Office. Arrangements can be made for orders to be collected from the ERT office base.

ERT staff will try and ensure that complex referrals are also discussed with the day staff.

If it is necessary to contact a member of the team, this should be done via Community Alarms who will leave message on your behalf. If available, ERT staff will return your call. Please try and do this before 10 am as the shift ends at this time.

If e-mails or faxes have not been received by the service area, please notify ERT. Admin and/or the Team Manager  They will have access to the referrals and should be able to re-send them.

ERT staff have access to Mosaic; if the Mosaic system is down then ERT have no way of checking the status of a case. In these circumstances ERT staff will exercise their professional judgment and act on the information made available to them and in the best interests of the service user based on the information available to them.

ERT have access to the Record of Children with a Child Protection Plan, which is retained securely and updated weekly. ERT also have access to the minutes of Child Protection Conferences that have taken place as these are sent to them.

9. Information for ERT

Day time teams should notify the ERT if they are likely to be required during the out of hours period.

Information that the ERT may require should be faxed/e-mailed to them on the “Information for the ERT form” WSS 169 - information should be clear and concise with clarification about what course of action is recommended by the day time team as detailed on the headings of this form. 

All referrals/information to ERT must be followed up with a telephone call to ensure that:

  1. ERT have received this information as there may be problems with the fax/e-mail.
  2. and enable the ERT staff member can clarify any further points as necessary.

The switch boards in Service Area officers close at 17.15 (17.00 on Friday). Day time staff must to ensure that they ring ERT. If they are not able to get through it is important that they leave a contact number. When referrals are sent to ERT it is not always possible to read them all straight away because of the number of incoming calls. For this reason it is essential that day time workers leave a contact number in order that the two points above can be addressed. This will need to be direct line number or a mobile as the main office numbers will divert after closing time. 

This is particularly important where there are complex issues and further clarification may be required.

The ERT is unable to retain information from the day time teams for an unspecified length of time. Therefore, information sent to ERT will be retained for fourteen days only. It is the responsibility of the allocated worker to ensure that the ERT are updated as appropriate.