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Social Services emergency help at night, weekends and bank holidays

Information for people who may need to get in touch with Social Services outside our usual working hours.

The Emergency Duty Team is a small team of experienced social workers that handle emergency calls.

Who does the Emergency Duty Team help?

Because we are an out-of-hours service, we help people only when there is an emergency situation. This means that we help people in an unexpected and sudden crisis if the problem needs to be solved without delay.

Here are some examples of people and situations we can help with:

  • Anybody who suspects a child is at immediate risk of being harmed or neglected;
  • Anybody who is urgently concerned about the immediate welfare of a frail, disabled, sick or mentally ill person;
  • Anybody who has serious immediate concerns about the mental health of another person that may put the ill person or another person at risk;
  • Domestic violence incidents where children are involved;
  • Children or young people looking for urgent and immediate advice;
  • People who need to be supported before they can be interviewed by the police, for example, young people up to the age of 18 or people with mental health problems;
  • Young people aged 16 or over who are homeless.

This list is not exhaustive.

How do I get help?

The service is available at the following times:

Monday - Thursday 5.00pm to 1.00am

Friday 4.30pm to 1.00am

Saturday / Sunday / Bank holidays 9.00am to 1.00am.

We can be contacted at our base office on 01792 775501.

The Emergency Duty Team does not receive visitors under any circumstances.

For the most serious emergencies only, a social worker is 'on call' every day of the year from 1.00am to 9.00am. Please use the same telephone number.

What help do we provide?

The Emergency Duty Team provides the following kinds of help:

  • Information and advice;
  • Social worker visit.

Whichever type of help we offer, it is intended to make or keep situations safe until the next working day.

Information and advice

Most callers do not need anything more than information and advice. We are able to provide information and advice on:

  • Personal problems;
  • Family problems;
  • Accommodation;
  • Financial problems.

Usually we will be able to help with information and advice straight away. If we are not able to help a caller ourselves, we try to help them get in touch with other services that might help them.

Depending on your circumstances, we might need to get in touch with other services, including the health service or the police. We may also advise you to contact other services yourself.

Social workers visit

Most callers do not need a social worker to visit them from the Emergency Duty Team.

Generally speaking, you will only get a social worker visit in particularly difficult and urgent situations. We will usually only arrange a visit when the problem cannot be resolved over the phone or left until the next working day. In some cases, we are bound to visit by law.

We will decide whether a social worker visit is needed in your circumstances. We make that decision based on what you tell us. We also have to follow rules that help us decide what is most urgent.

If a social worker is going to visit you, it will usually take them 20 - 45 minutes to arrive depending on where you live. It may take longer if they are already on another call. In very urgent cases we may call out an additional social worker.

Will using the Emergency Duty Team cost me anything?

No. Only the cost of a telephone call. The service provided by the Emergency Duty Team is provided free.

If you are an adult and it is later decided that you need to have services arranged to support you, in some cases there may be a charge depending on the services you use and your ability to pay.

What else should I know about the Emergency Duty Team?

Information about you

Social Services has a policy on the use of personal information, which we have to follow.

We will need to ask you for information in order for us to help you. Usually, before we share information about your emergency with another service outside social services, we will ask your permission.

However, in very serious emergencies where death or serious injury is possible, we may need to share that information with other services before asking your permission. If we have to do that, we will only share information that is necessary to your personal safety and the safety of others.

Working with our weekday services

If you already have contact with a social work team or service, we will pass on to them any relevant or helpful information so that they know what has happened.

However, please note we do not take messages for services that work during the usually working hours - we deal only with genuinely urgent situations.

Working with other organisations

Our work is checked regularly by organisations that we have a lot of dealings with. We meet with them regularly to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our service.

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