Emergency Duty Service

A social work service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This page sets out the provision of the service outside of office hours.


The EDS is provided to meet Children's Health and Social Care statutory requirements in respect of children & young people. The service is intended to deal with emergency situations which arise out of normal working hours, requiring an immediate response, and which may involve children & young people who may be at risk of serious harm or may require accommodation.

The EDS is provided to children & young people under 18 years old (extended to 21 for care leavers), to make or keep a situation safe until the next working day when services resume. It does not provide an alternative to the more fully resourced daytime services.

The service operates outside normal office hours and is available:

The EDS telephone number is 01481 725111.

Daytime telephone number: 01481 723182.

A professional social work service is provided in emergency situations which arise outside of normal office hours and which cannot wait until the next working day for a response. The service is provided by qualified social workers with back up support from managers. Separate rotas are organised for both social workers and managers.  There will be one social worker on each shift only and one social work manager on each shift only.

The EDS is defined as an emergency service by Children's Health and Social Care. However, the telephone number is available to all members of the public. It is published in local telephone directories and included on the Children's Health and Social Care website. This means that, by definition, many calls made to the EDS will be deemed NOT to be an emergency.

Requests for the service are prioritised during periods of heavy demand on the service and limited staffing resources. An assessment of vulnerability is the critical factor in determining the priority given to each referral.

Child protection enquiries and investigations will be given the highest priority. Some of the other priority social work tasks undertaken by the EDS are indicated below:

Situations requiring active intervention Any child protection enquiry which indicates that:

At least one of the conditions below is satisfied in respect of that child.

The conditions are, on a balance of probabilities:

  1. The child has suffered , or is likely to suffer, significant impairment to his health or development,

  2. The child has suffered , or is likely to suffer, sexual or physical abuse,

  3. The child has misused drugs, alcohol, or deliberately inhaled a volatile substance

  4. The child is exposed, or is likely to be exposed, to moral danger,

  5. The child has displayed violent or destructive behaviour and is likely to become a danger to himself or others, or is otherwise beyond parental control,

  6. The child, being of 12 years of age or more, has committed a criminal offence or what would be a criminal offence if the child had the necessary capacity, or<

The child (being under the upper limit of the compulsory school age) is failing to attend school without good reason

  1.  A list of relevant phone numbers including those of Duty Managers, Lawyers/Law Officers, the Procureur and Comptroller. 

  2. Emergency duty service record (template attached below)

  3. Looked After Children documentation pack in the event of emergency admissions into the care of the Department.

  4. Guidance on procedures for obtaining Emergency Community Parenting Orders and Recovery Orders

  5. Duty alerts (template attached below) and updates

  6. Current list of children in the care of the Department

  7. Current list of children registered `at risk`

  8. Current list of foster carers with vacancies.


Core procedures

All EDS staff are required to notify the hospital switchboard before their shift and confirm their mobile phone number.

Check the rota for the named duty manager for that day

Check the duty bag for any duty alerts and ensure it is taken home and returned the following day.

EDS staff are required to be contactable at all times and have their mobile phone switched on. When acting as appropriate adult in the police station, the phone should be left with the custody Sergeant during the interview. 

New rotas are to be emailed to the hospital switchboard, duty managers, accommodation managers & team PAs by the compiler for both social worker and manager rotas and disseminated to all relevant staff.All telephone calls will be responded to as quickly as possible by the EDS social worker.

All calls to the EDS social worker must be logged, noting the time the call is received, the time the call is responded to, the nature of the call, and any action taken. A written record (on template attachment ) should be completed following any involvement of an EDS social worker such as visits made and phone calls received and made. This should be completed the next working day and emailed to the assessment & intervention team's duty worker or the child's social worker if an allocated case on HSSD-Intervention & Assessment Team.

Where an EDS social worker has difficulty responding to a call due to their involvement in another call out, the duty manager should be informed who will make a decision regarding action to be taken. 

The duty manager should be consulted before any decision is taken regarding the EDS social worker attending an incident. The only circumstance where this does not apply is when the call out is to the police station to act as an appropriate adult and the social worker is confident the police have explored family members undertaking this role and have ruled them out for legitimate reasons.

Legal protection of children out of working hours

Emergency Child Protection Order  In an emergency, where a child is suffering, or at immediate risk of suffering, serious harm, the Department (HSSD) may make an application to court for an emergency child protection order under s.55 of the Children (Guernsey & Alderney) Law 2008. The order enables the Department, with police assistance if necessary, to remove a child from the dangerous situation, or prevent their removal from a safe place. In exceptional circumstances, the application can be made without giving notice (ex parte) to the parents or carers, but usually they will be told in advance.

The order can last for eight days maximum.

The EDS social worker will consult with the EDS manager who if necessary will obtain legal advice from the Duty Lawyer/Advocate. 

Human Rights case law has made it clear that such orders should have a very high threshold because of their profound interference with the right to enjoy family life.

The required forms can be found at the bottom of the page.

Recovery Order

The threshold for granting a Recovery Order under S.92 of the Children (Guernsey & Alderney) Law 2008 is very low and simply requires that the child is subject to a qualifying care order - Care Requirement, Community Parenting Order, Emergency Community Order, or Secure Accommodation Order - and has run away, is staying away from the Department`s accommodation, or is missing. The court need only be satisfied there is reason to believe those grounds are met. Out of hours applications will only be made where there are significant risks involved to the child.

Contained in the Duty bag are application forms for a Recovery Order, a copy of a draft order and guidance on completing the application form. The child`s social worker should complete the application form wherever possible (as planning for the obtaining of Recovery Orders will usually have taken place in office hours) and place in the duty bag, ensuring the EDS social worker is aware of this.

The EDS social worker should consult with the EDS manager who, if an application is agreed, will contact the Duty Lawyer/Advocate who will place before a Judge to obtain a signed order (draft at bottom of page).


Social Workers providing an EDS qualify for both standby and call out payments (please see Policy directives as defined above). Managers qualify for standby payments. The definitions of each are "a system of duty where an employee is required to make themselves immediately and continuously available at home (or elsewhere within reach provided he/she has given notice) to respond to any call to return to duty outside normal working hours." For call out "an employee who has left his or hers place of work and been recalled to duty to carry out emergency work"

Hours spent on a call out will attract the following rates of enhancement:Monday - Saturday

1)  Before midnight - time and a half

2)  Between midnight and 7am - double time

Sundays/public holidays, all hours - double time

Bank Holidays will be given back as an annual leave day.

Payments for call outs are calculated on employee`s normal basic salary.

The hours of a call out shall be the time from leaving home to return, including write-up's.

Claim sheets are available and will need to be completed for each and every 'shift', and sent to the duty Manager to be agreed and signed; this to happen the next working day. Both social workers and managers claim sheets should include the cost centre code 50240360.


15 July 2011 / Final(updated 2015)