Thresholds and Escalation

Threshold document

It is important that all who support children and young people understand how assistance is identified and accessed. Threshold is the point at which a child or young person becomes eligible to access a particular level of service. Lambeth has a revised Threshold Chart and new, accompanying Threshold Guidance to help you to know what is the right help at the right time.

Understanding the access criteria for services and thresholds should strengthen local arrangements and help everyone to work together to identify the best support for an individual child, young person and their family or carers dependent on need. At the moment in Lambeth we seek social care intervention more often than we need to. Lambeth Children’s Social Care was undertaking over 1,000 more assessments a year than its neighbours. A Lambeth child was around 50% more likely to have been referred and assessed than one living in another borough, but 85% of our cases were leading to No Further Action.

Our aim is identify early indicators of harm and intervene quickly. Where needs arise then the least intrusive approach should be used to respect the dignity and right to a private family life of those involved. Where Safeguarding reaches a level of complexity or risk then we need to act early to achieve safe outcomes for children, young people and their families.

The threshold chart can be downloaded in a 1-page A2 format or a 2-sided A4 format (see 'Resources' below).

Children at the Heart of Practice

Children Social Care (CSC) provide specialist frontline services to children and young people. Following an Ofsted inspection in 2015, CSC developed a comprehensive work plan to ensure the focus is on outcomes for children and families, rather than process and compliance. Read about their new practice framework ‘Children at the Heart of Practice’ which builds relationships, enables and supports change for families, and promotes children’s wellbeing and development. CSC’s commitment to relationship-based social work extends to how they work with partners and providers, where they build effective professional working relationships that enable families to change and thrive.


The Lambeth Escalation policy below explains how issues with the application of thresholds or inter-agency issues should be resolved.

If you are worried about a child, contact the Integrated Referral Hub:

If you are a professional, please always follow up your referral in writing by filling in the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and forward it to the email address above.

If a child is at immediate risk of significant harm, please dial 999