Concerns for a child: Safeguarding

All children and young people have a right grow up safe and cared for

Safeguarding means working to promote the welfare of children and protect them from physical and emotional harm wherever they are.

This includes:

  • Protecting them from abuse and mistreatment from adults and other children
  • Preventing harm to their health or development
  • Ensuring they grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable them to have the best outcomes

Safeguarding children and child protection guidance and legislation applies to all children up to the age of 18.

All organisations that work with or come into contact with children and young people should have safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that every child can be protected from harm, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity.

If you are concerned about a child or young person and want to find out about Early Help and other support, you can complete the Multi Agency Referral (MARs) Form (below) and contact the City of London Corporation Children and Families.

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm always call 999.

What is MARs and what happens at the meetings?
MARs (Multi Agency Referrals) meetings are an opportunity for a team of professionals from Health, Social Care and Education services to:

  • discuss new referrals to Hackney Ark – Centre for children and young people with disability and special educational needs, in a confidential forum
  • share information about cases already known to someone in the team

How do MARs meetings support children or young people with SEND?
The aim of the meetings are to decide and arrange initial assessment and support for children and families who have been referred. This may include; allocation of a Key Worker or setting up a Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting to help provide ongoing co-ordination of support to the family.

The meetings also:

  • provide a forum for coordinating and reviewing support being offered to children and families already.
  • provide a safe environment for staff to express any concerns that they may have about a case they are involved in and feel that input from the multi-agency team is needed to move things forward for the child and family.
  • provide peer support to the worker in what they are attempting or planning to do with the family.
  • provide a safe supportive environment for the sharing of potential Child Protection concerns if they arise.

Where are MARs meetings held?
Meetings are currently taking place online. If you work with a child or young person and wish to attend one of the meetings related to a case, contact the Key Work team to request a meeting invite.


Who is eligible?
Referrals to MARS are not accepted directly from parents or carers.

If as a parent or carer you feel that input from a child development team at the Hackney Ark may be beneficial for your child please speak to one of the professionals currently working with your child or your GP and ask them to consider completing a MARS referral form on your behalf.

All referrals discussed at the meeting must come directly from a professional in the first instance.

Referrers should:

  • make clear in their referrals that the decision to refer has been discussed with parents
  • includes additional information, reports, assessments or observations to help the team make a decision
  • clearly outline why the referral is being made and what they hope to achieve from the referral.

If a child has been discussed at MARs and their parents do not feel that the decisions made are appropriate they can contact the Key Work Team administrator to talk through their concerns.

Phone: 0207 014 7088

The views of families and children or young people referred will be shared with the wider team at the following week's MARs meeting. Previous decisions may be reviewed as a result of their additional feedback and input

We all need to play our part in protecting children – identifying those who are missing from education and making sure they get back to school. The Education and Early Years Service works with pupils and parents to ensure that children of compulsory school age attend school regularly.

A child is considered missing from education if he or she is not on a state or private school roll or being home-schooled.

The current compulsory school age for children in England and Wales is five to 18 years.

If you see a child or young person who you think is missing education please contact us.

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm always call 999.

London Child Protection Procedures
For more information about the London Child Protection Procedures and Practice Guidance, please download the 'Missing Procedures and Practice Guidance' at the end of this page, which includes the City of London Corporation supplementary guidance 

Our Safer Schools have put together a guide to help you help the child or young person in your care navigate these new transitions as they go back to school

The power of technology is of benefit to us all, but more time spent online by our children can lead to greater levels of risk. As teachers, parents and carers, it is important that you know how you can help make your children safe online.

For young people, their world is opened up to more people, offline and online, bringing new challenges and risks. With a plethora of experiences and influences impacting young people, there are health and wellbeing issues to consider.

The City of London Safer Schools App is free and includes useful advice about making your home and devices safer. It provides information about social media and how to block, mute and report anything that either you (or your child) may find worrying - from images to comments from online bullies. The App will also help you create healthy media habits, limit screen time, learn about scams and keep your personal data safe.

Read more Our Safer Schools website to read more, or go to our directory to download the Safer Schools App (related links).