Emergency Duty Service (EDS)

Please note: the Emergency Duty Service can only deal with referrals which occur out of office hours and are genuine emergencies. Referrals made during the day to local social services and housing departments should be resolved by the respective office. Non-urgent enquiries and issues should be raised to the respective office, which will be resolved the next working day.

EDS provides support for safeguarding emergencies and crisis issues which occur outside of normal working hours and cannot wait until the next working day.

EDS is run on behalf of the six Berkshire Unitary authorities and is available to:

  • respond to emergencies where immediate social care intervention is required to safeguard a vulnerable adult or child,
  • provide crisis intervention where there are significant welfare concerns that cannot wait until the next working day,
  • respond to all statutory emergency referrals to the unitary authorities,
  • to offer single point of access,
  • to undertake initial screening for those individuals who find themselves in need of emergency accommodation.

Hours of operation and contact telephone number

EDS is operational to the general public for out of hours crisis or emergencies only from:

  • 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday and,
  • from 5pm Friday to 9am Monday.  This includes Bank Holidays.

If you need to speak to a Social Worker outside normal office hours please contact the Emergency Duty Service on 01344 786543.

The Emergency Duty Service can assist by:

Carrying out an initial screening of the concerns and facilitating a care plan in collaboration with other agencies to ensure the safety of vulnerable children and adults in the community pending follow up by the daytime services. 

This can be done through detailed telephone discussions/assessment, offering advice and support. 

In some instances, EDS practitioner and other agencies will visit vulnerable children and adults either at home, or other places of safety for example hospitals and police stations as part of the assessment and risk management process. 

Roles and responsibilities

EDS is staffed by skilled Screening Officer, senior Approved Mental Health Professionals, senior childcare 
Social Workers and Adult Safeguarding/Hospital Discharge Officers.

Your call will be answered by a Screening Officer who, in conjunction with the Duty Manager, will assess your situation. Please be aware that child and vulnerable adult safeguarding and Mental Health Act assessments will be given the highest priority.

A record of all referrals to the Emergency Duty Service will be made and referred onto the relevant local office.

At busy times your call may be held in a queue. Please note all our telephone calls are recorded for quality assurance purposes.