Key Worker Service

Key Worker Service

Families of disabled children and young people often need to see a whole range of different health and care professionals, for a variety of reasons, at different stages and times of the child’s life. Some families and carers can feel overwhelmed by the many different agencies, organisations or people they may have to deal with; others may not be aware of all the services and support on offer to them.

The key worker service works closely with all of the organisations families may need to deal with, (including children’s services, charities, hospitals, providers of short break care, schools and GPs), and by providing a single point of contact ensures that the organisations and agencies are working together to meet the needs of the child and family.

Families can ask any of these professionals to refer them into the Norfolk Key Worker Service for further advice and support, or they can contact the service directly and ‘self-refer’. Key working is included in one of the 10 principles of the Early Support way of working, which aims to improve the delivery of services for disabled children, young people and their families. The Norfolk Key Worker Service has been developed in line with the Early Support approach, which has informed the Section 19 Principles of The Children and Families Act 2014.

More information about The Children and Families Act 2014, as well as practical information and Early Support resources, can be found on the Council for Disabled Children website.

Who are Key Workers?

A Key Worker can be…

A health or care professional already working with the family

The most common way a person becomes a Key Worker is by the family suggesting one of the health or care professionals they already see to become their Key Worker.

With the help of the Key Worker Service, if that person agrees, they will receive regular support and information to ensure that they can do the very best job that they can for the family and carers, with everyone agreeing what is expected.

Another health or care professional

The Key Worker Service can also help a family to ‘find’ a health or care professional to be the key worker. Again, everyone must be in agreement and support is given.

A parent / a carer or someone close to the family

As experts on the needs of the child / young adult, many parents, family members or carers may choose to take on the role of Key Worker themselves and they are equally offered support by the service.



The Norfolk Key Worker Service is offered to disabled children and young people, from birth to age 18 (19 if in a complex needs school), who:

  • Are registered with a GP within greater Norfolk
  • Have complex health needs

These children/young people have severe health conditions requiring ongoing health intervention and need support to carry out activities of daily living and/or who have a high level of need

These children/young people have a severe learning and/or physical disability and need support to carry out activities of daily living


Already see at least three specialist health or care professionals from at least two different agencies (organisations)

These professionals may include a therapist, social worker or a home visitor from organisations such as Norfolk County Council Children’s Services (Education or Social Care), NHS children’s services, housing services or voluntary services.

Referrals should be made on the SPOR form and sent to our Children’s Single Point of Referral team, this is a single point of entry to all of NCHC’s children’s services.

How it all comes together

After being referred to the Norfolk Key Worker Service, the Key Worker Coordinator will meet with the parent / carers at a place to suit them – often at their home – so that together they can:

  • Discuss key working and how the service works and what the family’s priorities and expectations are.
  • Discuss who might be the family’s Key Worker and decide whether a Multiagency Key Worker Planning Meeting is needed and which health and care professionals should be invited
  • Discuss whether the child / young person will come to meetings and how their views can be included. This might include using videos, photos and artwork
  • The Coordinator will contact the suggested Key Worker to discuss the functions, to check whether they can fulfil these, and to outline the support and training available to them. If they feel they can’t become the key worker, the Coordinator will discuss other options or suggested Key Workers with the family / carers.

Once a key worker is in place:

  • The Key Worker and family / carers will complete the Key Worker Service Agreement together so that everyone is very clear of what can be expected
  • The Key Worker Service ensures all health and care professionals who work with the family know who the Key Worker is and gives them the Key Worker’s contact details
  • All Key Workers will receive ongoing training and support meetings with the Coordinator

Reviewing the Key Worker Arrangement

To make sure everything is working well, the Key Worker arrangement is routinely reviewed as part of a multiagency key worker meeting. But at any time the family / carers or the Key Worker can also ask for a review.

If at any time the family / carers decide that they no longer need the support of the service, they can either let the Key Worker know directly, or they can contact Key Worker Service Coordinator.

The Coordinator will also liaise with families / carers during times of long term absence by the Key Worker, due to sickness, maternity leave, etc. The Coordinator will work with the family to find a replacement Key Worker if needed.

When a young person leaves children’s services to use adult services, the key worker service will come to an end.

It is important that families and key workers are able to give feedback and are involved in the ongoing development of the Key Worker Service, so questionnaires are sent out from time to time. The questionnaires are anonymous and it is up to families to choose whether or not they want to fill them out. Families and key workers can also contact the coordinator at any time if there is anything they want to raise or discuss.

For more information please contact:

Mail: Key Worker Service,
Norwich Community Hospital,
Bowthorpe Road,
Norwich NR2 3TU


Tel:  01603 508 968

Fax:  01603 506 575