Introduction to MASH
The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the colocation of safeguarding agencies and their data into a secure, research and decision making unit.
This was in response to some of the difficulty of agencies to effectively share information which has been the comment of numerous Serious Case Reviews and public enquiries.
Reviews have identified that when information is held separately by professionals, concerns tend to be viewed as separate events rather than as an emerging picture.
Early opportunities to co-ordinate a multi-agency response and provide support which may help to prevent the escalation of problems can therefore be missed.
Who is in the MASH?
Reading has had a MASH in operation since 2012 and it is currently is made up of staff from Children’s Social Care, Health and a Domestic Violence Risk Assessor and Triage worker from Thames Valley Police. Berkshire Woman’s Aid attend on a weekly basis to triage domestic violence related referrals.
This project is to fully co-locate key safeguarding partners in one office: Social Care, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Thames Valley Police.
The MASH will also include an Early Help Co-ordinator to assist in referring cases that do not meet threshold for Children’s Social Care to Early Help Teams.
Other partners will operate under a “virtual” arrangement, a key contact will be available to facilitate information gathering but will not be physically present in the MASH, at this stage, this includes Education, Housing, the Youth Offending Service, and Probation.
The co-located MASH is due to go live in the summer, 2015.
How does it work?
1. It is the single point of referral for all concerns regarding children & young people to children’s social care.
2. There is initial screening by the Duty Support Officer. If the child / family is known, it will be sent to allocated social worker.
3. If it is not an open case, a new contact will be recorded.
4. All other contacts received are triaged before a decision is made as to whether or not to use the MASH process in accordance with the MASH risk threshold document and attached time scales for action.
The outcomes following triage are as follows:
• Sent direct to Access & Assessment – threshold for Children’s Social Care is met
• Referred to community resources
• Referred to Early Help
• Sent back to referrer for more information
• No Further Action
• Contact is progressed to MASH confidential information sharing
5. Once the contact is progressed to MASH confidential information sharing, information from other sources will be gathered. This information will be gathered to a timescale which is directly associated with the level of potential risk as assessed by practitioners and decision makers in the MASH. These timescales are:
· Red = within four hours
· Amber = within 24 hours
· Green = 72 hours or 3 working days
6. Social Work Assistants will research appropriate cases. The MASH manager & police sergeant oversee and are responsible for the MASH process and outcome determination. They can change the RAG rating at any point dependent on information received.
7. Once information has been gathered and analysed a decision will be made on action which includes:
• Referral to Access & Assessment (Threshold met)
• Referral to Early Help
• Referral to Community Resources
• No Further Action
8. The person who made the enquiry to the MASH will receive feedback on the action taken.