What is MASH?
A national Multi?Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) programme began in 2011 following the successful development of a model in Devon. According to an evaluation by the University of Greenwich, the turn-around time for child protection cases judged as high or complex needs has almost halved in some areas since introduction.
A MASH incorporates a whole range of agencies. The aim is to identify vulnerable children earlier and more efficiently through better information-sharing, enabling agencies to act quickly. The MASH in Islington sits within the Children’s Services Contact Team (CSCT) - the single point of contact for requests for services for vulnerable children and young people (see 1.6.10) and includes Children’s Social Care, Community Health, Education, Families First, Police, Adult Mental Health, Probation, and Targeted Youth Support.
When a referral is received by CSCT which raises safeguarding concerns, but the level of need or risk is unclear, the referral will be subject to a MASH check. This enables multi agency information to be shared for a picture of risk to be built, and to assist early decision making.
The MASH is a confidential environment where information is only shared between designated MASH professionals. Once the level of need and risk is clarified, the child is matched to the most appropriate type of service through the normal CSCT processes.
MASH checks can only be carried out where there is consent or serious safeguarding concerns that indicate that seeking consent would prejudice the child’s welfare.
An Officer from within Pupil Services is always available to follow up on MASH enquiries. When contacting a school to assist with a MASH enquiry, we will normally ask to speak with the person responsible for Safeguarding. The referral will normally make clear the nature of concern, whether consent has been given for the checks or this has been over-ridden, and any particular aspect/s we are keen to have more information on. You will normally be asked for the following information:
- What is the child’s current attendance?
- If there is absence, has this been authorised or unauthorised? Reasons?
- Is the child regularly late to school?
- Has statutory action been taken for unauthorised absence?
- Are there any concerns about the child’s behaviour? In class? Around the school?
- Are there any concerns around the child’s appearance and/or emotional well‐being?
- Is the child currently performing below, in line with or above expected (age appropriate) progress?
- Are there any concerns around the effort they put into their school work?
- Does the child have any other successes/achievements?
- Is the child receiving any additional support from the school and/or outside agencies for anything?
- Are the parents/carers supportive and engaged with the school? Are there any particular causes for concern?
- Are you aware of any health conditions?
- Any other issues?