MASH having a positive impact on child protection in London
The turnaround time for child protection cases judged as high or complex needs has almost halved in some areas since the London multi agency safeguarding hub (MASH) programme began in 2011, according to a new academic report from the University of Greenwich for London Councils.
A MASH co-locates a whole range of agencies, including police, local authority children’s social care, education, probation and health staff, to share information and spot emerging problems early, potentially saving lives. The MASH approach was first introduced by Devon County Council and has since been adopted across much of the UK, with London being one of the most comprehensive roll outs so far.
This first independent report into the effectiveness of MASH was commissioned across five local authority areas by the London Safeguarding Children Board (London SCB) and London Councils. It found that the mean turnaround time for cases initially assessed as level 3 (high or complex needs) nearly halved in some areas, from 2.5 days to just over 1.25 days. The turnaround time for referrals initially assessed as level 2 (low to vulnerable) halved from more than four and a half days to less than two and half days.
Cheryl Coppell, Chair of London Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The Mash approach has the potential to address some of the issues highlighted in serious case reviews. All the evidence in this report, the first of its kind, suggests that working in this way improves communication and breaks down professional boundaries, which can sometimes act as a barrier to information sharing.
Ian Smith, Director of Children’s Social Care in Lewisham, one of the boroughs sampled in the report, said:
“In Lewisham we have been particularly pleased with how well all the professionals have worked together to share information promptly so we can make appropriate decisions to provide the right support to children and their families. On some occasions it is only through the information that was gathered as the result of the MASH that enabled us to identify that children could be at risk of significant harm and take appropriate action to safeguard them. There is no doubt that MASH is helping us protect children.”
“Among the more significant findings is a reduction in turnaround time of referrals to safeguarding services at all levels of risk. This is a quantifiable improvement that makes children safer and is very encouraging.”
“London is an excellent example of how the model can significantly improve outcomes, with a Mash up and running in 28 boroughs and the remaining areas set to follow.”
The report states, ‘One of the particularly beneficial impacts of the Mash on services to children was in the identification of children who would not have come to notice previously, but were now receiving a service.’
MASH final report
Making MASH fit for London
The London MASH partnership held a MASH conference on Wednesday 13 November 2013. For agenda and presentations for the day, please follow the links below:
MASH case slides
Assessing the early implementation of MASH by Rachel Crockett and Gail Gilchrist
Findings from the Met Police quality assurance and review process by DS Angela Allgood
The NHS Number: what it is and how to use it by Stephen Smith
Collecting MASH Data by Michael Hillier
Collecting MASH data by Navlet Ferron
Afternoon Chairs' welcome by Richard Henson
Use of analysis in MASH by Catherine O'Rourke
Sharing information in the MASH by Nigel Boulton, Jeanne King and Briony Ladbury
Cultural change and the need for collaboration and professional challenge by Rory Patterson
Updated MASH information sharing advice issued
In September 2013, The London Safeguarding Children Board issued a revised MASH Information Sharing Agreement for local use. This has been updated to include specific advice around consent. The Board also issued a new Information Sharing Guidance booklet, aimed at practitioners and managers working in a multi-agency safeguarding hub. Both these documents are available to download via the links below:
Rolling out Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) in London
The London MASH Project is an ambitious pan-London programme to improve the way that local safeguarding partnerships deal with child protection referrals, bringing a range of partners together into a single multi-agency safeguarding hub to share information quickly and efficiently as soon as a notification of possible harm to a child is received. Steered by a high level strategic partnership of local government, health, police, probation and the GLA, the ambition is for every borough in London to implement MASH in their own area by the end of the 2013/14 financial year.
As of 16 August 2013, sixteen multi-agency safeguarding hubs are already operating in London, in Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Enfield, Camden, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Sutton and Wesmtinster, and all other boroughs are in line to implement MASH by the end of 2013/14 financial year. The full schedule for roll out is available below alongside a range of guidance and templates to support local implementation.
For more information on the MASH initiative, please contact the project lead for the London Safeguarding Children Board (email@example.com) or the Metropolitan Police Service (Richard.Henson@met.pnn.police.uk)
Prevent, People and Schools 2013
‘Prevent, Police and Schools’ was written in consultation with the Department for Education and the Home Office. It aims to explain Prevent in a school context, to indicate ways in which police teams and teachers can work together and to highlight some of the different approaches that have been taken across the country to date. Please follow the link below to download the full document::
NHS number agreed as MASH identifier
"Ministers have agreed to the proposal that the NHS Number can be used as an identifier to support MASH work. It should of course not be used more widely than that" (13 December 2012)
Pan-London guidance and best practice templates
A pan-London operational group has now been established to sit beneath the Project Board and lead on delivery of the MASH project. Chaired by D-Supt Richard Henson, the Met Police Project Lead, the group has representation from NHS London, London Probation, London Councils and the London Safeguarding Children Board. The operational group have produced a number of guidance documents and templates for local multiagency safeguarding hubs, which are available through the links below:
MASH premises checklist
Health job description and person specification
Youth Offending Service job description and person specification
Housing job description and person specification
Children's Social Care job description and person specification
Education job description and person specification
Probation officer job description and person specification
Terms of Reference - Local Delivery Group
In early 2012, London Councils commissioned Jeanne King to carry out a scoping exercise for those boroughs yet to implement MASH, establishing local readiness and providing an opportunity to boroughs to discuss the requirements of the project in more detail. Alongside this work, Mary Mullix was commissioned to conduct a similar exercise with key health partners. This work was completed at the end of March 2012, and the findings were considered by the MASH Project Board in late April. Please follow the links below to download these reports:
Pan London best practice seminar, February 2012
On Tuesday 15 February, the London Board facilitated a pan-London workshop to explore current progress in rolling out the MASH initiative across the capital. Led jointly by ALDCS, the Met Police, NHS London, the GLA, London Councils and the London Safeguarding Children Board, the session was an opportunity for senior managers from a range of agencies to take stock of progress to date and hear more from some of the local authority areas which are already moving forward with this work. The session also saw a Ministerial Address from Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, who added his own endorsement to the work.
Please follow the links below for papers and presentations from the day:
Programme for the day
LB Harrow - Children’s Access Team incorporating a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
LB Haringey - Multi-agency working from MAT to MASH
LB Hackney - Hackney Partnership Triage: two years on
For more information on the MASH initiative, please contact the project lead for the London Safeguarding Children Board (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Metropolitan Police Service (email@example.com).