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The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub’s (MASH) purpose is to screen and rate all incoming safeguarding referrals. Social workers have to gather evidence in order for the right decision to be made – either to take no further action, to signpost elsewhere, to go into Early Help, also within Children’s Services, or to be sent for either a social care or an early help assessment if there is possibility the child is in need (CIN) or there might be a serious safeguarding concern (CP). Operating these thresholds consistently and accurately is a daily measure of success.

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) uses a duty system. The core team is a duty pod, with social workers and early help practitioners sitting in the pod on a rota and co-located at Poole Police Station. An education worker, domestic abuse worker and a mental health worker will join the duty pod, making a total of six workers in the pod every day.

Early Help and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) are integrated into the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) hub which gives practitioners a better understanding of the early help offer.

The MASH aims to ‘get it right first time’ meaning referrals are triaged, assessed, and transferred to the most appropriate team and service. Team managers oversee every contact within the working day and managers authorise significant decisions.

Referrers from health and education can also use a consultation line which enables someone who is worried about a child to have a conversation with a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team member rather than to be forced into either making a formal referral or withdrawing. Many children’s situations are complex and benefit from being talked through first. This is also crucial for building trust and confidence between professionals and with external partner agencies.

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) makes use of resources like the Family Information Directory and the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Community Action Network.

Each Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team member is an expert or champion in a specific issue, for example we have a perinatal expert who holds regular meeting with the local midwifery team.