Multi-agency safeguarding hubs improving social work practice, finds report

Report finds agencies are 'better placed than ever' to make informed safeguarding decisions, but raises concerns about information sharing

Multi-agency safeguarding hubs have led to an improved standard of child safeguarding practice, according to the government’s final report into the multi-agency working and information sharing project.

A multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) is a method to improve cross agency work for local authorities when designing safeguarding approaches for children through information sharing and high quality and timely safeguarding responses.

The report highlighted four perceived outcomes of MASHs:

  • More accurate assessment of risk and need as safeguarding decisions are based on coordinated, sufficient, accurate and timely intelligence.
  • More thorough and driven management of cases.
  • Better understanding between professions.
  • Greater efficiencies in processes and resources.

The findings were based on interviews with 37 local authorities using MASHs (or the same process under a different name), expert panels and questionnaires with professionals.

However, it also raised concerns that misunderstandings between child protection professionals over exactly what information they can share could be hampering the efficacy of some MASH teams.

A statement from the Home Office said: “High profile cases, including the death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, have highlighted the tragic consequences which can result when information indicating risk is held by one agency and not appropriately shared with others.”

“The review found MASHs support professionals to ‘join the dots’ and understand threats so they can take action to prevent them.”

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said: “If it’s a choice between data protection and child protection, child protection must come first.”

“Local agencies are now better placed than ever before to make informed decisions about how best to ensure children and vulnerable adults are protected from deplorable abuse and exploitation.”

Are you working in a local authority where a MASH has been introduced? Would you say it’s improved safeguarding? Let us know

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