Sarah Golden, Ben Durbin, Helen Aston
15 July 2011
The Laming review identified key weaknesses in the way that a range of agencies and individuals, who are separately in contact with a child at risk, share pertinent information with one another. As a consequence, no individual or team has a complete picture of a child’s circumstances.
In 2010/11 around 620 children and young people in the county of Devon were in care and 431 had a child protection plan. In 2010, a further 4,318 were defined as children in need. The range of agencies involved in safeguarding children operate across local authority boundaries: the police and probation services' responsibilities cross both Devon and Cornwall. In this context, with families moving across LA boundaries and multiple agencies lacking a unified relationship, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) model was established. The Local Government Group, on behalf of Devon County Council, commissioned NFER to carry out a case study of Devon’s MASH.
- Key components of the MASH model include: strategic buy-in; clear governance, aims and terms of reference; willingness to share and overcome issues; sufficient staffing; co-location of agencies and specialists; and an infrastructure of provision at tier 2.
- The implementation of the MASH has been a cultural change, due in part to co-location and working to a common goal as a team.
- Interviewees identified a range of benefits, including more informed decision-making, an increase in early intervention, more efficient decision-making and more informed teams.