What is the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub?
The Barnet MASH acts a single ‘front door’ for children in need of additional support and/or protection. Co-located within the MASH is a partnership of professionals from a range of agencies including the police, health, education, children’s social care, children’s early help, substance misuse, housing, probation and domestic violence services.
The professionals work together to share and analyse information held on multiple client data systems to build a picture of the child’s history, current circumstances, support systems, needs and risks, so that proportionate and timely decisions can be made about the type and level of services children need to safeguard their welfare, meet their needs and improve their outcomes, ensuring that children receive the right help first time.
Barnet MASH aims to ensure that:
- All safeguarding referrals are dealt with in a timely and effective manner to ensure the immediate protection of children
- Decisions are timely, sound and based on high quality multi-agency information sharing arrangements
- All agencies have the confidence to share information safely and securely
- Risk is identified through robust analysis of a wide range of historical and current information and concerns
- Children, young people and their families are referred to the right services first time and as early in the life of the problem as possible
- Professional agencies working with children and their families have access to information that is proportionate and relevant to their involvement in a child’s life
- Allocation of resources for children and families is timely, coherent and transparent
- Professionals / Practitioners have rapid access to qualified and experienced social work professionals for safeguarding advice, information and guidance on access to local resources
- The service is well understood and accessible to those that need it
- Our partnership arrangements are continually reviewed and built upon to improve access and promote seamless delivery throughout the borough
How do I refer?
Before making a referral please consult the Continuum of Need and Support. You will need to consider if the child or young person‘s needs can be met by services from within your own agency, or by other professionals already involved with the family.
In order to make a referral you will need to complete a referral form. You will then receive an acknowledgement email from the MASH with a reference number.
It is your responsibility to discuss this referral with the family. If you feel that by doing so this child would be placed at risk of harm, or you have any further questions please contact the MASH team on 020 8359 4066. (link to main website)
The MASH operates Monday–Thursday 9 am to 5.15 pm and 9 am to 5 pm on Fridays. Outside of these hours care and welfare concerns about children and young people that require an immediate response should be reported to the Emergency Duty Team on 020 8359 2000. If a child or young person is at significant harm the police will need to be contacted.
How will I know what has happened to my referral?
MASH team are responsible for providing referrers with appropriate and proportionate feedback about the progress of the case whilst in MASH. After a Manager has considered your referral and a decision has been made, you will receive a confirmation of informing you of the outcome and any relevant actions.
The MASH team are also responsible for ensuring that actions are put in place to ensure that appropriate and proportionate feedback is provided to children and families. This may be done by a Children’s Social Care professional either from the MASH or another team such as the Duty Assessment Team or Early Help Service. On other occasions you, as someone who knows the child and or family might be asked to contribute to the process of providing verbal feedback.
What should I do if I am concerned about the way in which the MASH team has dealt with a concern I have raised?
In the first instance you could discuss action taken with the MASH Team Manager. Alternatively you could speak to the Head of MASH.
What to do if I am not happy?
If you are not happy about the way the MASH team deals with any referral about your family, please raise this first with the MASH manager. He or she will explain why the information was shared and how the decision on your case was made.
If you are still not happy, you can make a complaint by contacting the Children’s Service Complaints Officer on 020 8359 7008 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Privacy and information sharing
All partner agencies have signed up to Barnet Council's MASH Information Sharing Agreement that specifies what data can be shared in the MASH and the legal basis for doing so. All partner agencies are required to ensure staff are fully trained and aware of their responsibilities under the data protection legislation. They are required to ensure all information sharing is done in adherence with the Information Commissioner’s Data Sharing Code of Practice.
Section 10 of the Children’s Act 2004 places a duty on key agencies to cooperate to improve the well-being of children and young people. This includes the proportionate sharing of information, where appropriate, to make the best decisions for children and young people. It is the responsibility of all professionals to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities in this regard in order to ensure they are able to respond within set time scales to enquiries from the MASH and so safeguard children and young people.
If you would like to know more about how the council handles personal data see the Council's Privacy Notice.