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Social work teams in children's social care

Find out more about the main responsibilities of each of our children’s social work teams.

Multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH)

The multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) provides a single point of access to the services that help keep children safe. It is a multi-agency team made up of representatives from a range of services that provide advice, support and protection as needed. The MASH provides a secure environment for these services to share information and improve decision-making whenever there are concerns for a child.

Referral and assessment service

The referral and assessment service is a front-line social work service. The team assesses and provides services to children in need and children who are at risk of serious harm and in need of protection. The service also includes the emergency duty team which deals with children's welfare outside of office hours and at weekends.

Safe Space

Safe Space is part of the Referral and Assessment Service and this specialist team works with young people at risk of harm from contextual safeguarding concerns such as involvement with County Lines, gangs, child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation.

Family support and safeguarding service

The Family Support and Safeguarding service works with children and their families across the spectrum of statutory intervention, where children are subject to child in need plans or child protection plans, or are in the care of the Council. They work closely with parents and wider family members with the aim of increasing safety and sustainable, positive outcomes for their children.

The service also incorporates the Meliot Family Centre which is a specialist centre offering supervised and supported contact to children and their families where children are placed in local authority care. In addition, senior social workers at the centre carry out parenting assessments in complex cases which are before the courts.

Corporate parenting

The Corporate Parenting service provides case management for looked after children whose care plan is that they will not be returning to the care of their birth family. The service also supports children looked after and care leavers in their transition to adulthood from the age of 16 (and in some circumstances up to the age of 25) and has the lead responsibility for corporate parenting and the children in care council.

We have two active children in care councils and a care leaver’s forum. We promote group work and creative activities for our children including music and spoken word and trips both in the UK and abroad which staff help to organise and participate in.

The Fostering and Placements teams are also part of the Corporate Parenting service as well as the Unaccompanied Minors team and the Special Guardianship and Private Fostering team.

Workforce development and business support service

The Workforce Development and Business Support Service works across the Children’s Social Care and is responsible for the implementation of Signs of Safety as Lewisham’s practice framework and the wider learning and development offer for practitioners. The Workforce Development Service is responsible for the ASYE Academy supporting newly qualified social workers in Lewisham. The Business Support Service provides all administrative and organisational support to the social work teams.

Fostering, placements and business strategy

The service consists of social workers who work in four teams which support foster carers, 'family and friends' foster carers, special guardians, placements and commissions, external fostering and residential placements.

Quality assurance service

This service handles quality assuring social work practice and audit work. It manages:

  • the child protection case conferencing processes
  • local authority designated officer and independent reviewing process of looked-after children
  • the complaints and access to records functions for children and young people’s services.

The quality assurance team has CPC (child protection chairs) and IRO (independent reviewing officers).

This service is responsible for quality assurance and audit. The service manages the child protection case conferencing process, the local authority designated officer and independent reviewing process of children looked after. The service works closely with the Lewisham Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. The participation officers also sit within this service area working with young people and children.

Children with complex needs service

This service delivers a range of integrated services to children with disabilities and special educational needs through joint multi-agency assessment processes.

It incorporates teams that are responsible for: children with disabilities, short break services, SEN (special educational needs), portage, occupational therapy, travel assistance, multi-agency planning pathways and commissioning.