Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
It is a single point of access to advice, information and support services for professionals working with vulnerable and at-risk children and young people.
What is the 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. These services include:
- children’s social care
- Lewisham police
- health services
- child and adolescent mental health services
- early help
- substance misuse
- victim support
The MASH provides a secure environment for these services to share information and improve decision-making whenever there are concerns for a child.
What does the MASH do?
If you are concerned about a child who has additional needs that are not being met by services currently involved with the family, the MASH will respond to requests for advice and support. The MASH also responds to child protection concerns for children at risk of significant harm.
Further information is available on requesting help from the MASH, and for families whose children have been referred to the MASH.
How does it work?
When the MASH receives a referral, the agencies within the team can share information they have on the family with a social worker, who will use this to decide what help the child and family need and whether the child is at risk of harm. The MASH ensures that all referrals are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner and that information is shared within a secure environment.
By sharing information as soon as possible, the team can get a better understanding of what difficulties the family may be facing. This way, we can make sure the family receives the right kind of help and support at the right time.
Information for professionals about the MASH
Making a MASH request. If, as a professional, you have safeguarding concerns or are requesting commissioned family support for targeted early help, you can use the online MASH request form after reading the below information.
Please note that residents and other members of the public can still make referrals in person or over the phone.
All requests that come through the MASH will be triaged by the multi-agency team and you may be contacted by a professional representing your agency to discuss your request.
Before you make a request
The following information will help you determine if you need to make a MASH request:
- Our continuum of need document will help you assess the level of support needed or risks present. Professionals should refer to the continuum of need document before making a MASH request.
- If you believe a child and their family need some additional support you should discuss this with the family first and agree who is best placed to provide that support. An early help assessment can help you get a full picture of the family’s situation and plan how to meet that need.
- If you think a child or family has needs at the targeted level, which are not being met by services currently involved with the family, you can use the form to request help and support from the MASH.
- If you are a professional working with a child and you require supporting information from children’s social care (e.g. CAFCASS, probation, housing conducting statutory safeguarding checks, assessments), use the form to request supporting information.
- If you are worried that a child is at risk of significant harm through abuse or neglect, please call the MASH immediately on 020 8314 9181 to discuss your concerns and then use the form to request child protection from the MASH.
- If you are unsure about whether or not to make a MASH request, please contact us by phone or email using the details below.
Requests for Social Care Information
If you are a professional (e.g. CAFCASS, probation, housing conducting statutory safeguarding checks, assessments), working with a child/ or adult and you require specific supporting information from children’s social care records or where you need to find out if we hold such information use the MASH Request for information form to make a Statutory Request for Information.
The MASH is a consent-based model. Professionals dealing with suspected child neglect, abuse or need for support, will endeavour to work in partnership with parents. This means the professional will:
- be open and honest with parents about the concerns they have about a child or children
- explain to parents, before making a referral, how the MASH team will share information about the child and family to get the best possible picture about the child’s circumstances.
- If the referring professional believes that seeking consent for sharing information with the MASH would place a child at further risk of harm or cause unnecessary delay, they may refer the child without parental consent, but must explain why this is the case. If in doubt please contact the MASH on 020 8314 6660 to discuss.
What happens next?
We will ensure that your referral reaches the correct team and we will aim to let you know the outcome of your referral within 48 hours.
If you do not hear back from us regarding the outcome or progress of your request, please contact us.