The turnaround time for child protection cases judged as high or complex needs has almost halved in some areas since the London multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) programme began in 2011, according to a new academic report from the University of Greenwich.
A MASH co-locates a whole range of agencies, including police, local authority children’s social care, education, probation and health staff to share information and spot emerging problems early, potentially saving lives. The MASH approach was first introduced by Devon County Council and has since been adopted across much of the UK, with London being one of the most comprehensive roll-outs so far.
This first independent report into the effectiveness of MASH was commissioned across five local authority areas by the London Safeguarding Children Board (London SCB) and London Councils. It found that the mean turnaround time for cases initially assessed as level 3 (high or complex needs) nearly halved in some areas, from 2.5 days to just over 1.25 days. The turnaround time for referrals initially assessed as level 2 (low to vulnerable) halved from more than four and a half days to less than two and half days.
Cheryl Coppell, Chair of London Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The Mash approach has the potential to address some of the issues highlighted in serious case reviews. All the evidence in this report, the first of its kind, suggests that working in this way improves communication and breaks down professional boundaries, which can sometimes act as a barrier to information sharing.
“Among the more significant findings is a reduction in turnaround time of referrals to safeguarding services at all levels of risk. This is a quantifiable improvement that makes children safer and is very encouraging.
“London is an excellent example of how the model can significantly improve outcomes, with a hub running in 28 boroughs and the remaining areas set to follow.”
The report states, ‘One of the particularly beneficial impacts of the MASH on services to children was in the identification of children who would not have come to notice previously, but were now receiving a service.’
View the report here: