Families tell us that they want ‘help before problems turn into crises’ and that a ‘single gateway to information and support is the best way to ensure families get the help they need’. (The Family Commission, Starting a Family Revolution: Putting Families in Charge, 4Children (2010)

Devon Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub

In Devon, the Early Help Coordination Centre and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) work together to deal with all levels of child protection and safeguarding.

The MASH is the central resource for the Devon local Authority area receiving all serious safeguarding and child protection enquiries. The MASH is staffed with professionals from a range of agencies including police, probation, fire, ambulance, health, education and social care. These professionals share information to ensure early identification of potential significant harm, and trigger interventions to prevent further harm to children.

MASH staff review information from every agency and use this to decide the most appropriate intervention to respond to the child’s identified needs. Where appropriate, the MASH team  will immediately trigger interventions to the child or young person and their family to prevent harm.

MASH is located next to the Early Help Coordination Centre to enable information to pass across all level of enquires and safeguarding procedures. You can read more about Early Help here.

Working together in this way ensures that agencies can appropriately share information and respond to a child’s needs quickly and efficiently. The MASH has resulted in more effective and earlier identification of vulnerable children. It has reduced the number of different professionals being involved, while keeping the most appropriate professional to deliver interventions to meet the needs identified in any particular case. It has avoided unnecessary duplication and visits, and simplified processes. It has also improved communication between professionals.

For more information about MASH and about referring a child click here

The Multi-Agency safeguarding hub has been implemented to safeguard Torbay’s children and families. It aims to provide the highest level of knowledge and analysis of all known intelligence and information across the safeguarding partnership to ensure all safeguarding activity and intervention is timely, proportionate and necessary.

The vision is to identify and make safe at the earliest opportunity all vulnerable people in our communities through the sharing of information and intelligence across the safeguarding partnership.

Torbay’s MASH aims to provide a more consistent, timely and co-ordinated multi-agency response to individual situations relating to welfare and safeguarding concerns to children and young people. The intent is to improve the quality of information sharing between agencies in order that decision making can be both more effective and more robust.

Objectives of MASH include:

• Improved safeguarding decision making at the point of referral;
• Early identification of harm and risk;
• Improved interface with Early Help Services.

Torbay MASH has been developed in line with and supported by Torbay Council, Torbay’s Safeguarding Children Board, Devon and Cornwall Police, NHS England, Torbay Safeguarding Adults Board, Torbay Probation.

Torbay’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) will provide information sharing across all organisations involved in safeguarding – encompassing statutory, non-statutory and the third sector. Essentially the hub will analyse information that is already known within separate organisations in a coherent format to inform all safeguarding decisions. All partners will work together to provide the highest level of knowledge and analysis to make sure that all safeguarding activity and intervention is timely, proportionate and necessary.

What is a MASH?

MASH focuses on three main functions:

• Victim identification and early intervention – working with Early Help  to support children and young people whose needs do not meet the threshold for Specialist Children’s’ Social Care Services;
• Harm identification and reduction – this will be done by identifying children and young people experiencing the highest level of harm and making sure partners work together to support them with harm reduction strategies and services;
• Co-ordinating partner agencies working with Adults at Risk and vulnerable children.

Who is in the MASH?

The MASH is a team of people who continue to be employed by their individual agencies but who are co-located in one office.

Torbay MASH is co-located on the 2nd floor of Tor Hill House, Torquay. Torbay MASH currently consists of:

  • Children’s Social Care;
  • The Police Central Safeguarding Team (CST);
  • Safeguarding Health team;
  • Education Social Workers;
  • Adult Social Care;
  • Probation (virtual link)

Making a MASH contact/referral

Referrals must be made to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in one of the following ways:

  • In writing, using the Safeguarding Hub Enquiry Form; this can be emailed to Torbay.safeguardinghub@torbay.gov.uk;
  • By telephone, to Children’s Social Care on 01803 208100;
  • In an emergency outside office hours, by contacting the Emergency Duty Team or the Police;
  • If the child is known to have an allocated social worker, referrals should be made directly to the allocated worker or, in her/his absence, the manager or a duty officer in that team.

For further information please read the Torbay MASH Operational Procedures.

Torbay Safeguarding Hub Referral Form can be found here.

For information in respect of the Torbay Early Help Service, please follow this link.