MASH stands for multi-agency safeguarding hub, which aspires to provide safety and security to the more vulnerable children and young people. They bring professional health care support, social services, police, local authorities to meet their objectives. Different agencies under MASH come together to design a collective approach and this collective approach is dispatched to all in a clear and concise manner so that every individual can resonate with the ultimate goal.
According to the London safeguarding children board, following agencies should be involved in MASH: Children’s social care, Health, Police, Education, Probation, Housing and Youth offending service.
Core features of multi-agency safeguarding hub:
1.Working together approach: It is an agreement between all the agencies involved that nothing can be achieved if only one agency or authority works towards their respective aims. They manifest this working together approach so that everyone learns to take responsibility on their parts to get the work done sincerely.
2.More accurate assessment of risks and needs: The working together approach has improved the ability to gather sources form wide areas. These sources have been clubbed together to give a better output. Since the data contains in-detail information, it becomes easier to paint a bigger picture of the case, the circumstances and the consequences.
3.Better management of cases: Multi-agency hubs are expected to keep a better track record of the cases and ensures that no case is missed or lost in the system. Multiple agencies going through the same data removes the chances of discrepancies.
4.Professional support: Professionals from diverse sectors have a better understanding of the situation and raises the standard of efficiency.
5.More confidence in the system: People generally tend to be a bit apprehensive towards authorities, but multiagency hubs have been able to build a strong foundation and confidence due to the team of professionals they hire.
6.Good leadership and clear governance: Responsibility for the actions is shared by the managers of all the different agencies, which creates a better understanding, induces work ethics and also lead to better team work.
7.Facilitates early intervention: Multiple teams working together can determine the risks involved considerably quicker and also brainstorm to resolve them.
Practitioners often struggle to develop trusting relationships in order to form the bigger picture of needs of vulnerable family but this can be overcome following proper procedures. The eventual aim of the MASH initiative is to develop a process that enables partners to effectively and securely share information to safeguard both children and young people. Safeguarding process in the multi-agency arena is a complex matter, and it is considered that unnecessary risks will be introduced if it is extended too quickly into adult safeguarding. However, once the merits of establishing MASH are proven, they can and should extend their services to adults as well.