New service to assess safeguarding referrals

A new service that will assess referrals for children at risk of neglect and abuse has opened in Liverpool.

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) sees children’s social workers and staff from Merseyside Police, NHS Liverpool/Liverpool CCG, the National Probation Service, Merseyside Community Rehabilitation, Liverpool Housing Providers (housing associations) and housing all co-located and working together.

The purpose of the MASH is to gather intelligence and share information across different organisations to enable a more accurate assessment of risk and need to inform the most appropriate response.

It aims to provide:

• Earlier identification and understanding of risks to children and their families
• Better victim identification and intervention
• Better harm identification and reduction concerning individuals, families and communities
• Earlier support for individuals and their families, reducing demand for specialist care
• Better responses to risk with coordinated support, planning and clear accountability

The MASH is focused on cases which are not clear cut and where further information via different agencies will affirm what level of assistance is needed.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson – who opened the new facility at Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street – said: “As a social worker I know the importance of making sure we have the best possible arrangements in place to support vulnerable people.

“This is a welcome addition to the city’s existing safeguarding arrangements and provides a real opportunity to give vulnerable children, young people and their families the support they need when they most need it.

“It builds on our long history of partnership working and the support of key partners such as police, health, probation and housing.”

The aim is for the service to expand to deal with cases involving vulnerable adults and establishing links with wider safeguarding arrangements including domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and violent extremism.

Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner Cllr Ann O’Byrne, said: “I was delighted to attend the opening of Liverpool’s new MASH.

“The MASH is an essential element of our new Victim Care Merseyside service, which aims to ensure people with the greatest need are directed to the best placed team to help them.

“In the case of our vulnerable young people, the MASH will be that team. By bringing all the agencies that are involved in safeguarding our children and young people under one roof we can ensure we are working as effectively and efficiently as possible to protect them and delivering the highest standard of care and support.”