Strengthened MASH Model
NCT have introduced a Strengthened MASH Model, the below details what this is and what this means for you in practice when submitting a referral.
Why a Stregthened Model?
- Contacts and referrals have continued to increase over the last 3 years to almost 1000 more in 2021/22 than annual figures in 2019/20. Approximately 24% – 26% outcome as Early Help whilst those accepted for a service overall has continued to reduce.
- To ensure children and young people receive the right service at the right time.
- Because the No Further Action rate remains high and this is indicative of referrals being received into MASH where threshold for safeguarding concerns is not met.
- If you believe a child and their family need some additional support you should discuss this with the family first, get their consent 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 request help and support from an Early Help Coordinator but discuss this with the family first and get their consent.
- If you are a professional working with a child and you have safeguarding concerns, you can make a MASH referral. You will need to inform the family you are making a referral and seek their consent to share information (unless doing so would place the child/ren at further risk of harm). If you are unable to gain consent, either because you have not been able to make contact with parents or because consent has been refused by parents, you will apply professional judgement as to whether a MASH referral is proportionate and necessary and will provide clear rationale for this within the referral.
- If you are a professional working with the child and you are making a MASH referral in the absence of the family having been informed and in the absence of consent to share information, MASH will not accept your referral unless there is clear evidence of safeguarding concerns in respect of the child/ren.
How will this work in practice
In order to ensure MASH delivers a robust and timely service there will be a requirement for:
- All professionals to make contacts in writing unless there is evidence that a child is suffering significant harm or likely to do so. This will streamline contacts and ensure appropriate professionals seek necessary consent where appropriate and will ensure information received is sufficient and accurate to inform timely decision making.
- Community referrals will be supported through written contacts and/or calls e.g. from parents/neighbours/anonymous callers etc
- A refreshed Early Help and MASH triage process will be introduced to enable the timely screening of cases as they present at MASH.
- When the threshold for social care intervention is not met evidenced via phone call or online contact via Masho’s but it is identified that the family have additional needs that will benefit from support, cases will be immediately transferred to the Partnership Service. They will provide information, advice and guidance to parents or professionals who may need Early Help advice or support.
- Once consent is gained the Partnership Service will explore what support is needed and advise as necessary.
- Safeguards will be put in place to ensure arrangements for daily discussions between the Team Managers in MASH and the Partnership Support Service re: contacts.
- Masho’s will be supported via duty Decision Makers (SSW’s) to embed the new approach.
It is acknowledged that the Strengthened MASH model will take time to embed and staff and partners will need additional training and support. Please look out for this and attend any additioanl training offered through either the Partnership or Chldrens Trust.
Last updated: 15 December 2021