The safeguarding and protection of the most vulnerable people in Cardiff has been given a significant boost with the launch of the Cardiff Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
The integrated service became operational in September and has been modelled on the already successful pilots from across the UK.
Forty five members of staff made up of police officers, social workers, education welfare officers, nurses, and probation officers, from organisations such as South Wales Police, City of Cardiff Council, Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board, National Probation Service and Wales Community Rehabilitation Company. These services are now working shoulder to shoulder in an open plan office at Cardiff Bay Police Station.
Deputy Leader for the City of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Families, Cllr Sue Lent said: “The effective safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the community relies on many agencies working together.
“The opening of Cardiff’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub is incredibly significant. It enhances the safeguarding capabilities in the capital city, reinforcing and strengthening our abilities to protect Cardiff’s most vulnerable, so that they can lead safer lives. That is a priority for all our organisations.”
Staff within the MASH are the first point of contact for their front-line colleagues and they take thousands of safeguarding referrals from any professional that has a safeguarding concern.
The co-location of staff ensures that agencies work together as a team to share information and improve assessment, effectively manage risks, and make more timely decisions to safeguard children, adults and domestic abuse victims.
South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies, said: “The effective safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the community relies on many agencies working together, and history has highlighted the need to through high profile serious case reviews.
“This really is a game changer for safeguarding capabilities in the capital city which we are confident will reinforce and strengthen our abilities to safeguard and protect the most vulnerable people in our community so that they can lead safer lives – that is a priority for everybody.”
Working in a more integrated environment will help safeguarding in a number of ways. Information sharing will be improved, meaning collective, often critical intervention decisions can be made with a more timely response.
For concerns about individuals and families that need intervention, agencies in the MASH and outside, are now able to collate information from their respective sources and build up a richer picture of the circumstances of the case and the associated risks to the child, adult or high risk domestic abuse concern. As a result more informed decisions are made dynamically about what action to take, and support targets the most urgent cases.
Belinda Davies, added: “The MASH has been operational since September and we have already seen many benefits to safeguarding. A more streamlined safeguarding ‘front door’ takes the complexity out of making referrals, which has led to more being made which can only be good thing. This physical co-location and integration of different staff and the deployment of a shared information platform enables the efficient gathering and sharing of information between partners. This has broken down the age-old barriers to a seamless safeguarding service, and the most vulnerable people in Cardiff will benefit from that.”
Planning for the MASH in Cardiff began in July 2015 with the co-location of staff in July 2016. The service went ‘Live’ for a soft launch in September when practices and procedures have become embedded.