Date of release: Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mash studyComplex child protection referrals in London are now taking nearly half the time to handle, according to a new report by the University of Greenwich

Researchers from the university’s Faculty of Education & Health were commissioned to evaluate the multi-agency safeguarding hub (Mash) approach, which has been running since 2011. They found it allowed high or complex needs referrals to be dealt with in just over 1.5 days in some areas, down from 2.5 days previously. Referrals initially assessed as low to vulnerable halved from more than 4.5 days to less than 2.5 days.

Mash involves specialist multi-agency teams – including police, children’s social care, education, probation and health – sharing information so they can identify any emerging problems early, potentially saving children’s lives. It was first introduced by Devon council and has since been adopted across much of the UK.

Cheryl Coppell, chair of London Safeguarding Children Board, says: “All the evidence in this report, the first of its kind, suggests that working in this way improves communication and breaks down professional boundaries, which can sometimes act as a barrier to information sharing.”

Story by Public Relations