Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Safeguarding Hampshire's vulnerable children and adults

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Vulnerable children, young people and adults in Hampshire are set to receive faster, more co-ordinated and consistent responses to safeguarding concerns raised by professionals and the public through a new Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

The MASH comes into operation on Friday 31 January and is part of the County Council's additional investment of £2.5 million to further enhance its frontline social care services. It brings together professionals from a range of agencies, including Hampshire Constabulary and the NHS, with close links to probation and housing organisations in Hampshire, and Hampshire Fire and Rescue, amongst others, into an integrated multi-agency team who will assess and make decisions on safeguarding concerns depending on statutory need, child protection or early help.

The dedicated multi-agency team will protect the most vulnerable children and adults from harm, neglect and abuse by meeting goals specifically related to safeguarding, including:

  • a faster, more co-ordinated and consistent response to safeguarding concerns raised about vulnerable children and adults
  • an improved 'journey' for the child or adult with a greater emphasis on early intervention and better informed services provided at the right time
  • a more straightforward and responsive process for the professional or member of the public raising a concern, with clear guidance and support
  • closer partnership working, clear accountability and improved multi-agency communications
  • a reduction in the number of inappropriate referrals and re-referrals.

The MASH will also be in operation for the Isle of Wight Council as part of Hampshire County Council's strategic partnership to deliver Children's Services on the Island.

Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children's Services, said: "The creation of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub is part of the County Council's additional investment of £2.5 million to further enhance our already robust 'front door' for children's social care, increasing our capacity and capability to respond quickly and consistently to safeguarding concerns.

"Working closely with partners in Police and Health, amongst others, will mean that we can work together effectively and easily share multi-agency information. I would like to thank all of those that have been involved in developing the MASH which will improve our ability to provide quality social care services, with greater emphasis on early help, better informed services and intervention at the right time."

Assistant Chief Constable Laura Nicholson said: "Every officer and member of staff within Hampshire Constabulary is dedicated day in, day out to reducing harm to our communities and there is already some excellent work on-going which demonstrates the force's commitment to protecting the most vulnerable from serious crime.

"It is clear, however, that all agencies with a responsibility for safeguarding the vulnerable must work more closely and more effectively in sharing information and identifying and responding to risk as soon as possible.

"I therefore welcome the introduction of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and would like to thank those who have helped to deliver this innovative project.

"Bringing together the police and professionals from our partners in this way will help deliver the right resources to the right people at the right time and so improve the service we provide to all our communities."

In addition, and as part of the County Council's £2.5m investment into social care services, a further 35 new frontline child protection social workers and support staff will be recruited from January 2014. This will help ensure the most vulnerable children are kept safe and are well supported, amid increasing numbers of children requiring protection and coming into the Council's care, care leavers needing support, and the rising costs of looking after children with complex disabilities.

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