Issue - meetings

Progress of Integrated Front Door (MASH)

Meeting: 16/03/2022 - Children & Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 Progress of Integrated Front Door (MASH) pdf icon PDF 313 KB

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George Shipman (Service Manager, Initial Response, MASH) introduced this item.


Warwickshire’s Safeguarding Partnership established the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in 2016. These were structures designed to facilitate information-sharing and decision-making on a multi-agency basis through co-locating staff from the local authority, health agencies, the police, and other partners.


Since that time, there had been changes to legislation, guidance and organisational constructs across the partner agencies. In addition, Warwickshire Children and Families Service (WCFS) was part way through an Ofsted Inspection abandoned due to the Covid pandemic. At the time Ofsted had raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of the MASH. It was agreed to undertake a joint review of the MASH in October 2020, in consultation with a number of teams and agencies. The purpose of the review was to look at the current structure, operating model and delivery of services to children and families to establish if they were safe, efficient, robust and whether they offered best value in terms of resource allocation.


In December 2020 a new permanent Service Manager overseeing the MASH, Initial Response Team, Emergency Duty Team and Family Information Service commenced employment and following this, a new Operations Manager was appointed in February 2021.


The outcome of the review was the development of an Integrated Front Door, which was agreed by partners and its development a major priority within the Service, with the new model officially launching in September 2021. The new service has changed the dynamic around which services can be put in place and how parents/families can be involved.


A key area of note has been the introduction of a triage system; where referrals are screened and initial decisions about referral paths are made.  This new initial conversation has led to a significant improvement in the service offered.  The Committee noted that a number of additional partners are now in place at the triage stage which has led to another significant improvement.


Councillor Jerry Roodhouse asked if the data collected at the point of triage contact was shared; and if trends are looked at and the information shared with partners.  George Shipman confirmed that the sources of referrals (GP, schools, ambulance service) has allowed officers to create the right path for each case; for example, a new domestic abuse pathway has been introduced and earlier support identified. 


Nigel Minns, Strategic Director - People Directorate, confirmed that there is a comprehension quality assurance programme in place and that the data is reviewed regulatory to identify patterns/changes and the causes.  A routine case audit process is completed every 4-6 weeks by the manager to identify trends in individual and overall cases.  Briefing notes are then shared with all partners.


The Ofsted Report published in February 2022 highlighted the progress made in the Front Door, noting this was an area of focus for Senior Managers, the benefits of the new structure, quality of management oversight and strong partnership relationships as some of it strengths.  Ofsted did highlight a couple of examples where it felt a strategy discussion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5