The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in Merton. It brings together expert professionals, called “navigators”, from services that have contact with children, young people and families, and makes the best possible use of their combined knowledge to keep children safe from harm.
Make a referral
Make a referral to the MASH
Leaflet: MASH Guide for Professionals
MASH Guide for Professionals
How the MASH process works
When the MASH receives a contact, the MASH screening officers first check if the child already has a social worker.
If there is an allocated social worker, they are considered to be the best person to support the child, so the case is referred directly to them.
If there is no social worker, then the MASH screening officers assess the level of risk. The MASH manager confirms the risk level with a BRAG rating (definitions below).
If the rating is Blue then the contact is directed to a Universal service, or closed with no further action.
If it is Amber or Green, the contact is passed to the MASH navigators.
If it is Red, the contact is passed to both the MASH navigators and the First Response team at the same time, so they can start an assessment immediately.
Next, the navigators research and share information about the child. The MASH manager may change the BRAG rating as new information comes to light.
The MASH manager uses the collected information to decide the best response to meet the child's needs. The manager may:
- refer the case to the First Response team (or leave it with them, if they've already started their assessment);
- refer the case to another social work team, a multi-disciplinary team, or a Universal service; or
- close the case with no further action.
The service that receives the case will receive a summary of any appropriate information gathered by the MASH.
MASH BRAG rating definitions
- Red: There is a potential child protection issue (e.g. serious injury to the child).
Requires immediate action, and information from MASH navigators is expected within 2 hours.
- Amber: There are significant concerns but immediate action is not required (e.g. ongoing domestic violence issues in the household).
Requires information from MASH navigators within 6 hours.
- Green: There are concerns regarding a child's wellbeing but these do not meet statutory requirements (e.g. poor school attendance).
Requires information from selected MASH navigators within 24 hours.
- Blue: There is no safeguarding concern and the issue can be dealt with by a Universal service.
No MASH response required. Advice or referral to a Universal service may be provided.
Who is in the MASH
The MASH comprises a Team Manager, Assistant Team Manager, Senior Social Worker, Social Workers, First Contact Officers, Business Support Officer, and a number of staff, known as Navigators, from different core teams and agencies. The Navigators are employed and supervised by their own agencies, with the MASH Team Manager and Assistant Team Manager, coordinating their contributions to MASH and overseeing their day to day activity within the MASH.
The Home Office protocol is clear that accountability for a MASH ultimately lies with Children's Services (DCS) in the Local Authority. The MASH Team Manager and Assistant Team Manager have the final say in all safeguarding decisions.
The core partners represent the following agencies or bodies:
- Merton Children's Services Children's Social Care &Youth Inclusion Service
- London Metropolitan Police
- NHS Partner Agencies
- London Probation Trust
- Children's Social Care
- Youth Justice
- Early Help
- Transforming Families including their Gangs Worker
- Domestic violence services including IDVA's
- Victim Support
- MOPAC Young Women's Advisor
- Catch 22 Drug Services
All core partner agencies have signed an Information Sharing Agreement.
What we do
- Is a 'front door' to manage all safeguarding referrals.
- Researches information held on professional databases.
- Provides a secure and confidential environment for professionals to share information.
- Identifies low-level repeat referrals which taken in isolation may not appear concerning.
- Prioritises referrals using a BRAG (Blue/Red/Amber/Green) rating (for more information see the MASH Process webpage)
- Refers cases to other agencies.
- Activates 'first response' social work services to provide immediate protection for a child.
The core MASH team and the First Response team are a part of Children's Social Care. The MASH team manager, who has the final say in all safeguarding decisions, reports to the MASH & Child Protection Service Manager in Children's Social Care.
A multi-agency Strategic Board meets quarterly to oversee the performance of the MASH.
A governance agreement between the MASH partners is available below.
MASH Governance Agreement
Data sharing and fair processing
Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on key people and bodies to cooperate to improve the wellbeing of children and young people. This includes the proportionate sharing of information, where appropriate, to make the best decisions for children and young people at risk.
All partners have signed up to an Information Sharing Agreement that specifies what data can be shared within the MASH, and what happens to that data once the MASH manager makes a decision about the case. The Information Sharing Agreement is published below.
Each agency will assess whether it is appropriate for their information to be shared in line with the Information Sharing Agreement on a case-by-case basis.
The data is held securely and confidentially. The MASH has physical, electronic and managerial safeguards to ensure that sensitive information is only accessed by those who 'need to know' about it.
Only appropriate and relevant parts of the information disclosed during the MASH process will be passed to the non-MASH professionals receiving the case.
In some cases, a MASH navigator may hold confidential information which the MASH manager needs to know to make a decision, but which is too sensitive to be shared elsewhere (for example, when an ongoing police investigation is taking place). In these cases the MASH system will indicate that there is confidential information held, but will not reveal the information itself.
MASH Information Sharing Agreement
Fair Processing Notice
We may share information provided to the MASH team with the organisations signed up to the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for the purpose of protecting the wellbeing and welfare of children. The organisations which have signed up to MASH are: Merton Council, the Metropolitan Police, NHS South West London, Sutton & Merton Community Services, and the London Probation Trust.
If you need any further information please contact us using the details below.
12th Floor, Merton Civic Centre
London Road, Morden
020 8545 4226 or
020 8545 4227 or
020 8770 5000 (out of hours)
020 8545 4204 (fax)