New child protection service launches in Tower Hamlets

TowerThe Tower Hamlets Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was formally launched on Monday (February 3) at the Town Hall.
This significant development will bring local agencies involved in child protection together into a single team operating under one roof, so they can share intelligence and work in partnership to inform better decision making on responding to risk and the needs of vulnerable children and families.
It co-locates the Metropolitan Police with Tower Hamlets Council’s social workers, Youth Offending Team and Family Intervention Project as well as officers from health, education and housing along with staff from probation, mental health services and the Bart’s NHS Trust.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The safety of children is one of our top priorities.
“Creating this new and improved hub is a great stride forward in making sure all the relevant public agencies are working together as closely as possible for the good of our community.”
The key objectives of MASH are to:
Identify risks to children and adults at the earliest possibility
Ensure better information sharing
Make decisions more quickly and efficiently
Identify and reduce harm, crime and anti-social behaviour
The MASH concept was developed in Devon and is considered as a model of good practice. It is a priority for the Metropolitan Police to roll out this initiative across London.
Tower Hamlets has already had in place a multi-agency group handling initial child protection and safeguarding enquiries for children and families – the Integrated Pathways and Support Team (IPST), which has also been cited as a model of good practice and was established in 2009.
The Tower Hamlets MASH will build on the success and the foundations of the IPST and take the service forward to the next level.
The service has been strengthened with the co-location of the police, with probation joining the team and with other partners to follow. This allows for more effective multi-disciplinary working leading to better outcomes for children and families in Tower Hamlets.
The multi-agency team will be based at the Town Hall.
Cllr Oliur Rahman, Tower Hamlets Council’s cabinet member for children, schools and families, said: “The agencies in Tower Hamlets have a strong record in child protection and this MASH model will make it even stronger.
“This new model will be good for the families we work with and, as a result, good for the wider community.”
Police borough commander Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer said: “MASH allows the police to respond quicker, with better information to concerns about young people who are at risk, which is one of the most important things the police service does.
“We have got a really good tradition of partnership working already and this will allow us to go from strength to strength.”
Jane Milligan, chief officer of the NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The CCG recognises the importance of information sharing to support the identification of and response to children in Tower Hamlets who are vulnerable.
“Ensuring health teams are a key partner within the MASH arrangement is vital to its success as is ensuring health information can be shared in a timely way. Through its commissioning the CCG will ensure this health representation within the MASH remains a priority.”

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