Pan London lead on Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs Dick Henson has discussed the importance of joined-up working across agencies at the MASH: Intelligence-Led Safeguarding Conference 2014, which took place earlier this week in the City of London.
Attracting a wide range of public sector delegates, the event witnessed ACPO child sexual exploitation lead Ian Critchley discussing the impact of coordinated working, both nationally and within his own force of Lancashire. Detective Sergeant Sean Byron of the Home Office PND project meanwhile talked about the ways in which local partners can use the Police National Database to inform their efforts to protect vulnerable people.
Speaking of Lancashire’s use of MASH – a dynamic safeguarding and information-sharing model, bringing together both statutory and non-statutory caring agencies - Detective Superintendent Critchley said: “There’s no stereotype when it comes to who might be at risk from child sexual exploitation – it’s a matter of picking up on the warning signs, which means seeing the whole picture. The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub in Lancashire allows us to do this. The key is co-located multi-agency teams which allow the dynamic sharing of information.”
Event facilitator and original developer of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub model Nigel Boulton said: “The PND is an amazingly useful tool, for instance in keeping track of transient families or children that are being brought into the country. It’s something that can really help local authority decision-makers make sure that all vulnerable people remain ‘above the radar’. ”
In the afternoon session DS Henson spoke of the genesis of the various safeguarding models that are now employed across the capital, he said: “We’ve had 70–or-more years of lessons learned, many of which have centred around what happens when agencies fail to join up properly. Indeed, the Child Risk Assessment Model which we use in London alongside the MASH, was developed directly after the death of Baby P – a tragedy that occurred following a plethora of missed warning signs and opportunities to intervene.”
Discussing the increased intelligence possible through better information-sharing at an early stage, he said: “The emphasis now has to be on developing a holistic understanding, and then acting on the information that we share. You can’t answer the final question until all the segments are in place - which is one of the reasons we’ve rolled multi agency safeguarding hubs out across every London borough."
Other speakers at the conference included Senior Healthcare Researcher at the Institute of Psychology Dr Gail Gilchrist, Rory Patterson, Director of Children’s Social Care in the London Borough of Southwark, and Hillingdon MASH project manager Priscilla Kurewa. The keynote address was delivered by NSPCC Head of Strategy (disabled children, sexual abuse) Jon Brown.
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