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Lambeth Borough Council’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) went live in September 2012 under the leadership of MASH Manager, Claudious Madembo, and is predominantly co-located at International House, Brixton. The main agencies currently involved are the Borough’s Children’s Social Care, Metropolitan Police, Health Visitors, Probation, Youth Offending Team, Early Years and Multi Agency Team (MAT), along with South London and Maudsley Adult substance misuse and mental health services. Information is shared using Lambeth Council’s unique software Sharepoint and according to Mr Madembo, IT was a key issue when setting up MASH,“Overall, everyone welcomed the concept of a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, but the operational side of its set up was challenging; finding appropriate accommodation for the team members, selecting the team members themselves, and the biggest hurdle of information governance. Each agency member already had their own protocol for sharing information; we needed an Information Sharing Agreement that fitted these, and that staff could have confidence in.”

The success of Lambeth’s MASH is recognised by the local authority and strongly supported by its team members. The operational processes for referrals are specific and time bound, ensuring prompt action from the Referral and Assessment Support Officer (RASO) to initiate information gathering and sharing, which leads to rapid, informed decision making by the Duty Manager. 

One of the contributory factors of Lambeth’s MASH’s success is the enthusiastic engagement of the participating agencies, and extending the current team would enhance its execution; Mr Madembo explained, “Whilst we are able to gather information from other agencies, it would be beneficial to have more agencies on board, at ground level. Education, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Housing all have a valid and valued contribution to make to MASH, but staffing levels, finance and departmental pressures of work all have an impact on the operational demands of agencies which, unfortunately, make this more difficult, at the present time.”

Lambeth has the highest referral rates of vulnerable children in London, and by professionals from different agencies communicating within MASH, decisions can be made to reduce the likelihood of serious cases of abuse. Referrals can be investigated, and decisions made sooner resulting in better outcomes for vulnerable children.   


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