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Referrals to MASH: Information for professionals

We have developed a single front door into early help and children's social care.

If a child is at immediate risk of harm please use the emergency number 999 or contact your local police on 101.

In order to ensure that families receive the right help at the right time, a request for help and support or protection should be completed when:

  • As a professional, if you believe a child and their family may need some additional support, please discuss this with them first. You should agree who is best placed to provide that support. It is good practice to try to get a full picture of what is going on with a family and an early help assessment is the tool to help with this. Sometimes it may be that a family needs some support more quickly and there are a number of support services available within early help that can assist before, during and after an early help assessment has been completed. The help and support part of the request form can be used for this.
  • A child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm or have any other child protection concerns. In this case please contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team to discuss your concerns, and follow up in writing on the protection part of the single multi agency request form.

Waltham Forest early help and threshold criteria for intervention is the multi-agency threshold tool to use as a point of reference when assessing level of support needed or risks present. Professionals should refer to the threshold document before making a referral to the Mash team.

Referral documents

Contact

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Tel: 020 8496 2310 (Mon-Thurs 9am-5.15pm, Fri 9am-5pm), (out of hours 020 8496 3000)
Email: MASHrequests@walthamforest.gov.uk
Fax: 020 8496 2313

Feedback

The MASH administrator will inform the professional of the outcome of their referral.

Parental consent

The MASH is a way of working that improves arrangements for safeguarding children and young people in Waltham Forest.

The MASH is a consent based model. This means that when dealing with suspected child neglect, abuse or a need for support, professionals will endeavour to work in partnership with parents. That means:

  • being open and honest with parents about the concerns the professional has about a child or children
  • explaining to parents prior to making a referral how the MASH team will share information about the child and family to get the best possible picture about the child’s circumstances
  • if the referring professional is able to justify that seeking a consent for MASH information sharing would place a child at further risk of harm or cause unnecessary delay, the professional may choose deviate from the normal approach of seeking consent

Dispute resolution

In the event of any disagreements arising relating to MASH operations or decision making, this will be dealt with in the first instance at the MASH level through discussion with the MASH manager.

Where a resolution cannot be found at this level within a timescale that is in the best interests of the child or children, the matter should be raised in writing with the head of safeguarding and family support service.

The head of service will make a judgement on whether to:

  • try and resolve the dispute on the MASH level
  • raise the issue with senior staff within the MASH partner agencies
  • bring the issue to the attention of the MASH Steering Group

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