Three steps to safeguard children
HSCB is supporting you, practitioners working with children day-in and day-out, to make the right decisions around the best safeguarding actions to take on their behalf. We promote the following three steps to ensure you can have confidence in your decisions which are based in our best practice guidance. To learn more about specific types of abuse or practitioners statutory duties around safeguarding see our more information section below.
1. Take action in line with the Levels of Need
If you are concerned about a child and feel they need further safeguarding support, check the Herefordshire Levels of Need Threshold Guidance. This document provides clearly defined descriptors of need which are intended to support practitioners in identifying need and appropriate intervention. Take action in line with the Levels of Need.
If it is necessary to make an immediate referral in line with level 4 of the Levels of Need you should call them (see our Worried about a Child page). You will also need to go to www.westmidlands.procedures.org.uk/ to download:
- HSCB's Multi-Agency Referral Form for MASH referrals.
- Standards and guidance for multi agency referrals to children's social care.
2. Get support from the MASH
Having read the Levels of Need, if you are still not sure what action is appropriate, please contact our team of safeguarding experts at the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub brings together safeguarding professionals from children's social care, police, probation, health, education and Women's Aid in one office so that they can share information and work together on all safeguarding concerns.
When someone refers a case to children's social care, the MASH staff gather information from every agency and use this to inform children's social care's decision about the most appropriate intervention to respond to the child's identified needs. The MASH team can immediately trigger a response when required which means they are able to respond to a child's needs quickly and effectively.
To speak to someone in the MASH about appropriate actions to take in a case, you can call them on 01432 260800.
More information about the MASH, including a short storyboard example of how the MASH works to safeguard families and children, is available at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/MASH.
If you would like one (or more) of HSCB's MASH reference cards, like the one above, please get in touch with HSCB's Business Unit.
3. Resolution of Professional Disagreements
Occasionally situations arise when workers within one agency feel that the decision made by a worker from another agency on a child protection or child in need case is not a safe decision. The safety of individual children is the paramount consideration in any professional disagreement and any unresolved issues should be addressed with due consideration to the risks that might exist for the child.
All workers should feel able to challenge decision-making and to see this as their right and responsibility in order to promote the best multi-agency safeguarding practice. This procedures provides a means to raise concerns about decisions made by other professionals or agencies by:
a) avoiding professional disputes that put children at risk or obscure the focus on the child
b) resolving the difficulties within and between agencies quickly and openly
Effective working together depends on an open approach and honest relationships between agencies. Problem resolution is an integral part of professional co-operation and joint working to safeguard children.
This additional guidance has been produced to support 3.8 of the West Midlands Safeguarding Children Procedures for resolution of professional disagreements.
Additional information which will help you understand how to undertake your safeguarding responsibilities is available at:
- The NSPCC's Child Abuse and Neglect section of their website which includes pages on all types of abuse.
- Working Together to Safeguard Children which outlines how professionals in each organisation working with children and young people have a statutory role in safeguarding them.
- What to do if you are worried a child is being abused - advice for practitioners
- Safe network