Making a MASH enquiry (for professionals)
An enquiry should be made to the MASH when you have safeguarding concerns that may require children’s social care involvement.
Before making an enquiry
Before making a MASH enquiry you need to consider if the child or young person’s needs can be met by services from within your own agency, or by other professionals already involved with the family. You can contact the Early Response Service for support and guidance about the Devon Assessment Framework.
We know that it is sometimes difficult to decide the appropriate point of intervention. To help you to determine levels of need when making your own assessment we have developed some multi-agency threshold descriptors.
If you are a professional, before making the enquiry you should always inform the parent of your concerns and that you will be making a MASH enquiry and whenever possible seek their consent, except where a child is considered to be at risk of harm and you believe that seeking parental consent may increase this risk.
If you are unsure about thresholds or seeking consent please seek advice from your line manager.
When to make an enquiry
Enquiries should be made when your assessment (including DAF) has identified needs which can only be met through specialist services at Level 3 – acute. In some cases, multiple identified needs under Level 2 – complex (using the threshold matrices) will need specialist services.
You can talk about this with social care practice managers based in the MASH and any decision reached should be clearly recorded by the agencies involved.
How to make an enquiry
Complete the multi-agency enquiry form in as much detail as possible. The information you provide will support threshold decisions and contribute to a single assessment or DAF if this has not been done already.
If you believe that urgent action is needed because, for example, a child is in immediate danger or needs accommodation, phone the MASH on 0345 155 1071 and give as much information as you can. Your information will be passed immediately to a manager who will decide the action needed and will normally respond to you within one hour. You must follow up your telephone call by sending a completed referral from to the MASH within 48 hours. Email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you have raised an enquiry about a child
If you have raised an enquiry with MASH you should always give the parents or carers of the child a copy of the factsheet. Parents should always be given this information when an enquiry has been made unless it’s a serious child protection concern and doing so would put the child at risk.