Working together to safeguard the vulnerable
February 21st, 2018
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite was joined by the Leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich, and the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Steve Count, to review the services provided by the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, known as the MASH.
The MASH offers a single point of contact to address safeguarding concerns for vulnerable individuals and provides a number of different services to children, families and adults across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The hub brings together experts from a number of services providing a secure and confidential environment for professionals to share information, enabling them to identify repeat referrals. Taken in isolation, these referrals may not appear concerning to an individual organisation. However, by working together agencies are able to share information, identify those at the highest risk and allow them to take collective action.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council work together in shared offices. The unit contains specialist advisors to support victims, or potential victims, of crime, abuse or neglect.
Domestic abuse is a crime that has seen a significant increase over the last few years and can be both physical and mental in nature. Based at the MASH, Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) provide support to high risk victims of domestic abuse, helping them deal with the consequences of abuse and develop safety plans for the future.
In 2016 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were successful in winning a homelessness Trailblaizer bid to tackle homelessness across the county. Operating from the hub this comprises four Homeless Prevention Liaison Officers to act as a liaison point between Housing Advice Teams and other early help/support services and to develop training and information for partner agencies and link with Criminal Justice Services.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service runs a scheme where they work collaboratively with partners, families and young people who have an unhealthy interest in fire to reduce their fire risk. The fire service also has a home visit safety scheme which helps to identify vulnerable individuals or families and the MASH environment allows staff who raise concerns during these visits to be directed to the most appropriate agency for further support, ultimately benefitting those identified in an efficient and timely manner.
Commissioner Ablewhite and Councillors Holdich and Count, whose organisations provide funding to the shared service, met and chatted with various teams to understanding the challenges they face and the way they help people.
Commenting on the visit, Jason Ablewhite said: “Meeting the teams working at the Safeguarding Hub, John, Steve and I were struck by two contrasting emotions. Firstly, we were shocked by the appalling things some people have to deal with and the impact it has on their lives. They are often the most vulnerable members of society and frequently it is children that suffer. At the same time we were I humbled by the incredible job that the support workers do to help people deal with the dreadful experiences they are facing. The work of the hub is a fantastic example of how different agencies working together from a central location can help safeguard those most at risk of abuse.