First contact assessment through MASH
- I make sure that all referrals to the MASH Team are reviewed within one hour of being received and oversight is added to identify the level of need and level of screening required as follows:
- Level 2 screening - likely advice and signposting is required or EHAT to be initiated
- Level 3 screening- screening required within 1 working day in order to identify if a statutory child and family assessment is required
- I make sure that if concerns are identified at level 4 and a strategy discussion/meeting is required, the referral is progressed to the duty assessment team within 4 hours of the referral been received
- I ensure that referrals which need to be progressed for an assessment are sent to the relevant team duty inbox within 24 hours
- I make sure that whenever possible, referrers have gained the consent of parents, carers and young people before making the referral
- I make sure that service request forms are returned to referrers for further completion if they have not been completed in full, and if the level of concerns has not been made clear
- I make sure that re-referrals within 12 weeks of the case closure progress to the previous Social Worker/ Assessment Team as opposed to the Duty Assessment Team
- I make sure when recording my decision about next step, I reference clearly the thresholds of needs as the evidence base for my decision making
- I record information accurately, so it allows good effective decision making about what support, advice or interventions will help a family
- I ensure I notify the referrer of the outcome of the referral within 5 days of the referral been received
Multi-agency decisions in respect of referrals support the principles of Professor Munroe’s findings. Nationally Serious Case Reviews, have a common theme in respect of failings to sharing information between partners in order to take decisive actions to protect children. The gathering of information at the point of referral supports all professionals to ensure a timely and appropriate response for children which will contribute to improved outcomes.
Good services understand that professionals sitting in the same room does not mean they are effectively working together. In St Helens we must ensure we build and maintain relationships with partners to ensure open communication and sharing of relevant information in order to inform our decisions around support and level of need.