Practitioner perspectives of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH)

Shorrock, Sarah, Mcmanus, Michelle and Kirby, Stuart (2019) Practitioner perspectives of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH). The Journal of Adult Protection . ISSN 1466-8203

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Purpose – The challenges of transferring the theoretical requirements of an effective multi-agency partnership into everyday practices are often overlooked, particularly within safeguarding practices. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore practitioner perspectives of working within a multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) and those factors that encourage or hinder a multi-agency approach to safeguarding vulnerable individuals.
Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interviews with 23 practitioners from one MASH location in the North of England were conducted, with a thematic analysis being used to analyse findings.
Findings – The interviews with practitioners illustrated the complexity of establishing a multi-agency approach to safeguarding. It was inferred that whilst information sharing and trust between agencies had improved, the absence of a common governance structure, unified management system, formalisation of practices and procedures and shared pool of resources limited the degree to which MASH could be considered a multi-agency approach to safeguarding.
Practical implications – Establishing a multi-agency approach to safeguarding is complex and does not occur automatically. Rather, the transition to collaborative practices needs to be planned, with agreed practices and processes implemented from the beginning and reviewed regularly.
Originality/value – Few studies have investigated the implementation of MASH into safeguarding practices, with this paper providing a unique insight into practitioner opinions regarding the transition to multi-agency practices. Whilst there is a focus on MASH, the challenges to arise from the research may be reflective of other multi-agency partnerships, providing a foundation for best practice to emerge

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