What is the Multi Agency Screening Team (MAST)?
The concept of Multi-Agency Screening has been in existence for several years and aims to ensure consistent safeguarding services to children and young people. The importance of timely and targeted sharing of information in order to enhance the protection of children is widely recognised.
The function of the MAST is to create an environment where sensitive information can be shared securely by the three agencies with statutory responsibilities related to Early Help and Safeguarding; Social Care, the Police and Health partners to decide on how best to support and safeguard children.
NYC MAST consist of:
- Social Work Team Manager
- Social Work Practice Supervisor
- Early Help Casework Practitioner
- Social Worker
- Business support
- North Yorkshire Police; detective sergeants, detective constables, intelligence
management officer and administrator.
- Harrogate District Foundation Trust (HDFT) Specialist Nurse Child Protection.
NYC MAST are co-located in the same office, based at County Hall in Northallerton. MAST professionals access their own agency’s information about a child and family in order to support shared decision making to improve outcomes for children, where statutory intervention is required or where alternative services may be needed. These may include North Yorkshire Council’s Early Help Service, Healthy Child Programme, third sector support organisations. The Multi-Agency Screening Team helps deliver three key functions:
Information based risk assessment and decision making based on Signs of Safety: Identify through the best information available those children and young people who require support or a necessary and proportionate intervention.
Early identification and harm reduction: Identify vulnerabilities and future vulnerabilities in children and young people who are likely to experience harm and ensure partners work together to deliver harm reduction strategies and interventions
Co-ordination of all safeguarding partners: Ensure that the needs of vulnerable children and young people are identified and signposted to the relevant partner/s for the delivery and coordination of both statutory and non-statutory support and intervention
How do you make decision?
MAST use the ‘Strength in Relationship’ practice model which is underpinned by Systemic Working and Practice, using of Signs of Safety (SofS) to make decisions about contacts in a timely and consistent manner.
MAST share proportionate and necessary multi agency information across systems, using professional judgement, guided by the Continuum of Need and contact families and referrers when further information is needed to ensure right decision are made at the right time. MAST screen contacts to Children and Families service in a variety of ways; as an individual professional using one information system only, through one:one discussions between multi-agency partners utilising two information systems or the most complex of contacts are screened live in daily meetings where all multi agency partners are involved. Having a multi-agency approach strengthening information-sharing across agencies, informs our response to concerns raised about the welfare of children. Daily meetings increases the quality and appropriateness of referrals from partner agencies, leading to a more effective use of resources and the right outcomes for families first time round.
Outcomes of screening:
- Allocation to Safeguarding team for Child and Families Assessment
- Allocation to Disabled Children’s Team for Child and Families Assessment
- Allocation to Early Help for assessment.
- Allocation to Healthy Child Team.
- Provision of information and advice.
All contacts will be screened and a decision made within one working day of a contact being submitted to the Customer Resolution Centre. Referrers are notified of the outcome of contact either by the team where the support has been allocated to or by the MAST screener should the directions be made for information and advice.
What else do you do?
MAST review all domestic abuse incidents which have not resulted in a referral to children services via the usual route or not already open to safeguarding social work teams. These reviews are held between North Yorkshire Police and Children’s and Families Services to ensure appropriate information is shared and right levels of support are offered to families, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse.
MAST is involved in the MACE arrangements through reviewing all Child Exploitation assessments which have been completed by Children and Families Workers. These meetings involve the allocated Children and Families worker, North Yorkshire Police, HDFT and social worker manager and occur three times per week. These meetings ensure consistent recognition and responses to child exploitation across NYC. Information about contextual safeguarding concerns identified in these meetings are forwarded to MACE for locality discussions.
How do I make a referral?
Referrals can be made via the universal referral form or following an Early Help Assessment. Both can be located on North Yorkshire Safeguarding
Children Partnership website:
Urgent referrals can be made via telephone to the Customer Resolution Centre on 0300 131 2 131.
Please see one minute guide for further information “how to make a good referral”
Please see one minute guide for further information on MACE arrangements.