A recent independent review of Knowsley’s adult and children’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) has noted significant strengths in work and practices within the borough.
The review, commissioned by Knowsley’s Safeguarding Adults’ Board and Children’s Safeguarding Partnership particularly noted clear evidence of good inter-agency working, strong leadership and timely delivery of services.
Carried out by experienced social worker and accredited LGA (Local Government Association) Associate, Dr Andy Gill, the review took place in early 2023 and took into consideration the findings from more than 120 surveys, six separate audits, focus groups and direct observations of practice.
As well as noting significant strengths, the review also highlighted areas where partners can improve their work and intervention. This included improving Quality Assurance, working towards a collaborative approach to audit and ensuring gaps in inter-agency capacity are addressed – something that all partners were already aware of and working on.
Cllr Del Arnall, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said:
“Taking part in reviews like this are really important. It prepares us well for statutory inspections in children and adult services and also provides an invaluable opportunity to critically reflect on the work of the council, and its partners, in safeguarding some of the most vulnerable people within our society. This is crucial and at times life-saving work so ensuring we are doing the best we possibly can and opening ourselves up to independent external oversight is essential and something we place a great emphasis on.
The findings of this review not only provide us with some assurance that our work and practice is strong, but encouragingly it also backs up our own assessments of areas where we still want to improve and strengthen our services.”
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services added:
“Importantly there is clear evidence that current MASH arrangements are making a difference in directly contributing to keeping vulnerable children and adults safe.
“We thank Dr Gill for his time in conducting this review and we will now use these findings to shape our future work and services.”
The MASH arrangements in Knowsley enable all those with a responsibility for the safety of vulnerable people to work together, share information and co-ordinate activities. The MASH includes representatives from Knowsley Council, Merseyside Police and health agencies within the borough.
The review carried out focussed on six key areas:
- How effective are the processes and the decision making? – including the effectiveness of information sharing and timely interventions
- Do all agencies contribute to MASH decision making? – ensuring children and adults get the right help and protection at the right times
- Are all parties working with people to understand what ‘safe’ means to them and finding the best way to achieve that?
- Are all parties focussed on improving people’s lives whilst protecting individual’s rights to live in safety, free from harm or neglect?
- Do Leaders and Managers have good oversight of decision making at the ‘front door?’
- Overall, are children and adults protected through effective multi-agency arrangements at the ‘front door?’
Dr Gill added:
“I want to thank Sue (Chair of both Partnerships) for her willingness to hold up the mirror in looking at the MASH arrangement. Also, all the partners and senior leaders who gave up their time to meet with me, it is much appreciated. I was given the freedom to produce an independent view on both MASH teams which was both a pleasure and privilege.”