MASH: North West Council



6,393 contacts over 7 months



35% contacts converted to referrals needing statutory intervention



220 contacts per week

Innovate Services, MASH, multi-agency partnership working, co-located, case study

The challenge

As a newly established Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), all partner agencies within the MASH were disheartened with Ofsted’s findings. Ofsted had found that the use of referrals was inconsistent and in evaluating a child’s history, information-gathering was often too focused on the presenting issue rather than an understanding of the child’s lived experience. Already faced with a large number of new contacts, the North West Council needed a trusted partner. One that could handle all new contacts and referrals whilst the existing in-house team embedded more efficient ways of working.

Although the partner agencies were co-located, they were still very much working in silos. Being co-located with the council’s MASH team, Innovate CYPS was to provide much needed reprieve and input to support the improvement of multi-agency partnership working.

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Our approach

We quickly mobilised four senior Innovate CYPS social workers who were supported by three managers. Co-located with the council’s own team for seven months, Innovate CYPS processed all new enquiries (averaging 220 per week). This gave the council the time and opportunity to concentrate on their resourcing strategy and develop service areas that required improvement.

Innovate Services, MASH, multi-agency partnership working, co-located, case study


Taking a child-centred approach, our team quickly and efficiently progressed cases for child and family assessment, referring them on to appropriate universal services, initiating child protection enquiries or no further action. We also provided advice and support directly to families and professionals. In doing so, we set clear objectives to enhance multi-agency working whilst monitoring application of threshold.


Evidence-based working was one of the main drivers in our delivery of the project. Throughout the project there was a real cultural shift where partner agencies were holding case discussions and sharing information to make informed decisions ensuring there was evidence of history being taken into account.

We engaged with frontline workers, senior managers and partner agencies to understand the issues causing a high level of unnecessary enquiries. This allowed us to provide an objective insight into current working practices and introduce evidence-based ways to improve the performance of the MASH.

Innovate Services, MASH, multi-agency partnership working, co-located, case study

The results

The Innovate CYPS team screened 6,393 MASH contacts over the seven-month term of the contract. 2,288 (36%) of those contacts were converted into referrals deemed as requiring statutory intervention. Our tactical support gave the council’s children’s services team and partner agencies the headspace and capacity to address the issues raised by Ofsted. By bringing partners closer together, there’s now a consistent and strong understanding of the child’s lived experience.

We also successfully worked in partnership with the Council’s team to help design and implement new processes to make sure thresholds are consistently applied and understood. This included suggesting process improvements and additional staff training.

We received extremely positive feedback. Everyone involved found working with the Innovate CYPS team a positive and valuable experience. Having helped to be part of creating a more robust MASH, the council and partner agencies are in a better position to continue their improvement journey, knowing that whilst there are still areas to improve on, they can do it together.

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What our clients say

“The team displayed a positive attitude, eager to work with the staff and collectively come up with suggestions to improve the quality of service. There was a genuine feeling that partners were being asked and included as decisions were made.”

Detective, Police MASH team

What our clients say

“Innovate team provided significant input to support the improvement of multi-agency partnership working and were valuable in developing better relationships within the MASH service.”

Director of Children’s Services, North West Council

Children in Need

Do you need support in progressing your current child in need cases?

Innovate CYPS’ 14-week Children in Need (CIN) programme significantly reduces the long-term reliance on CIN plans, eliminates drift and identifies those children at risk, earlier.

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Duty & Assessment

Are you looking for more capacity within your duty and assessment team to clear a backlog of cases?

Or do you reprieve to look at a service restructure? We can help by managing cases coming in for referral and assessment.

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Edge of Care

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Our award-winning solution brings statutory social work and multidisciplinary support together to deliver sustainable positive outcomes and huge cost-savings.

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High-Cost Placements

Do you need support to secure better outcomes for children with complex needs?

We can support you in providing a sustainable alternative by managing cases to identify suitable stable placements or by taking children and young people through our residential Innovate Therapeutic Care programme.

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Is your MASH service struggling to keep a pace with the number
of referrals?

Let us take the pressure off and help you develop a more robust, timely MASH.

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Discharge of Care

Do you have a high number of children at home on care orders that you need support in reducing?

Innovate can support you by reducing your children-looked-after (CLA) numbers and create direct cost-savings.

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Do you need additional support due to further requirements around capacity to manage your most complex cases?

We provide extra capacity to handle incoming cases and/or to work those that may have drifted, and introduce proven sustainable longer-term solutions to reduce the risk of drift and delay.

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Children with Disabilities

Do you need support to manage your current cohort of children with disabilities?

Innovate CYPS’ 14-week Children with Disabilities programme reduces costs whilst identifying new care pathways for children, young people and their families.

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Service Auditing

How confident are you that you know the quality of your service?

In complex children’s social work environments, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of under-performance. Whether you’re preparing for Ofsted or are on an improvement journey, knowing what ‘Good’ looks like is important.

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  • Children in Need
  • Duty & Assessment
  • Edge of Care
  • High-Cost Placements
  • MASH
  • Discharge of Care
  • Safeguarding
  • Children with Disabilities
  • Service Auditing

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Contact us to find out more about our MASH Service.

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