Children's Board Introduces Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Authorities To Work Together To Protect Vulnerable Youngsters

18.06.2014

A Serious Case Review (SCR) into Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Board (SLSCB) has resulted in a multi-agency board being set up to try and prevent more local youngsters from killing or harming themselves.

The review identified training and communication failures by the board which may have contributed to the death of 14-year-old Liam Hardy who hanged himself on November 19 last year.

An inquest which concluded last week (13 June) heard social services were aware of Liam, who had displayed complex emotional and behavioural problems throughout his childhood.

Coroner Selena Lynch ruled Liam’s death was most likely an accident but his actions leading up to his death were partly a result of his needs not being properly assessed by social and mental healthcare services.

SLSCB oversees the work of agencies such as the police, schools, healthcare services and the council, who deal with children that have been flagged up to social services.

The SCR resulted in a number of recommendations including establishing measures to ensure agencies meet safeguarding needs as well as reviewing its multi-agency training programme.

The SLSCB has now confirmed it has formed the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to make sure the recommendations are met.

The Board has also arranged for training to be given to employees in each of the agencies it oversees, so they can find it easier to spot someone who is self-harming.

Christine Davies, chair of the Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "All of our agencies, such as the council, health services, education, the police, are all working together now in MASH.

"Our information is immediately shared and children’s needs are assessed.

"As soon as a body has a case for serious concern, that concern comes straight into the MASH system.
"If a child is self-harming it stops their needs falling through the net."

Expert Opinion
We act on behalf of many clients who lost loved ones to suicide which they believe could have been prevented by greater action from the appropriate authorities.

“We welcome the introduction of MASH to protect young people in Sutton from falling through the net. However, we believe similar bodies should be set up across the UK in both children and adult safeguarding services.

“We believe this joined up approach to monitoring vulnerable individuals should be already in place, rather than something that it is introduced following a tragedy such as a preventable suicide.

“We hope the lessons learnt by SLSCB are shared with similar boards across the country so improvements can be made nationwide to protect those struggling with mental health issues.”
Tom Fletcher, Associate