Briefing - multi-agency screening team

What Ofsted says:

"Children and families receive a timely and proportionate response to contacts made to the Multi-Agency Screening Team (MAST). All contacts are red, amber, green rated by a manager who ensures that they are progressed in a timely way and signposted to the correct service... this enables the receiving team to have a good, early understanding of risks, needs and packages of services to help the child. As a result... plans are effective in order to meet a child’s needs without delay.”

Read more below.

Last year, North Yorkshire County Council officially launched a ground-breaking partnership to safeguard vulnerable children and young people, with an additional focus on those being exploited, at risk through domestic abuse or who go missing.

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The multi-agency screening team, which has been operating since 2014, brings together staff from the council’s children’s social care and prevention services, North Yorkshire Police and health workers from Harrogate and District Foundation Trust. 

The official launch marked an expansion of the team with a new senior social care manager to oversee information and intelligence from the police and five additional police officers.  They now support children and families in need with even greater focus and more effective safeguarding as a result.

The multi-agency team screens every case received within 24 hours of contact being made, reviewing the dangers and strengths within a family or wider community.  It means that any concerns or referrals regarding children, be they from individuals, schools, GPs, health providers, police or social care, will have one point of contact. Referrers and families are reassured that their worries are being taken forward by the right people with immediate effect.

The team meets every morning to review cases, to share information rapidly and make targeted decisions to ensure children, young people and families receive the right service at the right time through necessary and proportionate interventions by local agencies.

The work of the multi-agency team has already proved highly effective in targeting support and preventing cases escalating to children being at risk of significant harm. While the number of referrals has increased markedly, numbers of looked after children have fallen to the lowest for six years and in contrast to national trends.  

The team is proving powerful in getting the right help to children and young people and ensuring the best outcomes for them and their families.  It is a highly effective way of addressing a national priority, particularly in the protection of exploited and trafficked children.

The work of the team has also attracted national recognition and was named a Local Government Chronicle awards winner for its partnership work.

Picture shows: Far left with award – Vicky Metheringham, county council head of safeguarding and looked after children, along with Jess Markwart (third from right) team manager of the multi-agency screening team, with colleagues from the county council, North Yorkshire Police and health.