DSL Participation in MASH Safeguarding Threshold Discussions

‘Where there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) will hold a multi-agency Strategy Discussion to decide if the threshold is met to complete Child Protection Enquiries’ (Sect 47, Children Act)

The MASH have successfully undertaken a trial where Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) from 14 Suffolk Schools were invited into Threshold Discussions, when held regarding children from their provision.  Following very positive feedback from the schools involved, this is now something MASH are extending to all schools across Suffolk.

Currently MASH staff from Social Care, Police and Health contribute – it is best practice that schools are also involved in these Discussions as much as possible, as they can offer significant information and insight into the child(ren)’s voice.

What is expected of the school?

  • Attendance at all Strategy Threshold Discussions that take place with students on roll at the provision
  • Active information sharing and participation in the discussion

What the school can expect from MASH:

  • MASH Consultant Social Worker to chair the Discussion
  • To have immediate feedback and decision about a high-risk case
  • The opportunity to contribute towards the decision, although the statutory decision-making responsibility continues to sit with Social Care  

How will I know if I need to attend?

  • MASH will contact the school in the usual way to complete welfare checks.
  • If a Threshold Discussion is required MASH will make further contact to confirm the time of the meeting
  • MASH will send an invite to a Teams meeting where the Discussion will take place. Meetings are not lengthy – on average 30 minutes.

We appreciate that it may not always be possible for a DSL to attend a meeting at short notice but would appreciate discussion within your school to discuss arrangements to enable attendance. Attendance is not expected outside of term time though in exceptional circumstances, contact with school may be attempted.

If you have any additional questions please contact Danielle Stanton, Acting MASH Partnerships Manager on 01473 263748.