2.10 Mechanisms to support adult safeguarding

2.10.1 Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH)

The MASH is one model where concerns may be risk assessed and decisions made about how concerns are taken forward. The MASH is a partnership of agencies that have a duty to safeguard and have agreed to share information they hold on adults at risk. Their shared vision for safeguarding is to work in an integrated way to improve the outcomes for adults at risk.

Research carried out by the Home Office provides Local Authorities and partners with information on the efficacy of a MASH.

Children’s MASHs and Adult MASHs are in varying stages of development across the region.

2.10.2 Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

The MARAC is the multi-agency forum of organisations that manage high-risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’- based violence. MARAC meetings take place in each local area, usually chaired by the police, where statutory and voluntary sector partners work together. MARAC considers cases identified as ‘high risk’ by use of the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and ‘Honour’-based violence (DASH) risk identification checklist and develops a coordinated safety plan to protect each victim. This might include the actions agreed for any children, adults, and for perpetrators.

The four aims of a MARAC are as follows:

  • To safeguard adult victims who are at high risk of future domestic violence;
  • To make links with other public protection arrangements in relation to children, people causing harm and adults at risk;
  • To safeguard agency staff;
  • To work towards addressing and managing the behaviour of the person causing harm.

At the heart of a MARAC is a working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a person at risk, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety, as part of the coordinated community response to domestic violence. Referrals can be made to the MARAC if the risk of domestic abuse is found to be high. The MARAC may also make a referral to the safeguarding service if someone has care and support needs.

Referrals should be made to specialist domestic violence services regardless of the level of risk and thresholds for the MARAC. One of the major challenges with the high risk approach is that women described as in standard or medium risk can have very high needs and they do not get the support needed and this impacts on their safety and wellbeing.

2.10.3 Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

The purpose of the multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) framework is to reduce the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders in order to protect the public, including previous victims, from serious harm. The responsible authorities in respect of MAPPA are the Police, Prison and Probation Services who have a statutory duty to ensure that MAPPA is established in each of their geographic areas and to undertake the risk assessment and management of all identified MAPPA offenders. Other organisations have a duty to co-operate with the responsible authority, including the sharing of information. These include:

  • Local Authority children, family and adult social care services;
  • NHS CCGs, other health trusts and the National Health Service Executive;
  • Jobcentre Plus;
  • Youth offender teams;
  • Local Housing authorities;
  • Registered social landlords with accommodation for MAPPA offenders.
2.10.4 Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Panels (or Risk Enablement Panels or High Risk Panels)

Multi-Agency Risk Panels are one type of multi-agency working on complex and high risk cases, often where agencies spend significant amounts of time responding to difficult, chaotic or problematic behaviour or lifestyles that place the person, and possibly others, at significant risk. Panels can be created with all necessary partners, both statutory and third party and will vary depending on local need of the case in question. Any situation calling for multi-agency action could be discussed at panel meetings. The panel will support agencies in their work to lower and manage risk for both individuals and the wider community.

Multi-Agency Risk Panels are based on the belief that shared decision making is the most effective, transparent and safe way to reach a decision, where there is challenge with the adult at risk and professionals working with them to mitigate the risk; or where there is a high complex case and the risk needs to be escalated for consideration by such a panel. The purpose of the Panel is to agree a risk reduction plan that is owned and progressed by the most relevant agency with the support of necessary partners.

There are processes in each area to manage complex, high risk cases. Refer to your local area for further information and guidance.