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New unit launched in south Wales to better safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults

Agencies responsible for safeguarding vulnerable adults and children across the Cwm Taf region launched its new Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on Thursday, 21st May 2015, in the presence of First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The First Minister visited Pontypridd police station on Thursday morning where he unveiled a plaque to officially open the new facility, which is the first safeguarding unit of its kind in Wales.

The Cwm Taf Safeguarding Children’s Board, which includes South Wales Police, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Rhondda Cynon Ta County Borough Council, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Wales Probation Services and the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company, had a vision in 2013 to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable adults, children and domestic abuse victims across the region through better collaboration.

Two years later, safeguarding is being managed by a team of 50 people made up of staff from police, health, social services, education and probation, who work shoulder to shoulder in a cohesive, open-plan environment. They are the first point of contact and directly receive safeguarding concerns from their front-line colleagues who are reporting back from emergency calls, hospitals, and schools.

For concerns that meet the thresholds for statutory intervention, representatives from the different agencies in the MASH and outside will collate information from their respective sources to build up a holistic picture of the circumstances of the case and the associated risks to the child, adult or high risk domestic abuse concern. As a result, more informed decisions are made dynamically about what action to take, and support targets the most urgent cases.

The Cwm Taf MASH is a game changer in this field and is one of only a handful of MASHs nationally that recognises safeguarding and protection across the children, vulnerable and domestic abuse. It is already attracting interest from other safeguarding partnerships across Wales and England, and visits by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have resulted in their full endorsement and praise.

Giovanni Isingrini, Group Director for Social Services in Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC and Chair of the Cwm Taf Safeguarding Children’s Board, said: “This demonstrates the commitment from all partners in the region to ensure that those who are at most risk in our community are safeguarded at the earliest opportunity. MASH represents a tidal change in our approach to safeguarding and traditional barriers to information sharing have been lifted. I believe this is a real game-changer.”

The unit has been operational since January 2014, when Adult Protection staff from social services joined police officers who were the first to occupy the office back in December. Children’s Services moved into the unit in May, and it was the final piece of the jigsaw which completed the unit’s unique offering which covers all areas of public protection.