MAST User Testing Reveals Wealth of Safeguarding System Benefits in West Midlands

In early 2023, the technical partner behind MAST – Policy in Practice – ran usability testing sessions to get feedback on the live version of West Midlands MAST. These sessions were run with frontline workers from Adults and Children’s Social Care and West Midlands Police, with testers including professionals from across the safeguarding landscape. Testers included police officers, social workers, MASH workers, vulnerability officers, and those who deal with initial front door referrals amongst others. 

Overwhelmingly testers saw the value of MAST, and while highlighting areas for further development, widely saw the benefit to themselves and the other partners. Here is a snapshot of what they thought: 

Time savings:

  • ‘I really like the idea that we’re not on a fishing trip anymore. We’re cutting out a whole swathe of wasted effort.’
  • ‘We can be more focused in the requests we make to other partners rather than doing blanket requests, which will mean that partners can get the information on other cases through more quickly.’
  • ‘Sometimes information is requested and comes back a month after the referral was closed. Sometimes we are on the phone for an hour or more, trying to chase up a response, sometimes just to be told to put the request in writing.’
  • ‘At the moment out of the calls and emails we get a month through the front door, roughly 50% is about a known case that is already open to an allocated worker or team’. MAST could allow some of these referrals to instead go straight to the allocated social worker or team. ‘That would be a game changer in terms of demand’ for both initial intake teams in local authorities, and also for other partners making referrals.

More informed decision-making:

  • One of the good things is seeing family composition, particularly if a referral comes from a school for example and we don’t know the siblings’ names, we may be able to see this ourselves on the MAST system.’
  • ‘In MASH in particular, to be able to do a quick check and see if there has been contact made for that family, for that child, with Police, with Health and other agencies is helpful. It gives you that initial snapshot before you get into your wider screening.’
  • It will allow us to know what we’re going into, if we’re going out to a family home we will know if they have had contact with the Police.’
  • ‘It’s going to allow us to have access to a lot more information but potentially it’s also going to allow us to help more children, because there are children living in situations that we’re not aware of – that the fire service or the police might go out to.’
  • ‘If it’s going to make it easier to share information then that’s going to be a really positive thing.’

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Tracker (MAST) is a data driven solution that allows all partners with mandatory responsibility for safeguarding to securely share headline data, underpinned by a documented information governance structure.

MAST is available on GCloud-13 here, (this listing offers more information and detail on the technical infrastructure, operational security, training, pricing & more).