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Multi Agency Safeguarding Tracker (MAST)

British Data Awards winner

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

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 not a system to trigger or create referrals, but is designed to offer real time sight across partner safeguarding activity and support decision making. MAST holds and presents matched headline information from across the safeguarding partners. This data – updated daily – covers the last 12 months and gives a view of activity and interventions based on address and/or related to an individual. 

Whilst only the last 12 months of data is actively displayed, MAST holds three years of data to allow for trend analysis and research work, as well as to help evidence the impact of interventions. 

ORIGINS

MAST has been co-designed by Walsall Council and their safeguarding partners – West Midlands Police, Walsall Community Healthcare NHS Trust and West Midlands Fire & Rescue – and developed by Policy in Practice as part of the  LGA’s Social Care Digital Innovation Accelerator 2020/21. The solution was originally funded by the partners through a co-funding approach with additional match funding from NHSDigital. 

In addition, 100s of hours of subject matter and information governance expertise was involved to ensure the resulting solution is immediately deployable in other parts of the UK. It is firmly focused on enabling sharing of headline data to improve safeguarding practices and address the barriers, challenges and timeliness of information sharing.

Poor information sharing is cited in every serious case review and it was a long held ambition of Paul Withers, the DPO at Walsall Council, to address the challenge of real time information sharing. By looking at the minimum data set that could be shared to give officers in the field, safeguarding professionals, blue light services, NHS staff just enough information to understand the safeguarding activity around either a person or address, this allowed an information governance structure to be agreed – and MAST (the only solution of its kind) was born.

CO-FUNDERS

INFORMATION GOVERNANCE

Significant work went into developing the information governance structure which underpins MAST. The foundation documents were drawn up by the DPO at Walsall Council, peer reviewed by members of the West Midlands IG Network, then further reviewed and signed off by West Midlands partners including West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire & Rescue and Walsall Community Healthcare NHS Trust. 

The MAST information governance (which are available to share on request) documents include: 

  • Data sharing agreement 
  • Data processing agreement between partners and Policy in Practice 
  • Safeguarding partnership Memorandum of Understanding
  • Template data schema for each partner
  • Contract and service level agreement
  • Original DPIA

MAIN OBJECTIVES

  • To provide a single digital platform through which partners can share, query and retrieve critical interaction information to support safeguarding decisions effectively and efficiently
  • Speed up lateral checks at the start of a case to identify which partners to contact (relevant contact details are included in MAST) to understand whether to open a case or NFA
  • Better inform actions & escalations on open safeguarding cases and inform case closures
  • To reduce pressure on front line services
  • Identify high frequency people or households for more targeted support 
  • Track outcomes and evidence the impact of safeguarding plans 
  • Enable a shift towards a more preventative safeguarding approach across the region
  • Improve relationships and knowledge within the system to support people and the wider community more effectively, and use collective safeguarding powers more appropriately
  • Improve trend identification and analysis 
  • Better support MASHs, MARACs (and/or relevant local safeguarding hubs), as well as  JTAIs and address the reference in many/most serious case reviews to the lack of (timely) data sharing
  • Help guide non-local authority partners around referring a case or not or if one is open
  • Support national work around Missing Persons, Operation Encompass, County Lines and other national initiatives
  • Improve audit logs and access to date to support case reviews, complaints, internal reporting and other procedures. 

Initial work on the financial business case is also available to request. 

MAST SERVICE DESCRIPTION

MAST is a secure cloud based, standalone system developed by Policy in Practice and hosted on Amazon Web Services, which brings together basic interaction information from multiple safeguarding partners into a single queryable platform. 

There is no double data entry, MAST uses an extract from your backend systems – securely shared via SFTP. Once the data is on your core system the automatic data extract will capture the required fields and automatically bring it into MAST for cleansing and matching. Each partner defines the data sets and data points they want to share, to best support safeguarding practices.

MAST offers single sign-on and is available via mobile (to support officers in the field), as well as in an office environment. System access is controlled by an admin user, meaning that partners can autonomously manage user set up and amendment, so are able to control who they allow access to. Every time a person logs into the system they confirm the legal gateway they are using and the system keeps detailed audit logs on system users, searches and access. 

Again and to be clear, MAST is a stop & check system, it is not designed to replace professional judgment nor current processes, it is designed to help better inform decisions in real time. 

PARTNERSHIP DETAILS

MAST works on the premise of reciprocity, however some partners will benefit more from MAST than others. That said all partners will realise benefits and it is the combination and matching of the datasets that supports improving safeguarding across the board, which is the ultimate aim. 

To progress with MAST we believe a minimum of three partners are required: a local authority (with both Adults & Children’s Services), Police and either Health or Fire & Rescue – preferably both. Additionally the inclusion of the Ambulance Service, Mental Health and Education will improve the results and increase the impact. 

RESOURCES & COST

The cost per partner to join the MAST system is £14,000 per annum.

Key staff required from each organisation to deploy MAST include: team leader & user, project sponsor, project manager, data lead, information governance lead and an information security lead.

Not all staff will be required throughout the project implementation timeline.

We have a number of video assets for the MAST project: 

  • Here you can watch a 10 minute video on the background and data matching approach, as well as a longer MAST demo.
  • Whilst here you can hear from the Director of Public Health at Walsall Council as to why he championed the MAST approach.

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