Multi Agency Safeguarding Tracker
Developed by Policy in Practice
Information sharing is essential for effective safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults. It is a key factor identified in many Serious Case Reviews (SCRs), Child Practice Reviews (CPRs) and Adult Practice Reviews (APRs), where poor information sharing has resulted in missed opportunities to take action that keeps children, adults and communities safe.
For the past three years, the annual Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews have each highlighted and prioritised information sharing as an ongoing challenge the system needs to solve:
A recent proposal for MAST cited: “Going back more than fifty years, to the early 1970s, the inquiry into the death of Maria Colwell highlighted a serious lack of coordination within child protection services. For the past fifty years we’ve continued to make the same mistakes in respect of information sharing and this calls for an urgent change of tack.”
- Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel Chair, Annie Hudson
WHAT IS MAST?
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.
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
To support the triage of backlogged cases to prioritise those most in need or where events might be escalating
Identify high frequency people or households for more targeted support
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
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 effectively
Help guide partners around referring a case or not, or confirm if one is open – also to show if someone is known to an agency
Improve trend identification and analysis
Support national work around Missing Persons, Operation Encompass, County Lines etc
Improve audit logs and access to date to support case reviews, complaints, internal reporting and other procedures
MULTI AGENCY SAFEGUARDING TRACKER (MAST) BACKGROUND
MAST was originally funded by NHS Digital via the Local Government Association and core safeguarding partners from across the West Midlands, as part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Accelerator 2020/21.
It is a unique solution, co-funded and co-designed by public sector safeguarding colleagues, specifically to address the perennial challenge of timely, accurate, information sharing.
MAST is underpinned by a robust information governance structure, which allows headline data (no case detail) to be brought together from key safeguarding partners. This data – updated daily and automatically from core systems – is cleaned and matched within MAST, and covers the last 12 months.
The searchable interface gives safeguarding professionals a chronological view of activity and interventions based on address and/or related to an individual. MAST is fully audited and is not a system to trigger or create referrals, but designed to offer real time sight across partner safeguarding activity and support both speeding up contact and decision making.
WEST MIDLANDS MAST
The West Midlands MAST is now live and safeguarding professionals from across the partnership are using it to support referrals, lateral checks, ascertain the chronology of interactions with both people and their addresses, help understand family composition and find the contact details of colleagues at each organisation to have a more informed, direct conversation.
Partners include Walsall Council (Adults & Children), West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire & Rescue and colleagues from the NHS. Each partner organisation holds their safeguarding case data within local systems, with the key headline information now proactively imported into the West Midlands MAST on a daily basis.
The West Midlands MAST (WM-MAST) is the start of the information sharing process that will bring a raft of benefits, and – we hope – widen out across the region. With other safeguarding partners from the region joining the WM-MAST, their data will automatically be matched to the existing partner data to ensure that families who are moving in the WM are supported, people who are seen out of area are known, and offer the ability to securely share key information – all in line with GDPR – to support safeguarding of vulnerable children, adults and families.
We are in the process of tracking how MAST is supporting the safeguarding process using a range of metrics and will report in due course.
WEST GLAMORGAN MAST
In 2021 the West Glamorgan Safeguarding Board commissioned a MAST proof of concept (POC), which saw data from key safeguarding partners brought together in one cloud based, searchable solution to understand the value, power and potential MAST could offer safeguarding professionals.
Information governance documents were rigorously reviewed and brought in line with Welsh law. Documents signed include a Data Sharing Agreement, a Data Processing Agreement between partners and the technical partner Policy in Practice, as well as a Safeguarding Partnership Memorandum of Understanding.
In addition to the data matching evidence, the POC proved that, “It is clear that having immediate access to the latest information will be able to reduce information sharing requests, identify where a person is known to other agencies, give sight to family composition and critically the detail of the safeguarding lead at each organisation.”
The first Welsh MAST is now being deployed across Neath Port Talbot, Swansea City Council, South Wales Police and Swansea Bay University Health Board, with Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service, Probation & Youth Justice Early Intervention Teams all taking a watching brief.
The West Glamorgan MAST is on track to be live by the end of 2023, aligning with key policy recommendations in the recent National Independent Safeguarding Board’s Risk, Response and Review: Multi-Agency Safeguarding: A Thematic Analysis of Child Practice Reviews in Wales 2023.
In the WGSB POC recommendation paper, the partnership collectively outlined their findings and recommendations, saying:
“What MAST contributes to this congested system space is the digital means to interface individual agency systems, preserving matters pertaining to information governance, to draw out key demographic data and touch points to better identify those in need and at risk.”
WHY CHOOSE MAST?
MAST is a secure cloud based, standalone system developed by Policy in Practice and hosted on Amazon Web Services (in the UK), 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.
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.
MAST is available on GCloud-13 here, (this listing offers more information and detail on the technical infrastructure, operational security, training, pricing & more).
RECOGNITION FOR MAST
Policy in Practice is a socially-minded software company that works with councils, government, housing and community organisations to target and improve welfare support and public services. Combining cutting-edge technology, insightful data and expert analysis, Policy in Practice helps organisations to understand what’s working, what can be improved, and how.