If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm, call 999
Child protection and safeguarding issues are managed by the council's Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
The MASH consists of people from Children’s Social Care, Police Public Protection Desk, Health, Education, Youth Offending Service, Early Intervention and Support Services, Youth Services and Probation.
Advice for community professionals referring to MASH
Before making a referral
Can the child or young person’s needs can be met by services from within your own agency, or by other professionals already involved with the family?Always get the consent of the parents or carers, except where a child is considered to be at risk of harm, and you fear that asking for consent may increase this risk.
When to intervene
We know that it can be difficult to decide when to intervene. To help you to determine levels of need, please refer to the early help and staged model of intervention descriptors.
Referring to MASH
Always give us as much information as possible about the child and family. Before submitting a referral, you should be share the details with the child's parent or carer and, where appropriate, with the child. The information will be used to asses the risk, support threshold decisions and be part of any later assessments, such as a Single Assessment.
Urgent child protection referrals
In an emergency, if you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm, call the police on 999.
If you believe urgent action is needed, call 0208 726 6400. This line is managed by Croydon Social Care Contact Centre from 09:00am – 16:00pm on weekdays.
At all other times ask to speak to the out of hours team and an operator will take your information and pass this on to the child protection out of hours team.
After your call you send a standard referral form to the MASH within 24 hours - details below.
Standard child protection referrals
Please complete our online referral form.
If you are unable to complete the online form, you can download and email a copy to the following address.
- If you have a secure government email account use firstname.lastname@example.org
- For any other email account use email@example.com
After making a referral
When the details of the case have been established by the MASH, the MASH manager will decide on the most appropriate decision to take.You will be sent a letter detailing the outcome of the referral.
Other advice and support
Croydon MASH operates a consultation line to provide advice to professionals in respect of non-urgent matters and to discuss the needs of families who are not already receiving support from Children’s Social Care. The advice line offers professionals with support to help consider what action and support they can offer families. Calls are confidential and no personal information will be recorded or shared with others. The advice line number is 020 8726 6464.
If you have a question about the MASH itself (not related to a referral), contact Veronica Leigh (MASH Service Delivery Manager) at Veronica.Leigh@Croydon.gov.uk or talk to the designated MASH lead for your agency.
Frequently asked questions about the MASH
What is the role of the Police in the Croydon MASH?
The current Police Public Protection Desks (PPD) in Croydon has been co-located with the MASH Team. When they are notified of Police contact that concerns a child or young person the PPD works with MASH partners to assess the level of risk and will route safeguarding concerns to the relevant borough via the MASH.
What service do the Croydon MASH provide?
The MASH provide the capacity, skills and the practical arrangements to collect, analyse and securely store the information held by all partners about children and families that is relevant to an assessment of safeguarding risk. It does this in defined timescales that reflect the level of risk identified.
Do Croydon MASH work directly with children and families?
Where necessary the MASH make contact with families to establish and verify information.
Who can make a referral to the Croydon MASH?
Any professional or private individual who has concerns about the safety or welfare of a child or young person in Croydon can make a referral to the Croydon MASH.
What is the threshold for referral to the Croydon MASH?
A referral should be made to the MASH in all instances where a child or young person is at actual or potential safeguarding risk. Safeguarding encompasses both child protection (s47) and broader concerns about a child’s wellbeing (S17).
A common set of risk indicators is used by the MASH to ensure a consistent approach to identifying and categorising the level of risk.
If you are concerned about a child and you know that it is not specifically a child protection issue, you can follow our Early Help pathways to access support for the child or family.
If you are unsure about the level of need, follow this link for more information:
Do I need to obtain consent before making a referral to MASH?
Because referrals cannot be progressed by the MASH without ‘specific consent’ or a decision (made by the MASH) that it is lawful to override consent any professional seeking to make a referral to the Croydon MASH will be asked to endeavour to obtain consent where this appropriate and/or possible.
‘Specific consent’ must be informed by the understanding that professionals will share ‘appropriate and proportionate’ information about the child and other household members, before the decision to provide services to the child and family.
‘Specific consent’ can also be given by an adult with parental responsibility or a young person who is 'Gillick /Frazer' competent.
In exceptional circumstances or where there is a concern that a child’s safety or welfare is at risk, then the decision to override consent can be made by the MASH.
Where the MASH undertake a multi-agency assessment without consent having being obtained it will document the justification for doing so.
What happens to information I share with the Croydon MASH?
The Information will be used within the MASH to assess the level of safeguarding risk and to make a decision on the appropriate response. It is stored on the Children’s Recording System and - subject to confidentiality considerations - will be used to inform the subsequent planning and delivery of interventions and support.
Is information shared outside of the MASH?
Where the MASH make an assessment that there is a child protection (s47) concern all information is automatically made available to the children’s services social work teams.
Where there is a non-s47 safeguarding concern information will automatically be shared unless it has been specified as confidential by the partner who has shared the information.
Can I specify that information shared with MASH is confidential?
Yes. If you specify that the information you share is confidential it will be stored on a ring-fenced area of the MASH database accessible only to senior members of the MASH Team.
Where a decision is reached after MASH risk assessment that there is a s47 child protection concern, confidential information will automatically be made available to the children’s services social work teams.
In all other cases the children’s services social work teams will be made aware that confidential information exists but it will not be shared without consent from the partner that has shared the information.
Who is accountable in the MASH model?
The Local Authority is ultimately accountable for the decisions within the MASH about the type and level of safeguarding risk and ensuring an appropriate response.
Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk