1. ITV Report

New service to protect vulnerable children and adults in Nottinghamshire

A new service is being launched today to help to protect vulnerable children and adults in Nottinghamshire.

The County Council is working with Nottinghamshire Police's domestic violence and child protection units, as well as NHS specialists as part of the new service, called the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

More than 60 workers will become the first point of contact for people with concerns about vulnerable adults and children.

"It's an excellent example of partnership working which will allow the agencies involved to collate and share information on a case quickly and use this to make a swift decision on the most appropriate action needed. Currently organisations deal with concerns in isolation.

"It's about making sure that families get the right support early on and that we do this in a more co-ordinated and consistent way, avoiding valuable time being wasted."

– Philip Owen, Nottinghamshire County Council

The Council's operations manager, Simon Holmes, says the multi-agency approach, which has been trialled by other local authorities, means that more preventative action can also be taken to protect those at risk.

Mr Holmes oversaw the implementation of the first such service in Devon and cited the following example as the type of case agencies will be able to deal with more efficiently by working together.

"A good illustration would be a concern made by a GP regarding a 12-year-old child who had presented to medical services over 50 times in a year with no medical reason. The GP's concern arose because of medical advice given following a fall.

"Through the information sharing process, it became apparent that the school also had concerns regarding the child's attendance, and on meeting the child's father, he disclosed that the child's mother had been preventing the child from attending school by fabricating medical reasons."

– Simon Holmes, Nottinghamshire County Council

A dedicated phone number will be introduced, replacing a range of existing referral points.

"We have brought together a team of experts from a range of different agencies who deal with safeguarding issues on a daily basis.

"Until now, they have been working in isolation but are now located together under one roof, where they are able to discuss cases as they happen and decide on the best course of action quickly, which allows for much earlier intervention and enables us to better support those at risk.

"This will undoubtedly help us to better protect vulnerable children and adults in Nottinghamshire and ensure they receive the help they need as soon as possible."

– Superintendent Helen Chamberlain, Nottinghamshire Police