Bridgend is set to establish a “hub” for services protecting vulnerable children and adults (pdf).
The aim of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) – which will be based in offices on Bridgend Industrial Estate – is to share information between relevant agencies and enable decisions regarding the protection of children and adults to be made quicker based on all the facts at hand.
The project has the support of BCBC Social Services, South Wales Police, probation services and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board. It’s expected that once the final agreement between the agencies is signed, the hub could be operational within 12 weeks.
If the Cabinet approves, BCBC will be expected to contribute £82,000 up-front and commit £44,500 in annual running costs after billing the partner agencies for their share.
It comes as BCBC has been criticised by campaigners for their over-zealous approach to aspects of child protection, particularly in relation to so-called “forced adoptions“.
There’s the prospect that trust could break down further between social services and affected families if BCBC, health agencies and the police are all seen to be working “in cahoots” and not independently of each other.
However, it could also mean families at risk of intervention by social services could have problems addressed much sooner based on a better picture of individual circumstances in a case. That’s because all agencies will be able to double-check each other’s accounts of incidents in order to weigh up the relevant risk involved.