Making a referral to Children’s Advice and Duty Service (MASH)

Slides from the MASH & Early Help Workshops are available here.

The Advice and Duty Service provides a single point of access aligned to the MASH, and ensures that whatever the level of concern an appropriate response can be agreed. Current MASH arrangements will remain the same as will the professionals’ number 023 8083 2300 to discuss concerns about a child. A Social Worker within the Advice and Duty Service will discuss your concerns with you and remain your point of contact throughout the referral process to the point of outcome.

All information shared will be reviewed together with any existing departmental records and a manager before a decision is reached within a 24hr period. This will enable professionals to speak directly to skilled and experienced Social Workers whenever you want to discuss concerns about a child. In conversation with the Social Worker, you will determine whether there is a requirement to follow up in writing, with any support documentation if available. If there is an opportunity before referring, it is advisable to have a conversation with your agency safeguarding lead. However, do not delay in the event of any urgent concerns for a child’s safety.

Outcomes following discussion with a Social Worker include:

  • Signposting and advice
  • Response to be provided by Universal Services
  • Consideration of Early Help services
  • Social Work assessment
  • Closure after advice

Before contacting the Advice & Duty service you will need to have the following basic information:

  • Parental consent unless this may increase risk for a child
  • Correct and current details about the child with your agency record open for reference
  • Factual information based on clear evidence, observations and examples regarding the concerns you have for the child.

Outside of office hours our Emergency Duty Team can be contacted on 023 8023 3344 or in an emergency 999.

Before making an enquiry

Before making an enquiry you need to consider if 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.

We know that it is sometimes difficult to decide the appropriate point of intervention. To help you to determine levels of need when making your own assessment, please refer to the Southampton Continuum of Need Level Indicators.

Again, you can always contact the Children Advice and Duty Service for advice and guidance.

Before making an enquiry you should always get the consent of the parents or carers, except where a child is considered to be at risk of harm and you believe that seeking parental consent may increase this risk.

How to make an enquiry:

Tel: 023 80 832300 (Professionals Number)
Tel: 023 80 833336 (Public Number)
Outside of office hours our Emergency Duty Team can be contacted on 023 8023 3344 or in an emergency 999.

Alternatively please use the Southampton Referral Forms linked below:

Enquiries should be made when your assessment has identified needs which can only be met through Statutory or Specialist Services at level 4 of the Southampton Continuum of Need.

If you are not sure about the needs of the child, you can call the Children’s Advice and Duty Service using the contact details below to discuss the case with professionals CADS)

From 27th June 2016, in Southampton, all adults experiencing high risk Domestic Abuse will be referred to MASH for multi-agency risk reduction discussion. Referrals to MASH are for adults with or without children.  There is one MASH referral form that covers both adults and their children (if applicable) and the documents which support this are available here.

Urgent referrals relating to Child Protection

If you believe that urgent action is needed because, for example, a child is in immediate danger or needs accommodation (Level 4 of the Southampton Continuum), phone the Children’s Advice and Duty Service on 023 8083 3336 (Out of hours: 023 8023 3344) and give as much information as you can.

Your information will be passed immediately to the manager who will make a decision on the risk level and acknowledge this with you within one hour. You must follow up your telephone call by sending a completed Southampton Safeguarding Children form to the MASH within 24 hours.

If a child is in immediate danger, please call 999.

Other Child Protection concerns

If you have a Child Protection concern but urgent and immediate action is not needed (level 3 or below), you must still complete a Southampton Safeguarding Children form (as above).

All other concerns

For any other concerns and where an *Early Help Assessment is already in process, you should contact the Children’s Advice and Duty Service to discuss whether a referral is appropriate. If advice is given that a referral is required, complete the Southampton Safeguarding Children form and submit alongside the completed Assessment forms.

The Southampton Safeguarding Children form should be shared with the parent or carer and, where appropriate, with the child, prior to making the enquiry. The information you provide will support threshold decisions and contribute to any subsequent assessments, such as a Single Assessment.

After making an enquiry

Once a fuller picture about the case has been established the referral might be passed to the MASH for a manager to decide on the most appropriate decision and action to take. Alternatively the case may be passed on to Early Help Services or a recommendation will be made to you about what early help service might be available to assist you.

You will be notified in writing as to the outcome of the contact.

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