Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH): An effective way of safeguarding vulnerable people?

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Central Lancashire

In Collaboration With

Lancashire Constabulary

Principal Researcher

Sarah Shorrock

Level of Research


Project Start Date

April 2014

Research Context

Since 2013, Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) have been a central feature of safeguarding practices within Lancashire. An overarching aim of MASH is to protect society’s most vulnerable individuals from harm and abuse, through agency collaboration. To achieve effective collaboration, MASH promotes the co-location of key agencies, notably, Lancashire Constabulary, Children’s Social Care, Adult Social Care and Health, into one central hub.
However, transferring the theoretical benefits of MASH into every day practices has been overlooked. Very few studies have evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs and their capacity to safeguard some of society’s most vulnerable individuals from actual and potential risks. Implying a review of current MASH processes is long overdue.
Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to determine whether the introduction of MASH has allowed safeguarding procedures to become proactive rather than reactive.

In order to achieve this, an evaluation of Lancashire Constabulary’s MASH will be conducted, allowing the strengths and weaknesses of the MASH framework to be highlighted and relevant recommendations to be made. To accomplish this objective, four research aims have been drafted:

  1. Explore how vulnerable individuals are referred to MASH, through the evaluation of Lancashire Constabulary’s MASH database and interviews with MASH personnel.
  2. Investigate the demographic backgrounds of those on the MASH database to understand what factors cause an individual to be perceived as ‘vulnerable’.
  3. Clarify which professions make up MASH and the degree to which these professions contribute to the establishment of early interventions, by conducting semi-structured interviews with various agencies, for example the police, social services and NHS.
  4. Explain how MASH determines the type of intervention needed by analysing Lancashire Constabulary’s MASH database and gathering the experiences of MASH practitioners through semi-structured interviews.

Research Methodology

A large data set containing 51,264 referrals were identified and explored in terms of the themes of: vulnerable child, vulnerable adult and domestic abuse, with information relating to victims and suspects demographic information, including gender, age, ethnicity and relationship between the suspect and victim.
Additional data recorded the local authority area, risk level and other factors relating to the referral.

Analysis has explored each individual risk category (domestic abuse, vulnerable child, and vulnerable adult) and also compared the features across all three for patterns and trends.

The next phase has conducted semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with those MASH practitioners with thematic analysis used to identify emerging trends. Due to MASH being a multi-agency partnership, the researcher interviewed seven professional backgrounds; the Police, Adult Social Care, Child Social Services, Health, Education, Youth Offending Teams and Probation.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

May 2018
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