MASH Timescales and RAG Rating Policy

1. Purpose of this Policy

This policy has been developed for professionals, partner agencies and members of the public to:

  • Enable professionals, partner agencies and members of the public to understand how MASH works with regards to timescales in response to referrals the MASH receives;
  • Describe the allocation of RAG Ratings attached to referrals upon receipt and how these will be reviewed;
  • Establish expectations regarding the sharing of information between partner agencies in a timely manner to enable effective decision making to occur.

This procedure should be read in conjunction with an agency's own Safeguarding Guidelines and the Luton Threshold Document.

2. Application of RAG Ratings and Timescales

The MASH will use a RAG rating process for referrals received.

RAG ratings will be applied at the initial screening by a social work qualified MASH officer within the MASH. This will be reviewed & updated as information is gathered.

The application of RAG ratings will be applied based on a number of factors including:

  • Concerns raised by the referrer within the information they have provided;
  • Previous information known to Social Care, considering previous levels of risks, needs and intervention;
  • Information gathered from other multi-agency sources, collated through the MASH process.

The above factors will be considered in line with the Threshold Document and Guidance for Children detailed in the MASH Standard Operating Procedures.

The RAG rating will also determine the timescales for completion of the referral through the MASH. The timescales applied will be measured and reported upon.

Time starts from the time the referral is received within the MASH. Time is then measured within the MASH working hours. However a Red RAG rating will be dealt with to completion through the MASH, even if this goes over normal working hours to ensure that urgent safeguarding concerns are dealt with and addressed.

The RAG ratings will be applied as follows:

  • Red: Urgent safeguarding concerns about a child, requiring immediate action to ensure their safety. Must be completed by the MASH within 4 hours;
  • Amber: Where there are significant welfare concerns about a child who is in need (of care and support), but immediate and urgent action is NOT required. Must be completed by the MASH within 24 hours;
  • Green: Where there are concerns that a child or adult will benefit from additional support or intervention. Must be completed by the MASH within 48 hours.

Every referral must be completed and a decision made regarding the response to be given and be directed with the agreed outcome from the MASH within a maximum of 48 hours of the referral being received.

Referrers will be notified of the outcome of their referral once a decision has been made. This will be done by email or telephone and recorded on the MASH documentation with date, time and name of person advised.

3. Agencies Responding to Requests for Information

Partner agencies within the MASH and virtual partners agree to collate the information from their own agency's reporting system as quickly as possible within the priority assigned to the case in question. The RAG ratings will determine the timescale for partner agencies to respond to information requests from the MASH. These timescales start from the time the information is requested by the MASH. The following applies to all agencies:

  • Red: Information must be provided to the MASH within one hour;
  • Amber: Information must be provided to the MASH within 12 hours;
  • Green: Information must be provided to the MASH within 24 hours.

Information requests and returns will be made from the MASH system so there is an audit trail of whose information has been requested, who has provided information and who has complied with agreed timescales. This information will also be reported upon to ensure effective and timely sharing of information is achieved.

4. Disagreements & Resolution

If there is a disagreement regarding the RAG Rating that has been applied to a referral, the normal process set out in LSCB Procedures for complaints, escalation and disagreements applies.

In summary, if an agency is unhappy with this RAG Rating decision then they have recourse to 'escalate' within their own agency and to the Senior Management Team, in line with Luton Safeguarding Children's Board Escalation Policy.

If there is disagreement amongst staff within the MASH in relation to an outcome from a 'triage' or MASH Meeting then this will be discussed between Management Team in the MASH. If agreement cannot be reached this will be raised to the MASH Service Manager who will make the final decision.