Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (Social Care)


MASH is the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in West Sussex, and includes front door access for Early Help.

What we do:

  • Research information held on professional databases to inform decisions.
  • Continuing to provide support to professionals working in Early Help. Especially identifying families who need key working services, and family network responses.
  • Providing a secure and confidential environment for professionals to share information.
  • Identifying low–level repeat referrals which taken in isolation may not appear concerning, but do when the child’s journey is reviewed.
  • You can email, call or complete an E-Form to request support: If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

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Age Range: 0–18

Wheelchair Accessible?

Free to use?

Contact Details

01403 229 900

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County Hall North,,
RH12 1XH


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  • Posted by localoffer on 30 Jan 10:30

    "Not sure where to start! We've used all sorts of different components of the NHS but never had an experience quite like this. We've had to fight harder than we've ever done in our lives to gain access to CAMHS County through MASH. We were referred to CAMHS for urgent treatment for our son, normally a happy high functioning ASD boy, was losing the ability to walk or even talk and becoming low functioning intermittently, our pediatrician deeply concerned he was becoming catatonic - a condition that can become permanent and much harder to treat the longer that it's left.

    A couple of weeks later I had a missed call, I rang back and it was MASH, they had no clue why I'd been called as there 'was nothing on the system' but possibly it was to do with 'Early Help' and I'd need to wait for a call back. Four days later I had a call back and a lady from the team confirmed it was nothing to do with safeguarding but to talk about my referral. Really worrying getting a call from a safeguarding hub out of the blue then having to wait for four days to find out why!!

    The lady was lovely on the assessment call, it was a pretty bad time when she called as I had my son was very poorly. it would have been better to have an appointment made (even if it was over the phone) and pre-warning that MASH would call in my view. During this call you NEED to state and argue your case, if you don't it could well effect what happens next in the process, as you can imagine not being in a good position could effect this outcome.

    The role of this team I found out seems to be to offer 'Early Help' for families and TAF (Team Around the Family) I was very surprised and taken back that such a resource heavy function as TAF including lots of professionals was seen as a better recommendation than entrance to CAMHS. Thankfully it was agreed that these were not needed as we had so many strategies in place and because I was studying at Postgraduate level in the field of Autism and Asperger Syndrome. They were friendly and lovely on the phone and said to call back if there was anything and that she would 'refer us on to CAMHS' and it would go to CAMHS County (I was given the name of the location).

    I was called back next day by the same lady and told that a CAMHS assessor had taken my case, the Triage team lady sounded excited and said it was pretty unheard of - I was relieved and felt like I'd won a competition or similar.

    Some weeks went by and I heard nothing, the symptoms were getting worse and worse. We ended up in hospital with him who wanted to admit but had no beds, they didn't want to transfer him for fear he would become worse. They said they would call CAMHS for us.

    I chased CAMHS County next day who said they had no record of us so I went back to the lady who'd originally called us. I was gentle and lovely but her tone was very different now they didn't want to extract further information from me, she said she would chase the assessor. Two days later still nothing. I called the triage lady again who was unavailable. The week after I called again, this time the triage lady said the referral had gone to CAMHS County. When I stated that I'd already called them before this call and it definitely wasn't there. She seemed quite agitated at this point and said:

    'I know you don't want to hear this but if your son's symptoms have changed, you'll need to get a re-referral to be assessed'

    I stated that as expressed to her on the phone his symptoms were increasing daily, to suggest I re-refer when they change would mean doing this daily and surely that wasn't practical. I asked where the referral was sitting, eventually she admitted it was sitting with one of the CAMHS MASH Assessors, I asked to be put through but was told it wasn't possible. Eventually she agreed to give me a generic email address.

    That day I sent my email, copying in the GP, Pediatrician and my son's school, anyone who'd been involved. Two days later I had a call out the blue from the CAMHS MASH Assessor.

    When the assessor called she didn't check, nor did I get the chance to say it was a really bad time. Again I was fighting for my life to justify his case, after a very stressful 40 minute call of what felt like a physiological interrogation they agreed to an assessment of my son.

    Assessment day came, it was incredibly hard to get him to the location we arrived late but I kept in touch with the assessor to let her know what was happening. As soon as she heard what was happening in school and we were planning to phase him back in she recommended pulling him out immediately. It seemed this was jumped upon, after that nothing else was looked at, that the solution was to find him a small school for high functioning children and everything should resolve. It honestly seemed like she was looking for something to use that would avoid further treatment. I did point out that he'd already been out of school for some time but he wasn't improving in fact the opposite.

    We started the EHCP process, sadly the report didn't come on time and has been delayed the assessor expressed the report was 'stuck in admin' it took over 6 weeks to arrive despite the urgency and knowing it was required for an EHCP. It's held up the process by an additional 12 weeks as the application 'lacked information from CAMHS'.

    My son was becoming even worse, I expressed this and asked what would be done further, the assessor felt this was anxiety associated with the autism rather than anything else and a new school would resolve it.

    Another few weeks down the line I called again - I stated I was worried it could be another condition I worked for a national epilepsy charity and after discussions with them there was concern around it being something that could happen after a seizure. This was expressed to CAMHS by us and other professionals but we were all treated like idiots, accused of 'Googling' (obviously that wasn't the case!) the assessor argued with me - I stayed calm, they used all sorts of techniques to try and 'shut me down' and stating that the new school would resolve it. Eventually she said 'oh well I thought things would be better by now. I'll bring this up at the next team meeting you will probably need to meet with another CAMHS MASH assessor.' I heard nothing. Seven weeks on a referral has come through the door for CAMHS County.

    In the meanwhile I went back to my son's pediatrician who has been so lovely and supportive, he even offered to call MASH for us. He's arranged an urgent scan for epilepsy and negotiated other medical screenings. A breath of fresh air for sure.

    So we're where we're need to be, but it's been one of the most difficult times for us, to need to fight at this kind of level for what he needed felt so wrong. My son is really very unwell with quite physical symptoms, I wonder the case wasn't quite so bad what chance there would be. I've since spoken to people who are 'stuck' in diagnosis with MASH for autistic spectrum conditions, some for nearly a year, to be honest nothing surprises me. It feels like there's little 'holding pens' that people get into, the only way out of them is to question and fight and if you do you're subjected to some very intense and argumentative phone calls.

    I'm completely exhausted from having to fight this hub, my energies should be concentrated on my boy. In my view it's a total waste of money with MASH - yes they might be cutting numbers but by what means? I'd be really interested in what KPI's and targets are used for CAMHS referrals (diagnosis and treatment) in MASH.

    I worry how many people are being failed by this system? We all know how important early diagnosis is in the best possible outcomes for young people and children with autistic spectrum conditions as well as early treatment as in the case of my son."

    This feedback has been left anonymously via the feedback plugin.

  • Posted by jacky on 28 Jan 08:08

    MASH is hopeless. Us adopters are supposed to use this as first port of call when we need help, as you can imagine the word safeguarding puts the woollies up us!!!! Plus I'm aware of many adopters who call and mash have no idea who to signpost to

  • Posted by peterandlouise on 27 Jan 18:26

    Mash are an utter waste of time and a compleate dissapointment ! Two of my special needs children were ref here 3 times last year and im still waiting allmost a year later ! Absolutely useless.