Safeguarding datashare tool, MAST, has been shortlisted in the Big Data Innovation category of this year’s Digital Leaders 100 awards. The 10th annual Digital Leaders 100 list highlights the latest champions of digital transformation across the UK.

The responsibility to safeguard vulnerable people lies with councils and a range of safeguarding partners. Too often vulnerability is identified too late. 

MAST organisations

Limited data sharing between organisations makes it hard to identify people who need support before they hit a crisis. It’s also hard to see if they are already known to those in the wider safeguarding community.

Walsall Council has played a leading role in the creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Tracker (MAST). MAST combines datasets from Walsall Council, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire and Rescue to allow social workers to see if other safeguarding agencies are actively involved with a person or address.

Inadequate information sharing between agencies has been raised repeatedly by high profile child protection inquiries. A lack of resources to link data means crucial information is often left unconnected. 

We are delighted that MAST has been recognised in the Big Data Innovation category for its unique approach to linking data across safeguarding partners.
Deven Ghelani, Founder and Director of Policy in Practice

MAST proactively identifies multiple contacts with the same individual or household to help frontline staff to make better informed safeguarding decisions. It is about safeguarding people and supporting all agencies to ensure public and personal safety.

Over a three-month period there were 28 data matches across 12 addresses between the Fire service and families known to Children’s services. At least two of these matches, one with multiple incidents at the same address, were not known to Children’s services.

Getting safeguarding right means being able to demonstrate and evidence that data sharing can provide clear benefits. Enabling safeguarding puts us in a better position to take action based on accurate and timely information.
Paul Withers, Data Protection Officer, Walsall Council

MAST has really started that operational conversation around how we could change our support, where could we really intervene earlier.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health, Walsall Council

MAST is a digital tool that lets social workers easily see if other safeguarding partners are actively involved with a person or address. 

We are delighted that MAST has been nominated for a DL100 award, following two years of co-designing and developing this critical data-driven, multi-partner safeguarding solution with partners in the West Midlands. MAST is even more relevant now in light of the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review, where information sharing was cited as a key, perennial challenge. 

MAST quite clearly meets the review’s recommendation that professionals working to protect the most vulnerable in society should have effective data sharing systems. We are proud to have been part of this important work and will continue to drive it forward and scale it across the public sector.
Jane Hancer, Programme Director, CC2i

Last month the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review into the deaths of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson stated:

In Arthur and Star’s cases, we see three main information sharing issues: a lack of timely and appropriate information sharing; limited information seeking; and evidence not being pieced together and considered in the round.

Problems with information sharing have been raised by every national child protection review and inquiry – going back as far as the inquiry into the death of Maria Colwell in 1973. Time and again we see that different agencies hold pieces of the same puzzle but no one holds all of the pieces or is seeking to put them together.

MAST, which was co-designed and co-funded by safeguarding partners across the West Midlands as part of the LGA’s Social Care Digital Innovation Programme, was referenced in the practice review as a “promising project”.

MAST allows all partners with mandatory responsibility for safeguarding to securely share headline data and activity on a daily basis, underpinned by a documented information governance structure. It is an effective system allowing all involved to see the interactions of each partner in real time to inform safeguarding practice. It quite specifically meets the recommendation of the national review which says: 

Effective data systems is something we already expect for professionals operating in other high risk contexts, for example, counter terrorism and aviation. We must now expect the same for professionals working to protect some of the most vulnerable in society.

MAST was specifically designed from inception to be easily adopted by other safeguarding partners throughout the UK.  

We’ve been interested in ways of doing this better for ten years. It’s great that it’s finally happening.
A Security and Information Risk Advisor, West Midlands Police 

Watch a demo of MAST below:

Please vote for MAST to win the Big Data Innovation category of the Digital Leaders 100 awards. Voting closes on 22 June. Vote here

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