Multi-agency safeguarding hubs
A finding of many serious case reviews has been poor information-sharing between agencies. The ability to share information in a timely and effective manner to facilitate joint decision-making is key to SABs meeting their objectives.
Multi-agency safeguarding hubs are structures designed to facilitate information-sharing and decision-making on a multi-agency basis often, though not always, through co-locating staff from the local authority, health agencies and the police. There is more evidence of their being established to safeguard children than adults, often with plans to include adults in the future. But such hubs in adult safeguarding can prove effective in preventing abuse, and spotting patterns of abuse and repeat offenders through effectively sharing information.
There is no single model for the establishment of a multi-agency safeguarding hub, and there are a number of questions that need to be answered before one can function, all of which can be addressed in more than one way:
- Will the hub take the form of a single location for staff from all the agencies?
- How will it be resourced and by whom?
- What are the thresholds that will trigger referral to the hub?
- Which agencies will represent health and social care?
- At what levels will agencies be represented?
- Are decisions regarding action made by the hub or does it just make recommendations to the individual agencies that are members?
- How will the hub link to/work with safeguarding children systems and processes?
- Is there an information-sharing protocol in place stating how and which information can be requested, how it will be shared, the uses to which it can be put, how it will be stored and for how long?
- Are IT information systems compatible?