Child sexual exploitation has risen to new levels with recent revelations from the professional football community. More and more old cases are emerging that have taken sport from the back pages to the front, for the wrong reasons.
For the Football Association and other sporting bodies, it is time to listen. Perhaps that is a useful reminder for us all of the wider subject, and a paper of the same name published by the Joint Inspectorates in September 2016.
Just as football matches can only be won by playing as a team, the Inspectorates report in ‘Time to Listen’ that the key to success is multi-agency collaboration and information sharing.
Tackling child sexual exploitation can be done, but only if all partners take responsibility for their role as a discrete agency, work collaboratively with each other and have a shared understanding of how to tackle child sexual exploitation. (key findings)
The concept of a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for collaboration and information sharing is not new, although still not prevalent across the country. Working closely together from the same physical hub has many benefits, not least building trust amongst professionals.
One of the barriers in the past has been that need for the joined up ‘team’ to play on the same physical pitch and share information whilst sitting next to each other. But actually working from one physical property, practically, politically, technologically or financially is not always easy. However with secure technology solutions like pam, offering all the shared work from one safe digital place in the cloud, there is less requirement for a physical hub. And many of the wider barriers to collaboration fall away too.
Take a look at how Warwickshire County Council has teamed up with its agency partners to tackle safeguarding successfully and lifted many of those barriers to information sharing both in its physical hub and with virtual partners.