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Professionals FAQs


Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) have compiled a list of frequently asked questions on the Children’s Reception Team (CRT) and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). A list of general and miscellaneous safeguarding queries frequently raised by professionals are also included.

Select on the relevant topic below:


Children’s Reception Team (CRT)

The Children’s Reception team (CRT) are a team of children’s social care childcare practitioners who are based in Fareham. They are responsible for the processing of all referrals where concerns about a child have been identified. CRT will manage all referrals from a range of individuals  including professionals, families and carers, who have a child welfare or more serious child protection concern.

CRT are the first point of contact within Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council where staff will triage the information referred, where risk and protective factors will be considered, and individual outcomes identified. CRT staff will use the Hampshire thresholds chart to determine whether the child’s case is closed with no further action, transferred on to Early Help for Level 2 and 3 intervention or whether the child’s case needs additional enquiries to be made within the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).


If you work in an acute frontline setting and need to confirm whether there are any known or open safeguarding concerns before you discharge a child to the care of a parent/carer,  you can use the CRT Professionals’ Line or Out of Hours telephone number to establish this information.

Both CRT and Out of Hours will be able to direct you to the allocated social worker if the child already has an allocated worker. If you decide that you are discharging a child and believe they require additional services or support, then you will need to complete the Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF) and this will be processed by CRT.


Information to support you can be found on the Hampshire County Council website page Report child abuse If you have an immediate safeguarding concern for a child or young person that has suffered significant harm or is likely to suffer immediate significant harm, then contact should be made with CRT by telephone and supplemented with an Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF).


Yes, you should always make parents/carers aware you have contacted CRT due to concerns or worries about a child prior to contacting CRT. Whilst it is appreciated this may impact upon parental/professional relationships it is important that parents/carers understand your concerns and reasons why you have contacted CRT.

DO NOT advise the parents of the referral if you believe that doing so would put the child or parent/carer at more risk of harm.

CRT/MASH in this instance will be able to provide additional advice to you on an individual basis.


Members of the public can contact CRT and remain anonymous if they would prefer. Whilst CRT/MASH will always do their utmost to keep the identify of individuals anonymous there are, on occasions, times when the information provided by the referrer would lead the parent/carer to identify for themselves who they believe the referral has come from. CRT/MASH would not knowingly divulge this information. However, given any enquiries being made at a later stage in the process, the parent/carer may themselves identify the source of the referral.

Professionals are not able to remain anonymous if they are making a referral to CRT in a professional capacity. Professionals are expected to discuss referrals being made to CRT with the parents/carers involved prior to contacting CRT. Professionals should not discuss the referral with a parent/carer if the child is being placed at immediate risk of harm or has suffered significant harm.


The preferred method for referrals is the use of the Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF). The IARF should be used for all enquiries about a child or family and for making child protection referrals.

On cases where immediate safeguarding/child protection concerns are evident, professionals are required to make initial telephone contact with CRT using the telephone number below and supplement the telephone call with a completed Inter-Agency Referral form (IARF).


If you are a professional and have concerns because you think that a child might be being neglected and/or abused and you want to talk to someone or ask someone to find out what is going on, you should contact CRT on the following number:


  • Hampshire Professionals Line: 01329 225379 during office hours 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.
  • Hampshire Public Line: 0300 555 1384 during office hours 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.
  • Out of Hours service: 0300 555 1373 at all other times.

Isle of Wight

  • IOW Professionals Line: 0300 300 0901 during office hours 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.
  • IOW Public Line: 0300 300 0117 during office hours 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.
  • Out of Hours service: 0300 555 1373 at all other times.


CRT staff will complete a full case summary on the information that has been provided in the IARF and/or telephone conversation. CRT will complete the relevant risk assessments and will make a recommendation to the team manager for further enquiries to be completed in MASH, or the child’s case to transfer to Early Help, or to be closed.

CRT will record all information that is provided to the service. CRT will create an electronic file for the child concerned where the referral information will be stored electronically. Therefore, if you contact CRT for any reason you will need to be aware that any information you have provided will be documented accordingly.


For all matters where the child is not at immediate risk of harm, then the  Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF) should be used and submitted to CRT.  All IARF’s are electronically sent to the CRT inbox where you will be provided with a reference number. You will also be given the opportunity to save a PDF version of the completed IARF for your records.

The inbox is staffed by CRT staff between the hours of 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays. All IARF’s are triaged by CRT staff as they enter the email inbox during these  hours. If you submit an IARF outside of these hours, then they will be triaged the next working day. If you want to make a child protection referral, then this MUST also be telephoned through to CRT via the Professional Line/Out of Hours telephone number to avoid any delay with the case waiting to be triaged.

Following the triaging of the IARF, CRT will seek to deal with your enquiry as soon as possible. IARF’s will usually be managed within 24 to 48 hours, however during peak busy periods this time may increase.  CRT will contact you if they require additional information in order to process your IARF.


Automated feedback will be sent on referrals for children living in the Hampshire Local Authority area when a decision is made:

  1. that no further action will be taken, or
  2. to transfer the case to the Family Support Service for early help, or
  3. to transfer the case to a district team for a social care assessment.

To ensure feedback is only sent when it is appropriate to do so, referral feedback will not be sent automatically when:

  • Members of the public, without parental responsibility, make referrals.
  • Sending feedback might endanger the child(ren) or referrer.
  • No valid email address was supplied by the referrer.
  • Professionals provide a personal, rather than a work email address.
  • The referrer has asked not to receive feedback.
  • The case is already known to Hampshire Children’s Services. In such instances, the allocated worker will be in contact.

Please ensure you check your junk mail, as emails will be sent from


You will not receive feedback from CRT on anything they do. You will only receive feedback on a referral if it goes on to MASH and if MASH resolve the matter and close it.


Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team are qualified social workers co-located with the Children’s Reception Team (CRT). Both teams work in conjunction with one another to safeguard children.  The MASH team will only receive cases from CRT where concerns for children are evident and further investigation is required. MASH will provide triage and multi-agency assessment of all safeguarding concerns in respect of vulnerable children.  It brings together professionals from a range of agencies into an integrated multi-agency team.

The benefit of the MASH team is it will gather information from the various computer systems managed by each individual agency within the MASH, where this information will then be shared in a timely and effective way to inform the decision making on cases. Other agencies who work within the MASH team include adult services, Hampshire police, and health services.

The Children’s Services element of MASH is staffed by qualified social workers who will analyse all of the information they have gathered as part of their enquiries and will make a recommendation for cases to be closed, transferred to Early Help services and/or transferred to the relevant district for assessment under section 47 or section 17 Children Act 1989.


Social workers in MASH have up to 48 hours to complete all the necessary enquiries on children’s cases allocated to them. Prior to the end of the 48 hours, a management decision will be made to either close the child’s case with no further involvement and/or transfer to Early Help or one of the district teams for assessment.


MASH will prioritise all cases where a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm. In these circumstances, referrals will be made quickly to partner agencies within the MASH where a strategy discussion will be held. All strategy discussions are held within a two to four hour timeframe and the referral information and risks to the child will be fully considered by partner agencies.

All strategy discussions are held in MASH and are led by a team manager from children’s social care. For cases that are outside the usual working hours of MASH and the child is deemed to be at risk that evening, a strategy discussion will be undertaken with a team manager from Hampshire’s Out of Hours service alongside available partner agencies in MASH. For children that are not deemed to be at immediate risk of significant harm the strategy discussion will be undertaken the next working day.


MASH are expected to make contact with parents/carers and or significant others where concerns for a child have been raised. Therefore if you, as a professional, have made a referral please expect this information to be shared with these individuals. Professionals are expected to discuss referrals being made to CRT/MASH with the parents/carers involved unless the child is being placed at immediate risk of harm or has suffered significant harm.

Where the referral has been made by a member of the public, MASH will always do their utmost to keep the identity of individuals anonymous, however there are, on occasions, times when the information provided by the referrer would lead the parent/carer to identify for themselves who they believe the referral has come from. MASH would not knowingly divulge this information, however given any enquiries being made at a later stage in the process, the parent/carer may themselves identify the source of the referral.


It is very important for MASH to gain as much relevant information as possible. MASH will endeavour to contact a range of professionals and  parents/carers to discuss the nature of the concerns and to identify how support can be provided to improve the outcomes for children. Therefore, if you are contacted by MASH given the strict timeframe it is important that you share your views and information with the social worker as quickly as possible so that all risks can be fully considered.


No – staff working in CRT and MASH are all office-based and have the role of receiving information from every agency and analysing any potential risks.

They then make decisions in respect of the most appropriate intervention for a child’s identified needs. Where a child/family require a visit from a social worker as part of an agreed intervention, this visit will be conducted by one of the district-based social workers.


MASH social workers will only hold cases for a maximum of 48 hours. 

They do not hold cases any longer than this period. If a family requires further assessment work, then this will be allocated to a district-based social worker who will complete any further assessment and if relevant, work with other agencies and the family to agree a plan of support.


All social workers in MASH have their own direct dial telephone numbers/emails. Should you need to contact MASH social workers in relation to a case they are working on, then you can contact them directly via email and/or individual telephone calls. MASH social workers will provide these to you when they contact you.

If a case has been closed to MASH but additional concerns have then been identified, then these new concerns will need to be rereferred via CRT using a new Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF).  MASH social workers are unable to take new information on closed cases and will redirect you to CRT.


General Questions

Local support and counselling services that may be available to you in your area can be found at the Hampshire’s Supporting Families Programme and includes information on how to refer to those individual services.


Hampshire Children Services can support in offering respite care.

Respite care is usually a form of short-term substitute care for children with significant disabilities or a serious health condition and is provided by someone other than parents or the carer of the child.

It may be a one-off or form part of a support package based on the needs of individual children and their families. Consideration will be given to the likelihood of respite care being available as part of the assessment of a child’s needs.


PREVENT is the name given to a national strategy which aims to stop people becoming involved in extremism or radicalisation. If you have concerns for a young person being at risk then you should complete the Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF).

Further information for PREVENT can be found at the Hampshire PREVENT Partnership Board website.


Where a child is open to the Early Help Hub, contact should be made with the relevant Early Help Hub worker to discuss the situation in the first instance.  If you believe the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, then contact should be made directly with CRT (see contact telephone number above).


If you do not agree with a decision and process, in the first instance please contact CRT and ask for a review of the case emphasising the concerns you have raised. Should this not resolve the concerns, you can request a team manager makes contact to discuss the decision with you.

If you still have concerns you can follow the Hampshire or Isle of Wight Safeguarding Partnership’s escalation procedure at Joint Working Protocol for the Professional Challenge and Resolution of Professional Disagreement.


Should you be dissatisfied with the service you have received from CRT or MASH and despite speaking with a team manager you feel your concerns have not been resolved, then you can contact the Hampshire County Council Complaints Team.

Details on how to escalate a concern and raise a complaint or to make a suggestion or comment regarding CRT or MASH, can be found at Making a comment, suggestion or complaint.



National statutory guidance, local resources, copies of model policies (including the Child Protection Policy and the Safeguarding Policy) and inspection frameworks that can be used as a foundation for your school policies can be found on the Safeguarding Children in Education section of the Hampshire County Council website.


If you have a concern about a member of staff working with children (in either a paid or voluntary capacity), contact the Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) on: 01962 876364.


Members of the public should contact Hampshire Children’s Services on: 0300 555 1384.

Professionals should complete the online Inter-agency Referral Form (IARF). For urgent child protection enquiries, professionals can telephone: 01329 225379.

In an emergency, call 999.


Annex F (Statutory guidance – Regulated activity (children) – Supervision of activity with children which is regulated activity when unsupervised) of Keeping Children Safe in Education states that the guidance: ‘gives local managers the flexibility to determine what is reasonable for their circumstances’.

Therefore, schools need to review the guidance and decide on their local arrangements within the parameters of the regulations. Schools can require all adult volunteers to be DBS checked, or they can allow them all to be supervised.


If you are offering workshops aimed at children, like any other voluntary youth / faith organisation, you would need to have a Child Protection Policy, some level of training and a strategic safeguarding lead as per Working Together 2018.

The Child Protection Policy should include:

  • Setting expectations
  • Recognition of signs and indicators
  • Dealing with disclosures
  • Recording and reporting
  • Operational safeguarding lead to receive reports and make referrals as needed

Hampshire Children’s Services have a Model Child Protection Policy for schools which can be adapted for your own activities and settings.

You should familiarise yourself with how to Report a Concern. This includes concerns regarding the safety or welfare of a child (up to the age of 18) and regarding staff who may have behaved in a way that places a child at risk. This would be via the children’s services department of where the family live. If it is a serious immediate risk, call 999 or 101.