Understanding Safeguarding Thresholds

We all want better lives for children and young people. As part of everybody’s responsibility for safeguarding children and considering their welfare, we want to identify vulnerable children and young people earlier and work in a coordinated, integrated way to help them before things reach crisis point.

The Wiltshire’s Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance provides a model of integrated working and gives practical guidance on making decisions across service thresholds:

Wiltshire Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance – for children and families in need of help and support

This guidance has recently been revised and includes a new Blue-Red-Amber-Green, or BRAG rating system

  • Resilient family; thriving child
  • Child and family needing help
  • High stress family; child at risk of harm
  • Child and family in crisis

Many families will occupy more than one of even all of these levels at any one time. Even families deemed to be in crisis will also be demonstrating characteristics of the other levels – it will be the relative balance between them and the risks presented by the crisis that will determine the response.

The new threshold guidance introduces a threshold matrix tool that helps practitioners to think about the balance of strengths, needs and challenges of the family to determine appropriate action.

In addition, the DART (Diagnostic And Referral Tool) – is a bespoke online tool for practitioners to help them identify their concerns for a child or young person, the level of their concern (risk) and be presented with possible sources of support, consultation and guidance. The tool can also be used to refer to services and create a basic assessment. The DART is accessible by logging in at: https://dart.wiltshire.gov.uk/ (requires creation of an account).


Multi-Agency Forums (MAFs)

Multi-agency Forums, or MAFs, as they are more commonly known, are community based meetings where agencies come together to discuss relevant issues relating to safeguarding and the well-being of children and young people.  Members may discuss cases  either to get advice from other agencies or to share information and because these meeting are community based they can discuss issues most relevant to their area. Those who attend MAFs tell us that they find them really  helpful and  supportive in their work. The ambition is to have active MAFs operating in all community areas.  Details of those currently active with contact details for the Coordinator can be found here.

Please find the latest MAF dates here.


Identifying and assessing needs, strengths and risks will help you decide on your response or next step.

  • Complete an Early Support Assessment.
  • Make a referral to MASH Professional Notification to Social Care (MASH Inter-agency Referral Form)
  • Or take early action that you can do yourself or with advice from other local colleagues
  • Under the Families and Children’s Transformation (FACT) Programme, transformational change is being developed across our partnership and this includes:
    • Exploring shared IT for better partnership working
    • An expanded response to early support enquiries within the MASH through the creation of an Early Support Hub
    • Launching an online Early Support Assessment (replacement for the CAF)