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1.1 Introduction

Adult safeguarding is everyone’s business and local partnership working is essential to ensure there is consistency across Plymouth in how adults at risk are safeguarded from abuse or neglect.

It is vital that all staff understand their role and responsibilities, and work in ways that safeguard such adults whilst assisting them to remain in control of their own decisions.

This manual sets out expectations which should be regarded as best practice and which signatory agencies have agreed. It contains policy and detailed guidance, as well as other procedures which constitute the Safeguarding Process. It is also supported and informed by a range of other documents which are linked in relevant chapters. This manual is intended to guide the safeguarding work of all those concerned with the welfare of Adults at Risk.

This policy has been developed in line with the Care and Support Statutory Guidance - Issued under the Care Act 2014, Department of Health and the 2016 revised guidance.

Adult Safeguarding – What it is and Why it Matters

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action.

The safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

Local authority statutory adult safeguarding duties apply equally to those adults with care and support needs regardless of whether those needs are being met, regardless of whether the adult lacks mental capacity or not, and regardless of setting.

Everyone’s Responsibilities

Everyone, whatever their job, role, profession, status or place of work, paid or voluntary, has a responsibility under these Procedures to:

  • Understand the nature of Abuse, how people might be at risk of Harm and work to prevent it;
  • Know what is in these Procedures, and what their own service’s local operational arrangements to protect Adults at Risk, require of them;
  • Know how to raise a Safeguarding Adult Concern;
  • Report allegations or suspicions of adult abuse or neglect to their line manager and the Local Authority. This includes suspicions about a colleague or manager, irrespective of their status, profession or authority. Failure to report may be a breach of duty of care and may result in disciplinary sanctions. (Note: employees who make disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1998 are protected from dismissal or victimisation by their employers);
  • Know what services, advice and support are available locally to Adults at Risk, and how to access help needed.

Local authorities must cooperate with each of their relevant partners, as described in section 6(7) of the Care Act, and those partners must also cooperate with the local authority, in the exercise of their functions relevant to care and support including those to protect adults. The Care Act sets out that All public organisations should work together and co-operate where needed, in order to ensure a focus on the care and support (including carers’ support) and health and health related needs of their local population.

Co-operation between partners should be a general principle for all those concerned and all should understand the reasons why co-operation is important for those people involved. The Act sets out five aims of co-operation between partners which are relevant to care and support, although it should be noted that the purposes of co-operation are not limited to these matters:

  • Promoting the wellbeing of adults needing care and support and of carers;
  • Improving the quality of care and support for adults and support for carers (including the outcomes from such provision);
  • Smoothing the transition from children’s to adults’ services;
  • Protecting adults with care and support needs who are currently experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect;
  • Identifying lessons to be learned from cases where adults with needs for care and support have experienced serious abuse or neglect.

Required Action

All agencies working with Adults at Risk should:

  1. Be Aware of Abuse and How to Report It
    • Ensure that staff have training to recognise and report Abuse and Neglect;
    • Have effective processes for identifying possible Abuse;
    • Ensure that staff, service users and visitors to the service have easy access to information on how to voice concerns or complaints about the service, both internally and to external bodies;
    • Have clear, agreed and publicised information for staff about who in their agency they should inform when a Concern is raised. Agencies should make sure staff know what these arrangements are, and which members of staff refer Concerns to the Local Authority.
  2. Encourage Staff to Raise Concerns
    • Have a policy to support for staff who bring bad practice to light;
    • Have a whistleblowing / raising concerns policy and procedure that are publicised, and through which concerns, complaints and representations can be raised. Whistleblowing policies should identify how individuals who raise concerns will be supported by their employer. See also Whistleblowing.
  3. Take Action to Prevent Abuse
    • Ensure that visitors and contractors are appropriately monitored;
    • Ensure that services contracted by the organisation meet the same standards in relation to the prevention of the Abuse of Adults at Risk and have procedures that enable them to respond to any Concerns of Abuse within the framework of these Procedures;
    • Ensure that recruitment and selection procedures minimise potential risk to service users from abusive employees, including appropriate checks of employment history, references, criminal records, professional regulators and the Disclosure and Barring Service;
    • Ensure that staff are supervised, trained and able to provide services within good practice guidelines;
    • Ensure that staff resources are sufficient to provide appropriate levels of care, safety and choice of gender of workers providing personal care.
  4. Cooperate with Safeguarding Enquiries
    • Ensure that, in cooperation with any safeguarding enquiry, appropriate disciplinary investigation and action is taken. This might be in response to any concerns that a member of staff may be neglecting a person’s care, or may be acting abusively;
    • If an allegation of Abuse or neglect is made against a worker in a health or social care agency, statutory or independent sector, their employer must take action in line with their own disciplinary procedures. A disciplinary investigation should follow the completion of the Safeguarding Adult enquiry and any related court proceedings (unless agreed otherwise when planning the next steps of an enquiry);
    • Ensure that the details of any member of staff who is dismissed, due to misconduct that makes them unsuitable to work with adults at risk, is referred to the DBS.