The current safeguarding framework is set out in No Secrets: the development of multi-agency responses to the abuse of vulnerable adults, issued as statutory guidance by the Department of Health in 2000. In October 2008 the government issued a consultation on the review of No Secrets. Around 12,000 people took part in the review. In July 2009 a report of the review was issued, highlighting four key messages:
safeguarding must be built on empowerment so that it doesn’t detract from other qualities of life, such as self-determination and the right to family life
people want help with options, information and support, to retain control and to make their own choices
any system that is put in place needs to be specific to adults – not an adaptation of systems in place for children.
it is important that systems can accommodate people who lack capacity.
In January 2010 the government announced its intention to introduce legislation to put Safeguarding Adults Boards on a statutory footing and issue new multi-agency guidance.
No Secrets requires council social services departments to take the role of lead agency when developing and implementing multi-agency policies, procedures and codes of practice. This is to ensure an effective response to safeguarding issues. However, key organisations involved more broadly in supporting community health and wellbeing, have particular roles to play. For district councils, this will include people working in:
Housing, benefits, environmental health ,alarm call, support or personal services funded through Supporting People, leisure services, licensing, key local initiatives such as community safety (including domestic violence and abuse, hate crime and anti-social behaviour work).
No Secrets states that the responsibility for identifying, investigating and responding to allegations of abuse lies with operational staff. Arrangements are required to ensure that all agencies share a common understanding of what abuse is and what the initial response should be. Adult social care is likely to take the lead agency role. However, many agencies will need to be involved in investigative or preventative work, and police or health practitioners may take the lead for investigation and assessment. Agencies and services that might be involved in adult safeguarding work, include:
local authority departments (eg adult social care, children’s services and education, housing, supporting people, trading standards, leisure and community services)
health (eg acute care trusts, primary care trusts, mental health trusts, GPs)
support services (eg advocacy, friends and family, religious and faith communities)
providers (eg private sector, voluntary sector, social enterprise)
regulators (eg Care Quality Commission, Health and Safety Executive, Independent Safeguarding Authority)
housing providers (eg registered social landlords, supported housing, sheltered housing, extra-care housing)
police and crime prevention (eg community safety partnerships).
Jul 10, 2012 08:09 AM