The Care Act 2014 placed Safeguarding Adults on a statutory footing. It included a requirement for e. Medway Council’s duty is met through a joint SAB with Kent County Council, the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board (KMSAB).
The Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board provides strategic oversight to ensure that all member agencies are working together to help keep Kent and Medway's adults safe from harm and protect their rights. One of the duties placed on SABs is that they must produce an Annual Report. The KMSAB Annual Report for 2016-17 outlines the key achievements of the Board and its component agencies as well as detailing some of the challenges faced. The report also includes details of multiagency training, Safeguarding Adult activity data and analysis and defines the key priorities for 2017-2018.
The Annual Report was endorsed by the KMSAB on 15 September 2017 (Appendix 1). It is made available on the Board’s website.
The Interim Assistant Director of Adult Social Care introduced the report. The Committee was informed that the Care Act 2014 placed Safeguarding Adults on a statutory footing and also defined the responsibilities of local authorities and key partners.
Adult safeguarding boards also had a responsibility to ensure that people who did not have specific care and support needs were safeguarded as appropriate. The three main functions of the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board (KMSAB) were to produce a Strategic Plan, to publish an annual report and to undertake any required safeguarding adult reviews. Work had been undertaken locally to raise the profile of Medway to ensure that it had a strong voice within KMSAB.
Key achievements of the Board had included running a safeguarding awareness week in October 2016. This had been repeated recently. The awareness raising had resulted in an increase in safeguarding referrals. There had previously been a low uptake of safeguarding multi agency training. In order to address this, a training programme had been developed and a contract awarded for delivery of the training. Previous safeguarding outcomes had been utilised to inform design of the training. The number of commissioned safeguarding adults reviews had increased. As a result, a safeguarding adult review working group had been established to help ensure that reviews were carried out consistently and lessons learned.
Medway Council achievements had included the creation of a Medway Executive group, which was a subgroup of KMSAB. The subgroup was supported by Councillors, Medway Foundation Trust, Kent and Medway Partnership Trust, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue. The focus of the subgroup was on outcomes for Medway residents.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), which aims to ensure that people in care homes and hospitals are looked after in a way that does not inappropriately restrict their freedom, continued to be a risk for KMSAB. Relationships had been developed and work undertaken to ensure that restrictions put in place were properly understood by staff at all levels. The number of DOLS applications had increased with it being anticipated that the peak had been reached. Work was required in relation to thresholds for the commencement of further investigations.
The profile of domestic abuse had been raised, with Adult Social Care being provided with oversite of domestic abuse incidents. Efforts were also being made to ensure that safeguarding activity was personal to the affected individual. A survey had been undertaken of people who had gone through safeguarding and there had been a significant increase in the uptake of safeguarding training. Staff from the Council and partner organisations were attending external training and bringing back the learning to share with colleagues.
Members of the Committee asked a number of questions which were responded to as follows:
Stalking, questionnaire responses and vulnerable adults – 618 people had been contacted to ascertain how best to involve them in safeguarding but only 16 responses had been received. The Interim Assistant Director of Adult Social Care said that the Council would only be involved in stalking cases where either the person being stalked or the alleged stalker were deemed to be vulnerable. Adult Safeguarding data was not currently recorded in relation to stalking but this was something that could be considered further in conjunction with the Police. Survey responses were challenging as it was difficult to get written responses from people, particularly given their personal circumstances. Face to face conversations were also used to capture feedback. A Vulnerable Adult Intervention Officer, who was a Police Community Support Officer, was in post and would be undertaking work in relation to adults who self neglect. It was agreed that contact details of the Officer would be circulated to the Committee. Work would take place to ensure that relevant staff were aware of their role. A Strategic Plan was being developed which would include three aims of prevention, awareness and quality.
The Acting Strategic Safeguarding Lead for Adults said that a specific
adult safeguarding questionnaire was also used. A priority from January 2018 would be to ensure that staff in the Quality Assurance Team made use of the questionnaire.
The Assistant Director of Adult Social Care advised that a statutory annual questionnaire was sent to all people known to the service. A separate questionnaire was sent out following the conclusion of a safeguarding query. Work took place with vulnerable adults living in both residential settings and in their own homes.
Consideration would be given how to better provide early help and prevention and how to signpost to appropriate services. A three conversation model had been adopted for engagement with service users. This was a strength based approach which focused on what mattered to the individual.
Kent Fire and Rescue offered fire safety advice to people. Where they determined that a person being provided the advice was vulnerable, they would inform Adult Social Care who would then undertake an assessment. It was also suggested that an individual with concerns that they were themselves vulnerable should contact Adult Social Care. There was a need to do further work with the voluntary sector and to consider how people access information to ensure that it is provided effectively at local community level.
Female safeguarding – It was noted that women were disproportionately affected by safeguarding concerns with there being 20% more women affected than men. While the fact that women lived longer than men could be a factor, this did not fully explain the difference in Medway as the male and female population split was more balanced than in other areas. The Safeguarding Executive Board was undertaking analysis based upon localities, age and ethnic backgrounds. It was agreed that details of this and analysis of the reasons behind safeguarding issues affecting women disproportionately would be provided to the Committee.
Adult Safeguarding Data – A Committee Member commented on the relative lack of safeguarding data that was available from before 2015 and asked whether there was an identifiable risk that had resulted in the software system used being changed. They also requested data to show how Medway compared with other areas. The Interim Assistant Director of Adult Social Care explained that the software package used had been changed as the former software had not facilitated the collection of required data. It was agreed that an analysis of how Medway compared to other areas would be provided to the Committee. The Director of Children and Adults Services added that the new software had been customised to facilitate data comparison.
i) Noted and made comments on the KMSAB Annual Report.
ii) Agreed that further written information would be circulated to the Committee. This would include details of analysis undertaken by the Safeguarding Executive Board in relation to localities, age and ethnic backgrounds, analysis of the reasons behind safeguarding issues affecting women disproportionately and data to show how key safeguarding statistics for Medway compared to other local authority areas.