Helen Wilsdon– BA(Hons). CQSW. PTLLS. Delivering Specialist Training for Safeguarding Adults

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Safeguarding adults during the COVID-19 crisis

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has delivered a profound shock to the UK. The measures to control the spread of the virus have reached deep into our lives, affecting people’s income, job security and social contacts – factors that are essential to healthy lives and as the Coronavirus pandemic has developed, carers and those receiving care have been significantly affected

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has recently produced Coronavirus (COVID 19) advice for those providing social care, which was update in July 2020.

“Following the initial crisis, we are now moving to a different stage in dealing with COVID-19. Safeguarding adults with care and support needs from abuse and neglect remains a priority. People may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect as others may seek to exploit disadvantages due to age, disability, mental or physical impairment or illness.

These groups may be targeted because of a number of factors. Generally speaking they may need assistance with some tasks, be less up to speed with technology, more welcoming of new contacts, more trusting and – for many older people – wealthier. There is evidence that social isolation increases the likelihood of abuse. Many older and disabled people spend long periods at home alone under normal circumstances. People who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 may continue to shield and avoid going out or mixing with others.

At a time of international crisis, those who seek to exploit these vulnerabilities are quick to act. We will all have been warned of new scams offering help and advice on COVID-19 or with financial assistance. Many of us will have concerns for family members who may fall prey to fraudsters.

This is a time when we must all be extra vigilant and try to pick up any early signs that something isn’t right.

We can assume that the greatest opportunity for abuse during the COVID-19 crisis is financial. With additional pressures on services, normal service reductions, fear and isolation, the window is open to those who may seek to exploit those who may be vulnerable. There were early reports of a 400 per cent increase in fraud reporting in March relating to the COVID-19 crisis. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has warned the public not to open their doors to bogus healthcare workers claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for COVID-19. The BBC reported on:

  • online sales of sanitation equipment that is never delivered
  • links to a fake daily newsletter for COVID-19 updates
  • fake insurance schemes and trading advice
  • fake government emails offering tax refunds.

Other types of abuse have escalated during this time – domestic abuse being a prominent example. Some living with an abusive partner or family member have seen an escalation in abuse due to the added tensions and frustration caused by the whole family having to stay indoors. The tensions can be further increased where families are living in cramped, temporary accommodation. The abuser may experience additional anxiety about, for example, supplies of food, alcohol, medication and illicit drugs. The consequences of this could be escalated abuse of those around them. People who are experiencing abuse may be less likely to ask for help as they know that emergency services are stretched. Fewer visitors to the household may mean that evidence of physical abuse goes unnoticed. Domestic violence and abuse can include many of the other types of abuse listed.

Helpful strangers

People who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of age or underlying health conditions may, during this period, be forced to accept help from people with whom they are not familiar.

While there has been an amazing response to the call for helpful volunteers, we cannot rule out the possibility of a few people who may see this as an opportunity to gain easy access to those who are vulnerable in order to exploit them.

Reduction in normal work services

The Coronavirus Act 2020 made easements to the Care Act 2014 in England and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 to enable local authorities to prioritise the services they offer to ensure the most urgent and serious care needs are met – even if this means not meeting everyone’s assessed needs in full or delaying some assessments. Many non-essential services – even to meet assessed need – may be stopped or reduced. Again, these predicted service gaps may open up opportunities for exploitation or abuse.

Safeguarding duties are not affected by the Care Act Easements and any changes in service must not lead to a breach in human rights.

What can you do to help?

As a frontline worker you are the eyes and ears that may first pick up any signs of abuse. Here is a checklist of things you can do:

  • Talk to your patients, residents or clients about the increased risk of abuse at this time.
  • Be aware that any changes in behaviour or demeanour could indicate abuse.
  • Advise people not to answer the door to strangers – and be aware of fake ID.
  • Try not to alarm people but ask them to be wary of offers to help, particularly from strangers.
  • Advise people to check with family, friends or paid support that offers of support, advice and help are legitimate.
  • Warn people against responding to any text, email or phone call from an unidentified source. Explain that fraudsters will imitate official bodies such as the government or the NHS – and they do it very well!
  • Advise people that they should never give their personal data, passwords or pin numbers to anyone. Official financial bodies and other organisations will never ask for them.
  • If you know of a person who has been subjected to, or is at risk of, domestic abuse – if it is safe to talk to them, try to assess the current situation. Make sure they know that help is available if they need it and who to contact both for advice and support and in an emergency.

If you have a concern that someone is being abused or neglected, it is important that you raise that concern internally, in line with your organisation’s policy and procedure. This is usually with your direct manager or supervisor, your organisation may also have a safeguarding lead.

The organisation will then consult the person where possible and gain their consent to report to external authorities such as the local authority. If the person does not consent, managers will decide whether there are grounds for overriding consent. “

For the full article and further information, click here

Take care and best wishes



Happy New Year

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2020. It’s amazing how quickly time passes and its hard to believe that we’re at the start of a new year again. This is often a time for reflection as well as giving us an opportunity to look forward.

I would like to begin this year by remembering that in its broadest terms,  ‘Safeguarding’ is everyone’s business and revisiting the basics of safeguarding adults

Adult abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere, and the responsibility for dealing with it lies with us all, as members of the public or volunteers and professionals.

The Care Act 2014 statutory guidance defines adult safeguarding as:

‘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. 

A local authority must act when it has ‘reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there):

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.’

So, safeguarding is for people who, because of issues such as dementia, physical or learning disability, mental ill-health, or substance abuse, have care and support needs that may make them more at risk to abuse or neglect.

The first priority should always be to ensure the safety and protection of the adult at risk.

All staff and volunteers from any service or setting should know about the Care Act 2014 which give us the legislative framework to respond to abuse, neglect & exploitation

All staff and volunteers have a duty to act in a timely manner if they have a concern or suspicion that an adult at risk is being abused, neglected or exploited and a duty to ensure that the situation is assessed and reported appropriately.


With best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2020

Kind Regards



Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)

“The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 has now received Royal Assent and become law.

The legislation provides for the repeal of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), and their replacement with a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)

The LPS establishes a process for authorising arrangements enabling care or treatment which give rise to a deprivation of liberty within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), where the person lacks capacity to consent to the arrangements. It also provides for safeguards to be delivered to people subject to the scheme.

The government is currently working on the LPS code of practice, which it has committed to publish for public consultation later this year. A number of regulations will also need to be drafted before the legislation can be implemented.

The government has not yet announced the date on which the legislation will come into force. But it is possible that this could take place in Spring 2020. The government has confirmed that for up to a year the DoLS system will run alongside the LPS to enable those subject to DoLS to be transferred to LPS in a managed way.”

Written by Tim Spencer-Lane and published in Community Care April 26, 2019

Source and for further information, click here; https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2019/04/26/law-authorising-deprivation-liberty-will-change/

Self-Neglect, Elsie, a case study

‘Elsie was the expert in her own situation and had an 87 year start on the social workers and others who tried to fix her within weeks’

This article, published on the Community Care website, follows the story of Elsie, who is deemed to be self-neglecting. It highlights the ethical and professional difficulties when working in this area.

The full article can be accessed here: www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/09/28/self-neglect-someone-safeguard-elsies-story/

Number of adults subject to a section 42 safeguarding enquiry rose 6% in 2016-17

Official figures show there were 109,145 adults subject to an enquiry in 2016-17, compared with 102,970 the previous year. The majority, 60%, were female and 63% were aged 65 and over.

The findings were published in NHS Digital’s annual safeguarding adults report, which is based on data collected from local authorities with responsibility for adults’ social services.

A safeguarding concern is where a local authority is notified about a risk of abuse. Some of these concerns will lead to a section 42 enquiry, where the adult meets criteria under the Care Act 2014, or an ‘other enquiry’, where the adult does not meet the criteria.

Concerns and enquiries

In 2016-17, there were 364,605 safeguarding concerns raised, which equates to almost 1,000 per day nationally, the report found.

Councils in the South East of England saw the highest number of concerns and enquiries, with 53,990 safeguarding concerns raised, and 24,615 enquiries carried out.

In comparison, concerns were lowest in the North East of England, with 29,890 raised. However, this area had the highest number of concerns actioned by social work teams, with 64% converting into either a section 42 or other safeguarding enquiry.

Source Community Care November 17, 2017 in Adults

For the full article, click here

Chief social worker issues guidance on adult safeguarding responses to pressure ulcers

Guidance includes assessment to guide professionals on when to raise pressure ulcers with adult social care services as a safeguarding concern

The chief social worker for adults has issued a national framework setting out when adult social services should consider holding a section 42 enquiry in response to concerns about pressure ulcers.

The guidance from Lyn Romeo highlights how hospital wards, care homes and other settings in England should respond when a service user develops pressure ulcers and when to refer the matter to local authority adult safeguarding services.

“Until now, there has been little, if any, consensus about the right agency, or multi-agency, response to identification of pressure ulcers,” Romeo said of the guidance.

“Pressure ulcers are truly dreadful for those who experience them – and distressing too for their families, friends and carers. The damage cannot be over-stated and they continue to be a major challenge for health and care practitioners across sectors.”

Adult safeguarding

“Most pressure ulcers are, in fact, preventable,” she added.

“But to prevent them we need to ensure all health and care professionals (including social workers) involved in the planning, commissioning and delivering of health and social care can spot the risks and take appropriate speedy action.”

The guidance says all instances of pressure ulcers should be reported to local health services even if the service user is receiving social care services.

It also includes an adult safeguarding decision guide for assessing whether the matter should be referred to the local authority as a safeguarding concern.

For the full article click here

Source http://www.communitycare.co.uk

by  on January 31, 2018 in Adults

Government eyes emergency measures to ease DoLS pressures

Emergency reforms to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are likely to be introduced to ease pressures as plans to replace the system have been shelved for at least two years, Community Care has learned.

Government officials are looking at ways to amend the regulations or the code of practice underpinning the DoLS that would help councils tackle the backlog of more than 100,000 cases that has built up since the Supreme Court’s 2014 ‘Cheshire West’ ruling.

This is because plans drawn up by the Law Commission for a full-scale replacement to the DoLS have been put on hold until at least 2019 because there is no space for it in the government’s programme due to Brexit.

Emergency measures under consideration include relaxing the statutory timescales for DoLS applications and the criteria for DoLS assessors, including best interests assessors (BIAs) and mental health assessors.

Any amendments to the DoLS regulations would have to be laid before parliament and any changes to the code of practice would likely need consultation. Consideration is also been given to piloting elements of the Law Commission reforms that are focused on practice, so would not need legislative reform.

Source http://www.communitycare.co.uk – by  on July 25, 2017 in Adults

For the full article, click here

Definition of adult safeguarding

It is important to be clear about who the formal adult safeguarding process applies to. The Care Act statutory guidance defines adult safeguarding as:

‘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. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.’

This definition hints at the challenges of safeguarding, but it is important to be clear about which adults we are discussing. A local authority must act when it has ‘reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there):

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.’ (Care Act 2014, section 42)

So safeguarding is for people who, because of issues such as dementia, learning disability, mental ill-health or substance abuse, have care and support needs that may make them more vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

Source Social Care Institute for Excellence  https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/introduction/highlights


Care home workers degraded 95-year-old female resident

Two carers were secretly filmed ‘degrading’ a blind and elderly dementia sufferer.

During the disturbing incident at the care home, they ‘forcibly and unceremoniously’ dumped the woman onto her bed to clean her, the hearing was told.

When she started to complain one worker threatened to ‘break every bone’ in her body, ‘kill’ her and drag her by the head to her bed, prosecutors said. She was also physically abused, being slapped across here face causing her to yelp in pain.

The incident was captured on secret CCTV cameras installed by the victim’s daughter after she became concerned about her mother’s unexplained injuries. In the footage from March 31 the distressed victim is heard repeatedly crying and pleading to God for help.

The incident prompted an unannounced inspection by government watchdogs the Care Quality Commission which has downgraded the home to ‘inadequate’, the court heard. Problems with staffing, training and management contributed to the incident, the court was told. Both defendents claimed their initial training consisted of watching a series of DVDs then answering questions which they never got any feedback on.

One of the accused workers said they felt out of their depth and wrote to managers to say they were not coping and felt bullied.

Following the case, a spokesperson for the home said: “We were shocked and appalled by the actions of these individuals, whose behaviour went against everything we stand for as an organisation. “We have fully supported the police investigation and the successful prosecution of the two offenders, who we are pleased will now be prevented from working in a care setting again. “We are disappointed the recent CQC report was used by the defence – this was a wholly unacceptable act by two rogue individuals that is not representative of the professional, caring and dedicated staff who work at the home.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Berkson said the defendents’ behaviour had ‘degraded’ the victim and was ‘cruel and anything but caring’. He said: “She was verbally abused by both of you. She was slapped in the face by one and the other did not stop it, report it and appeared unconcerned.

They were sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 250 hours’ unpaid work and they must both pay the victim £250 compensation.

Source Manchester Evening News

To read the full article, click here


Are you Providing the Right Training for Your Staff?

The Care and Support Statutary Guidance to the Care Act 2014 states that, ‘Safeguarding Adults Boards (SABs) should ensure that relevant partners provide training for staff and volunteers on the policy, procedures and professional practices that are in place locally, which reflects their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding adult arrangements. Employers, student bodies and voluntary organisations should also undertake this, recognising their critical role in preventing and detecting abuse. This should include:

  • basic mandatory induction training with respect to awareness of spotting signs of abuse and the duty to report
  • more detailed awareness training, including training on recognition of abuse and responsibilities with respect to the procedures in their particular agency
  • specialist training for those who will be undertaking enquiries, and managers; and, training for elected members and others for example, healthwatch members
  • post qualifying or advanced training for those who work with more complex enquiries and responses or who act as their organisation’s expert in a particular field, for example in relation to legal or social work, those who provide medical or nursing advice to the organisation or the Board

Training should take place at all levels in an organisation and be updated regularly to reflect current best practice. To ensure that practice is consistent – no staff group should be excluded. Training should include issues relating to staff safety within a Health and Safety framework and also include volunteers. In a context of personalisation, boards should seek assurances that directly employed staff (for example, Personal Assistants) have access to training and advice on safeguarding.

Training is a continuing responsibility and should be provided as a rolling programme. Whilst training may be undertaken on a joint basis and the SAB has an overview of the standards and content, it is the responsibility of each organisation to ensure the effective delivery of safeguarding training to its own staff.’


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