Adult at Risk Policy Development
As part of the developmental work undertaken around Adult Safeguarding, the Local Authority has updated its Adult at Risk Policy. The new policy stresses the importance of keeping the adult at the centre. The adult is best placed to identify risks, provide details of its impact and whether or not they find the mitigation acceptable. Working with the adult to lead and manage the level of risk that they identify as acceptable creates a culture where:
- Adults feel more in control;
- Adults are empowered and have ownership of the risk;
- There is improved effectiveness and resilience in dealing with a situation;
- There are better relationships with professionals;
- Good information sharing to manage risk, involving all the key stakeholders;
- Key elements of the person’s quality of life and well-being can be safeguarded.
In the majority of cases, unless it is unsafe to do so each enquiry will start with a conversation with the adult at risk. The Enquiry Officer in Conwy will ensure if conversations have already taken place and are sufficient, the adult and/or their advocate should not have to repeat their story. In many cases staff/organisations who already know the adult well may be best placed to lead on the enquiry. They may be a housing support worker, a GP or other health worker such as a community nurse or a social worker. While many enquiries will require significant input from a social care practitioner, there will be aspects that should and can be undertaken by other professionals.
To monitor the effective implementation of the policy, we will refer to the National Outcomes Framework and report back on performance around how many people feel safe following support via a Care and Support Plan. We will continue to embed the Making Safeguarding Personal approach to Adult at Risk practice.
Role of the Adult Safeguarding Coordinator
Conwy has continued to develop the Adult Safeguarding Coordinator role to ensure greater oversight of key Adult at Risk practice themes. This has been done by implementing the following:
- Weekly consultation sessions for all staff on case work with the Coordinator
- Attendance of the Coordinator at team meetings across the service.
- Training sessions for managers around the role of the Designated Lead.
- Regular themed audits around Adult at Risk Practice.
- Redesign of Adult Safeguarding Module in Paris. The safeguarding module is compliant with the requirements of the Handling Individual Cases guidance.
The Coordinator also chairs the Adult Safeguarding Forum on a quarterly basis, and led on the Regional Safeguarding Adult at Risk Report. These changes were in response to a recent Adult at Risk Safeguarding Report Audit.
With the launch of the new Regional Safeguarding Report Form, we would expect to see an improvement in the quality of information regarding safeguarding concerns. A follow up audit will take place in 2017/18.
New Safeguarding Social Worker Role in Conwy
The new pilot of the Safeguarding Social Worker (funded via ICF) within the Single Point of Access service has seen a reduction in the number of cases requiring an Adult at Risk Strategy Meeting.
- With only 14% (annual average) of Safeguarding Concerns now proceeding to the Adult at Risk Strategy process it is clear that there have been immediate benefits for managers. All services have acknowledged this and have praised the change in the process.
- The term ‘NFA’ (No Further Action) is no longer used. All Safeguarding Concerns received receive some form of investigation and this is in line with the Act.
- In February 2017, the Adult Safeguarding Coordinator undertook an audit of the 52 enquiries and highlighted the good practice, in particular around ensuring the views of the Adult at Risk are captured.
Workforce Learning and Development
A significant amount of training has been given to Adult Social Care practitioners and provider agencies over the last twelve months. The following learning events have been held:
- Chairing Adult Safeguarding Meetings
- Adult at Risk Practice for Designated Lead Managers
- Adult at Risk for Providers
- Investigation and Enquiries Training for Social Workers/ OT
The Outcomes set within the Learning Events were to ensure the importance of keeping the Adult at the centre of the safeguarding process.
In partnership with North Wales Police, the Local Authority have been “piloting” a new Missing Adults Protocol (known as The Herbert Protocol) with the aim to ‘save minutes and lives’ when people living within residential and/or nursing care homes go missing.
The scheme, named after a former soldier who suffered from dementia, has been piloted in Care Homes across Conwy and there are plans for it to be rolled out across North Wales.
Under the scheme, family members or carers will be asked to fill in an ‘adult at risk’ person profile about their loved one, which includes information such as their name, date of birth, habits and access to transport. The form is designed to help police officers access important information which could help locate a missing person living within a care home as soon as possible.
In 2017/18 we will, in partnership with North Wales Police, review the effectiveness of the protocol and report back to the Regional North Wales Adults Safeguarding Board before a decision is taken to implement the protocol across North Wales.
Self-Neglect and Hoarding Policy
In response to an Adult Practice Review, Conwy has taken the lead in the development of a Regional Self-Neglect Protocol and the development of a Local Hoarding Policy.
The Aim of the Self-Neglect Protocol is to prevent serious injury or even death of individuals who appear to be self-neglecting by ensuring that:
- Individuals are empowered as far as possible, to understand the implications of their actions;
- There is a shared, multi-agency understanding and recognition of the issues;
- Concerns receive appropriate prioritisation;
- Agencies and organisations uphold their duties of care;
- There is a proportionate response to the level of risk to self and others.
This will be achieved through promoting a person-centred approach which supports the right of the individual to be treated with respect and dignity, and to be in control of, and as far as possible, to lead an independent life; promoting a proportionate approach to risk assessment and management; and clarifying different agency and practitioner responsibilities and promoting an appropriate level of intervention through a multi-agency approach.
The aim of the local hoarding policy is to investigate and share information on the problems related to hoarding from different professional and community perspectives. Dealing with incidents in an evidence-based, structured, systematic, co-ordinated and consistent way.
The Council are holding two multi-agency workshops to promote awareness of the policy. The focus will be around Self-Neglect and Safeguarding. In addition, due to the significant number of cases the Council will be piloting a Multi-Agency Self-Neglect Panel. The panel will consider case presentations and will support partner agencies to work together with the aim to reduce and manage risks.
Success will be that adults feels they are safeguarded in a way that supports them in making choices and having control about how they want to live. Success will also be an increased awareness with multi-agency partners so we all play a part in preventing, identifying and responding to safeguarding concerns.
Regional Safeguarding Boards
As a Local Authority, Conwy has submitted two annual reports to the Regional Children’s and Adults Board. The reports demonstrate the work undertaken in relation to meeting the Board’s priorities in 2016/17.
Adults Board Regional Priorities
- The NWSAB operates effectively and meets its statutory responsibilities
CCBC contributes to functioning of the board
- Outcomes for adults who are the subject of adult protection plan are improved as result of all agencies across North Wales consistently delivering high quality adult protection services according to agreed best practice
This is an important priority for Conwy, we are focusing on improving the Adult Protection Plan over the next twelve months through practice learning events and audit feedback. We have continued to develop practice around the ensuring the Adult is at the centre of the process. The development of the Signs of Safety Model in Conwy is an important step towards supporting this objective.
- The NWSAB is assured of the quality of safeguarding services across North Wales
The Adult Safeguarding Coordinator has an audit schedule in place and provides feedback to the practice delivery group.
- The risk that vulnerable adults suffer or become subject to abuse or neglect is reduced because staff and the public are fully aware of the need to safeguard and protect, and know what to do if there is a safeguarding issue.
We continue to work alongside practitioners to improve practice.
- Outcomes for vulnerable adults are improved because the workforce is safe, skilled, proactive, and family-focused
Conwy has taken a lead role in the Regional Workforce Developments. Internally we have provided numerous training events to our staff regarding Adult at Risk practice.
Children Board Regional Priorities
CSE and Missing Children
A significant amount of work has taken place within CCBC around the CSE and Missing Children agenda. Social Work practitioners have established a monthly CSE forum. This forum discusses practice issues. A monthly SERAF panel has also been created; all children’s cases subject to a SERAF are presented at the panel and reviewed.
The CSE Regional action plan is reviewed and updated at the Conwy and Denbighshire Missing Children and CSE group.
An audit of SERAF cases has been completed in CCBC. The following findings were reported to the practice delivery group:
- It is evident that practice improvements have been made since the last audit in 2014 around the SERAF process. This can be demonstrated by:
- SERAF assessment being reviewed at each meeting and clear rationale for the scoring being evident;
- SERAF Review meeting in respect of each case being held on a more frequent basis;
- Quality of the SERAF minutes must also be noted;
- More Multi Agency Ownership around the SERAF process.
- It is very clear that any interventions provided where the SERAF score identifies significant risk, cannot be a short term piece of work. It is evident in the scoring within each of these cases that improvements are only seen after around 6 – 9 month stage of involvement.
- Parental non-engagement within two of the cases presented a significant challenge.
- In cases where the child is subject to Child Protection Plan/ LAC Care and Support Plan, we have a number / multiple meetings taking place, although the SERAF process is highlighted at both the Conference and LAC Review arena, it is important that the Child’s Care and Support Plan highlights the issues identified within the SERAF process.
- One of the practice challenges identified in one of the cases, is that the young person, due to their behaviour within the school environment, is now only attending for a limited number of hours in the morning. Concerns have been raised around this young person having more free time in the afternoon.
Children who display sexually harmful behaviour
This remains a challenging area of practice for schools/ education units within CCBC. Work has taken place around delivering training for multi-agency staff and also to children and young people. In schools the Designated Senior Persons (Child Protection Coordinators) have received Enhanced Training on ‘The use of the Framework for Analysis and Managing Sexually Harmful Behaviour.’ A range of keep safe work has taken place with children and young people. Training has also been made available to families via the Family Intervention Team.
This practice area remains a key priority for CCBC. Multi-agency work remains in place via forums such as MARAC. Staff across CCBC have access to training in relation to this practice area.
Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 – at the current time, training is being provided in respect of this practice area across CCBC.
Compliance will be monitored via the Corporate Safeguarding Panel.
Corporate Safeguarding Policy
One of Conwy’s Corporate Priorities is for People in Conwy to be safe and feel safe. As communities we are looking out for each other and everyone is aware of their safeguarding responsibilities. Our aim is that future generations don’t look back and think we should have done more to safeguard people.
Since the implementation of the Corporate Safeguarding Policy in July 2014, the following safeguarding work packages have either been complete or actions are underway.
In 2016/17 the priority aim was to ensure all Elected Members have attended the Care Council Safeguarding training – all Elected members have now received safeguarding training.
Designated Leads Group (each safeguarding department lead) meet on a bi-monthly basis. Designated Leads to have access to specialist training around Safeguarding.
The group meets on a bi-monthly basis over the last six months and the group have received training on the following areas:
- Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014
- Adult at Risk Practice
- Managing Allegations against Professionals
- Violent Extremism
Corporate Safe Recruitment Training workshops to be held throughout 2016/17 for managers involved in the recruitment process – it has now been made mandatory for all managers across the Council to attend Safe Recruitment Training.
Key performance information in relation to Safeguarding will be monitored by the Corporate Safeguarding Panel (see Corporate Plan).
Safeguarding audit activity that is undertaken by individual departments will be reported to the Corporate Safeguarding Panel – each Designated Safeguarding Lead is completing an on-line audit to monitor compliance around Corporate Safeguarding.
Child at Risk
Over the last twelve months, Conwy has continued to monitor the decision making in response to referrals at the front door in order to identify improvements in practice around Information, Advice and Assistance. Two audits have been completed; both an internal audit by senior managers and a multi-agency audit.
Key Findings from Both Audits
- The audit identified inconsistent practice (within this sample of cases audited) in relation to the quality of referrals received from multi agencies.
- Evidence of compliance with statutory timescales around responding to a referral.
- Improvements seen in case recording that previous referrals were considered as part of the decision making.
- In relation to the previous Conwy and Denbighshire 2014 audit, improvements seen in relation to signposting to other services but further work still to do.
- Overall, auditors were in agreement with decisions made by the Team Managers in Conwy in response to referrals.
Child Protection Coordinator Quality Assurance Role
After each conference, the Chair will complete an on-line audit in relation to the quality of the conference process. The audit will look at:
- Quality of social worker and other reports for conference;
- Timeliness of the social workers sharing the reports;
- Young person’s attendance at conference;
- Family members’ attendance;
- Agency attendance at conference.
Key findings from the Audit last 12 months
– Quality of Social Work reports for conference are good;
– Partner agency engagement with the conference process is also good;
– Core groups have been functioning well;
– Need to see improvements in fathers/significant males’ attendance at conference.
Children/ Families Engagement at the Conference
As an authority we will continue to improve the levels of engagement with the child/ young person within the Child Protection process. Over the next two years, Conwy will implement the Signs of Safety model into practice.
Already within the conference arena, the Chair focuses the agenda onto a strengths-based approach. Children/young people are encouraged to complete the Three Houses Toolkit prior to conference.
At the end of each conference, families and professionals in attendance are asked to complete a questionnaire to look at ways of improving the conference process.
“I felt the ways things were handled today by the chair was excellent; complex case and father of older child had travelled a far distance to attend but the Chair worked well with both fathers today”
Happy with everything; I feel very safe; the meeting has nothing to worry about”
Child Protection Re-registration rates
In relation to the total number of additions to the Child Protection Register during the year who had previously been on the register, Conwy had only nine cases, which was the second lowest figure across the whole of Wales.
This demonstrates the current approach within Conwy around ensuring that children whose names are taken off the Child Protection Register continue to receive support via Child in Need Care and Support Plans.
- Services remain in place three months after the child’s name is taken off the Child Protection Register
- Date of the Child in Need of a Care and Support Plan review meeting is agreed at the last conference
Supporting performance data for this quality standard
People reporting that they feel safe
76% of adults who responded agree that they feel safe. The overwhelming theme from additional comments is around the fear of falling, rather than any other external factors.
86% of adults with a learning disability feel safe.
87% of carers feel safe, with additional comments once again highlighting fears around falling and dealing with their own medical conditions. They also have to deal with the behaviours of people that they care for, and this can take the form of verbal abuse.
93% of children feel safe with some very positive comments supporting this view, e.g. “I feel safe here very very much” and “I feel completely safe”.
- The percentage of adult protection enquiries completed within statutory timescales (7days) is 89.04%.
- The percentage of re-registrations of children on local authority child protection registers is 17.91%.
- The average length of time for all children who were on the child protection register during the year is 246 days.