Overall, 78% of respondents to our Citizen Survey stated that they feel safe.
I feel safe, you will always protect me.
Fear of falling is once again apparent from the responses we received from the Citizen Survey, with many individuals feeling unable to go out alone in case they fall. We will be working closely with the NHS Falls Team to see where our Staying Well team can assist to promote early intervention and hints and tips for individuals who may become prone to falls in the future.
I feel safe at home in all ways but have fallen a few times in my garden and when out in town
The annual Safeguarding Week took place from 11th to 15th November 2019. During the week, we invited Michael Preston Shoot who is a Professor of Social Work as a key note speaker to a conference held at Venue Cymru. He has researched and written widely on Social Work Education and Practice with a particular interest on law and professional practice. The conference was attended by Social Workers, managers across Children’s and Adults Services. Invites were also extended to key partners.
We also promoted 7 Minute Briefings available on the North Wales Safeguarding Board website. The Briefings are designed to increase staff awareness of safeguarding matters with a variety of themes covered, for example, self-neglect and The Dark Web. Staff are also able to view information on what to do if they suspect abuse.
The new national safeguarding procedures were launched during Safeguarding Week, which are intended to provide a national approach to improve safeguarding across Wales. The procedures will also standardise practice across Wales and between agencies and sectors. During the consultation phase, we took the opportunity to robustly contribute to the new procedures. Ahead of the implementation of the all-Wales procedures, we held a conference entitled ‘Think the Unthinkable’. The Regional Business Manager attended to discuss themes from Adult and Children Practice Reviews. The expectation is that all staff will have access to the procedures via Social Care Wales’s web platform or the free app.
We continue to lead on the Adults and Children’s Safeguarding Forums. The first Children’s Safeguarding Forum was held in July 2019 so is still in the early stages. Clear terms of reference are being applied to ensure that all relevant attendees are aware of what the purpose of the meeting is and that it is beneficial to practice. The July Forum was well attended by staff from across Children’s Services as well as from the Workforce, Commissioning and Monitoring teams. The Forum will:
- Meet on a regular two-monthly basis
- Include guest speakers
- Cascade local and regional developments
- Inform staff of regional safeguarding priorities
- Share key learning and themes within local and regional practice
During the Child Safeguarding Forum held in October 2019, staff were presented with more information on ‘Show Racism the Red Card’. For more information on this campaign, click on the image below.
During 2019-20 the Adult Safeguarding Forum has continued to receive good attendance across the service, also including the Workforce, Commissioning and Monitoring teams. One of the main focuses this year has been to keep attendees up to date with the new Wales Safeguarding Procedures and highlighting/preparing for the culture shift that will be required.
The forum also provides an opportunity for all Adult Services to feedback on safeguarding processes within their areas, and draw attention to any issues or themes. This information is collated by the Adult Safeguarding Coordinator and where appropriate included as part of the Safeguarding Board Delivery Group highlight report.
The Exploitation Forum has continued to develop over the last twelve months. The Forum was initially set up as a Child Sexual Exploitation Forum (CSE). As discussions took place, it became evident that young people were being exploited through other behaviours such as stealing-to-order and drugs. As well as focusing on CSE, the Forum was expanded to include exploitation as a whole. With the rise and growing awareness of County Lines, we saw increasing links with cities such as Liverpool and our neighbouring authority in Denbighshire. This led to inviting PSCOs from Denbighshire and the Transport Police to the Forum and in doing so, creating new links.
As discussions have taken place it often highlights other agencies and stakeholders that may have information to share within the Forum. Subsequently, contact has been made to invite along various partners. For example, a representative from Women’s Aid came along to discuss the STAR programme. We have also had presentations from Well-being staff from Coleg Llandrillo. Additionally, agencies have heard about the Exploitation Forum and have expressed an interest to attend to share useful information.
As a result of the Exploitation Forum further joined-up, partnership working has taken place which has facilitated the sharing of invaluable information and created links between partner agencies.
Training for staff
During 2019 BAWSO provided two dialogue days on Tackling Forced Marriage and Honour-Based Violence, and Modern Slavery. Both days were attended by approx. 70 people, including local authority staff, the NHS, North Wales Police and third sector and voluntary organisations.
BAWSO is a long established all-Wales organisation providing generic and specialist services, including training and temporary accommodation, for those affected by or at risk of domestic abuse and all forms of violence.
How Do We Quality Assure Safeguarding and Continuously Improve?
We are committed to quality assurance throughout the whole service. This practice ensures a total quality management approach. In order to aid continuous improvement and ensure quality assurance, we regularly undertake audits in relation to safeguarding, sometimes in conjunction with our key partners. We have received positive feedback from conclusions drawn from a recent audit undertaken by a key partner. Feedback noted that the Council has clear arrangements for overseeing and meeting safeguarding responsibilities.
As part of our corporate governance and accountability processes, we routinely report on progress against our key service and corporate actions through the six-monthly Service Performance Review process. The Corporate Safeguarding Action Plan outlines that all services across the council should formally assess their safeguarding risks and mitigating actions and take appropriate action to mitigate future risks. This process of review has also been incorporated into the governance process.
Self-Neglect Assessment Tool
Many practitioners and managers deal with self-neglect situations on a regular basis. Supported by our Health and Safety Department and our Safeguarding leads, awareness has been raised of the importance of risk assessing not only from an individual perspective but also from a practitioner perspective. There is also increased awareness of the importance of developing strategies to reduce risks to individuals who hoard and/or self-neglect. These strategies also extend to practitioners who visit those individuals. The self-neglect risk assessment guidance tool has been drafted and agreed.
What were the challenges?
The main challenge was taking on board the complexity of situations of self-neglect and therefore drafting a risk assessment tool that was ‘user-friendly’. We also experienced the challenge of developing the tool to be used as a guide for every possible risk that can occur when individuals self-neglect. We have ensured that we have been thorough in this process.
We are now piloting the assessment tool with a selection of practitioners. Following the pilot, we will undertake a review of its usage and then circulate the assessment tool to all practitioners to make use of it. We will then undertake an audit to establish how improvements have been made in the use and quality of risk assessments.
The Family Support and Intervention Service have developed a risk matrix to be used during case discussions, allocations, transfers and closures. The aim is to help the key workers to define the level of risk by category and severity, balancing this against the strengths and protective factors identified within the assessment. Our risk matrix incorporates the ‘What Matters’ conversation to capture the voice of the child, parent and significant others. The matrix is on a single-page, quick-view format and is a simple mechanism to increase visibility of risks and assist management in decision-making. The form has been assimilated into our existing client information system and will also be developed into our new system.
Child Sexual Abuse Pilot
The Childrens, Family and Safeguarding Service have embraced the opportunity to become a pilot site for the Child Sexual Abuse programme and we are in discussions with the Centre of Expertise on child sexual abuse. The programme will involve participants from key partners who work closely with the local authority to safeguard individuals. This initiative will include partners from North Wales Police, Education, Youth Services and Health colleagues. The pilot is a ten-month programme. The training will be intensive and participants will develop high level skills and knowledge in a number of areas which include Harmful Sexual Behaviour and Child Sexual Exploitation. Participants will be given assessments and tools to support this work. It is expected that the multi-agency participants will become practice leads within their organisations.
Youth Justice Service role in tackling child sexual exploitation
The team have employed a member of staff with specialist training in child sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation. They are responsible for collating and sharing information with relevant agencies and attending exploitation panels for both Conwy and Denbighshire Councils. The post-holder will also offer support and expertise to case managers in the completion of the Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Framework (SERAF) and criminal exploitation tools. The risk of exploitation can be established and signposting to correct services and procedures commenced.
Strong links have been made with the North Wales Police Onyx team where information is shared immediately, thereby affording the Police a fuller picture of the relevant risks and any older adults involved.
What were the challenges?
The staff member’s caseload was reduced to allow more time to concentrate on these issues, to allow them to attend meetings on a monthly basis across Conwy and Denbighshire, and to be the first point of contact with North Wales Police and Youth Justice Service colleagues. Raising awareness of the challenges of child exploitation is an ongoing task.
We will be expanding the service we offer by entering schools and providing group sessions and advice for teachers and other staff.
Safeguarding Lecture to Social Work Students
In the previous Annual Report, we reported that we had been invited to present our work on Child Sexual Exploitation/Child Criminal Exploitation following our success at the Social Care Accolades to Social Work students at Bangor University. In the last year, the Assessment and Support Team continues to present a lecture on assessment, which includes CSE, to Bangor University Students, the most recent lectures taking place in November 2019. The lecture focuses on the assessor value base; the theoretical framework for assessment and the legal framework to assess and investigate. The lecture involves a taught element, a thought-provoking exercise and plenty of opportunity to discuss. This is also a good opportunity for the students to Q&A a qualified social worker on any aspect of social work practice.