Here we’ll look back on the areas of work we set out to achieve during 2020-21, and provide an update on what actually happened.
Adopting a new case management system
In last year’s report we told you that we would be adopting the Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) in line with Welsh Government ambitions to create one case management system for all Health Boards and Local Authorities across Wales. The implementation project has progressed well, with WCCIS going live in November 2021, as planned. This was a sizeable and challenging project, with approximately 675 users, trained mostly via virtual sessions, to use the system. We’ll continue to support them in their learning journey, and make improvements to our processes where necessary to ensure that the transition is as seamless and manageable as possible.
Once other Local Authorities and Health Boards are in a position to adopt the system for themselves, the sharing of information on individuals we support will be improved and allow for collaborative working and record-keeping.
New Wales Safeguarding Procedures
Last year we were preparing for the new Wales Safeguarding Procedures to come into force, and since April 2020 we’ve been working really hard to ensure that our workforce is ready for the change, and confident to absorb the new practice into their everyday work. This has involved:
- Updating documents, templates and processes to reflect new terminology
- Raising awareness of the procedures amongst all services within the Authority, including elected members
- Encouraging staff to download the app to their smartphones
- Providing training sessions
- Conducting a survey to measure staff confidence in using the procedures
- Conducting a survey to measure how confident managers are to support their teams in using the procedures
The survey provided an impression of how familiar staff members are with the procedures and how they use them. The overall response was positive, and we have been able to formulate a clear action plan around further training required in each section.
The app is an excellent reference point, and we know who to contact…for further advice where we are not sure.Social Care Manager
The app is a valuable resource, easily accessed and navigated, and kept up to date.Social Care Manager
We have found that within adult safeguarding, the facilitation and expectations of the procedures are clearer and build upon previous guidance. Practitioners are able to use the app as a tool to provide them with guidance throughout the process.
There is a clear and rigorous process in place to manage allegations made against individuals working within a position of trust. As part of this, the roles of Local Authority Designated Officer and Designated Officer for Safeguarding have been established and promoted within the Authority.
Conwy has implemented the procedures in a timely manner, with other Authorities requesting our process and documentation to aid their own implementation plans.
What were the challenges?
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the majority of training has been virtual, meaning that we’ve had to negotiate new technology and platforms to deliver the information effectively.
- Go-live for the safeguarding procedures was deferred from April to September 2020, which meant that training sessions coincided with training on the new client care information system; this impacted on attendance and availability of staff.
- Adjusting from the Wales Interim Policy and Procedures for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults to the Wales Safeguarding Procedures has taken some time.
- The North Wales Safeguarding Board has continued to provide specific processes and guidance throughout this time, creating a lack of clarity on some sections of the procedures.
We will continue to ensure that the procedures are embedded successfully into our working practices. In addition we’ll:
- Attend social care team meetings to encourage compliance
- Consolidate procedures into practice across all operational teams through training, peer mentoring and practice learning
- Share guidance via the adults’ and children’s safeguarding forums
- Join the national task and finish group in relation to Section 5
- Assist our colleagues in the Education Department with the delivery of training around Section 5 processes
Re-shaping our mental health services
During 2019-20 we made great strides in developing our community-based mental health services, with the opening of our hub in Llandudno, and efforts to emulate this model across the county. During 2020, the pandemic accelerated the pace of change and highlighted where we needed to focus our efforts to deliver on our vision of proportionate, timely and recovery-focused care. The social care team was previously co-located with Health Board colleagues as part of the Community Mental Health Team, but an agreement was reached in spring 2020 to separate the two teams to recognise the expertise of each organisation. It would also allow us to differentiate between people who need a clinical response from the Health Team and those who have social care issues, who will now be seen by the newly-formed Mental Wellness Team.
There is a strong commitment between the Health Board and social care to ensure the two teams achieve a seamless provision for the people needing services, ensuring that the person gets access to the service they need, delivered by the right professional at the right time. A key part of this development is to increase the prevention and early intervention focus of the Mental Wellness Team, which has proved to be successful in managing crisis situations and dealing with underlying causes, therefore reducing the likelihood of repeated crises and improving the quality of life for people.
To fully establish a sustainable early intervention programme requires close and robust connection with our Third Sector partners and communities. The aim to grow the community hub and all that it encompasses, i.e. all-age provision in each locality with a flourishing recovery college and the ability to support people in crisis, continues to be a key aspect of the overall service model. We have firmer plans in place for the recovery college and have adapted the vision to be responsive to needs as they’ve altered over the pandemic. For example, the increased use of digital technologies have brought benefits we aim to harness and develop, whilst also recognising that, for some people, face to face contact and connection is crucial. We believe that this is a critical element in empowering individuals to a meaningful recovery and achieving sustained mental wellbeing.
Embedding our self-neglect and hoarding risk assessment tool
Last year we talked about the need to risk assess individuals who present with indications of self-neglect or hoarding. Our risk assessment has been piloted and all individuals who self-neglect have an alert on our client care information system, along with an allocated practitioner. They are also listed on a self-neglect register, which all managers can access.
There have been a substantial number of multi-agency meetings to formulate individual action plans to support people who self-neglect, and as a result, many have progressed through the protocol and subsequently been taken off the register. This demonstrates that risks have been removed.
We have worked hard to successfully engage and work with partner agencies. Meetings regularly include all paramount partner agencies, and joint risk assessments are often developed.
What were the challenges?
The pandemic has created a challenge, meaning that face to face visits and the main focus of risk assessment has been around Covid-19. The main challenge now is to encourage practitioners to use the risk assessment tool alongside the protocol to ensure safe practice.
The main aim going forward is to promote the use of the risk assessment tool and to monitor its usage. Additionally we will ensure practitioners are working alongside the self-neglect protocol and the hoarding policy. The Safeguarding and Corporate Health and Safety Teams will be instrumental in the next audit, which is due to take place later this year. This will ensure that appropriate guidance and advice is given, with the ultimate aim of enabling individuals to reduce their risk of harm, and that practitioners practice safely.