The Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) asks us to strengthen our approach to Adult Safeguarding. It will transform the way Social Services are delivered and promotes peoples independence, it asks us to ensure that our customers are at the centre of what we do and that we consult and listen to them. Within disability services, the adults we work with often have communication difficulties and this presents a challenge to ensure their views are heard. Involving them in the POVA process is a challenge we needed to address, particularly with regard to POVA investigations.
POVA investigations involve formal interviews with involved staff, and service users. To make the process inclusive and meaningful, creative methods to engage service users were devised. There are many factors to consider, language, pace, capacity and people’s personal history. We have conducted two group exercises using two techniques. Firstly using open questions and recording them on large flip chart paper, using simple words and pictures. We used general topics and no leading questions. We found this encouraged natural conversation, and in both exercises we gathered the required information without causing any upset to the individuals involved. At the same time as being very honest and clear about what we were asking. I also used some visual prompts, in the form of a gold sparkly box and a black bin to post good and bad comments in. This worked well and the service users were supported to write their comments down. We used photos of staff and visual prompts wherever possible.
What difference has it made?
The main difference is that we are able to use the thoughts and feelings of our service users in our investigation and our recommendations for the POVA process. We cannot presume to know what people think and not to ask the people in the middle of the process is not acceptable. It makes our service users feel valued and empowered and evidences that we are placing them at the centre of our practice.
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