A majority of social work professionals who responded to an
exclusive Community Care survey believe the Protection of
Vulnerable Adult scheme has been poorly publicised and could be
undermined by loopholes in the system, writes Lindsay
Clark and Derren Hayes.
Nearly 60 per cent of respondents said Pova hadn’t been
advertised well or promoted effectively within the sector, while a
further 20 per cent said this had only improved once introduced
Awareness of Pova among care providers and employers is crucial to
the scheme’s success, but 17 per cent of respondents were
still unaware of its existence.
Under Pova, care providers in England and Wales are required to
check that prospective employees are not on a list of people banned
from working in a care home or as a domiciliary care worker and to
pass onto the list details of staff who have left their employment
as a result of being unsuitable.
Pova only applies to those in the social care sector and is
unlikely to be extended to cover NHS staff for another year raising
fears that some abusers placed on the list could still get jobs in
the health sector. More than a third of respondents thought Pova
would not reduce the risk of abuse until all care settings were
There were also concerns that the fast-track Pova check, called
PovaFirst, could see abusers get jobs before full police checks
were carried out. PovaFirst enables employers to check the list to
see if a person is recorded on it. If they aren’t, they can be
employed while the full CRB check goes ahead. However, 25 per cent
thought PovaFirst would undermine the scheme, while 60 per cent
thought this was possible.
PovaFirst was introduced to help employers recruit staff so they
would not be put off by having to wait weeks for a CRB check.
However, 23 per cent surveyed said it would not help recruit care
home staff and domiciliary care workers, while a further 23 per
cent were sceptical about its ability to do so in the future.
Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said
the government would have done more to disseminate information on
Pova if it was about children and was not convinced it would reach
all the people it needed to.