Directors worried over regulator’s unwillingness to investigate abuse

Social care bosses could be set for a clash with the sector’s regulator over plans to limit the role of inspectors in adult abuse cases.

In a recently published draft protocol, the Commission for Social Care Inspection said it did not believe it had a role in carrying out investigations in response to concerns about safeguarding adults (see Responsibilities).

The protocol sets out the role of different organisations in safeguarding adults cases and the commission hopes to agree it with the Association of Directors of Social Services.

But Community Care has learned that the ADSS is unhappy that the CSCI has ruled itself out of a role in investigations and believes the issue must be resolved “once and for all”.

A source said that CSCI officers currently carry out investigations in some cases of adult abuse, particularly those occurring in nursing or residential homes. The source also said that the Health and Social Care Act 2003 explicitly says that the CSCI has a role in investigations.

The ADSS believes that in certain cases the CSCI has more experience of carrying out investigations than councils or the police and wants to ensure the responsibility is not being handed over for resource reasons.

The source said unless agreement could be reached, it may be necessary for the Department of Health to arbitrate or make it clear who should take responsibility for investigations.

A CSCI spokesperson said its commissioners had approved the protocol late last year, subject to agreeing the issue of investigations with the ADSS. He said it hoped to agree the protocol early this year.

ADSS safeguarding adults lead Dwayne Johnson said: “We are certainly anxious to seek agreement with the CSCI and steps are being taken to tackle this together. At the end of the day we hope that this matter will be concluded so everybody is clear in future of the roles and responsibilities of key agencies.”

The CSCI says its principal role in relation to concerns about safeguarding adults is as a regulator, not an investigator, with the investigation falling to partner agencies such as local authorities.

Draft Safeguarding Adults Protocol 

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 Simeon Brody

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