The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services yesterday called for social workers to be given powers to enter the homes of vulnerable adults they believe are at risk of abuse.
Care workers would also be legally obliged to take appropriate action when they suspect a vulnerable adult is being abused, as part of a seven-point strategy to strengthen the law in the wake of recent abuse cases.
Adass has presented the plan to the government warning that moves to give individuals freedom to manage their own care budgets must be “matched” with greater legal protection against abuse. The organisation also said some professionals lacked training in recognising abuse.
The directors’ seven-point plan involves:
● Powers for social workers to enter domestic properties in cases of suspected abuse, in line with current police powers.
● Duty on social workers to act on or investigate complaints.
● Duty to share information between statutory agencies and regulators.
● Duties on regulatory bodies to work with councils to identify abuse.
● Duty to co-operate on all public agencies in adult abuse cases.
● Clarify duties and powers of agencies across geographical and organisational boundaries.
● Clarify terminology including definitions of abuse.
Dwayne Johnson, Adass’ adult protection lead, said the government needed to protect people who might be exposed to “unprecedented risk for the first time” as they took control of their own care budgets, under direct payments and individual budgets.
Adass’ proposals follow calls last month from parliament’s joint committee on human rights to legally require care home and health staff to blow the whistle on the abuse of older people. In response, care services minister Ivan Lewis said he was “not sure” whether the duty was required, but added he “would not rule it out”.
A Department of Health spokesperson said the DH would review the No Secrets guidance on safeguarding vulnerable adults and improve council monitoring of adult abuse by ensuring systematic collection of case records.