The personalisation reforms could leave vulnerable adults at greater risk of abuse, Commission for Social Care Inspection chief Paul Snell told directors.
Snell urged councils to step up safeguarding efforts when personalised budget schemes are rolled out over the next three years.
“Personalisation will place new demands on the safeguarding system,” the CSCI chief inspector told delegates. “There will be a stretch point – the new mechanisms will present new risks. They will have to be built on a solid foundation of safeguarding. We need to ensure that people receiving their own care through direct payments receive the same level of support as those receiving council-managed care.”
During CSCI’s recent inspections of adult social services departments in England, Snell said it had emerged that the best councils had dedicated safeguarding teams.”Some of them contain seconded staff from outside agencies such as health or the police,” he said.
Dwayne Johnson, strategic director of health and community at Halton Council, and joint chair of the Adass older people’s network, suggested having a “membership champion” on safeguarding boards. He said this would be “someone willing to speak to carers and families and on behalf of the board”.
Snell added that all providers needed to ensure staff were properly trained in minimising the risk of adults being abused.
“Safeguarding bodies need to ensure training and plans are made available to all agencies, in the public and private sector,” he said. “This is becoming increasingly important as councils commission more and more services from the private sector.”
In the past six months, Snell said CSCI had received 1,000 safeguarding “alerts” relating to 500 services, including nursing homes and domiciliary care.
He said further evidence about the performance of safeguarding systems would be available when the review of the government guidelines, No Secrets, which came out in 2000, is published this year.