A Commission for Social Care Inspection study has found gaps in how councils and care providers handle adult safeguarding.
Two-thirds of councils it inspected were failing to adequately monitor safeguarding performance.
Few monitored the support received, only one-third conducted routine audits of safeguarding cases, and more than half needed to improve case recording and supervision.
Local adult safeguarding boards ineffective
Councils undertook some analysis of referrals, but this tended to focus on quantity rather than outcomes. The study, using 23 inspections, found that only half of local adult safeguarding boards were working effectively.
While all boards had representation from key statutory agencies, this was not always at the right level of seniority.
Financial abuse was a “big challenge” for safeguarding services, the report found. Council staff did not know how to deal with financial institutions or about the powers available to them in tackling the issue.
Some councils were using care planning and reviews as important components in safeguarding – such as appointing specialists to review the care received by people who had been abused.
And CSCI called for support to improve for people who experienced abuse in residential settings. There were few examples of sustained support to help people recover in the long term.
The report said providers’ performance against the national minimum standards for adult protection had improved significantly from 2002-3 to 2006-7, though more than 20% of care homes and home care agencies were failing to meet them.
It also uncovered issues with recruitment, with more than 40% of managers in care services unable to explain the role of the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (Pova) list, which bars individuals deemed to be dangerous from working in adult care.
CSCI chief inspector Paul Snell trailed some of the other findings at last month’s National Children and Adult Services Conference, including a lack of safeguarding training for independent sector staff and inadequate input by council safeguarding leads into the roll-out of personalisation (www.communitycare.co.uk/109781).
• Safeguarding Adults from www.csci.org.uk