The Labour government “totally ignored” adult protection experts’ advice on how to improve safeguarding, Community Care Live was told yesterday.
David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap, said he “felt abused” as part of the advisory group on the review of the No Secrets guidance on adult protection.
Labour spent a year consulting the advisory group on how to better ensure vulnerable adults were safeguarded. The group showed support for legislation on safeguarding, a position that was also strongly backed in a public consultation on revising No Secrets from October 2008 to January 2009.
But Congdon said: “We were one of those groups that was totally ignored. All the way through the review it was quite clear that the government did not want to put No Secrets on a statutory basis.”
The Labour government eventually did back a limited form of adult protection legislation – putting existing adult safeguarding boards on a statutory footing – in January this year, alongside plans for updated guidance to replace No Secrets.
However, Action on Elder Abuse chief executive Gary FitzGerald told Community Care Live that it made the pledge in the knowledge that the legislation could not be implemented before the election.
He said that nothing had changed on safeguarding since the consultation closed 16 months ago, adding: “The Labour government was playing politics with safeguarding.”
Congdon and Fitzgerald highlighted police failures to indentify patterns of abuse, different approaches across agencies and the absence of safeguards within personalisation initiatives as problems that had not been addressed.
It is not clear whether the coalition government will take forward Labour’s plans for safeguarding adults boards or No Secrets.