Redcar and Cleveland Council has failed to effectively safeguard vulnerable adults due to inadequate leadership, training, supervision and investigations, the Care Quality Commission has found.
In a damning inspection report, it found that not all adults were safeguarded from abuse, neglect or poor treatment because of a string of failings in safeguarding.
The implementation of safeguarding investigations was poor, with many undertaken, or in some cases managed, by staff with no specialist training, while managers failed to make and record necessary decisions on how cases should be handled. Supervision was “erratic” and some staff had no supervision records at all regarding their safeguarding cases.
Some investigations were inappropriately “outsourced” to care providers, and vulnerable adults and their families were often excluded and sometimes not interviewed by investigating officers.
Safeguarding leadership across all agencies was inadequate. The Redcar and Cleveland committee of the Teesside adult safeguarding board was “yet to be properly established”, frontline staff were unaware of its role and there were no effective processes in place for the committee to learn about problems on the frontline.
No serious case reviews had been undertaken and there was no effective process of auditing practice to inform senior managers and elected members of areas of weakness.
It added: “Senior managers and elected members were not aware of any practice deficits prior to the inspection but had set out a swift recovery plan when concerns became known.”
It also said that some adults had been put at risk because information about reporting safeguarding concerns had not been adequately publicised to the public or other agencies.
The inspection also found that staff had been hit by an unsuccessful attempt last year to locate social care staff with health colleagues, which had lead to high social work turnover, vacancies and workload problems. This had since been addressed, the CQC found, and morale had improved.
On a positive note, the CQC found that the quality of care provided in the borough was generally good and the council had a good understanding of the quality of services it commissioned.
The inspectorate rated the council as poor at safeguarding adults, adequate at increasing choice and control for older people and with uncertain prospects to improve.
In response to the inspection, conducted in July, the council has launched an action plan to improve adult social care and said it had already recruited new social workers to bolster the frontline.
Helen McLuckie, cabinet member for health and social wellbeing, apologised for the failings, “which we are totally committed to addressing”. “We have acted extremely quickly to develop a comprehensive improvement plan and this will be delivered with the aid of a dedicated workforce which is focused on raising standards.”
The action plan will be reviewed every six months.
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