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Employers ‘fail to refer abusive care workers to watchdog’

Health and social care employers are failing to report cases of staff found to have harmed or abused service users, the Independent Safeguarding Authority has warned, after figures revealed the extent of abuse within services.

Health and social care employers are failing to report cases of staff found to have harmed or abused service users, the Independent Safeguarding Authority has warned, after figures revealed the extent of abuse within services.

Councils substantiated about 30,000 cases of abuse of vulnerable adults in England in 2010-11, but just 1,020 people were referred to the ISA as a result, according to figures published yesterday by the NHS Information Centre.

While figures were not published for the proportion of substantiated cases where a health or social care worker was the perpetrator, staff accounted for 29% of alleged perpetrators from the 96,000 referrals received by council adult safeguarding teams last year.

“It is clear from these figures that we are not receiving the number of referrals from the NHS and the care sector that we should be and I would encourage anyone working in these sectors to ensure that they are making appropriate and timely referrals to the ISA as required by the law,” said the ISA’s chief executive, Adrian McAllister.

The ISA maintains two registers of people barred from working with vulnerable adults or children respectively. Employers have a legal duty to refer staff to the ISA where they have harmed or put at risk of harm a child or vulnerable adult and have been removed from employment as a consequence.

The authority then considers whether the person should be barred. Barred care workers who seek work with the relevant client group are breaking the law, as are organisations which knowingly employ barred individuals.

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