The government has backed plans to introduce the first national standard outcome measure of service user satisfaction with safeguarding services from April 2016, a report by the health and social care information centre (HSCIC) shows.
The exact nature of the measure, which will be incorporated into the adult social cares outcomes framework (ASCOF), has still to be decided but work is underway to scope the feasibility of introducing it in 2016-17. A draft version of the indicator, which measured the proportion of safeguarding referrals where people said they felt safer as a result of interventions, and a survey to gather the information from service users, were tested by 40 local authorities as part of a pilot scheme run between May and June of this year.
The report on the pilot study findings, published earlier this month, found that the survey questions related to the indicator worked well but further work was needed to develop a “worthwhile and usable ASCOF measure for safeguarding”.
“Therefore we recommend that the survey is not a mandatory data collection for 2015-16 and consideration is given to the feasibility of a measure for 2016-17,” the report concluded.
The data and outcomes board, which is jointly chaired by the Department of Health and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, supported the report’s recommendations.
The HSCIC said development of an indicator was important as social workers and colleagues report feeling unsure whether adults are satisfied with how their safeguarding investigation was handled. The lack of a national benchmark makes it hard to compare councils and identify best practice or identify resources needed for effective safeguarding, the centre added.
Despite the data collection not being mandatory, the HSCIC report recommends that safeguarding adults boards implement the survey within their council from next April and build the questions into the safeguarding process. Doing so would help councils capture information on whether services meet their safeguarding duties under the Care Act 2014, including whether the person felt empowered during the safeguarding investigation.