Vulnerable adult protection scheme riddled with loopholes, claim critics

Fears have been raised that the new list of people who are
unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults is full of “loopholes”
and that service users and providers remain ignorant of its

The guidance on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (Pova) scheme
will require care home providers to check whether prospective
employees are not on a list of people banned from working in care
homes and to pass onto the list details of staff who have left
their employment for being unsuitable. It was launched this week
and covers England and Wales.

But the guidance says: “Those who work with vulnerable adults in
the NHS, independent hospitals, clinics and other facilities, or
through an independent medical agency, are excluded from the ambit
of the Pova scheme for the time being”.

Director of community care at the English Community Care
Association Ann Mackay said: “We are particularly anxious that Pova
is extended to staff in the NHS as an absolute priority.”

Kathryn Stone, director of learning difficulty charity Voice UK,
added: “The fact that health bodies are not included is a real
concern. It has taken a long time to get the protection of adults
on an equal footing to children.” She added that some people who
were paid to provide health care for service users then went on to
abuse them.

Stone said there were concerns that service users had not been
given information about Pova, despite an increasing government push
to encourage greater use of direct payments.

“Who is going to tell service users about Pova? In various ways we
are encouraging service users to have greater independence and more
choice, but if we are not telling them about Pova we could be
putting them at risk,” she said.

The issue of poor awareness of the scheme was also raised by
Mackay, who said the guidance had only been made available close to
the launch date and there could be small homes that were unaware of
its existence and their new statutory responsibilities.

– Pova guidance is available from

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