CSCI finds ‘variable’ practice in safeguarding adults

The quality of safeguarding adults practice varies significantly between areas, a Commission for Social Care Inspection report due out next month will say.

CSCI chief inspector Paul Snell outlined some of the findings yesterday at a session on safeguarding at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Liverpool.

Snell said robust procedures and recording, training, multi-agency working, strong leadership and the reconciliation of safeguarding with personalisation were crucial to the quality of adult protection.

However, he said a series of inspections of council safeguarding arrangements had revealed few recorded outcomes for people who received support.

While extending safeguarding training to independent sector providers was “critical”, the proportion of non-council staff trained in adult protection ranged from 1% to 46% between areas in 2007-8, Snell added.

He said there was evidence of other agencies beyond adult social care departments – such as the police and NHS – contributing resources to safeguarding, “but this is by no means universal”.

Snell also said that council safeguarding leads were not always involved in the setting up of personalisation schemes, such as the roll-out of personal budgets.

He added: “When safeguarding is not robust then the stretch between personalisation and safeguarding is too great.”

The CSCI report – based on 23 council inspections, self-assessments by all 150 English authorities, performance against the national minimum standards and 94 inspections of care services – will also reveal a lack of advocacy for victims of abuse and neglect.

Teresa Bell, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services joint lead on safeguarding, said improved advocacy was crucial to reconciling personalisation and safeguarding, an issue she has also examined for Adass.

Bell said there was anxiety over direct payment or personal budget users employing personal assistants, who are currently unregulated and do not require a Criminal Records Bureau check.

A Community Care survey of almost 600 adult social workers, published this week, found strong support for mandatory CRB checks and registration of PAs by the General Social Care Council, an issue it will shortly consult on.

However, a paper by Bell and fellow safeguarding lead Penny Furness-Smith, endorsed this week by Adass’ executive council, argued regulating people employed directly by service users “would not be practical or workable”.

Instead, Bell and Furness-Smith mooted a system of accreditation for PAs which councils would invite service users to refer to.

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