The Scrutiny Support Officer presented a report, which outlined the background to this matter.
The Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board had been established to ensure that adults at risk across Teesside were protected and safeguarded.
The Board brought together representatives of the main agencies responsible for protecting adults from abuse and neglect.
The Council was being consulted on the development of the organisations Strategic Plan, received from Stockton Council, which was providing administrative support in respect of the development of the Plan.
The Executive Director for Well Being, Care and Learning took Members through the draft and made the following points, in particular:-
- It was important to raise awareness of adults safeguarding. It was only recently that there had been a statutory responsibility on local authorities for adults safeguarding and, compared to children, the safeguarding of adults was not as developed.
- From the Councils perspective, a key element was to be assured that these issues were being taken seriously.
- The Board had a number of Sub-Groups one of which, Performance and Quality, was chaired by the Executive Director.
- The draft outlined objectives and measures intended to achieve the Boards strategic aims. These were:-
Personalisation - putting adults at the centre of the process and aiming to tailor services to their needs.
Prevention - measures to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect.
Protection - keeping people safe from abuse or neglect.
Partnership - ensuring links to other parts of the health and social care system. There was now a serious case review process, in the same way as for childrens services, where cases could be taken for consideration. The review could decide whether to commission an Independent Chair or a Learning Review.
Professional Accountability - this stressed that all agencies had a responsibility - not just in safeguarding adults, but in the delivery of the service.
A Member commented that, amongst the partners listed, there was no mention of housing providers, who were now under the umbrella of the Thirteen Group. The Executive Director agreed that this was a gap and said she would raise this.
A Member referred to a situation in a Care Home that she had visited. The Executive Director asked the Member to let her have more detail outside of the meeting and she would arrange for it to be looked into.
A Member commented that there had not been enough time for her to make informed comments, as the draft Strategic Plan had only been circulated one day before the meeting. The Executive Director acknowledged this. She had pushed for the draft to be circulated by the lead authority sooner. She suggested that Members email the Scrutiny Support Officer with any additional comments, so these could be fed into the review. The Scrutiny Support Officer advised that the deadline for comments was not until mid-July, so there was time for this.
A Member raised some queries about care generally and facilities provided for care staff. A Member, who was also on the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel, advised that that Panel had considered issues such as this and any questions or views that the Member had on matters such as this would be welcomed at that Forum.
In response to further comments and questions by Members, the Executive Director said that:-
The aim was to establish clear mechanisms for reporting back.
Evidence was derived from a variety of sources, including safeguarding alerts.
Whilst it was known that there had been instances of abuse in care homes, the level of abuse in the community was also a factor.
Systems for measuring information were relatively under-developed, compared to those in childrens services, which were well established. Whilst the categories were different, the processes were similar. Therefore, work was being undertaken to see how systems in childrens services could be used in adult services. The aim was to achieve the same level of rigour and scrutiny that existed in childrens services.
The policy of supporting people to remain in their own homes, for as long as possible could, potentially, impact on providers.
Middlesbrough was a living wage Council and was working with providers to encourage them to do the same (The living wage was a higher rate than the minimum wage and was paid to all Council staff, apart from apprentices).
Despite the number of agencies involved, confidentiality and sharing of information was not an issue.
The Chair summed up: The Board had no particular concerns with the draft, but any additional comments could be fed in, via the Scrutiny Support Officer. The Board would want to see the finalised document.
a) That the production of the Strategic Plan and the approach taken to addressing the safeguarding of adults be supported.
b) That it be requested that local Registered Social Landlords (e.g. organisations covered by the Thirteen Group) are included in organisations represented on the Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board.
c) That Members be given more time to consider the Plan and submit further comments.
d) That the draft Plan be forwarded to all Members of the Council for information/comment.