High profile abuse cases highlight the need for prompt referrals to the Independent Safeguarding Authority
- Published on Friday, 29 July 2011 10:46
- Posted by Scott Buckler
The abuse of vulnerable adults at Winterbourne Hospital and the abuse perpetrated at the Little Stars nursery have highlighted the need for prompt referrals to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) (July 29th)
So says Adrian McAllister, the ISA’s Chief Executive. The ISA was set up by Government to make independent barring decisions on people who have harmed or present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults. A bar by the ISA prevents people from working or volunteering with either of these vulnerable groups or both.
Mr McAllister commented:
"Staff at the Little Stars nursery had previously raised concerns about the now jailed nursery worker (who had received a written warning) and 19 concerns had been raised over a five year period about Winterbourne View. A prompt referral to the ISA which may result in a bar would help to ensure that someone who poses a risk no longer has access to vulnerable groups – and therefore the opportunity to further abuse in the workplace"
Employers and regulatory bodies (particularly those in the NHS, care and education sectors) are under a legal duty to refer people to the ISA - whether they are paid staff or volunteers - whom they have dismissed or removed from working with vulnerable people because of the harm they have caused or the risk they pose. However, where there is significant concern that harm is taking place or could take place, the employer can also refer the person to the ISA.
Following a referral the ISA will consider whether it is both appropriate and proportionate to bar them from working or volunteering with vulnerable groups. It is also a criminal offence for a barred person to apply to work or work with the vulnerable group from which they are barred, or for an employer to knowing employ them.
Mr McAllister continued:
"We all have a responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable members of society. It is important that employers understand their referral responsibilities and there is increasing evidence that referrals to the ISA are a key consideration in safeguarding decisions.
The events at Winterbourne and Little Stars only serve to highlight the need for employers to further strengthen their safeguarding procedures"