West Midlands agreement to improve safety for adults at risk
- Published on Monday, 16 July 2012 11:20
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
New policies and procedures are launched today which aim to improve communication between all the professionals that are responsible for safeguarding vulnerable adults in the West Midlands.
This initiative comes at an important time, following last Wednesday's White Paper on Social Care, which a promise to put "action to protect people from abuse and neglect on a statutory footing, with clear duties on local authorities, the police and the NHS to work together to keep people safe."
The organisations involved are as diverse as the West Mercia Police, NHS West Midlands and the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. They will be working together more consistently to promote safer communities, preventing harm and abuse. They will also deal with suspected or actual cases of abuse.
Police, health staff, social care professionals and other agencies will all be able to share information, which will cut bureaucracy and reduce misunderstandings. This should lead to greater protection for adults at risk. Also, each geographical area will not have to develop their own procedures, but there will be consistency between areas.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence(SCIE) has been working with these agencies, building on the work in London. It has been developed in conjunction with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services ADASS and the West Midlands Joint Improvement Partnership.
SCIE's Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, says:
It is great news that these policy and procedures have been developed for the West Midlands. Adults at risk of harm access various agencies and they deserve to know that all of those agencies are effectively working together to protect them from harm. Following similar work in London, we wanted to use that good practice to protect adults at risk further afield. So it is really good that this sort of sector-led improvement can be taken forward in the West Midlands, and we hope that more areas will follow suit shortly.
Sandra Ashton-Jones is from Wolverhampton's Safeguarding Adults Team. She is also chair of the working group which has developed the new policies and procedures. Sandra says:
There wasn't anything wrong with the way that individual areas were doing things beforehand, but we want to ensure that people across the West Midlands can be confident that the way they will be treated in one area will be the same as another. It will strengthen the role of social workers and other professionals working with people who may have experienced abuse or neglect, secure in the knowledge that all agencies in the region are working towards the same goal; putting the individual who is at risk of harm in control and effectively at the centre of the process.
The policy and procedures are aimed at different agencies and individuals involved in safeguarding adults, including managers, professionals, volunteers and staff working in public, voluntary and private sector organisations. They represent the commitment of organisations to:
- work together to prevent and protect adults at risk from abuse
- empower and support people to make their own choices investigate actual or suspected abuse and neglect
- support adults and provide a service to those at risk who are experiencing abuse, neglect and exploitation