Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy
1. Why this policy exists
Safeguarding vulnerable adults is a complex area in terms of keeping our older guests safe. Our potential client group is extremely wide, ranging from adults who are able to look after all aspects of their lives to individuals who may not be able to look after certain aspects of their lives. There will also be people experiencing short periods of illness or disability. There may also be a wide range of service providers and professionals involved.
This policy will enable Re-engage to demonstrate its commitment to keeping safe the vulnerable adults with whom it works alongside. Re-engage acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse.
In addition we fully acknowledge and support that everyone has the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion/ beliefs, pregnancy/ maternity and gender reassignment.
It is important to have the policy and procedures in place so that staff, volunteers, service users and their carers or next of kin, as well as the Board of Trustees, can work to prevent abuse and know what to do in the event of abuse.
The Policy Statement and Procedures have been drawn up in order to enable Re-engage to:
- promote good practice and work in a way that can prevent harm, abuse and coercion occurring
- ensure that any allegations of abuse or suspicions are dealt with appropriately and the person experiencing abuse is supported
- stop that abuse occurring
The Policy and Procedures relate to the Safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Vulnerable adults in England and Wales are defined as:
- People aged 18 or over
- Those who are receiving or may need community care services and support, because of learning, physical or mental disability, age or illness
- Who are or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.
(No Secrets, Department of Health, updated 2015)
Adults at risk in Scotland are defined as:
- People aged 16 or over
- Those unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interest
- Those at risk of harm
- Those who are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness, physical or mental infirmity, who are more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected
(Adult Support and Protection Scotland Act 2007)
The policy applies to all staff, including the Senior Management team, Board of Trustees members, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, agency staff and anyone working on behalf of Re-engage.
It is acknowledged that significant numbers of vulnerable adults are abused and it is important that Re-engage has a Safeguarding Adults Policy, a set of procedures to follow and that the charity puts in place preventative measures to try and reduce those numbers.
In order to implement the policy Re-engage will work:
- to promote the freedom and dignity of the person who has experienced or is experiencing abuse
- to promote the rights of all people to live free from abuse and coercion
- to ensure the safety and well-being of people who do not have the capacity to decide how they want to respond to abuse that they are experiencing
- to manage services in a way which promotes safety and prevents abuse
- recruit staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training
- will ensure that all Senior Management team members, Trustees, Staff, Volunteers, service users and carers/families are familiar with this policy and procedures
- will work with other agencies within the framework of the Safeguarding Adults Board Policy and Procedures (Department of Health, updated 2015 / Adult Support and Protection Scotland Act 2007)
- will act within its Confidentiality Policy and will usually gain permission from service users before sharing information about them with another agency
- will pass information to local Adult Social Care teams in England and Wales and local Adult Protection Committees in Scotland, when more than one person is at risk. For example: if the concern relates to a worker, volunteer or organisation who provides a service to vulnerable adults or children
- will inform service users that where a person is in danger, a child is at risk or a crime has been committed, then a decision may be taken to pass information to another agency without the service user’s consent
- will support fully those who are making a complaint, allegation or expressing concern, reassuring them that they will be taken seriously, be given support and referred to those who can help and protect them
- will make a referral to the local Adult Social Care team in England and Wales and local Adult Protection Committee in Scotland, as appropriate
- will endeavor to keep up to date with national developments relating to preventing abuse and welfare of adults
- will ensure that the Designated Named Person understands his/her responsibility to refer incidents of adult abuse to the relevant statutory agencies (Police/Adult Social Care team/Adult Protection Committee)
The Designated Named Person(s) for Safeguarding Adults is Shade Odupelu – interim director of people who should be contacted for support and advice on implementing this policy and procedures.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following:
- London Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures (PDF)
- Department of Health – No Secrets (PDF)
- Adult Support and Protection Act Scotland 2007
- Care Act 2014: Care and Support statutory guidance
Re-engage provides a lifeline of friendship service to older people aged 75 and over who live alone, offering a regular and vital friendship link every month. These procedures have been designed to ensure the welfare and protection of any adult who accesses the service provided by Re-engage or their volunteers.
The procedures recognise that adult abuse can be a difficult subject for workers to deal with. Re-engage is committed to the belief that the protection of vulnerable adults from harm and abuse is everybody’s responsibility and the aim of these procedures is to ensure that all senior management team members, trustees, staff and volunteers act appropriately in response to any concern around adult abuse.
2. Preventing abuse
Re-engage is committed to putting in place safeguards and measures to reduce the likelihood of abuse taking place within the services it offers and that all those involved within Re-engage will be treated with respect.
Therefore this policy needs to be read in conjunction with the following policies and documents:
- Equalities Policy
- Vulnerable Adult Policy
- Volunteers Guidelines and Volunteers Manual
- Group Coordinators Manual
- Complaints Procedure
- Confidentiality Policy
- Disciplinary and Grievance Policy
- Data Protection Policy
- Recruitment and Selection Policy
- Staff Handbook
Recruitment and selection
Re-engage is committed to safe employment, and safer recruitment policies and practices for paid staff, Trustees and volunteers. This will include enhanced DBS disclosures in England and Wales, PVG disclosures in Scotland, and 2 personal references being taken up, for staff, trustees and volunteers, who have any individual contact with our beneficiaries, and access to their information or data. We will also ensure that adequate training on Safeguarding Adults is provided for staff and volunteers.
All staff, including our senior management team members will be required to provide two references and, have an enhanced DBS disclosure in England and Wales, PVG disclosures in Scotland.
Training, awareness raising, monitoring and supervision
Re-engage will ensure that all staff, trustees and volunteers receive basic awareness training on safeguarding adults as they may come across adults with care and support needs who may be at risk of abuse. Those adults may report things of concern to staff or volunteers who should be equipped with the basic knowledge around safeguarding adults and be confident to identify that abuse is taking place and action is required.
All staff and volunteers should be clear about the core values of Re-engage and commitment to safeguarding adults.
- All staff will carry out basic on-line awareness safeguarding adults training
- All trustees and volunteers will be asked to read Re-engage’s safeguarding policy and procedures when they join
- This policy will be reviewed and updated every 12 months, or as and when required. Revised copies will be sent to all Staff and Trustees to read and acknowledge that they have read the revised policy
- When our Volunteer Portal is launched the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures will be added to the Portal. It will be a requirement that any new volunteers read this policy and tick that they have read it, before they can start their volunteering role
Re-engage has the following systems in place to ensure that all staff, trustees and volunteers working with beneficiaries are monitored and supervised:
- Regular staff supervision meetings with line Managers
- Bi-Monthly Senior Management Meetings
- Regular volunteer Group Coordinator phone catch-ups or meetings with their Regional Staff contact
- Ensuring that all volunteers complete the ‘Incident Report’ for any concerns they may have. This is forwarded to the Regional staff Contact, and then onto the Operations Manager
- Quarterly trustee meetings where key risks of the Risk Register are reported on and discussed
- Quarterly / Half yearly / Annual meetings of all local Group Coordinators
- Volunteer hosts and drivers are encouraged to feed back any concerns they may have to their Group Coordinator, who in turn will feed these back to their Regional Staff Contact
The organisation will work within the current legal framework for reporting staff or volunteers that are abusers.
Service users and volunteers will be encouraged to become involved with the running of the organisation. Information will be available about abuse and the Complaints Policy and Safeguarding Adults Policy will be available to service users and their carers/families as well as volunteers.
3. Recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse
Re-engage is committed to ensuring that all staff, the senior management team, trustees and volunteers undertake training to gain a basic awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse. Re-engage will ensure that the designated named person and other members of staff, trustees and volunteers have access to training around safeguarding adults.
“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons” (No Secrets: Department of Health, updated 2015)
- Physical abuse: including hitting, slapping, punching, burning, misuse of medication, inappropriate restraint
- Sexual abuse: including rape, indecent assault, inappropriate touching, exposure to pornographic material
- Psychological or emotional abuse: including belittling, name calling, threats of harm, intimidation, isolation
- Financial or material abuse: including stealing, selling assets, fraud, misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
- Neglect and acts of omission: including withholding the necessities of life such as medication, food or warmth, ignoring medical or physical care needs
- Discriminatory abuse: including racist, sexist, abuse based on a person’s disability and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment
- Institutional or organisational: including regimented routines and cultures, unsafe practices, lack of person-centred care or treatment
- Modern slavery is the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of people using force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception, or other means, for the purpose pf exploitation
- Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, and violent behaviour. This includes abuse committed by a partner, ex-partner, family member and carer. Domestic abuse can include psychological and emotional abuse, financial abuse, harassment and stalking
Abuse may be carried out deliberately or unknowingly. Abuse may be a single act or repeated acts.
People who behave abusively come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They may be doctors, nurses, social workers, advocates, staff members, volunteers or others in a position of trust. They may also be relatives, friends, neighbours or people who use the same services as the person experiencing abuse.
Designated named person for safeguarding adults
Re-engage has an appointed individual who is responsible for dealing with any safeguarding adults concerns. In their absence, a deputy will be available for workers to consult with. The designated named person(s) for safeguarding adults within Re-engage is:
Shade Odupelu – interim director of people
Telephone number: 020 7240 0630
Should the named person be unavailable, in urgent circumstance, then other Senior Management members, Trustees, staff or volunteers should contact their local Adult Social Care Team in England and Wales, or the local Adult Protection Committee in Scotland, directly.
The roles and responsibilities of the named person(s) are:
- to ensure that all staff, including volunteers and Trustees, are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they have concerns that a vulnerable adult may be experiencing, or has experienced abuse or neglect
- to ensure that concerns are acted on, clearly recorded and referred to a local Adult Social Care team in England and Wales, or local Adult Protection Committee in Scotland, or to the allocated social worker/care manager where necessary
- to follow up any referrals and ensure the issues have been addressed
- consider any recommendations from the Safeguarding Adults process to reinforce the utmost need for confidentiality and to ensure that staff and volunteers are adhering to good practice with regard to confidentiality and security. This is because it is around the time that a person starts to challenge abuse that the risks of increasing intensity of abuse are greatest.
- to ensure that staff and volunteers working directly with service users who have experienced abuse, or who are experiencing abuse, are well supported and receive appropriate supervision
- if appropriate, staff or volunteers will be given support and afforded protection if necessary under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for England and Wales and the Public Records Scotland Act 2011. They will be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner and they will be kept informed of any action that has been taken and its outcome
Responding to people who have experienced or are experiencing abuse
Re-engage recognises that it has a duty to act on reports, or suspicions, of abuse or neglect. It also acknowledges that taking action in cases of adult abuse is never easy.
How to respond if you receive an allegation:
- Reassure the person concerned
- Listen to what they are saying
- Record what you have been told/witnessed as soon as possible
- Remain calm and do not show shock or disbelief
- Tell them that the information will be treated seriously
- Don’t start to investigate or ask detailed or probing questions
- Don’t promise to keep it a secret
If you witness abuse, or abuse has just taken place, the priorities will be:
- To call an ambulance if required
- To call the police if a crime has been committed
- To preserve evidence
- To keep yourself, staff, volunteers and service users safe
- To inform the designated named person in your organisation
- To record what happened in the safeguarding adults concerns file
All situations of abuse, or alleged abuse, will be discussed with the Designated Named Person or their deputy. If a member of the Senior Management team, a Trustee, staff member or volunteer feels unable to raise this concern with the Designated Named Person, or their deputy, then concerns can be raised directly with their local Adult Social Care Team in England and Wales or their local Adult Protection Committee in Scotland. The alleged victim will be told that this will happen. This stage is called the alert.
If it is appropriate and there is consent from the individual, or there is a good reason to override consent, such as risk to others, a referral (alert) will be made to Adult Social Care team or Adult Protection Committee.
If the individual experiencing abuse does not have capacity to consent, a referral will be made without that person’s consent, in their best interests.
The Designated Named Person may take advice at the above stage from Adult Social Care Team or Adult Protection Committee and/or the Safeguarding Adults Unit and/or other advice giving organisations such as the Police.
- NHS England – 0300 311 22 33
- NHS Health Scotland – 0141 414 2888
In an emergency, please call 999 for the relevant service (Police, Fire, and Ambulance) or attend your local accident & emergency Department if you are able to do so. For non urgent medical advice, contact your GP, your local NHS walk-in clinic or Call NHS 111.
Adult Social Care Team – Westminster City Council (although we are a national organisation, our National Office is based in Westminster, under Westminster City Council, who we can speak to if we need advice)
- Telephone: 020 7641 2500
- Safeguarding Adults Unit
- Phone: 020 7641 2176
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will however speak to the local team closest to where the incident occurred.
A Safeguarding Adults Manager will then decide if the safeguarding process should be instigated or if other support/services are appropriate. Feedback will be given to the person who raised the Safeguarding adults alert.
The Designated Named Person will have an overview of this process so they can explain it to the person concerned and offer all relevant support to the person and process.
Information should be provided to the individual. This could be about other sources of help or information that could enable them to decide what to do about their experience, enable them to recover from their experience and enable them to seek justice.
Managing allegations made against member of staff or volunteer
Re-engage will ensure that any allegations made against volunteers or member of staff will be dealt with swiftly.
Where a member of staff/volunteer is thought to have committed a criminal offence, the police will be informed. If a crime has been witnessed, the police should be contacted immediately.
The safety of the individual(s) concerned is paramount. A risk assessment must be undertaken immediately to assess the level of risk to all service users posed by the alleged perpetrator. This will include whether it is safe for them to continue in their role or any other role within the service whilst the investigation is undertaken.
The Designated Named Person will liaise with the Adult Social Care team in England and Wales, or Adult Protection Committee in Scotland, to discuss the best course of action; ensuring that Re-engage’s disciplinary procedures are coordinated with any other enquiries taking place as part of the ongoing management of the allegation.
Re-engage has a Whistle Blowing Policy incorporated in the Staff Manual and staff are aware of this policy. Staff will be supported to use this policy.
Support for those who report abuse
All those making a complaint or allegation or expressing concern, whether they are staff, volunteers or elderly guests should be reassured that:
- They will be taken seriously
- Their comments will usually be treated confidentially, but their concerns may be shared if they or others are at significant risk
- They will be given support and referred to those who can protect them
Recording and managing confidential information
Re-engage is committed to maintaining confidentiality wherever possible and information around Safeguarding Adults issues should be shared only with those who need to know.
All allegations/concerns should be recorded in the Adults Safeguarding Policy file. The information should be factual and not based on opinions, record what the person tells you, what you have seen and witnesses if appropriate.
The information that is recorded will be kept secure and will comply with data protection.
This information will be secured in a locked filing cabinet or on a protected shared drive within the organisation. Access to this information will be restricted to the Designated Named Person and Senior Management team.
Disseminating/Reviewing policy and procedures
This Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedure will be clearly communicated to staff, Trustees, volunteers, service users, their families and carers. The Designated Named Person will be responsible for ensuring that this is done.
The Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures will be reviewed annually by the Senior Management team. The Designated Named Person for Safeguarding Adults will be involved in this process and can recommend any changes. The Designated Named Person will also ensure that any changes are clearly communicated to staff, Trustees and volunteers. It may be appropriate to involve service users in the review and service users and parents/carers need to be informed of any significant changes.
Knowingly breaching this policy is a serious matter. Those who do so will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Employees, contractors and other users may also be held personally liable for violating this policy.
Where appropriate, the Charity will involve the police or other law enforcement agencies in relation to breaches of this policy.