Hammersmith & Fulham Council, in collaboration with partner organisations, and the Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) have developed arrangements which demonstrate that safeguarding can go beyond a single focus of protection to a wider and more significant role of helping people to live the lives they want to live.
The key elements of the approach are:
- Leadership that is facilitative and inspirational, committed to making safeguarding accessible and relevant. The DASS demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding in its widest context to include prevention and this is reflected by the leadership team and their managers and creation of the culture that is an important part of the success. For additional details, read Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2018-19, which is fully accessible (BSL and audio podcast provided on website)
- An effective Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) – this is well attended and has up to 30 active participants. There is good joint working, for example the High-Risk Panel is chaired by the London Fire Brigade Borough Commander (working on hoarding and self-neglect). The effectiveness of the SAB is monitored by a combination of: sub groups/good practice audits; SAB scrutiny by partners and the independent chair; a residents’ survey; Quality Assurance Board; providers, through provider and CQC meetings
- There is clarity that safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility (this is reflected in the breadth of SAB’s members) and keeping people safe should be a routine part of all interactions. However, there are safeguarding specialists in a safeguarding hub for the management/triage of concerns that are referred.
- Making sure that prevention is given the same importance as investigation. This is supported by the Principal Social Worker and reflected in the workforce culture, practice and training. During a Care Act assessment or in any interaction with a resident the practitioner considers how to promote resilience, independence and the person’s ability to be empowered. Provision of information, enabling community support networks and empowerment – all essentials of strengths-based and person-centred practice - contribute to helping a person stay safe and to know what to do if they their safety is threatened. This recognises that residents can themselves prevent or reduce harm occurring by mitigating risks in their lives.
- There is efficient and effective identification of highest risk situations. Currently, a Safeguarding Adults “Hub” triages concerns, identifies levels of risk and determines appropriate responses. In future this will be carried out by a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which will enable this to be even more effective as partners including police and housing will be co-located (The hub is staffed by a team manager, two social workers and administrative support. They are responsible for screening and triage of all initial enquiries, determination if s. 42 of the Care Act 2014 is applicable and then allocating to community SW team for further work.)
- There are clear pathways and effective structures and business processes from the point of access through to social work teams. The Community Response and Reablement Team has good connections with the hub and they work closely together in responding to concerns that come into the ‘front door’, including from the out-of-hours emergency duty team and police notifications, which are screened and sent, electronically, to the hub
- Person centred practice is seen as paramount: the person who is subject to safeguarding determines the desired outcomes. Their best interests drive decision making and management of risks to enable/support them to be safer. The focus on the person is part of the culture within Hammersmith & Fulham where one of the Council’s pledges is to be a compassionate council, as is ‘doing things with, not to residents. There is a clear aspiration and commitment to listening to people and ensuring they have the right to self-determination – to live the life they want and desire. For all staff in adult social care, the culture that we work ‘with’ not ‘do too’ is reinforced through training and supervision.
- There is routine use of data to monitor activity and outcomes. Close working with the Business Intelligence Team has developed an interactive real time dashboard which enable the picking up of trends and enable effective planning of services. Importantly, data is used inform improvement in safeguarding outcomes and in measuring staff performance. Information from data the dashboards is used to identify abnormal trends in safeguarding concerns for particular categories, providers or care homes. This is combined with understanding of areas of higher risk derived from good intelligence and collaborative working (for example, housing staff often know who are their most high risk/vulnerable tenants).
- Regular supervision is supplemented by opportunities for reflective practice and this is assisted by the work undertaken by the Principal Social Worker