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Summary

Adults :: Safeguarding :: Summary

'No Secrets' (2000) guidance gave local authorities the lead responsibility for developing and implementing local multi-agency processes for coordinating systems, polices and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. A review of No Secrets in 2009 highlighted that adult safeguarding systems were underdeveloped in the NHS and detailed guidance in safeguarding adults was published in 2011. Government has pointed to three key concepts involved in safeguarding: protection, justice and empowerment (Minister of State 2010). 'Vulnerable adults' are not a homogenous group but are individuals who because of certain vulnerabilities or circumstances are disproportionately likely to be victims of abuse. The work of the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Executive Board is to coordinate agencies to safeguard these adults who are at risk of being abused. The Kent & Medway Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Board takes a strategic lead on safeguarding matters and is co-chaired by the Assistant Director of Social Care in Medway. Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults work is concerned with the multi-agency approach to responding to and preventing the abuse of 'vulnerable adults'. Across Kent and Medway, there are multiagency policy, protocols and guidelines in place, which are updated twice a year. They are available to organisations and the public via the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Executive Board's website.

Key issues and gaps

It is likely that there is considerable under reporting of adult abuse, whether in the community, residential or hospital settings and improved awareness raising and reporting may put pressure on the local authority and the wider partner agencies. There is a need to ensure the accessibility of main stream services that address domestic abuse and sexual abuse, to disabled people and in particular older women and create services that meet the need of disabled and older people who have been abused. Although there has been public awareness work, this now need to extend support and awareness to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups in Medway. Current emphasis is on supporting individuals to remain living in their own homes and enable more people with Learning Difficulties to live more independantly in the community. The move to individual budgets and greater use of, for example Direct payments by individuals and carers, are intended to increase peoples choice and control and to ensure that services are better matched to individual needs. This also brings challenges in terms of safeguarding to ensure that the alternative solutions to meet the needs of people are achieved safely.

Recommendations for Commissioning

Commissioners have a key role in ensuring that multiagency capacity is sufficient to ensure that safeguards are effectively monitored and embedded across the region. Commissioners need to ensure that health and social care services are effectively resourced to respond, as the number of referrals continues to rise and support vulnerable people in reducing repeat referrals. Joined up working across health, social care and the criminal justice agencies is needed to ensure that each agency can respond in partnership to allegations of abuse of a vulnerable adult. Commissioners need to ensure that support, advice, advocacy and information are readily avaliable for service users and their carers to ensure that as they take on more responsibility for their own packages of care, that they know how to protect themselves from abuse and who to raise concerns with. Information should be avaliable in multiple formats and languages. Commissioners have a key role in ensuring that all providers, including personal assistants and independent contractors, are working in adherence with the Multiagency Adult Protection Policy, Protocols and Guidance for Kent and Medway.