Agenda item

Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2016-17

The report provides a summary of safeguarding activity carried out by Brent Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) partners across social care, health and criminal justice sectors in Brent in 2016-2017.

Minutes:

Michael Preston-Shoot (the Chair of Brent’s Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB)) introduced the report which provided a summary of safeguarding activity carried out by Brent SAB partners across social care, health and criminal justice. He said that the 2016-2017 report had been designed to increase accessibility by explaining acronyms, providing text box explanations, and including visual aids to improve understanding. The Committee heard that in 2016-2017 the Safeguarding Adults Team (SAT) had received 1,712 concerns compared to 1,678 referrals made in 2015-2016. 628 concerns had been investigated and completed as S42 enquiries.

 

Professor Preston-Shoot noted that until recently he had shared Mike Howard’s (the Chair of the Brent Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) concern about the Police as their engagement with adult safeguarding had been intermittent, but remained positive that with Detective Inspector Andy Grant joining the Brent Borough Command, this would improve. In relation to working with partner organisations, Professor Preston-Shoot commented that engagement had been good and this included the London North West Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust which engaged better with the SAB than with the LSCB. Furthermore, he said that since the end of the 2016-2017 financial year, the SAB had commissioned one further safeguarding review. Speaking of home education, Professor Preston-Shoot mentioned that the Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill 2017-19 (a Private Members Bill) had been tabled by Baroness Morris of Yardley (on behalf of Lord Soley).  

 

The Committee heard that there had been a protocol to work effectively with adults who self-neglected themselves. In addition, the Board would turn its attention to standards in care homes because more safeguarding adult reviews had been commissioned at national level in relation to abuse in the latter, although no specific problems had been identified in Brent. Specific areas that would be scrutinised included standards of commissioning and contract management as well as training and support given to care staff.

 

The Board had spent time trying to create a performance management framework that was fit for purpose. It had been agreed what performance data would be collected from partners from the first quarter of 2017-2018 and the process of collating information had started.. Members were informed that regular meetings between the Chair of the SAB, Mr Howard, Carolyn Downs (the Council’s Chief Executive), Karina Wane (the Council’s Head of Community Protection), Meenara Islam (the Council’s Strategic Partnerships Manager) and business support officers took place to coordinate the actions of various partnerships and boards involved in children and adult safeguarding as there were clear overlapping issues between the two areas. For example, a coordinated approach had been taken towards the White Ribbon Day, Scams Week, Child Sexual Exploitation Week and other similar events. The overall aim had been to promote the ‘think child, think family’ approach where the whole family was looked at in the event of a safeguarding concern.

 

Measures had been taken to increase the engagement of user groups and they had been allowed to address the Board. However, progress had been slower than expected and there had not been representation from a service user group. In addition, workload had increased so it had become increasingly challenging to maintain safe services and the effects of austerity had been referenced in a number of Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs). A concern raised by Professor Preston-Shoot was that a number of SARs and Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) had an inward focus but there was also a need to take into account that Brent existed in a national context in terms of legislation and policy guidance.       

 

Professor Preston-Shoot emphasised that resourcing the SAB had to be examined in detail and engagement of various partners had to be monitored going forward. Moreover, in his view the fitness of the Care Quality Commission was a topic that had been a subject of regional and national scrutiny.

 

A Member of the Committee asked if there was anything that the SAB expected the Local Authority to do to strengthen partnerships. In response, Professor Preston-Shoot said that overall engagement with partners had been good (including with Brent LSCB) and stakeholders recognised the fact that safeguarding was a key responsibility. He said that engagement had to be extended to faith groups and service user forums which could be achieved with the support of Elected Members. In response to a question on the audit of safeguarding policy and practice, Professor Preston-Shoot highlighted that safeguarding had to be made personal by placing the adult at risk at the centre of various partners’ involvement. He said that some partners had a good record of doing this, but others required improvement which led to variation in the quality of safeguarding provided to residents. A potential way to address this was to provide training which conveyed the importance of making safeguarding personal. He gave an example of the NHS which had undertaken an initiative to improve its performance and tackle historic concerns, the results of which had been reflected in a recent audit. 

 

As far as reporting abuse, self-neglect and modern slavery were concerned, Professor Preston-Shoot said that cases were not as prevalent as people thought they were – nine cases related to self-neglect had been reported to the Board and none related to modern slavery. Nevertheless, he referred to a case in Lincolnshire where 11 people had been sentenced for slavery and pointed out the importance of the organisations’ ability to recognise the issue which could be increased by providing additional training on the topic as well as guidance about how people had to act when they had concerns. The Committee heard that there had been more cases of self-neglect than officially recorded which meant that additional work had to be done to raise awareness among housing providers, District Nurses, General Practitioners and other practitioners.

 

Members discussed hoarding and the reason why it was one of the key concerns for the Brent SAB. It was pointed out that hoarding was a major heath and fire risk and it often affected people living around the individual. Cases where the hoarder had capacity (as per the Mental Capacity Act 2005 definition) were particularly complicated as possible options for interventions were narrower than in cases where the adult had been deemed not to have capacity. Professor Preston-Shoot emphasised the need for all agencies to try to understand what drove this behaviour, consider potential options and identify actions that could reduce the risk and help the individual. In addition, Ms Wane said that the Community Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (CMARAC) that looked at referrals of vulnerable adults frequently received referrals related to hoarding and individual action plans were built to reflect the needs of the resident concerned. In relation to outcomes achieved, Professor Preston-Shoot informed Members that the Safeguarding Adults Team routinely asked adults whether the outcomes they had been seeking were achieved. However, he emphasised that the key issue to be examined was whether risks had been reduced and whether there was a robust database to support this, containing information on outcomes supplied by practitioners.

 

A Member of the Committee asked a question that related to the resources available to the Board. Professor Preston-Shoot said that the Board had been under-resourced and noted that there was not a standard resourcing framework for adult boards. For example, the NHS did not contribute to the Brent SAB, while the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) did. The Board had a deficit which put it in an unsustainable financial position. Professor Preston-Shoot said that he was in the process of generating income from partners who did not contribute at present or contributed insufficient resources.

 

Members raised the issue of zero-hour contracts and Councillor Hirani (the Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Wellbeing) responded that a commissioning restructure had been undertaken in adult social care resulting in commissioners managing relationships in specific sectors which was in line with the care programme transformation at national level. Moreover, Phil Porter (the Council’s Strategic Director for Community and Wellbeing) said that enough money had been allocated to providers to run sustainable services and it was their decision how they would employ people and if they would use zero-hour contracts. 

 

Professor Preston-Shoot advised that he would keep members informed on the concerns that had been raised in relation to financial contributions (resources) and partnership working.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(i)    The contents of the Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2016-17, be noted;

 

(ii)  The Committee supported the need for partners to be encouraged to  contribute financially to the Safeguarding Adults Board to ensure it remained sustainable; and

 

(iii)The Committee supported the action being taken to extend the engagement with faith groups and service user forums.  

 

The meeting was adjourned between 8:29 pm and 8:31 pm for a comfort break.

Councillor Hirani left the meeting at 8:29 pm.

Supporting documents: