Agenda item

Brent Adult Safeguarding Peer Review

To note the Adult Safeguarding Peer Review.


Phil Porter (Strategic Director Community Wellbeing) introduced the Brent Adult Safeguarding Peer Review. It was being brought to the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee  as it was itself a process of external challenge, which should provide a level of assurance. He explained that the peer review was undertaken by a team of 6 ASC practitioners, who were led by a serving DASS, and the team included a Principal Social Worker.  The Council did a detailed self-assessment, submitted over 100 documents and organised 20 meetings with Safeguarding stakeholders for the Peer Review team. Phil Porter was of the opinion that the outcome was of reasonable reassurance, but there were things that could be improved. The review was positive regarding the core processes of adult safeguarding and how concerns were dealt with, including section 42 enquiries. Areas for improvement focused on making the individual more central to the process, as well as providing more feedback to the referrer. There were also challenges regarding self-neglect, and Phil Porter confirmed that the Safeguarding Adults Board would agree self-neglect procedures in January 2020.


The Chair thanked Phil Porter for his introduction and invited the committee to ask questions. The following issues were raised:


  • The committee wanted reassurance that there was a uniform procedure for commissioning care. Helen Woodland (Operational Director for Social Care) responded, informing the committee that the majority of care was regulated by the CQC and the Council’s procurement of care iwas governed by procurement regulations. She informed members that CQC was the national regulation body that set out care for all providers, and they conducted inspections regularly to ensure they were meeting statutory regulations.  There was also a subgroup of the Safeguarding Board (Establishment Concerns Group) which brought together the relevant  partners that had a stake in  social care provision to ensure there was a joined up response to poor quality social care provision. Phil Porter added that all providers would be expected to have a Safeguarding Policy, and that multiple processes were in place, for example provider forums were held regularly, to allow providers to raise issues and to enable joint working. Due to staff turnover in providers, it was felt necessary to raise awareness and training every 3 years.


  • Regarding how the areas for consideration formed part of the safeguarding action plan, Helen Woodland referred to the action plan in appendix 2, which demonstrated the priority areas. She explained one of the action plans related specifically to actions outlined in the peer review and how they would be addressed. They would work in conjunction with partners to complete actions. Michael Preston-Shoot (Independent Chair, Brent Safeguarding Adults Board) added that a discussion regarding the outcomes of the peer review was held at the board development day, with the recommendation to refresh the strategy. They had used the findings of the peer review to do that. The new strategy would be signed off in January, and some of it would focus on self-neglect, and a renewed focus on analysis report data.


  • The committee drew attention to element 7 of the peer review regarding developing a strong culture for professional curiosity, and asked what the challenge was between professional curiosity and working to a standard procedure. Michael Preston-Shoot responded that professional curiosity was a regularly occurring theme in Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs), and the board tried to raise awareness of the importance of ‘thinking the unthinkable’. He was of the opinion that if professional curiosity required more time than operational procedures allowed, then professional curiosity should come first, and organisational flexibility should be allowed. He felt that, in relation to Adult Social Care, that was the message going out, and the message he gave at every safeguarding event he attended. Georgina Diba (Head of Safeguarding and Transformation, Brent Council) added that they were empowering care providers by focusing on a culture led approach to transformational change. They were striving to ensure staff were supported to have that time for curiosity and did not feel the need to ask for that time. 


  • Barry Loader (Detective Superintendent, Head of Safeguarding, North West Basic Command Unit) explained that Adult Safeguarding was a growing area of business for the police. He explained that as they delivered more training more cultural awareness was raised, and issues were better understood. The messages were needed to be rotated often due to the young work force, but Barry Loader felt that the processes and exchange of information was there. Regular audits were conducted, and daily audits of all crimes reported were conducted to monitor risk at a supervisor level.


  • Phil Porter was of the opinion that adult and children’s safeguarding was a focus for all community wellbeing teams.


  • Committee members suggested that it would be useful for the report to include the checks and balances of the procurement process to ensure safeguarding was covered by the care provider. The colleagues agreed to take this on board.


  • Regarding the safe delivery of care for people living in their own homes with cognitive impairments such as dementia, Georgina Diba explained that where the care provider questioned whether someone could undertake a mental capacity assessment, an independent mental capacity advocate was offered. She highlighted that care providers should also look at who was around the individual, such as family members, their link with the GP and their wider social circle, to pick up concerns.


  • Committee members expressed concern that those who lacked mental capacity may experience an incident they were not able to express. It was requested that the adult social care team brought back to Scrutiny a plan to ensure individuals who lacked mental capacity were a priority of the adult social care team to ensure serious incidents did not go unnoticed. Phil Porter highlighted that the Adult Social Care Transformation Process was looking at this particular issue.


  • Committee members queried the processes used by the police force regarding vulnerable adults subject to fraud and other financial crimes. Barry Loader explained that if they were a victim of fraud, for example, there were processes in place to record it as a crime but also make a referral to notify Adult Social Care if there were particular concerns that the individual was vulnerable. For other concerns, there would be a strategy meeting to arrange an approach between all agencies to safeguard the individual.


  • Michael Preston-Shoot was assured that the improvements proposed in the action plan arising from the peer review would be significant and beneficial.


As there were no further questions, the Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and the Committee then RESOLVED:

i)             To note the report



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