James Reilly, Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Adults Board, presented the report which summarised the work of the Safeguarding Adults Board in 2016/17.
The following main points were made in the discussion:
· There had been a sharp increase in concerns and enquiries about vulnerable adults following the introduction of the Care Act 2014, however in 2016/17 these began to plateau.
· In the first year following the introduction of the Care Act, 60% of concerns raised resulted in Section 42 enquiries being carried out. In 2016/17, 40% of concerns carried through to enquires. It was commented that Chairs of Adult Safeguarding Boards constantly reviewed and audited the work of statutory agencies to ensure that thresholds for commencing enquiries were being applied appropriately.
· There had been an increase in concerns about vulnerable adults. The Independent Chair emphasised that this did not mean there had been a significant increase in abuse and neglect, rather that there had been an increase in reporting of such concerns. It was commented that an increase in the reporting of concerns was a positive development.
· The Independent Chair highlighted three key local issues: the capacity of care homes and the difficulty of commissioning care accommodation in inner city areas; the ‘requires improvement’ grade given to Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust by the most recent Care Quality Commission inspection; and the safeguarding concerns at HMP Pentonville highlighted by the recent murder in the prison.
· The Safeguarding Adults Board had completed a serious case review which had considered how best to handle instances of a neglect in a vulnerable adult’s own home when there are multiple complex factors.
· It was commented that changes in personnel had an adverse impact on the work of the Safeguarding Adults Board and the Independent Chair was challenging partners to keep a focus on the Board’s activities.
· Participation in the Safeguarding Adults Board’s four sub-groups had fluctuated over the previous year and this had an impact on the delivery of the Board’s action plan.
· The Independent Chair commented on the need for Safeguarding Adults Board members to mutually problem solve in a constructive way. It was important to build a culture of openness which recognised the issues in organisations and worked to improve these.
· Key themes for the Safeguarding Adults Board included modern slavery, social isolation, and those suffering from the often inter-linked issues of homelessness, mental health and addition. It was commented that people experiencing homelessness could exhibit very challenging behaviour and sometimes would not engage with support services, however they were some of the most vulnerable people, were at risk of exploitation and harm, and tended to die younger than expected.
· A member asked a question about the financial abuse of adults with learning disabilities who have dependent children. It was advised that the Safeguarding Adults Board had not reviewed this in detail, however could look into particular cases if appropriate. It was known that adults with learning disabilities were increasingly being targeted and exploited financially and sexually.
· It was suggested that the findings of serious case reviews could be better communicated to GPs and other frontline medical and care staff as a way of improving system-wide learning. In response, it was advised that the Safeguarding Adults Board would be reviewing local safeguarding training in 2018. It was suggested that this could include learning from serious case reviews carried out across London.
· It was suggested that a greater awareness and clarity of escalation routes for specialist issues would be beneficial. For example, it was commented that some vulnerable adults with eating disorders were experiencing delayed referrals and their issues were becoming more entrenched.
· Members of the Safeguarding Adults Board were asked to share data more widely with their partner organisations to better facilitate mutual problem sharing.
The Board thanked James Reilly for his attendance.
That the Annual Safeguarding Adults Review be received.