Agenda item

Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults Board Annual report 2017/2018

To review the annual report of the Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB).


The chairperson invited Ivan Powell, the Independent Chair of the Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB), to present the annual report 2017/2018.


Mr. Powell introduced the report, drawing attention to the following:


i.           The function of HSAB was to oversee multi-agency safeguarding arrangements across the county.


ii.         The opportunity to speak to the committee was welcomed, especially in view of the need to raise the profile of adults safeguarding with the public.


iii.        The annual report focused on how HSAB had delivered against the following strategic priorities: partnership working; prevention and protection; communications and engagement; and operational effectiveness. 


iv.        Informed by board development days, the annual business plan formed the foundation for the work of sub-groups to deliver outcomes.


v.         Emerging issues included modern slavery and drugs activity and exploitation known as ‘county lines’.


vi.        There were issues with consistent attendance at HSAB meetings, especially by the National Probation Service, and Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company.  It was anticipated that bespoke agenda items would encourage participation at specific meetings going forward.


vii.       Although performance information from the council and health partners was timely and accurate, the police remained unable to provide meaningful data but work was ongoing to address this situation.


viii.      Although noting limitations with the national data set, the ‘proportion of people who use services who feel safe’ and the ‘proportion of people who use services who say that those services have made them feel safe and secure’ performance was considered very good.


ix.        There had been a steady reduction in the ‘number of concerns raised’ but there was still too big a gap between the number of concerns raised and the number progressing to enquiry stage, reflecting over referral by some agencies.


x.         More work was needed to embed ‘making safeguarding personal’; HSAB had disseminated Local Government Association toolkits to partner agencies.


xi.        Another area of work would be to triangulate the type of risk, the location of risk, and the person presenting the risk.


Mr. Powell responded to questions from committee members, the principal points of the discussion included:


a.         The chairperson sought clarification about the following paragraph in the foreword to the annual report ‘We also have more to do to secure the engagement and feedback from adults who have been involved in safeguarding so that we can learn from their experiences.  Healthwatch are leading on this work locally and I am determined that we will build on what has been a slow start for this piece of work.’

Mr. Powell advised the committee that, informed by the exemplary work of Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board, HSAB had tried to secure engagement and feedback in previous years but this had not been effective; it was challenging to obtain experiences without retraumatising the individuals concerned.  Healthwatch Herefordshire had offered to support this process and a short survey had been developed to prompt appropriate conversations.  The number of respondents remained low but represented an improvement on the previous approaches. 


Mr. Stead added that Healthwatch Herefordshire would continue to support this initiative and hoped that the independence of the organisation would encourage more people to come forward.


b.         It was suggested that ‘good neighbour schemes’ could be utilised to help support people in their communities.  Mr. Powell, referring to the community broker scheme and the principles of social prescribing, said that there was commitment to engage with good neighbour schemes but there had to be appropriate checks and balances.  He added that HSAB was engaging with parish councils and encouraging them to include safeguarding information within their publications.


c.         It was questioned why, in the case study ‘demonstrating the benefits of a safe and well check’, Cadent had not been contacted initially.  Mr. Powell explained that the safe and well visits were operated by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service along the principles of proportionality and empowerment.  The system was being evaluated by Worcester University and observations would be fed back.


d.         Mr. Powell advised that he did not have specific details of the Practice Learning Review referred to in the report (page 36 of the agenda pack) but any learning would be reported in next year’s annual report.


e.         It was explained that over referral resulted from a lack of understanding of when certain circumstances met the adult safeguarding threshold or some other activity might be required.  Reference was made to the work by the independent chair with the national police lead on adults safeguarding, and to a new police service policy on adults safeguarding.


The director of adults and communities emphasised that over referral was a sector wide issue and it remained a significant challenge for the system which HSAB should continue to focus on.


f.          Mr. Powell said that non-attendance at HSAB meetings was not necessarily an issue, as long as the agencies were contributing to adults safeguarding work through sub-groups and other conversations.  He added that the structure and arrangements for meetings would be kept under review.


g.         Mr. Powell commented on the value of the multi-agency approach and engagement by the partner organisations which had resulted in improved performance, good attendance at Joint Safeguarding Practitioner Forum, and a workforce that was increasingly working cohesively.


h.         HSAB did not have training offer itself but did set out a competency framework which partner agencies were required to meet. 


i.           Referring to the strategic priority on communications and engagement, the chairperson questioned the extent to which HSAB had ‘engaged with councillors with regard to both their responsibilities to their communities and their councils with regard to safeguarding’.  Mr. Powell advised that a suite of resources had been developed and he would welcome any opportunity to raise the profile of safeguarding.


j.           It was noted that the police had conducted a substantial investigation into county lines activity during the year and assurances that had been sought that vulnerable adults were being treated appropriately.  Mr. Powell said that he was due to meet with the Superintendent for Herefordshire to go through the cases.


k.         In terms of publicity, Mr. Powell made reference to the websites for the Herefordshire safeguarding boards and for Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire, and information disseminated by the local authority and parish councils.  The director of adults and communities said that the council’s website prominently displayed ‘protect someone’ information, including ‘protect an adult’.  It was noted that more could be done to raise awareness collectively going forward.


l.           In terms of the future, Mr. Powell commented on the need for: consistent understanding of what constituted safeguarding; resilient communities to help people to stay independent for as long as possible; a national approach to modern slavery; and awareness of the impact of abuse and neglect on people’s lives.  In response to a question, Mr. Powell outlined the complexities of incidents of modern slavery and acknowledged that this could be explained in future reports.


In response to a suggestion from the chairperson, the democratic services manager and statutory scrutiny officer advised that there would be mandatory training in the next council term on safeguarding for children and young people and for adults, and this could include an overview of the work of HSAB.  The committee was advised that an induction timetable for new councillors had been developed and would be published on the council’s website.


The committee thanked Mr. Powell for the comprehensive annual report and, in particular, welcomed the inclusion of case studies.


RESOLVED:  That an overview of the work of the Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults Board be included in the mandatory training for councillors on safeguarding during the next council term.

Supporting documents: