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The Paget’s Association - Policy No. 21 - version 3.0

Safeguarding Adults at Risk

Policy and Procedure - IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL USERS TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE USING THE CURRENT VERSION

Introduction and definitions

The Paget’s Association has developed this Policy to ensure that any person aged over 18 years of age who may be deemed an ‘adult at risk’ of abuse is afforded adequate protection during contact with the Paget’s Association.

In line with the Charity Commission’s Guidance* the Association must ensure that Trustees, staff and volunteers are suitable and legally able to act in their positions. The following must be obtained were appropriate:

  • Criminal records check where the position is eligible for this
  • References and checks on gaps in work history
  • Confirmation that staff can work in the UK
  • Health checks where appropriate

The Care Act (2014) together with the Care and Support Statutory Guidance (2018) provide the statutory framework for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of adults. The Care Act 2014 only applies to local authorities in England. Social Care in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter, however, the principles of good practice set out in this document apply throughout the UK.

*Guidance Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees – available at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees

Users of this policy should be aware that on occasion charities may be targeted by people who abuse their position and privileges to gain access to people at risk or their records for inappropriate or illegal purposes.

Who is an Adult at Risk?

The term ‘Adult at Risk’ as defined by the Care Act 2014 applies to people aged 18 or

over who are in need of care or support, regardless of whether they are receiving them,

and because of those needs are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect.

What is meant by abuse?

Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human or civil rights by any other person or persons.  Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a person who is at risk is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it.

Risks to be aware of include the following, which are detailed on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees

  • Sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation
  • Negligent treatment
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Bullying or harassment
  • Health and safety
  • Commercial exploitation
  • Extremism and radicalisation
  • Forced marriage
  • Child trafficking
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Discrimination on any of the grounds in the equality act 2010
  • People may target your charity
  • A charity’s culture may allow poor behaviour
  • People may abuse a position of trust they hold within a charity

Who abuses?

Anyone, from relatives and family members to professional staff, trustees, paid care workers, volunteers, other service users, neighbours, friends and strangers.

Policy and Procedure

This policy should be reviewed at least once a year and be made available to the public.

The Board of Trustees has a duty of care to the Paget’s Association which includes taking the necessary steps to safeguard adults at risk. The Trustees should regularly assess and review the risks that arise from the charity’s activities and operations involving those at risk to ensure appropriate safeguarding measures take place.

Prevention of abuse

The Trustees, staff and volunteers must always act in the best interests of adults at risk and ensure they take all reasonable steps to prevent any harm to them.

Principles

  • It is better to take preventative action before harm occurs
  • Proportionate and the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  • Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding

Responsibilities

The Board of Trustees should:

  • Decide who has significant and regular contact with people at risk through the Paget’s Association and take appropriate action:
  • Ensure that the recruitment process for Trustees and volunteers includes a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) if the individual is likely to have contact as above, with adults at risk.
  • When recruiting employees who may have such contact with adults at risk a DBS check; satisfactory written references; satisfactory explanations for employment gaps and proof of professional registration, if appropriate, should be obtained.
  • Be mindful that a DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is the responsibility of the Trustees to decide when a new check is needed.
  • Decide who requires safeguarding training and ensure that they have access to, and take part in, appropriate training that is right for their level
  • Comply with safeguarding requirements specified within the terms of any contracts or grants.
  • Make sure that all Trustees, staff and volunteers are aware of this policy and what they should do if they have any concerns.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees (or in their absence, the Vice-Chair) should:

  • Gather and record all information, discussions, and decisions relating to an alleged abuse.
  • Keep accurate records of all incidents/concerns.
  • Refer on to relevant agencies such as Adult Social Services or the Police when necessary.

The Specialist Paget’s Nurse should:

  • Attend safeguarding training updates as part of yearly mandatory nurse training.

Everyone, including the Trustees, staff and volunteers, within the Paget’s Association has a responsibility to:

  • Promote the safety of adults at risk
  • Listen carefully to adults and their carers
  • Prevent, recognise and act on abuse
  • Take appropriate action in line with this policy wherever abuse is suspected
  • Call on emergency services appropriately where there is immediate danger
  • Ensure decisions taken by the Association take safeguarding of adults into account
  • Make sure services or activities take place in a safe environment for adults at risk
  • Encourage trustees, staff and volunteers to raise alerts and support them when they do
  • Ensure a quick response to allegations of abuse and take appropriate action

ACTION TO BE TAKEN WHEN A POTENTIAL ADULT AT RISK IS IDENTIFIED

  1. If there is a risk of immediate harm the person should take themselves and where possible, the adult at risk, out of danger and if necessary, contact the emergency services (e.g. Police, Ambulance, GP).
  2. If the situation is urgent, it may be necessary to immediately challenge the person who is abusing the individual, even though this may be difficult to do, and try to persuade him or her to stop whilst ensuring that personal safety is not compromised.
  3. When suspicions arise the representative of the Paget’s Association should not investigate their suspicions but report them immediately to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
  4. If abuse is reported by an individual member / service user to a representative of the Paget’s Association, they should listen carefully and reassure them that they are doing the right thing by raising their concern. They should not ask any leading questions. They must explain that they have a duty to report the incident to the Chair of the Board.
  5. Concerns should be documented in writing as soon as possible by the person reporting the concern and should include as many details as possible about what has been said or witnessed, including the place, date and time of the incident.
  6. Inform the Chair of the Board of trustees or if unavailable the Vice- Chair.

On hearing a report of suspected abuse, the Chair / Vice-chair should assess the risks and advise on any immediate action needing to be taken to make the person safe and keep an accurate record.

  1. Documents must be signed and dated and kept in accordance data protection regulations.   
  2. If it is felt that the person is in immediate danger, then appropriate Social Services must be informed.
  3. There is a duty to inform the Police immediately if there is a reasonable belief that a serious crime has been committed.
  4. No one other than the Police should interview an alleged abuser about their involvement in the incident of abuse as this may affect any criminal investigations and/or prosecutions.

Consent and Information Sharing

When safeguarding adults at risk, there may be a need to disclose personal or sensitive information to someone from another organisation. People who are subject to abuse or allegations of abuse and their families and carers have a right to expect that confidences will be respected, and their privacy protected. Whenever possible obtain the adult at risk’s consent to share information and explain that information may be shared with other people or organisations, where appropriate. When consent is refused the adult should be made aware of the risks involved in their decision, be told that they can change their mind at any point and given information about services that could help reduce the risk. Their refusal to consent must also be clearly recorded. Their wishes should be respected wherever possible, but there are times when their wishes can be overridden. Any representative of the Paget’s Association must report suspected abuse to the Chair of the Board, even if the adult has refused their consent. The Chair will then take the decision whether or not the exceptions apply in order to share the information appropriately.

It may not be possible to seek the consent of the adult at risk, due to lack of mental capacity or other reasons, and in some circumstances, it may still be necessary to share information even where consent is not given. Information can be shared in certain circumstances with other people or agencies in compliance with the Data Protection Act. Consideration must be given to factors such as the seriousness of the abuse; the ability of the individual to make decisions; the effect of the abuse on the individual in question, and on others; whether a criminal offence has occurred; and whether there is a need for others to know (e.g. to protect others who may not be involved in the immediate situation).

Establishing the facts through information sharing takes precedence where their “vital interests” (that is questions of life or death), “best interests” (as per Mental Capacity Act), or the public interest (risks to other people) or the prevention of a crime, are involved.  Any information therefore relating to the accusation/suspicion of abuse should and can in these circumstances be shared with the Social Services department or Police investigating the case. Decisions about sharing information must be clearly recorded with reasons for decisions clearly stated.

Further Information

The Charity Commission’s Strategy for dealing with safeguarding adults at risk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees

Care and support statutory guidance 2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance

English Care Act 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance

The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 and Social Care Wales

https://socialcare.wales/hub/sswbact

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/contents

Mental Health Act 2007

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/12/contents

The Data Protection Act 2018

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/contents

DBS

https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview

Relevant Paget’s Association’s Policies include:             

2: Confidentiality        

4: Data Protection

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