Hidden harms, stifled voices: revisiting adult safeguarding practice

Continuous professional development in adult safeguarding practice is essential and now more than ever, as many health and social work professionals will have seen an increase in referrals exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care has recently published Revisiting safeguarding practice, a joint independent briefing to support a locally delivered approach to the safeguarding of adults in the social care sector.

The briefing offers a practical guide with links to key publications. It also revisits the principles of the Care Act 2014 and its Statutory Guidance.

It provides practitioners with an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and understanding of their roles and responsibilities in responding to enquiries and concerns, including the statutory duties social workers and others with delegated responsibilities are expected to fulfil.

So if you are a senior leader, social worker, commissioner or part of a Safeguarding Adults Board, this briefing is essential reading. It is described as helpful for all those who work with adults that may be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.

The role of commissioners is set out at pages 12 and 13. Setting expectations for sharing information is covered at page 18. Page 19 specifically states that commissioners should contribute to improving safeguarding practice in care homes they work with by sharing key messages from Safeguarding Adult Reviews and helping care homes to learn from their own experiences of managing safeguarding concerns.

There are key messages on the importance of working together to safeguard adults and the adoption of a person-centred approach to protect adults at risk. The Foreword is written by Gillian Keegan, Minister of State for Care and Mental Health and she comments that this guidance seeks to standardise adult safeguarding best practice, thus raising service quality and positive outcomes across the piece.

You can read Revisiting safeguarding practice here, with the 30 page guide divided into two parts: Part 1 covers what is meant by adult safeguarding and Part 2 covers what good adult safeguarding looks like. It may be updated as research, practice and systems continue to evolve and improve.

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