The Care Act 2014 – Implications
From April 2015 this legislation came into force and put adult safeguarding on a legal footing.
It requires each Local Authority to:
- Make enquiries to ensure others do so if it believes and adult is subject to or at risk of abuse or neglect. Decide what action needs to be taken and by whom
- Set up Safeguarding Adults Boards (SAB) with core members of the community, the Police, NHS (specifically the locals Commissioning Groups) and the power to include other relevant bodies
- Arrange for an independent advocate to represent and support the adult who is subject to the enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) where the adult has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved and where there is no other appropriate adult to help them
- Co-operate with each of its relevant partners in order to protect adults experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.
Councils must follow up any concerns swiftly about either actual or suspected abuse in their area whether or not the Council is actually providing a service to them.
Local Authorities (Councils)
The Care Act 2014 requires that Local Authority Staff are trained and supported to deal with safeguarding issues. Staff must be aware of the criteria for dealing with adult abuse and neglect and where and how to report concerns. Councillors should also be made aware of their corporate role in preventing and reporting abuse.
The Making Safeguarding Personal programme – led by ADASS and LGA with funding from the DoH has gained widespread momentum. It follows the ‘no decision about me without me’ and means that the person, their families and carers are working together with agencies to find the right solutions to keep people safe and support them in making informed decisions.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Health and Welling Board will have sight of the Safeguarding Adult Board’s strategy and annual reports to enable them to understand and challenge them if necessary.
Local Clinical Commissioners (CCG) make up the three statutory core partners of the Safeguarding Adult Boards. This Board is in the best position to ensure that NHS commissioning arrangements are meeting their responsibilities.
Boards are free to invite additional partners to the Boards like GPs who can emphasise the importance of their role in protecting adults from abuse and neglect.
There have been a number of high profile hospital scandals that have highlighted the need for vigilance and the need for Managers and Staff to be vigilant.
The Act introduced The Duty of Candour (transparency) to place a duty on providers to be open with patients and their families about failings in their care.
Invitations to tender, service contracts and service level agreements include the responsibility from Commissioners to ensure providers adhere to local multi-agency safeguarding policies and procedures. Commissioners must also assure themselves that care providers know about and adhere to relevant CQC Standards. Contract monitoring must have clear focus on safeguarding and robustly follow up shortfalls in standards or other concerns about safety.
The Care Act requires the Police to play an important role in safeguarding adults. They must form part of the Safeguarding Adult Boards and act as the lead investigating agency where criminal acts are involved.
They can bring perpetrators to justice and provide intelligence where an adult is at risk. They must work with the Local Authorities and other partner agencies to ensure relevant information is shared to ensure a risk management or safeguarding plan is agreed at an early stage.
Safeguarding Adults Boards (SABs) and Safeguarding Adults Review Boards (SARs)
The Act introduces these boards and Statutory Adults Reviews (previously called Serious Care Reviews). The Statutory Adults Review Boards will be conducted when there are concerns regarding inter-agency working and co-operation is required.
The Act expects agencies to co-operate and gives the Boards the power to require information from relevant agencies.