Safeguarding Adults Policy

PurposeTo outline the actions Mount Green will take when a
safeguarding concern is raised about an adult living in or
visiting their homes.
Applies toAll employees and contractor staff (“team members”)
Date first implementedApril 2023
AuthorADHS
Date approved by Senior
Leadership Team
March 2023
Review FrequencyEvery Three Years
Service AreaHousing Services

Document Status: This is a controlled document. Any printed copies of this document are not controlled. As a controlled document, this document should not be saved onto local drives but always accessed from the Policy Library.

Current Policy Revision

Date revisedFebruary 2023
Revised byAssistant Director of Housing Services
Executive approval dateMarch 2023
Next revision dueMarch 2026

1. Policy Statement

1.1 Mount Green will not tolerate the abuse of adults with care and support needs. We are committed to promoting wellbeing, preventing harm and responding effectively if concerns are raised about anyone living in a property owned or managed by Mount Green.

1.2 Adult safeguarding work is about protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse and neglect, and about responding well when adults with care and support needs are experiencing or are at risk of abuse or neglect.

1.3 Mount Green works with a wide range of adults in both our general needs and Independent Living accommodation and as such we acknowledge that vulnerable residents may be at risk of some form of abuse or neglect.

1.4 We recognise that every person has the right to be safe from abuse and fear. We all have a responsibility to prevent, recognise and act on any potential abuse and neglect quickly to keep adults at risk of abuse safe from harm in the neighbourhoods and communities where we work.

2. Policy Principles

2.1 The key principle of this policy is to ensure that Mount Green follows Local Authority Safeguarding Adults Board Policy and Procedures.

2.2 The policy is based on The Care Act 2014 and the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. It does not duplicate these but instead provides guidance on how these should be followed.

2.3 We will ensure the Mental Capacity Act is used to make decisions on behalf of those adults at risk who are unable to make particular decisions for themselves.

3. Implementation

3.1 The Assistant Director of Housing Services is Mount Green’s named lead safeguarding person to promote adult safeguarding awareness and practice within the organisation.

3.2 All team members will be made aware of this policy and their responsibilities within it as part of their induction process. Frontline team members will receive annual refresher training on Mount Green’s approach to safeguarding at a level relevant to their role.

3.3 Residents are made aware of this policy and how to report concerns or allegations of abuse when they start their tenancy with us through their new homes handbook. The policy is also available on our website.

3.4 New contractors who visit our homes and estates will be made aware of this policy.

3.5 The policy is available on our website

3.6 Changes to this policy and its associated procedure will be communicated to all team members at Mount Green.

3.7 All Mount Green team members will be required to read this policy, and to confirm that they have read and understood it.

4. Other Policies

4.1 This policy should be used in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Anti-social Behaviour Policy
  • Hoarding Policy
  • Safeguarding Children Policy
  • Vulnerable Residents Policy
  • Domestic Abuse & VAWG Policy

5. Responsibility

5.1 The Assistant Director of Housing Services, as safeguarding lead, has responsibility for ensuring this policy is adhered to by team members and contractors.

5.2 All Managers are responsible for discussing and monitoring safeguarding concerns with their team members

5.3 All team members are responsible for adhering to this policy.

5.4 All team members are responsible for feeding back any improvements that could be made to this policy (and its associated procedure) or problems they have found while trying to implement it.

6. Policy Detail

Definitions

6.1.1 What does ‘safeguarding adults’ mean?
Safeguarding adults means preventing harm and reducing the risk of abuse or neglect to adults with care and support needs. It is about people and organisations working together to stop abuse or neglect wherever possible. At the same time we must safeguard adults in a way that supports them in making choices and having control about how they want to live. Safeguarding adults must promote an approach that concentrates on improving life for the adults concerned.

6.1.2 Who is an ‘adult at risk’?
The definition of adults that adult safeguarding processes may apply to is set out in section 42 of the Care Act 2014. They are people who:

  • are aged 18 years or more, and
  • have needs for care and support (whether or not these are currently being
    met),
  • are experiencing, or are at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • as a result of those needs are unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

This includes adults with physical, sensory and mental impairments and learning disabilities, however those impairments have arisen, such as whether present from birth or due to advancing age, chronic illness or injury.

Also included are people with a mental illness, dementia or other memory impairments, people who misuse substances or alcohol, and people who self neglect, including hoarding.

In this policy the term “adult” means people coming within this definition.

6.1.3 Mount Green is aware that just because a person is old or frail or has a disability, does not mean they are inevitably ‘at risk’. Section 42 (1) (b) of the Care Act says that one of the tests to determine whether there is a duty for there to be a safeguarding adults enquiry is that the person “is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect”

6.2 What is Abuse?
Abuse can take many forms and the circumstances of the individual should always be considered. It may consist of a single act or repeated acts.

Anyone can abuse. Examples include family members, carers, people in positions of power, organised criminals such as scammers and rogue traders, friends and neighbours.

The following are examples of issues that would be considered as abuse or
neglect:

  • Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of
    medication, unlawful or inappropriate restraint, or inappropriate physical
    sanctions.
  • Domestic abuse is “an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive
    or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse… by someone who is or has been
    an intimate partner or family member regardless of gender or sexuality” (Home Office, 2013). Domestic violence and abuse may include psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; as well as so called ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Sexual abuse includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological abuse includes emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling,
    intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or
    unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
  • Financial and material abuse includes theft, fraud, bribery, exploitation (including predatory marriage and “cuckooing”), pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Modern slavery includes human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use the means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude
    and inhuman treatment.
  • Neglect and acts of omission includes ignoring medical or physical care needs,
    failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
  • Discriminatory abuse includes abuse based on a person’s race, sex, disability,
    faith, sexual orientation, or age; other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment or hate crime/hate incident.
  • Organisational abuse includes neglect and poor practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.
  • Self-neglect covers a wide range of behaviours, such as neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviours such as hoarding. A safeguarding response in relation to self-neglect may be appropriate where:
  • a person is declining assistance in relation to their care and support needs, and
  • the impact of their decision, has or is likely to have a substantial impact on their overall individual wellbeing

Potential indicators of abuse include:

  • Change in living conditions
  • Lack of heating, clothing or food
  • Sudden loss of weight or change in personal appearance
  • Unexplained injuries/bruising
  • Changes in mood – seeming withdrawn or fearful
  • Unexplained changes of behaviour/engagement
  • Inability to pay bills/unexplained shortage of money
  • Unexplained withdrawals from an account
  • Unexplained loss/misplacement of financial documents
  • Sudden or unexpected changes in a will or other financial documents

6.3 Confidentiality and Sharing Information
The Care Act does not require consent for adult safeguarding work, so absence of consent is not a barrier to such work. However, the person should be informed before referring an adult safeguarding concern to the local authority, unless to do so creates disproportionate risk.

Adults have a general right to independence, choice and self-determination including control over information about themselves and their privacy. In the context of adult safeguarding these rights can be overridden in certain circumstances.

Emergency or life-threatening situations may warrant the sharing of
relevant information with the relevant emergency services without
consent

  • The law does not prevent the sharing of sensitive, personal information
    within organisations. If the information is confidential, but there is a
    safeguarding concern, sharing it may be justified
  • The law does not prevent the sharing of sensitive, personal information
    between organisations where the public interest served outweighs the
    public interest served by protecting confidentiality – for example, where a
    serious crime may be prevented
  • The General Data Protection Regulation sets out a framework to enable
    the lawful sharing of information.
  • An individual team member cannot give a personal assurance of
    confidentiality
  • It is good practice to try to gain the person’s consent to share information,
    but only where this is relevant.

As long as it does not increase risk, we will inform the person if we need to share their information without consent.

6.4 Responding to suspected or alleged concerns of abuse or neglect

Our team may enter residents’ homes to carry out a range of tasks and in doing so they may see evidence of abuse or neglect.

If a member of our team suspects abuse or has received a report of abuse they will:

  • Complete an Adult Safeguarding online referral at
    www.surreycc.gov.uk/adult-safeguarding-referral and send a copy to the
    Mount Green Safeguarding Lead.
  • Record any discussions and actions carried out following suspected or
    alleged abuse or neglect accurately, thoroughly and promptly.
  • Fully co-operate with any agencies involved with cases of alleged abuse
    or neglect.
  • Work with other agencies to investigate any alleged breach of tenancy
    agreement and take action through policies and procedures where
    appropriate.

6.5 Staffing

We are committed to working within best practice as established by the Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) and will follow rigorous procedures for the recruitment and selection of people to the Mount Green team. DBS checks will be completed for all team members.

Where a person suspected of abuse or neglect is a team member, the team member will be suspended and a disciplinary investigation will be carried out immediately. Appropriate action will be taken in line with our Disciplinary Policy.

In order to protect themselves from allegations of abuse, or situations that could be misunderstood, team members will maintain strong professional boundaries as detailed in the Code of Conduct.

6.6 Whistle blowing

When raising a concern team members are encouraged to speak in the first instance with their line manager. If they feel this is inappropriate, or if the allegations regard their line manager, they should contact the Assistant Director of Housing Services.

Our Whistleblowing Policy for Mount Green team members provides a confidential route for individuals to raise serious concerns related to suspected wrongdoing or dangers within the organisation. If a team member asks for their identity to be protected, anonymity will be maintained wherever possible.

We are committed to listening to any suspicion and acting. However, if a team member feels that Mount Green is not taking their safeguarding adults concerns seriously, they have the right to explain their concerns to the Police or Social Services/Local Authorities.

7. Monitoring

7.1 We will record and monitor every safeguarding alert and produce an annual report to the Board.

7.2 Safeguarding will be reported at our quarterly Health & Safety meetings and any lessons learnt will be discussed and implemented.

8. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

8.1 For Mount Green, diversity is about respecting people’s individual differences and ensuring that all people that come into contact with us have access to the same high standards of behaviour and service.

8.2 Everyone has the absolute right to be protected from abuse, regardless of age, gender, disability, pregnancy and maternity, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, location, marital status, criminal behaviour or immigration status.

8.3 We recognise that there may be additional communication barriers for adults who are disabled or for those whose first language is not English. We are committed to helping them overcome these barriers and will work jointly with external parties in these cases.

8.4 We will communicate with residents in the way that suits them wherever
possible.