To receive the report.
The Committee considered a report from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB). The report outlined the strong synergies exist between the work of the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) and the Scrutiny for Policies, Adults and Health Committee, which has a valuable role in the assurance and accountability of the SSAB. The purpose of the report is to consult with Scrutiny for Policies, Adults and Health Committee in relation to the Strategic Plan for 2019/2022.
The Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB or “the Board”) operates as an independently-chaired, multi-agency body under The Care Act 2014. It became statutory from April 2015. The main objective of the SSAB is to seek assurance that local safeguarding arrangements and partner organisations act to help and protect people aged 18 and over who:
· have needs for care and support; and
· are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse, neglect or exploitation; and
· are unable to protect themselves from the risk of, or experience of, abuse or neglect as a result of their care and support needs.
The SSAB is required by The Care Act 2014 to produce and publish a strategic plan for each financial year. The plan must set out what the Board intends to do over the next year to help and protect adults at risk of abuse and neglect in Somerset during that timeframe. In common with many other Safeguarding Adults Boards, the Board chose to develop a three-year plan in 2016 that was refreshed annually. The Board propose to take a similar approach for the next strategic plan that will cover the period from April 2019 to March 2022.
The process of consultation forms the final element of the Strategic Plan. This has included using social media, listening to service users, listening to peer challenges and a well circulated newsletter. Directly consulting Scrutiny forms part of this exercise.
The Committee welcomed the comprehensive report and during discussion the following areas were discussed: -
· The Committee were interested to hear how dynamic the pan was and how quickly it could respond to changes and new challenges. The events at Mendip House was an example of how events can arise unexpectedly. The Committee were assured that the Safeguarding Board were quick to learn from this and it resulted in more robust understanding of the risks. Another challenge has been the County Lines activities. This has in the main involved young people in the movement of illegal drugs, but vulnerable young adults have been targeted. By raising this there has been a concerted multi-agency response which has heightened awareness of the risk.
· The Committee sought reassurance that Somerset was striving to be a difficult area for County Lines to operate and not a soft target. To this end the Committee were keen to make sure the transition from Child Services to Adult Services was a smooth one and that the was a focus on making sure this transition was fully supported.
· The Committee wanted to make sure that the wider aspects of exploitation were covered. These included community based, social media and coercive control were all considered and included in the safeguarding plans. They were informed that this was all covered and the partnerships that the Safeguarding Board had ensured that all were aware of the risks. Telephone and internet-based scams were also discussed. The emphasis here was to make sure people are able to look after themselves by being aware of this type of scam.
· The Committee were pleased to hear that there was a proactive approach to safeguarding but wanted to know which other agencies were included. The Committee were informed that all agencies with a statutory responsibility were involved and many had Board members in common; including the Fire Service.
· The Committee sought reassurance that vulnerable people would not ‘fall through the safeguarding net’. They were told that communication between all the agencies with a statutory responsibility has improved communication, shared lessons learnt, undertook joint planning and had ‘spot test’ audits to support the peer challenge approach.
· The Committee asked if it was clear to Somerset residents where they should go if there were concerns about safeguarding. They were informed that Somerset is a ground-breaking council in the area and the model used here has been shared at a national level. Somerset Direct is the single point of contact and access to the services and through a system of case file audits and routine assessments the service can be confident that no-one should be missed.
The Scrutiny for Policies, Adults and Health Committee:
Noted the contents of the report alongside the draft 2019-22 Strategic
Agreed to continue to promote adult safeguarding across the County Council and in commissioned services.