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DMiP Safeguarding and Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy

Executive Summary

This document contains the Safeguarding and Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy for all Dementia Matters in Powys (DMiP) activities including the Safeguarding Code of Practice, Procedure for DMiP members and Safeguarding Officers, Risk Assessment, Training, Responsibility, Safer recruitment of staff and volunteers and Referral to DBS.

Note: The Safeguarding and Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy has been reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose during the Covid-19 Pandemic when people may be more vulnerable due to increased social isolation, stress on carers and caring relationships, an increase in criminal behaviour, an increase in domestic abuse and a range of new contacts (those delivering food etc.). The principles remain the same and anyone undertaking work for DMiP must be extra vigilant during this time.

DMiP Safeguarding and Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy

Principles

Dementia Matters in Powys aims to adopt the highest possible standards and take all reasonable steps in relation to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk and remain compliant with current legislation. 

 

This policy seeks to support these activities and to offer assurances to staff, volunteers, contractors, partners and visitors that through implementation of the policy we aim to protect anyone at risk and to keep them safe from harm when in contact with DMiP.  Anyone undertaking work on behalf of DMiP has a duty of care to raise concerns they may have about any aspect of their work. These can range from inadequate working conditions, poor equipment and poor practice by other staff, to raising concerns about potential abuse cases and situations of neglect.

 

Safeguarding is a wider concept than the protection of children and adults and deals with the promotion of:

• Physical, emotional and mental health

• Education, training and leisure

• Contribution to society and social and economic well-being

Dementia Matters in Powys will
  • work closely in partnership with individuals, their parents and/or carers, and other agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of all

  • respect the rights, wishes, feelings and privacy of individuals by listening to them and minimising any risks that may affect them

  • invest in preventative work and early intervention and try to avoid situations where abuse or allegations of abuse or harm may occur

The Care Quality Commission defines Safeguarding as “protecting people's health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It's fundamental to high-quality health and social care”. 

Safeguarding and protecting adults at risk includes:

  • Protecting their rights to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect

  • People and organisations working together to prevent the risk of abuse or neglect, and to stop them from happening

  • Making sure people's wellbeing is promoted, taking their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account

For the purposes of this policy, a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. ‘Children’ therefore means ‘children and young people’ throughout this document. For the purposes of this policy, an adult is defined as being over eighteen years of age. The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act states that an adult becomes an adult at risk when they:

  • Are experiencing or are at risk of abuse or neglect;

  • Have the need for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs); and

  • As a result of those needs, is unable to protect him/herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it

Safeguarding Code of Practice

The following code of practice applies to all DMIP staff, trustees, volunteers and contractors, partners and visitors whether acting in a paid or unpaid capacity:-

  1. Avoid unnecessary physical contact

  2. Do not take a child or adult at risk into the toilet unless another adult is present or only if another adult is aware (this may include a carer)

  3. make sure that others can clearly observe you and you are not left alone with an individual using the service

  4. Avoid personal relationships with a child or adult at risk

  5. Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to anyone, even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted     

DMiP Member Safeguarding Procedure

It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard individuals from harm. Anyone undertaking an activity on behalf of DMiP must report any concerns they have to the designated person(s). These might include evidence or suspicions of bad practice by colleagues and managers or abuse by another individual or another worker. If anyone is in any doubt, they should discuss this with the designated person(s), who will either take it to the relevant body or ensure that it is taken forward under the appropriate DMIP policy or procedure.  

 

If someone  tells you that they are being abused, or if an allegation is raised by a third party, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Try not to appear shocked and show that you accept what they are saying and that you take their allegation seriously

  2. Listen carefully and sympathetically 

  3. Communicate in a way that is appropriate for that person

  4. Do not prompt or ask leading questions

  5. Explain what action you must take i.e. immediate referral to the  designated person; DMiPs Safeguarding Officer

  6. Never promise confidentiality, as information on abuse must be reported

  7. Ensure, with support from other DMiP members, that the individual is currently safe.  In an emergency, contact 999 for the police or ambulance services

  8. Make a note of the date, time, place, and people who were present and write down exactly what you have been told using the exact words if possible

  9. Do not confront the alleged abuser

  10. Refer all information immediately to the Safeguarding Officer 

  11. All allegations of abuse of children or adults at risk must be reported to the Safeguarding Officer on the day that they are raised, who will then take all further necessary action. This is the case whether the alleged abuse took place within DMIP or another organisation

  12. Never think someone else is dealing with the matter

  13. Know how to respond appropriately

 

DMiP members should never deal with abuse disclosures in isolation and should always refer to the nominated Safeguarding Officer. These are the only people who should deal with the case and report suspected abuse to the Social Services or the Police.  

 

A referral directly to the police should be made if the alleged crime is of a serious enough nature that there is immediate danger to the individual concerned. In all other cases Social Services will determine, as part of their investigation, whether such a referral is made.  In the event of a direct police referral Social Services must also be informed.  We should not carry out an investigation or information gathering exercise internally; this must be left to Social Services.

Safeguarding Officer Procedure

The nominated duty Safeguarding Officer will:

 

  1. Ensure that the child/adult at risk is not in any immediate danger.

  2. Gather the details.

  3. Refer the case to Social Services or the Police on the day that it was received. It should be made clear to the child/adult at risk that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and if the child/adult at risk does not wish the complaint to be taken forward, the Safeguarding Officer should seek advice in confidence from Social Services or the Police as to what the best course of action should be.

  4. Update the child/adult at risk of a decision to report the incident and reason for the referral to the specialised agency.

  5. Make contact with the parents or carer unless this may place the child/adult at risk in harm. All discussions should be documented and noted.

  6. Make a formal referral in writing to Social Services.

  7. Keep written records of all actions, discussions and decision-making rationale in a secure location.

  8. Be the point of contact for the specialist agency throughout the investigation.

  9. Ensure that if they are not available, an alternate nominated Safeguarding Officer is aware and that this is communicated. 

Safeguarding Officers

DMiPs designated Safeguarding Officer is the Chief Officer. 

The Safeguarding Officer will be available to all staff and volunteers to speak to when they have any concerns, issues or complaints regarding the safety, well-being or conduct of any aspect of the service.

 

The nominated Safeguarding Officer will be required to have undertaken or to undertake appropriate training to support them in these roles. They will liaise with appropriate local and national agencies, contribute to appropriate policies, maintain records and keep confidentiality, adhere to and promote this policy within the organisation, and support or provide access to support for individuals suffering harm or abuse.

Risk assessment

A designated member of staff should complete a risk assessment before any new or changed event/visit.  

The risk assessment mitigates or removes any potential risks and is a prompt to consider alternative working practices.  This assessment should be completed on the form and will:

 

  1. Incorporate the standard health and safety risk assessment;

  2. Identify the nature of the contact;

  3. Consider children and adults who are particularly at risk;

  4. Consider whether any children or adults at risk have allergies, are on medication, have any disabilities (physical or mental), have behavioural difficulties;

  5. Identify any potential areas for harm and detail action to prevent harm occurring, which might include consideration of alternative working practices;

  6. Identify situations that would require staff with a valid DBS check and safeguarding training to be present.

Training

DMiP will provide an induction programme for all new volunteers and staff that includes appropriate safeguarding training to enable all personnel to undertake their roles safely and confidently. DMiP will provide training on the DMiP Safeguarding Policy and on its application as part of its induction procedure and ongoing programme of staff & volunteer development.

Responsibility

All staff and volunteers must follow this policy.  If you do not work in this way, you could be considered negligent or incompetent. If you are in any doubt at any time, you must discuss any issues you have with your line manager.  

 

Accountability and responsibility for the adoption and implementation of the policy will rest with the Chief Officer. 

 

To raise concerns about an issue that arises outside the workplace, each local authority has safeguarding policies and procedures for children and adults at risk that are published on their website or available from their Safeguarding team.

Safer recruitment of staff and volunteers

DMiP will seek to recruit using appropriate procedures, safeguards and checks in our recruitment procedures. Recruitment advertisements should state that 'The successful candidate will require an enhanced disclosure' where required.

 

Every applicant will be informed of DMiP's Safeguarding Policy at the commencement of the process.  We will take up references for all paid posts and volunteer roles prior to appointment.

 

We will use Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks to help us:

  • assess an individual’s suitability and

  • determine which roles are eligible for enhanced DBS checks only.

We will assess any criminal record information that is disclosed in line with our data protection and equalities (treating ex-offenders fairly) policies.  Where a check has been required at the time of recruitment, this will be reviewed every three years and, if necessary, it will be updated.

For any disclosed information, the recruiter should consider:

  1. Whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the post in question;

  2. The seriousness of any offence or other matter revealed;

  3. The length of time since the offence or other matter occurred;

  4. Whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour or other relevant matters;

  5. Whether the applicant's circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or the other relevant matters, and

  6. The circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the convicted person

 

The recruiter should,

  1. Discuss any matter revealed in a disclosure with the preferred applicant;

  2. Resolve any disputes in the information provided in a disclosure, before a selection decision;

  3. Not discuss any information released by the police to an employer by separate letter, with the applicant.

 

The recruiter should be aware that selection criteria should state various factors. Checking should be part of the overall selection process and not the sole decision factor. Recruiters should also note that disclosures do not carry a guarantee of accuracy. Neither do they have a predetermined period of validity. 

We will regularly review our recruitment procedures in response to changes in legislation and systems external to our organisation (eg: DBS and barring list checks). 

It is important that all volunteers are treated fairly, are given clear expectations of their role within the organisation and are supported to fulfil that role. Volunteers will be treated equally alongside any paid staff, and all volunteers will be offered the same opportunities for advancement, responsibility, training and gaining qualifications and acknowledgement for their contribution to our organisation. 

In turn, our volunteers will adhere to the Code of Conduct at all times as a representative of our organisation. All volunteer roles will be appropriately supervised in accordance with statutory guidance.

Referral to DBS

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 places a duty on employers of people working with children or vulnerable adults to make a referral to the DBS in certain circumstances.

This is when an employer has dismissed or removed a person from working with children or vulnerable adults (or would or may have if the person had not left or resigned etc.) because the person has:

 

  1. Been cautioned or convicted for a relevant offence; or

  2. Engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children and/or adults at risk [i.e. an action or inaction (neglect) that has harmed a child or adult at risk or put them at risk of harm]; or

  3. Satisfied the Harm Test in relation to children and/or adults at risk. [i.e. there has been no relevant conduct (i.e. no action or inaction) but a risk of harm to a child or adult at risk still exists].

DMiP Policy approved April 2021

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