The Acting Strategic Director – Adult Social Care, Housing and Public Health attended the meeting to present the Rotherham Safeguarding Adults Board 2020/21 Annual Report.
It was noted that the Rotherham Safeguarding Adults Board (RSAB) worked to protect adults with care and support needs from abuse and neglect with its key objective being to ensure that local safeguarding arrangements and partnerships acted to help and protect adults at risk or experiencing neglect and/or abuse. The report stated that the RSAB was a multi-agency strategic, rather than operational, partnership that was made up of senior/lead officers within adult social services, criminal justice, health, housing, community safety, voluntary organisations. It was noted that the main role of the RSAB was to coordinate the strategic development of adult safeguarding across Rotherham and to ensure the effectiveness of the work undertaken by Partner Agencies in the area.
The Acting Strategic Director – Adult Social Care, Housing and Public Health made a presentation to the meeting that included information on:
· The priorities of the Rotherham Safeguarding Adults Board, that were:
· Prevention and Early Intervention
· Making Safeguarding Personal
· Quality Assurance
· Service User Engagement
· Key achievements from 2020/21, that included:
· Online bespoke training being commissioned on Making Safeguarding Personal
· The RSAB Policy for Self-Neglect and Hoarding being launched.
· One Safeguarding Adults Review being published in March 2021
· The delivery of Safeguarding Awareness Week in November 2020.
· Plans for future activity that included:
· For Safeguarding Adults Review action plans to be used to share and develop learning across the Partnership
· To carry on the work around increasing awareness of Self–Neglect and Hoarding across the Partnership
· To Continue to develop joint working with Community Safety and Safeguarding Children’s Partnership in order to share learning and training opportunities.
The full Rotherham Safeguarding Adults Board 2020/21 Annual Report was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report.
Members noted the importance of early intervention with regard to adult safeguarding and the importance of members of the public making safeguarding referrals. Members asked for further information on how awareness of safeguarding issues was promoted with the public. The Acting Strategic Director - Adult Social Care, Housing and Public Health noted the activities that had taken place as part of Annual Safeguarding week but advised that on the issue of awareness raising that there would always be more to do. The Acting Strategic Director advised that communications activity around the previous Safeguarding week had been coordinated across the four South Yorkshire authorities, but that plans to engage with the local media had not been as effective as hoped. The Acting Strategic Director advised that the communications programme and media engagement activity was an area of the Board’s work that did need further development.
Members noted the information contained in the report regarding performance against key objectives. Members asked how performance against objectives was monitored and recorded and whether this information could be shared with members of the commission. The Acting Strategic Director confirmed that there was a performance dashboard that was reviewed regularly that highlighted areas of activity that required further attention and that informed the direction of future activity for the Board. The Acting Strategic Director advised that this performance information could be shared with members of the commission.
Members asked for further information on the training the that had been delivered across the partnership. The Acting Strategic Director noted the important part that training played in developing effective safeguarding activity across the partnership advised how training had been delivered virtually during the pandemic. The Acting Strategic Director advised that whilst the programme of training that had been delivered virtually had been success that it did have its limitations in comparison to training activity delivered in person. The Acting Strategic Director assured members that the uptake of training across the partnership was closely monitored and that there was an expectation that all partners participated fully in the programme of training.
Members noted the Hoarding and Self Neglect Policy and asked what training across the partnership had taken place on the policy. The Acting Strategic Director noted that the policy and its implementation was a key objective for the Board and as such a comprehensive programme of training had been delivered across the partnership that had been well received. The Acting Strategic Director noted that further face to face training on the policy was being prepared for delivery across the partnership. Members asked how the link between mental health and hoarding/self-neglect was understood across the partnership and asked what activity was taking place to increase this understanding. The Strategic Director advised that this was an area of key focus of activity by the Board and assured members that activity was taking place with partners such as tenancy support workers to enable them to pick up the early signs of this behaviour.
Members noted the record of attendance at meetings of the Board that had been included in the Annual Report and asked what activity was being carried out to increase attendance from the partners who had lower attendance at meetings. The Acting Strategic Director noted that good attendance from all partners was essential to have an effective Board that could drive effective safeguarding activity. The Acting Strategic Director assured members that the Independent Chair was focussed on increasing attendance at meetings from all partners. The Acting Strategic Director advised that activity was also taking place to see how the voluntary sector could be better engaged with the activity of the Board as voluntary organisations played an essential role in delivering effective safeguarding activity.
The Chair noted the number of safeguarding referrals that were reported by South Yorkshire Police via their Safeguarding app that were in fact not safeguarding cases that were subsequently referred to other Adult Care service pathways. The Chair asked whether any further work had taken place in changing how referrals were made by the Police via the app. The Acting Strategic Director noted that the roll out of the app had resulted in an increase in referrals from the police, many of which were general concerns and that were often requests for other Adult Care services. The Acting Strategic Director advised that in Rotherham work had been carried out with the Police on how the app should be used and how referrals should best be made. The Acting Strategic Director advised that as a result of this activity the number of referrals that were more general requests for services had stabilised after an initial sharp increase. The Acting Strategic Director advised that all referrals made via the app were looked at carefully to ensure that all safeguarding concerns were picked up and acted upon.
Members asked for further information regarding the planned peer review of the RSAB. The Acting Strategic Director noted the important role that the peer review would play in developing the work of the RSAB and advised that once the review had been completed that the outcomes could be shared with the Improving Lives Select Commission.
Members noted that a safeguarding referral could often come after a single incident highlighted a safeguarding need. Members asked how the safeguarding needs of older people whose needs gradually emerged over time were identified as those developing needs may not be as apparent to the people and services that were supporting that individual. The Acting Strategic Director agreed that identifying safeguarding needs that emerged gradually over time was more challenging than those created by a single incident. The Acting Strategic Director advised that in these circumstances that the partnership working with GP’s and other health partners and their use of the NHS Frailty index was key to identifying these needs. The Acting Strategic director advised that the frailty index that GP’s monitored regularly enabled them to monitor the situation of individuals and their health and support needs that then enabled them to make appropriate referrals for Adult Care services in an appropriate and timely manner. Members noted how the NHS Frailty index was used differently in other areas and the benefits that this had provided. Members agreed that it would be useful for a piece of scrutiny work to be carried out to see how the approach taken in Rotherham could be developed by learning from practice elsewhere.
The Chair asked for further information on how RSAB and the partnership were tackling the problem of loneliness, noting that loneliness often created safeguarding needs for individuals. The Acting Strategic Director assured the Chair that the issue of loneliness was an issue of key concern across the partnership and noted that the pandemic and the related loss of opportunities for social interaction had had a serious impact on the levels of loneliness felt by many adults. The Acting Strategic Director advised that work was taking place across the partnership in order to support individuals who were experiencing loneliness and to help re-establish their social networks.
Members noted the very significant rise in safeguarding referrals that had been received during 2020/21 compared to 2019/20 and asked what the cause had been of this. The Acting Strategic Director confirmed that as previously noted the increase had been due to the implementation of the Safeguarding app across South Yorkshire Police and the resulting increase in the number of referrals made through it that did not meet the statutory definition of a safeguarding referral.
Members noted the issue of service user engagement and the RSAB strategic priority of improving this and asked how work was progressing on the development of an exit questionnaire for those leaving the safeguarding process. The Acting Strategic Director confirmed that the exit questionnaire was now in place and noted that the most important measure of effective safeguarding activity, and the objective of “making safeguarding personal” was the experience each individual and how they felt they had been supported into a sustainable situation.
Members asked whether the issue of modern slavery was an issue in Rotherham. The Acting Strategic Director advised that the issue of modern slavery was involved in less than one percent of safeguarding cases but noted that the issue of modern slavery went far wider than that of the RSAB and Adult Care. The Acting Strategic Director noted that the issue of modern slavery would be being looked at by the Safer Rotherham Partnership.
The Chair thanked the Acting Strategic Director – Adult Social Care, Housing and Public Health for attending the meeting and answering member questions.
1) That the report be noted.
2) That the Acting Strategic Director – Adult Care, Housing and Public Health, in consultation with the Chair of the Improving Lives Select Commission considers how performance data with regard to Adult Safeguarding be shared with members of the Improving Lives Select Commission.
3) That the Independent Chair of Rotherham Safeguarding attends a future meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission to present a report detailing the findings of the upcoming Peer Review of the Rotherham Safeguarding Board.
4) That the Independent Chair of Rotherham Safeguarding attends the July 2022 meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission to present a progress report on the progress being made in delivering the strategic objectives of the Rotherham Safeguarding Adults Board.
5) That it be recommended to the Chair of the Health Select Commission that consideration be given to carrying out a joint piece of work on how the NHS Frailty Index is used by health services in Rotherham.