This report outlines data analysis which provides an overview of trends in safeguarding demand, consistency of thresholds and quality of service. The data relates to period ending 30 April 2022 (2021/22 Quarter 4) with comparison where possible to previous quarters and financial years.
1. Progression to enquiry – With the low progression rate from safeguarding concern to section 42 enquiry, further work to understand what is being referred as a safeguarding concern is required.
2. Missing data – The report notes that there are missing fields and therefore no data available. The work that has commenced on developing a new case management system will ensure that all reportable fields are mandatory and therefore will be captured, it is envisaged that that this will be finished and in place in the autumn.
Consideration was given to an update in respect of Adult Safeguarding Performance Data corresponding to Quarter 4 of 2021/2022. The presentation described the foundational principles of safeguarding which categorise performance measures and associated data. These are proportionality of trends in safeguarding demand, prevention thresholds, partnership with police, accountability for quality of health and care provision, protection through timely completion of inquiries and safeguarding adult reviews, and empowerment through collection of views and wishes and meeting personal outcomes. Data was shared associated with each principle. Followed by to anonymised customer stories exemplifying safeguarding activity and involvement bringing about positive results.
In discussion, Members noted that information coming through to the service may meet complex case thresholds, but not meet the threshold for safeguarding. More information was requested around what to do if there were complex but not safeguarding level concerns raised. The response from officers noted that if there was not a threshold for safeguarding met, there may be an appropriate alternative action. The service was working with partners and with police to ensure they were aware of the appropriate way of dealing with specific alerts. The forthcoming 7-minute informational videos were helping inform partners of what the thresholds are. Members requested that these videos be circulated upon availability.
How are we keeping people from posing as carers, how are we validating their roles? The response from officers noted that it is crucial to protect against financial abuse, which is the greatest one. Wider work is ongoing and warranted given the rising instances of abuse. We do receive a number of alerts from banks which are vigilant to prevent fraud, and we are aware that this is an area of growing need.
It was noted that RDaSH have approximately 50% progressed, which suggests they are getting it right. Members requested more information around how effective signposting be improved among other partners in line with the RDaSH progression rates. The response from officers noted that the service Manager meets regularly with police officers regarding the use of the app. The Q4 report showed the rates coming in from Police had decreased. It was noted that part of the work of the Adults Safeguarding Board is to undertake dip sampling in the auditing of safeguarding referral data.
Members requested more information in respect of cases that did not go on to full review. The response from officers noted that if a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) were found not to be the best way forward, for example, there might be a serious case review or a thematic learning review. It was noted that lessons will always be learned. Members noted that it would be helpful to receive information in respect of the majority to ensure that people who are in a dire situation are given timely and appropriate help. Members requested to have a demonstration of timelines and pathways for interventions of various kinds.
Members requested to know more about the cause of significant increase in the number of reports. The response from officer noted that an increase in self-neglect had been observed, likely as a result of the isolating effects of COVID-19. A growing theme was noted that people were not reaching out for services.
Is there a single point of access?
Members requested further assurances that the service is from the information that it receives. The response from officers described a consistent first-contact team since October 2019. A social work team of 5 or 6 social workers handled the bulk of referrals coming in. The team engaged with the person themselves who had been referred because they operated by the principle of “no decision about me without me.” They used their professional expertise and curiosity to investigate when the service received a referral, whether by phone call or someone coming in. Fact finding checks then pulled through available information. Three stage criteria needed to be met in terms of statutory safeguarding responsibilities. The information around the case was then checked out with the relevant advocate to receive their views around next steps, keeping the person in the centre all the way through the process. The team spoke to the advocate around whether other processes could support the person in their unique situation.
Members requested more details as to the reason progression rates were not tracking upwards as referrals track upwards. The service expressed concern about the progression rate of 14% which is low. The service were working on addressing the low progression rate. It was noted that public awareness about safeguarding had grown, resulting in more reports coming in, but with a low uptake rate which was being looked into.
Members requested more information around action being taken to ensure the information is accurate and of high quality. The response from officers noted that qualified assessors performed the assessments. Further, all teams have had briefing sessions around casework as part of the ongoing quality assurance framework in place. The service picked up actions needed to ensure a learning loop is maintained. Audits in terms of safeguarding adults were also done for assurance. Members emphasised the importance of asking questions and keeping curiosity going, whilst working closely with Policy, Performance and Intelligence to generate a set of working data for reference. It was noted that a dashboard of KPIs would be useful, including a measure indicating the effectiveness of the app.
Further information was requested in respect of benchmarking across the nation. The response from officers noted that Rotherham comes in mid-table nationally and within South Yorkshire.
Members requested more information around the method for ensuring that the right decisions were made in respect of a patient. The response from officers noted the importance and usefulness of safeguarding auditing for assurance and for understanding if a journey was right for a patient. It was observed that, if a section 42 inquiry were needed in terms of risk to the person, the person may have capacity and may not be interested in further section 42 inquiries being taken. The service monitored ongoing risks being exposed to and considered alternative measures which could be taken.
Members noted that the questions in the app may not mirror safeguarding criteria and requested assurances that the design of the app will be sorted out with the police. The response from officers noted that this was a work in progress, with more work on the app still needed. Some improvement had been shown, but there was still room for more improvement.
1. That the report and presentation be noted.
2. That the forthcoming seven-minute briefings be shared with Members when available.
3. That a dashboard of performance on a page be provided to members on a regular basis.
4. That the next quarterly report include wider context including benchmarking, timelines and breakdowns of referrals by pathway and type of action taken where information may not meet the threshold for safeguarding.
5. That the refinement of the safeguarding app be prioritised or delivery.