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3.5 Information Gathering, Safeguarding Strategy and Plan

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Where safeguarding concerns have been identified there must be an ongoing and documented Safeguarding Plan which includes a Risk Assessment (see Adult at Risk Safeguarding Plan).

See also Guidance for Completion of Safeguarding Plan.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in November 2016.


Contents

  1. Information Gathering
  2. Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adult Strategy Meeting/Discussion
  3. Purpose of the Safeguarding Adult Strategy Meeting/Discussion
  4. Who Should Attend
  5. Further Strategy Meetings


1. Information Gathering

This is the information collection stage which may lead on to a strategy discussion/meeting. This stage allows for information to be sought from the adult at risk and all involved partner agencies to ensure an informed decision is taken about whether to move to a safeguarding investigation. This is essential to ensure the Safeguarding Senior Practitioner can make an informed decision. The Safeguarding Senior Practitioner should define the parameters of the information gathering process in consultation with the Safeguarding Manager and decide the actions to be taken considering the following:

  • The need to carry out a Capacity assessment;
  • An appropriate risk assessment of the available information;
  • Ensure that the adult at risk’s continuing safety is assured;
  • Record the information gathered;
  • All discussions and decisions should be recorded within 2 working days;
  • Identify and contact relevant agencies to the case;
  • Review the current assessment of risk based on incoming information;
  • Ensure PHD, PCRT and/or the Quality Assurance Officer are notified of Alert forms received relating to registered care home or nursing agency or those services that are part of the Approved Provider Framework; If there are Regulatory issues discuss and agree with the PCRT the initial investigation strategy as part of the initial strategy discussion;
  • If the person allegedly causing harm is employed by an individual purchasing their own care or by any agency, any relevant Human Resources processes to be considered or undertaken;
  • Service commissioners involvement;
  • If there is a police investigation, contact the officer in charge of the investigation to discuss procedures and actions.

Where the offence is thought to be serious, the police will (if not already informed) be called as detailed in How to Respond. The more serious the actual or possible offence the greater the need to notify the police as soon as it is discovered.

Once all information has been collated and in consultation with the Safeguarding Team Manager a decision should be made as to whether the case is to be closed as a safeguarding process or if it is necessary to hold a strategy meeting/discussion as a safeguarding investigation under these procedures is required.


2. Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adult Strategy Meeting/Discussion

A decision to hold a strategy meeting/discussion will be based on the following factors and will be made by the Safeguarding Team Senior Safeguarding Practitioner in consultation with the Safeguarding team Manager.

  • The risk to the adult allegedly being harmed;
  • The risks to others from the person causing harm/ alleged to have caused harm;
  • Whether several organisations have concerns and need to share information;
  • Whether there may be a number of investigations by different organisations;
  • Whether there may be legal or regulatory actions;
  • Whether the allegation involves a member of staff/volunteer or the safety of a service;
  • Whether the situation could attract media attention;
  • Where a crime may have been committed;
  • Where Institutional Abuse is suspected or alleged.

See also Safeguarding Adult Strategy Meeting Agenda.

In an emergency (life threatening) and urgent (potentially at risk of physical harm) case a Multi – Agency Strategy Meeting/discussion would be convened within 1 working day. In emergencies, or when there are time constraints, a strategy discussion may be held by telephoning all relevant parties.

The Safeguarding Adult Team will identify an investigating officer who will undertake the investigation as required by the Strategy Meeting/discussion. For more complex or serious situations this should be the Safeguarding Senior Practitioner, but where appropriate will be the most relevant professional. All investigating officers will receive support and supervision relating to the investigation from the relevant member of the Safeguarding Adult Team.

Neglect is the failure of any agency, service, organisation or person that has responsibility for the care or custody of an adult at risk to provide the amount of care that would reasonably be expected. If the subject (agency, service, organisation or person) of an allegation is under the same line management as the Safeguarding Team the Safeguarding concerns will be escalated immediately to senior management.

A decision not to hold a Strategy Meeting or Discussion might be made by the Safeguarding Team Manager because there is sufficient information to indicate that:

The person is not at risk of Abuse or Neglect and there is no need to investigate or take further action under these procedures. The decision will be recorded with the reasons and an alternative plan formulated if necessary.


3. Purpose of the Safeguarding Adult Strategy Meeting/Discussion

The initial strategy meeting/discussion (see Strategy Agenda) (held within two working days) will consider and ensure:

  • Primarily; that the person remains at the centre of the process and that their choices and wishes are respected as far as possible notwithstanding risks to others; the wishes of the adult are very important whether or not they have capacity at that time. If intervention is not pursued at the request of the individual with capacity this will be recorded as a separate outcome;
  • Summary of original concern(s);
  • Notes of any information shared and by which agency;
  • Agree the investigation will take place, and if so, how it should be conducted, areas to be considered, by whom and by when, this will include relevant information from partner agencies;
  • All are clear about their role, responsibilities and how the investigation will be undertaken;
  • An appropriate risk assessment of the available information informs decisions regarding how the investigation will be undertaken and next actions  and time scales. (Investigations are to be concluded within 14 to 28 working days);
  • Name of people who have responsibility for these actions; it is important to recognise that abuse or neglect may be unintentional and may arise because an informal carer is struggling to care for another person. Assessment of both the carer and the adult they care for must include consideration of the wellbeing of both people;
  • Information on the wider context such as whether others may be at risk of abuse;
  • Agreement on how to monitor progress;
  • Agreement about who and how outcomes from the meeting /discussion will be shared with the adult at risk and consideration of their need for support (if they are not present);
  • Ongoing and documented two stage capacity assessment if required. For further guidance please see the Capacity Policy [1];
  • Agree an appropriate safeguarding plan; preventative work and education for situations that do not require investigative work will also be included in the plan and will be recorded as a separate outcome; plan without an investigation;
  • There is clarity regarding the concern that requires investigation and the categories of abuse this may relate to;
  • Other key processes and procedures are considered e.g. personnel issues, police investigations, child protection issues, regulatory investigations, Serious Untoward Incident investigations (SUI's) and are effectively coordinated and timescales agreed;
  • Information is recorded and shared in line with the Data Protection Law and thought given to how those involved in the investigation will be advised of their rights in relation to information sharing and the impact this may have for them;
  • Arrangements are clear regarding how confidential information will be stored for e.g. if employees of an organisation leading the investigation, are the person alleged to have caused harm or connected with them;
  • Clear arrangements are in place for line management, accountability and feedback processes;
  • Clarification of resources that may be required e.g. available placements, funding, staff, transport, emergency planning, general and local specific arrangements if these apply, including escalation to senior managers;
  • Clear arrangements are in place to enable the person alleged responsible to be able to respond;
  • Issues relating to equalities / potential discrimination are identified and taken account of;
  • The record/minutes of the Strategy Discussion/Meeting are finalised and ensure any amendments are included where these have been received within timescales (minutes to be sent out within 5 working days of the Strategy Meeting);
  • Identify a provisional date for a Case Conference and who is likely to be required to attend;
  • If a further strategy meeting is required it should happen within 5 working days of the initial strategy discussion.

The Initial Strategy Meeting/Discussion should take place before any investigation by any individual agency. The commencement of a police or regulatory investigation is an exception to this, when vital evidence gathering is required for example. An organisation should not begin an investigation prior to a decision by the initial strategy meeting or discussion.

[1] http://safeguarding.je/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/201512-16-Capacity-Policy-FINAL-Document-SAPB.pdf


4. Who Should Attend

The Safeguarding Adult Team will ensure there is a Chair and minute taker.

Attendance (see Additional Guidance Strategy Discussion) at the initial and any subsequent strategy meeting should be limited to those who need to know and who can contribute to the decision-making process. This should be staff of any organisation that may have a role in investigating the allegation of abuse or neglect or in the assessment of the risk to the adult, or for taking action in relation to the person allegedly causing the harm. They should be of sufficient seniority to make decisions within the meeting concerning the organisation’s role and the resources they may contribute to the agreed safeguarding plan.

Any organisation requested to attend an initial strategy meeting should regard the request as a priority. If no one from the organisation is able to attend, they should provide information as requested and make sure it is available at the meeting.

How Strategy Meetings are chaired and arranged will need careful consideration in terms of information sharing and data protection. This may include considering what information can be shared in full or in part in relation to any data protection issues relevant to other individuals affected or because of criminal or regulatory investigations or human resources employee processes.

Attendees may include:

  • The adult at risk and/or their representative;
  • Senior Safeguarding Practitioner;
  • The investigating officer;
  • The police, if there are concerns that a crime has been committed;
  • The person raising the alert, if they are a professional;
  • The officer and/or manager from the PHD - PCRT with regard to registered care homes and nursing agencies;
  • The Quality Assurance Officer with regard to services who are part of the Approved Provider Framework;
  • The manager of a provider service unless they are named in the allegation;
  • A senior practitioner from the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub/Children’s Initial Response Team or the allocated social worker, if there are also concerns that children/young people may be at risk of significant harm;
  • Any other relevant agency/service representative as deemed appropriate by the Adult Safeguarding Team, for example, Probation, Education, Voluntary and Community Sector, Adult Social Care, GP.

If the allegation involves a states employee or that of an independent service Provider or agency, the strategy meeting will be attended, where appropriate, by:

  • The human resources (HR) officer;
  • The line manager of the member of staff;
  • A senior manager of the employing organisation.

And consideration given to:

  • If the person alleged to have caused the harm is a states employee or that of an independent service Provider or agency, the strategy meeting and any subsequent investigation will:
    • Consider whether actions should be taken under employment procedures or ask the agency to do so;
    • Consider notifying the appropriate professional or regulatory body;
    • Consider whether further risk assessment in relation to the person alleged to have caused harm should be undertaken.

In cases where a crime has been reported and is being investigated by police, all subsequent action by other organisations must be coordinated by the Safeguarding Senior Practitioner with the Police. The Police officer in charge of the investigation (or their representative) will be invited to any strategy meeting.

The police investigation could take some time and other organisations could have duties to take action. Agreement must be reached at the strategy stage, either in a strategy discussion or meeting between the police and other involved organisations about what actions they can take and when.


5. Further Strategy Meetings

In addition to the above further strategy meetings may be required to:

  • Co-ordinate information arising from any investigation which will be provided by the investigating officer;
  • Consideration of information and revision of the protection plan for the adult at risk/ and or others.

The decision to hold further strategy meetings will be made at the initial strategy meeting/discussion by the Chair in consultation with relevant partners.

Following the initial strategy meeting/discussion a subsequent strategy meeting will be held within 5 working days if required and thereafter when further strategy meetings are required to ensure the above areas are addressed.

End