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Actions and Next Steps (Family Connect)

1. Transferring a Contact

It is important that the person/carer making contact speaks to the right practitioner at the right time.

Transferring a telephone contact

Family Connect will often receive telephone contacts requesting to speak to a named worker or a particular service. However, this may or may not be the best person for them to speak to.

When the person/carer making the contact requests specifically to speak to or be contacted by a particular team or person you should establish as quickly as possible whether the contact should be forwarded to that practitioner/service.

You should check available systems to establish whether:

  1. The person/carer is allocated to the practitioner they have requested to speak to; or
  2. The service/team is responsible for either the assessment or review of the person/carers needs.

You should not transfer a telephone call to a named worker if it is clear that the worker is not allocated to the person/carer. This will not be helpful to the worker or to the person/carer as they will not be speaking to the right person to resolve the contact.

What to do if the practitioner the telephone contact is being transferred to is not available

If the practitioner is not available you should try and establish when they may become available by looking at any electronic calendars they use or speaking with a member of the service/team they are based in.

If it is not clear when the practitioner will become available, or if an urgent response is required you should:

  1. Inform the person/carer of this;
  2. Leave the practitioner a message alerting them to the contact, any action undertaken and confirming the information given to the person about when to expect a call back;
  3. Agree with the person/carer what they should do if the practitioner does not make contact at the expected time; and
  4. Make a proportionate record of all the above.

If it is not clear when the practitioner will become available, or if an urgent response is required you should:

  1. Inform the person/carer of this;
  2. Leave the practitioner a message alerting them to the contact, any action undertaken and what information has been given to the person/carer;
  3. Transfer the call to the duty worker at the relevant team; and
  4. Make a proportionate record of all the above.

Transferring a written, e-mail or text contact

When a written contact is addressed to a named worker or a particular service you should establish as quickly as possible whether the contact should be forwarded to that practitioner/service.

You should check available systems to establish whether:

  1. The person/carer is allocated to the practitioner they have addressed the written contact to; or
  2. The service/team is responsible for either the assessment or review of the person/carers needs.

You should not transfer a written contact to a named worker if it is clear that the worker is not allocated to the person/carer. This will not be helpful to the worker or to the person/carer as they will not be dealing with the right person to resolve the contact.

Before transferring the contact you should:

  1. Confirm that the practitioner the written communication is being transferred to is available within a reasonable timeframe for the action indicated by the contact, or that there is a mechanism in place for the written contact to be received and managed by the service in which they work;
  2. Where the communication is a letter or an e-mail, whether the practitioner wishes to receive the original contact (if not this should be filed securely); and
  3. Where a written response confirming the contact has been received is required or requested, agree who will provide this.

The most secure way to transfer a written contact is to send a message to the practitioner or service alerting them to the contact and where it can be found on the recording system.

Any original copies of e-mails must be sent via internal secure e-mail systems only and any original letters must be sent via internal postal services or secure delivery only.

What to do if the practitioner the written contact is being transferred to is not available

If the practitioner is not available within a reasonable timeframe for the action indicated by the contact you should:

  1. Leave the practitioner a message alerting them to the contact, where it can be found on the recording system and any action undertaken, including what has been agreed with the person/carer if contact has been made with them;
  2. Send the contact to the relevant duty team; and
  3. Make a proportionate record of all the above.

2. Transferring a Written Referral

When the service the referral should be transferred to is clear

Sometimes it is clear which service in the Local Authority should receive the referral or contact that has been made. Where this is clear the referral can be transferred to that service.

Note: If the referral is for equipment then before transferring it to Occupational Therapy services consideration should be given to:

  1. Signposting the person to My Choice; or
  2. If the person is a Telford and Wrekin Housing Trust tenant, making a referral to them for a Trusted Assessor assessment.

The service area or team receiving the referral should make effective use of the information gathered thus far and not make the person/ carer (or anyone else previously consulted) repeat information unnecessarily.

When the service the referral should be transferred to is unclear

Sometimes it is less clear which service should receive a referral. Perhaps the service criteria are not clear or the person/carer's needs could potentially be met by more than one service.

Decision making in this instance should be as simple and consistent as possible. It should involve the person and the potential services with the aim of reaching a shared agreement. Any delays should not negatively impact the person or put them at risk through the delay of any Care and Support needs being met.

It would be prudent to apply the same criteria when deciding the most appropriate service that the Care Act requires to be applied when deciding the most appropriate worker:

  1. The views and wishes of the person about which service/team would best support them must be regarded;
  2. The service/team must possess the skills, knowledge and competence to carry out the anticipated Care and Support functions; and
  3. The service/team must possess the skills, knowledge and competence required to work with the particular person in question.

Click here to access a tri.x tool that can support consistent decision making about team suitability.

If difficulty persists you should seek the advice of a line manager.

The Duty to Provide Independent Advocacy

Whenever the outcome of a contact or referral is that the person/carer will be involved in any adult Care and Support process (including any assessment, review, reassessment or safeguarding) the Local Authority has a duty under the Care Act to make an independent advocate available to the person/carer when:

  1. There is no appropriate other person to support and represent them; and
  2. They feel that the person/carer would experience substantial difficulty being fully involved in the Care and Support process without support.

Decisions about the need for advocacy should be made as early as possible because advocacy must be provided before the Care and Support function to be carried out can begin. As such if you know that advocacy will be likely you should discuss this with the person and make a referral at the same time as you transfer the referral.

Click here to find out more about the advocacy duty, including how to establish whether a person needs an advocate, the different advocates that are available and how to make a referral.

The Duty to Provide Information and Advice around Financial Assessment

The Local Authority has a duty to provide good information around finances at an early stage. This provides people with an understanding from the beginning about how they may be expected to contribute financially towards the cost of any Care and Support/Support they receive so that they can start thinking about and planning how they could use their financial resources flexibly to fund a range of potential care options. You should take any opportunity to provide this information, and should particularly make sure that it has been provided whenever a transfer is made to another service that may result in an assessment, review or reassessment.

For information relating to the specific financial information that must be provided under the Care Act click here.

Click here to see the answers to some frequently asked questions around financial assessment.

Note: This FAQ is based on statutory duties and powers and does not reflect Telford and Wrekin's policy to:

  1. Provide all equipment and minor adaptations on a non-chargeable loan basis; and
  2. Provide all carers services on a non-chargeable basis.

3. Taking a Referral for Assessment or Support

If the information gathered during a telephone contact suggests the person would benefit from further assessment or intervention a referral should be taken so long as:

  1. The person or carer the referral relates to is making the referral;
  2. The person or carer the referral relates to has given their consent to the referral; or
  3. The person that the referral relates to lacks mental capacity to make a referral and a decision has been made under Best Interests that a referral should be made; or
  4. The person that the referral relates to is at risk of harm from abuse or neglect.

The following information should be included in a referral:

  1. All personal details, including the persons full name (and also preferred name or previous surname), address and preferred contact details, date of birth, national insurance number and NHS number;
  2. The name, relationship and contact details of the person making the referral (if not the person themselves);
  3. When and how the person consented to the referral;
  4. If the person has not consented to the referral, was a mental capacity assessment carried out and is the referral being made under Best Interests;
  5. What the presenting issue is from the person's perspective and what they would like to happen;
  6. What the presenting issue is from the referrer's point of view (if the referrer is not the person) and what action they may recommend;
  7. What options have been considered with the person to resolve the issue so far, including what support the person has had from family and community networks;
  8. What information and advice has been provided to the person or what information and advice may be required;
  9. What prevention services have been used, considered or may be of benefit;
  10. Any specific communication needs of the person that need to be considered so they can understand and be involved in any adult Care and Support process;
  11. Whether the person is likely to have substantial difficulty in any adult Care and Support process, and if so whether an independent advocate has been considered;
  12. Details of any previous or current Care and Support services (whether the Local Authority is providing them or not);
  13. With the person's consent the name and contact details of anyone involved in their life who should be involved in any assessment (family member, friend or professional); and
  14. Any other information deemed relevant by the person or referrer (if the referrer is not the person).

After taking the referral information you should transfer the referral to the appropriate team.

Occupational Therapy referrals

Before taking a referral for Occupational Therapy assessment consideration should be given to:

  1. Signposting the person to My Choice; or
  2. If the person is a Telford and Wrekin Housing Trust tenant, making a referral to them for a Trusted Assessor assessment; or
  3. Signposting the person to the Manual Handling Team or a health provision (see below).

The Occupational Therapy service does not:

  1. Undertake manual handing assessments;
  2. Find hospital beds;
  3. Assess equipment needs to facilitate hospital discharge;
  4. Assess for walking aids and wheelchairs.

If any of the above applies the person should be supported to access the right health provision. If you need advice about where to signpost people contact the Duty OT.

4. Safeguarding Concern

Where the information gathered requires further action under safeguarding:

  1. Click here to access the Adult Safeguarding Procedures, including how to recognise abuse and neglect, how to raise a concern, how to record safeguarding information;
  2. Click here to access the Local Safeguarding Adults Board Multi-Agency Safeguarding Procedures; or
  3. Click here to access the Local Safeguarding Children's Board Multi-Agency Procedures.
If you are concerned that an adult or child is in imminent danger from abuse or neglect, or that a criminal act has taken place you should contact the police by dialling 999.

5. Providing Information and Advice

The Local Authority (and anyone representing the Local Authority) has a duty under Section 4 of the Care Act to either provide directly, or provide access to a range of information and advice relating to adult Care and Support, including financial advice. This duty applies equally in respect of all local residents regardless of whether the person with Care and Support needs or carer is known to, lives in, or is already receiving services from the Local Authority.

Click here to read more about the duty to provide information and advice under the Care Act, including how information and advice should be provided and the specific information and advice requirements around finances.

Information and advice can be accessed in a number of ways:

Live Well Telford

This is a comprehensive online information and advice service. Click here to access it - link to follow.

My Choice

My Choice is a partnership between Age UK Shropshire, Citizen's Advice, Taking Part, Alzheimer's Society and Shropshire Independent Advocacy Scheme. It can provide information and advice about welfare benefits, community care, budgeting and paying for care.

Telephone: 01952 216 018 (Telford office).
Drop in: Southwater Square, Monday-Friday 9.30pm-12.30pm.
Make an appointment: enquiries@ageukstw.org.uk
Online: Age UK website.

Carers

Carers can access bespoke information and advice through the Carer's Centre by calling 01952 240209.

Information about equipment and adaptations

My Choice can also provide a range of information and advice about equipment and adaptations. They are also able to carry out non-complex assessments and provide equipment to promote independence. Contact them using the details above.

Financial assessment FAQ's

Click here to see the answers to some frequently asked questions around financial assessment, including questions relating to Disabled Facilities Grants.

Note: This FAQ is based on statutory duties and powers and does not reflect Telford and Wrekin's policy to:

  1. Provide all equipment and minor adaptations on a non-chargeable loan basis; and
  2. Provide all carers services on a non-chargeable basis.

National organisations

Sometimes it is helpful to contact a well known national organisation with a dedicated information and advice service or help-line. Click here for details of some national organisations offering this service.

Some national organisations do not have dedicated information and advice services but can still provide such support upon request. Click here for a wider range of useful national contacts for adult Care and Support.

Making Information and Advice Accessible

Information and advice must be provided in an accessible way so that the person for whom it is intended can best understand and make use of it.

If you feel the person for whom the information and advice is intended will need support to understand it then you should:

  1. Consider whether the person has anyone appropriate who can help them to understand it;
  2. Consider any steps that you can take to support them to understand it (for example talking through the information over the telephone or summarising it in a simpler format); and
  3. Consider the benefit of independent advocacy.

If you are not clear what the local arrangements are for the provision of independent advocacy for information and advice please speak with your line manager before making a referral.

6. Following Up on Information and Advice

Under the Care Act the Local Authority has a duty to not only provide information and advice where it is needed, but to ensure that the information and advice it provides has been effective.

Therefore, when information and advice has been provided you should make appropriate arrangements to follow up with the person/carer to whom it was given in order to review how effective it has been.

The timescales for this follow up should be agreed with the person/carer to whom the information and advice was given and should reflect the individual circumstances and level of risk.

Where you are making arrangements for someone else to follow up on the information and advice you have given (rather than following up on it yourself) you must make sure that you have recorded this in a way that will ensure the person follows up on it at the agreed time.

7. Providing Information about a Person

Maintaining confidentiality and protecting information

Maintaining confidentiality

The Local Authority has a common law and legal duty to safeguard the confidentiality of all personal information.

As an employee of the Local Authority you are bound contractually to respect the confidentiality of any information that you may come into contact with. Under no circumstances should such information be divulged or passed to any persons or organisation in any form unless you have authorisation to do so.

All information sharing that takes place must be in line with data protection regulations and local policy.

Any unauthorised disclosure of confidential information may result in disciplinary action of individual prosecution under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Protecting information

You should take necessary steps to protect the information that you hold and have access to. For example:

  1. You should ensure that nobody else has access to your electronic information systems (email and IT system);
  2. You should send electronic communication by secure channels (having verified the detail of the recipient);
  3. You should keep records made by hand in a secure place (e.g. notebooks);
  4. You should only discuss information with appropriate people in safe environments.

Rights of access to information about a data subject

The rights of the data subject

Under Data Protection legislation (namely the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) any person (known legally as the data subject) that the Local Authority holds information about is legally entitled to access the information held about them (known legally as the right of access) unless an exemption to do so applies (see below).

This includes both paper/hard copy information and information held electronically.

If the person lacks capacity

If the data subject lacks capacity to make a request for information under Data Protection legislation and they have a legally authorised representative who deems it in their best interests to request the information it can also be requested by that legally authorised representative and the request should be treated as if it had been made by the data subject.

The rights of other people

The rights of other people to access information about a data subject are limited. Information can only be provided if:

  1. The data subject provides consent for it to be shared; or
  2. The data subject lacks capacity to consent but has a legally authorised representative who has consented; or
  3. The data subject lacks capacity to consent, does not have a legally authorised representative but it is the view of the Local Authority that sharing the information would be in their best interests (e.g. to support an assessment by another professional);
  4. None of the exemptions set out in the Data Protection Act apply; or
  5. The information is requested under safeguarding and is integral to protecting the person, a child or other vulnerable adult from abuse or neglect.

Exemptions to the provision of information

As permitted under the GDPR, the UK Data Protection Act sets out some exemptions to the right of access. These exemptions apply to every information request, with one exception; if disclosure of the information is required by a court order or is necessary for the purpose of or in connection with any legal proceedings it should be provided.

The exemptions are:

  1. If providing the information requested will place the data subject, a child or other adult in (or at risk of) serious harm to their mental or physical health;
  2. If the information is child abuse data, it would not be in the best interests of the data subject;
  3. If a court has ordered the information not to be disclosed;
  4. Where a person with capacity provided the information to you with the expectation it would not be disclosed, or if they expressly indicated this (i.e. they did not consent);
  5. Where the information contains the identity or personal information of another data subject, that other person has capacity and has not consented to their information being shared, and it would not be possible to remove or disguise their data from the information (e.g. by blocking out or removing those details);
  6. Where the information contains the identity or personal information of another data subject, that other person lacks capacity to consent to their information being shared, it is not deemed in their best interests to do so and it would not be possible to remove or disguise their data from the information (e.g. by blocking out or removing those details);
  7. Where disclosure would prevent the detection or investigation of a crime or pose a risk to national security;
  8. The request is deemed 'manifestly unfounded or excessive' (e.g. an identical request has already been received and information has already been provided or denied).

If you are unsure whether an exemption applies you should seek support from a manager, who in turn should seek legal advice as required.

Information that should always be shared with the data subject

Data subjects should be told what information is collected about them, why and how long it will be kept for.

You should routinely share the following information with the person it is about (the data subject), whether or not they have requested it:

  1. Copies of any assessment or review reports (including risk assessments, mental capacity assessments and safeguarding reports);
  2. Copies of any Care and Support or other Plans; and
  3. Copies of any meeting minutes in which the person was present.

Where the person has capacity and requests that this information is also shared with another person you should honour this request unless doing so would place the person, a child or other vulnerable adult at risk of harm from abuse or neglect by that person. Where a request to share information is not honoured you should explain to the person why the information has not been provided.

If you feel that the information should be shared with another person or organisation in order to benefit the person (for example a health professional completing an assessment) you should obtain consent to do so.

Where the person lacks capacity a decision can be made that it is in their best interests for this information to be shared, so long as no exemptions apply.

Responding to requests for information about the data subject

In all cases

Whenever you are unclear about whether or not to share information you should seek support from a manager, who in turn should seek legal advice as required.

Informal requests by the data subject

If the person (data subject) has requested information informally relating to them or their case you must decide whether the information can be provided under Data Protection legislation.

It is the expectation in the legislation that wherever possible information is provided to a data subject following an informal request.

Some of the things that should be considered are:

  1. Is the information something that should be shared with the person as a matter of course?
  2. Would providing the information be a breach of someone else's confidentiality?
  3. Would sharing the information put the person at risk of harm from abuse or neglect?
  4. Would sharing the information put another adult or child at risk of harm from abuse or neglect?
  5. Do any of the exemptions in the Data Protection Act apply?

Informal requests by others

If the request is being made by a person who is legally authorised to request the information (a Court of Protection appointed Deputy for welfare or someone with Lasting Power of Attorney) the request should be treated as if it had been made by the data subject.

The rights of other people to access information about a data subject are limited. Information can only be provided if:

  1. The data subject provides consent for it to be shared; or
  2. The data subject lacks capacity to consent but has a legally authorised representative who has consented; or
  3. The data subject lacks capacity to consent, does not have a legally authorised representative but it is the view of the Local Authority that sharing the information would be in their best interests (e.g. to support an assessment by another professional); or
  4. The information is requested under safeguarding and is integral to protecting the person, a child or other vulnerable adult from abuse or neglect.

The person making the request can still make a formal request for the information if an informal request is denied.

Formal requests for information about a data subject

A formal request is a request made in writing. They can be made by anyone.

The outcome of a formal information request should be made within 1 month of the date it was made. Notification in writing should be provided to the person making the request.

If information is to be shared this should also take place within that timeframe, even if the amount of information is significant (e.g. a case file).

Responding to requests for other information

Under the Freedom of Information Act anybody may make a formal request in writing (including email) for non-personal information from a public body. This is information that does not relate to a particular person (data subject).

The Freedom of Information Act specifies that any formal request for information made under the Act must be responded to within 20 days of receipt. The response should confirm:

  1. Whether the information is held by the Local Authority; and
  2. If so, provide the information requested.

Requests for information relating to safeguarding

Where information about a person (data subject) is  requested as part of a safeguarding enquiry in order to protect the person, or another vulnerable adult or child from abuse or neglect (or the risk of abuse or neglect) it should be provided.

This should be provided securely to the person leading the safeguarding enquiry and any concerns that you have about the implications for other vulnerable adults or children as a result of providing the information should be shared and considered by the safeguarding enquiry.

If it is possible to seek consent from the data subject before providing the information you should do so, although information can be provided without consent for the purpose of protecting them (or another adult or child) from abuse or neglect. If the person does not give consent the information should still be shared if doing so would serve to protect them (or another adult or child) from the risk of abuse and neglect.

You should notify the person that their information has been shared for the purposes of protecting them (or under safeguarding) from harm unless doing so would place them (or another adult or child) at further risk of harm. In this case you should notify them when it is deemed safe to do so.

You should be clear with the person from the beginning that in the event of safeguarding information about them may be provided without their consent or immediate knowledge.

8. Accessing a Prevention Service

Under section 2 of the Care Act the Local Authority cannot provide intensive or on-going long term interventions until it is satisfied that prevention services having been explored and deemed not suitable.

There are many kinds of prevention service available. Some are provided by the Local Authority and some are provided by the community or partner organisations, such as health. You should explore all available prevention services in the local area before taking any further action.

Click here to read about the different types of prevention services described in the Care Act.

Telford Adult Social Care Procedures