Report of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing
During the course of the reported year (2017-2018) in Staffordshire there had been 4908 occasions when concerns had been reported that adults with care and support needs may be at risk of, or were experiencing, abuse or neglect. The total figure had decreased by 621 occasions from the previous year. The reported average per month was 409, however there had been a reduction of nearly 50% each month from December 2017 onwards, due mainly to the change in recording practice. Of those individuals subject of a Section 42 enquiry, those aged 85-94 (26%) represented the largest cohort, closely followed by 75-84 years (25%) and 65-74 years (12%).
Neglect continued to be the most prevalent factor leading to concerns being made, followed by physical abuse. Financial abuse referrals were increasing and concerns were shared with Members that this was an under reported abuse category. Financial abuse was a new strategic priority for the Board during 2018-2021. Members queried whether banks were involved in raising issues of potential financial abuse as they may be well placed to identify concerns. DCI David Giles informed members that banks had a duty to report any fraudulent or unusual activities and that the Police received referrals from them.
The issue of recognising abuse and understanding how to report concerns was raised. Work was ongoing with engagement and prevention, with a number of communication avenues supporting this. Difficulties were also discussed around the tension between an individual’s right to choose how they lived and removing that choice as a safeguarding measure. A specific case study was discussed around an individual who had chocked to death and Members were informed that choking awareness training events had been held in response to this case.
The Select Committee queried whether the Board provided training for voluntary groups on abuse recognition. Whilst the Board wasn’t funded to provide such training they had developed a free level 1 safeguarding package which was available on their web site. It was also suggested that, where voluntary groups were part of the Support Staffordshire umbrella, Mr Gary Jones (also a member of the SSASPB) may be able to help with appropriate training.
Members queried why transition from children to adult services was not to be a priority for the Board going forward. This had been a strategic priority for three years, with a review commissioned and LAs responding to this. Project and delivery plans were now in place and the infrastructure around transition had been recognised. It was felt that, over the three year period when transition had been one of the Board’s priorities, enough work had been undertaken and assurances receive to now close the work and move to a new priority area.
RESOLVED – That the Annual Report 2017-2018 be received and the Board be congratulated on their report.