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20th April 2017

Safeguarding: making it personal


Process or personalisation? Which is best to achieve the greatest chance of safeguarding adults who need care and support?

This is challenging territory: of course, you need systems so that everything is accountable and transparent and people are protected from harm. And why shouldn’t everyone be treated the same when it comes to something as important as safeguarding? Surely, however, it’s quite possible to move away from simple adherence to processes. We want to use those processes, but then also provide people with a personalised approach to their care and support.

Often it’s best to ask the person who has care and support themselves - and their carers. They’re the experts; they are more likely to know what’s risky and what isn’t for that individual person. Without personalisation, systems and processes can become compromised; if they become ineffective and institutionalised, the processes might create a dangerous illusion of safety whereas they might actually have become risky. They might not be fit, on their own, to respond to complex cases of vulnerability and abuse.

Safeguarding, personalisation and the Care Act 2014

Personalisation and safeguarding are included in the Care Act 2014; it’s suggested that safeguarding adults boards should be looking at things like the skills that professionals need to shift the work culture so that personalisation is more likely to occur. The legislation pulls together all of the knowledge about safeguarding and personalisation, from the No Secrets initiative and its review in 2009, through to the report, Making Safeguarding Personal (PDF document) written by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

That report focused on what outcomes people may achieve. It looked at four test-bed sites - and examples from other councils – that are embracing personalisation and safeguarding. Central Bedfordshire and the Royal Borough of Greenwich used ‘supported decision-making’ and a person-centred approach to managing complex cases. Using family group conference techniques, they brought together the person at risk, along with their family and friends, to help them support the person in making decisions.

And a recent ADASS temperature check (PDF document) looked at recent progress made on making safeguarding personal, along with some of the challenges that still exist.

Training day on safeguarding with personalisation

We have training available on this. If you're a manager or a newly-appointed safeguarding lead, then join us on 1 June for training on safeguarding adults. The course is CPD-accredited (Ref 60036/18) and making safeguarding personal is fundamental to the course. It's only £125 and we hope to welcome you to our central London offices for the course on the day. You’ll be able to understand how duties and responsibilities apply under the Care Act 2014.

Of course, there’s plenty more to safeguarding than the personalisation aspect; and our training day will cover other important issues in adult safeguarding, for instance, the wider safeguarding duties that local authorities have. But there must be a focus on personalised outcomes for people, not just process for process’s sake.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Topics: SCIE

Tony Hunter

Chief Executive, SCIE

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