Protecting adults at risk in London: Good practice resource

Cross-borough protocol: Concerns about cross-borough providers

This section applies to situations where safeguarding concerns are raised about a provider supporting people from a number of London boroughs. It aims to maintain standards of care and support to adults at risk across London. It also offers service providers an equitable response to concerns about their service. Individual safeguarding boards may want to extend application of the whole section or aspects of the section to authorities outside London if appropriate.

This section applies when there are concerns that:

Step 1: first response

Immediate risk assessment and action

When a concern about abuse or neglect is raised there must be an immediate assessment of risk. It may be necessary at this point to take action to protect other adults at risk receiving a service from that provider (the interim protection plan).

The SAM in the host authority (SAM/HA) will be responsible for ensuring that the London procedures for protecting adults at risk are followed. In addition they will collect the following information:

  • a list of adults receiving this service including full- and self-funders
  • a list of placing authorities and/or trusts for adults receiving this service.

Notifying other placing authorities and trusts of concern

The SAM/HA, in consultation with other partners involved in the investigation, may also decide to notify all placing authorities and/or trusts that there is a concern in relation to a provider. Notification will be given if it has been agreed that there is a potential risk of abuse or neglect to individuals.

Notification will be sent out in line with the host authority’s protocol for sharing information across authorities and/or health trusts. The notification will state that there is a concern, the nature of that concern (with due regard to confidentiality) and any action that has been taken or is planned (if relevant).

The notification may include a recommendation that each placing authority and/or trust reviews any client that they have placed with that provider.

Notifying potential placing authorities and trusts of concern

A decision to notify potential placing authorities and trusts would only be undertaken at this point in exceptional circumstances – that is to say, when it is agreed that the risk of placing any new people or business with this provider is too high. This decision would normally be taken if the host authority, or in some cases a dominant placing authority, decides to suspend new business, impose a default notice or withdraw grant funding.

Action to be taken by placing authorities and trusts

On receiving this information, placing authorities should allocate a SAM in the placing authority (SAM/PA) to any client for whom they have commissioned services from that provider (one person can be the manager for all adults at risk receiving services from that provider).

The placing authorities should inform the SAM/HA about the allocated SAM(s) and any plans they have to undertake reviews. The SAM/PA should be prepared to share (with due regard to confidentiality) with the SAM/HA information from any reviews undertaken, and attend or send a representative to any meetings called.

Action to be taken by potential placing authorities and trusts

Commissioners of relevant services in that organisation will hold the information disseminated. They are responsible for proactively ensuring the information is current and updated.

Step 2: coordinated cross-borough action

The cross-borough protocol and the London procedure for safeguarding adults at risk will be followed from this point.

Each authority involved with the investigation will ensure that the contact details for the allocated SAM and whoever is conducting the investigation – the investigation officer – are known to the host authority and are kept up to date.

The host authority will ensure that the name(s) of the allocated SAM(s) and investigation officer(s) – together with their contact details – are known to all placing authorities and any notified potential placing authorities.

The host authority will ensure that all placing authorities and any notified potential placing authorities are kept up to date with progress on the investigation.

Step 3: closing the investigation

When the investigation is closed (normally the case conference), the host authority will take responsibility as the ‘safeguarding authority’ for ensuring any reports to the ISA are made.

If there has been a suspension of new business with a provider, a timetable for reviewing the suspension and a system for notifying placing (and in some cases potential placing) authorities and trusts of progress must be agreed at the case conference and followed.