Sharing information and joint working between safeguarding partners
Housing and social care should:
- work together to resolve issues where the individual may not be eligible for social care support, refuses support or self-neglects
- ensure links between public protection forums such as safeguarding boards, multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs), multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPAs), health and wellbeing boards and community safety partnerships
- help partner agencies to understand the role of housing staff in safeguarding
- develop a common understanding of language and definitions regarding people with care and support needs and safeguarding
- provide clarity for staff on the law relating to sharing information, confidentiality and data protection
- ensure inclusion of housing staff in strategy meetings and investigations
- agree processes for keeping referrers informed of progress on safeguarding referrals.
Training and raising awareness
Housing agencies should:
- raise awareness of abuse for all frontline staff
- arrange joint training with other safeguarding partners
- ensure housing staff have an adequate understanding of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA)
- work with social care to provide training for people with care and support needs to better enable them to protect themselves
- support perpetrators of anti-social behaviour (ASB) to reduce such behaviour
- work with social care to ensure adequate support for carers.
Key findings from research
- Housing staff are well placed to identify people at risk of abuse.
- Regular and sustained joint working between housing and adult social care is essential to protect people who may be at risk of abuse.
- Serious case reviews have indicated that housing providers could or should have played a more effective role in adult safeguarding.
- Some housing staff have false perceptions about needing the person’s consent to make a safeguarding referral.
- Some housing staff report negative attitudes towards them from social care professionals.
- There is no national agreement on the threshold for housing referrals to local authority safeguarding procedures.
- Difficulties are caused by complex networks; housing providers may have to work with numerous local authorities in their area and vice versa.
- Some housing providers have IT systems that are inadequate to store sensitive data and to facilitate ‘customer profiling’ for effective safeguarding.