Preventing abuse and neglect: Examples from practice
Guidance for housing managers
- Sutton Housing Partnership has instigated multi-agency strategy meetings to raise concerns about people with care and support needs who may be at risk, before the need for safeguarding strategy meetings. The organisation has appointed a tenancy sustainment officer, responsible for supporting tenants with care and support needs to live independently in their homes. The officer seeks to reduce isolation, offer advice on security and safety of accommodation, ensure residents are accessing all the services they are entitled to and give advice in relation to meeting their tenancy conditions. This early intervention should reduce the impact on other agencies such as social care and mental health teams.
- Camden Council encourages residents to get involved in policy reviews, interviewing new staff and selecting providers bidding for contracts, including for high-support hostels. Residents and ex-residents are encouraged to ask questions to ascertain how suitable the providers are.
- Waltham Forest Housing Association examines local demographics, identifying geographical areas with most risk and allocating resources accordingly.
- Genesis Housing Association has ‘staying safe’ as a regular resident meeting agenda item. It trains residents to train other residents on keeping safe and holds quizzes to raise awareness. The Association has also helped residents to make a DVD about abuse.
- Circle Housing consulted with users to develop safeguarding adults policy and procedures. This helped to form policy on how staff should deal with the disclosure and alerting process. Specific user comments are highlighted in the procedure and associated training so that staff know what points are particularly important to people.
- Liverpool Housing Trust holds meetings with residents on the subject of abuse and has translated leaflets on abuse into Chinese and other community languages.
- Westminster City Council delivered a safeguarding questionnaire to all people using services and made particular efforts to reach isolated older people.
- Bournville Village Trust has undertaken awareness-raising briefing sessions with a range of resident groups and volunteers across the community. It works with community groups and has run briefings on safeguarding for residents’ associations, tenant involvement panels and organisations such as the local bowls club.
- Circle Housing, Mole Valley, regularly arranges for police and fire service staff to visit sheltered schemes to heighten awareness of particular threats such as doorstep crime and fire risks in the home.
- Kirklees Council carries out work to predict future needs and problems – for example, the impact of the welfare reforms on people with care and support needs. It has also set up monitoring systems to record and review trends in adult safeguarding referrals. It then tries to minimise risk, briefing staff on what support might be available. In addition, it has carried out an online survey to test residents’ awareness and understanding of safeguarding, and has developed a ‘cause for concern’ proforma. e-Learning modules for adult safeguarding are promoted across housing and partner organisations.
- Gentoo (a group of housing-related companies) has a ‘Cause for Concern’ initiative. The aim is to identify domestic abuse through customers’ repair reporting. If any of the following repairs are reported on two or more occasions over a 12-month period, an alert is raised by staff and forwarded to the victim support team:
- lock changes (front and back doors)
- lost keys
- broken windows/glazing repairs
- damage to bathroom door/lock
- internal door damage.
Once an alert has been raised the victim support officer will investigate concerns, checking tenancy breach information and speaking to neighbourhood staff before attempting to contact the tenant to discuss concerns. Victim support staff can visit, taking care not to alert potential abusers.
Maintenance staff at Gentoo all carry hand-held devices with a button they can press when they feel something is not quite right. They document what they have seen and press the button which alerts safeguarding staff to investigate further. All trade vans carry stickers reminding them to report relevant information.