Raising safeguarding awareness of staff and tenants: Examples from practice
Guidance for housing managers
- In Redcar, Coast and Country Housing has launched an awareness campaign called ‘Something’s not right’.
- Sutton Housing Partnership has developed and embedded an organisational culture around safeguarding. The board of directors has included safety, for residents and staff, and safeguarding, on the strategic risk register. All staff are trained in adult safeguarding. All staff in neighbourhood and sheltered housing teams are trained in safeguarding and the Mental Capacity Act. Heads of service and directors are trained to a higher level.
- Some organisations have raised awareness and provided training to staff who offer other services to people in social housing, as they are well placed to spot signs of risk and abuse. For example, safeguarding training has been provided in: Manchester for Adactus maintenance staff; North Tyneside Council for front-line housing teams, refuse collectors, benefit advisors, librarians, sport and leisure staff; Wakefield and District Housing for repairs staff; Redcar for Coast and Country gas servicing, maintenance and other front-line staff. 
- In Croydon, to raise awareness, a community bus provides information about safeguarding.
- Circle Housing Group has an executive director as the senior safeguarding champion for the whole organisation to provide leadership and oversight on safeguarding issues across all registered providers. Part of this role includes ensuring safeguarding remains a priority for the executive director board and, where appropriate, reporting to them any significant or strategic issues that arise. The Group also has safeguarding champions in key areas of the organisation, mandatory e-learning for all staff irrespective of their role, and quarterly safeguarding meetings. ‘Concerns cards’ are carried by all visiting staff, including contractors. Staff can write down their concern and pass them to their line manager, who may discuss the issue further with them and, where appropriate, make a safeguarding referral.
- The Bournville Village Trust board of trustees and executive team have had safeguarding training, including watching the Trust’s ‘You can make a difference’ DVD. The training is being updated in 2014 to refresh everyone’s knowledge and awareness, and will include the Mental Capacity Act and case studies. The board also receives an annual report from the organisation’s safeguarding leads, including figures, trends, case studies and issues, to keep it appraised of the latest developments.
- Together Housing Group, Genesis Housing Association and other housing providers regularly hold open days in sheltered housing schemes.
- HulI City Council has arranged for councillors to visit support providers and their staff to raise awareness of safeguarding.
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council has set up a small housing safeguarding network of three officers who are committed to championing safeguarding awareness and communicating information within their service areas of housing management, housing repairs and housing strategy/private sector housing. This ensures that relevant safeguarding information is discussed at divisional team meetings. The officers emphasise that they are not experts in safeguarding but help to support any colleague who has safeguarding concerns. They assist colleagues to report concerns and advise on the process. Handbooks for repairs operatives have information on safeguarding responsibilities and wallet-sized prompt cards reinforce the message that safeguarding and protecting people who may be vulnerable to abuse is everyone’s business.
- Thurrock Council has identified safeguarding champions in housing. It also runs an awareness-raising programme called ‘Stay Safe’ for older people and people with learning disabilities. This links with Trading Standards to ensure residents are aware of the risks of cold calling, rogue traders and postal scams.