Recognising the safeguarding role of housing staff
Guidance for local authority social care staff
- recognise that housing staff have a key role to play in safeguarding
- take referrals from housing seriously and work jointly to resolve issues where the individual may not be eligible for social care support
- work jointly to develop approaches to working with people who refuse support and those who self-neglect
- involve housing staff in strategy meetings and investigations, keeping them informed of progress
- involve housing staff in support and protection planning for those at risk
- ensure there is a framework for joint working, including information sharing protocols and housing representation on the safeguarding adults board
- ensure housing providers are included in joint safeguarding and Mental Capacity Act training
- understand the limitations in terms of finding suitable alternative accommodation for either those at risk or abusers.
The evidence from serious case reviews clearly shows that joint working is key to reducing the danger of abuse to people with care and support needs. Housing staff report difficulties in engaging with social care staff over concerns about risk, and being left out of joint working arrangements.  A high proportion of people with care and support needs live in social housing,  previously estimated at almost half.  Housing staff have a key role to play in safeguarding this group. They may, for example, receive information on anti-social behaviour that can highlight a person’s vulnerability to abuse.
The Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services  recommend that directors of adult social services ‘make sure safeguarding is embedded in corporate and service strategies across the council and partners’. This includes all social housing providers. There should be local arrangements in place to ensure that the knowledge, skills and position in the community of housing staff are recognised and utilised. Joint training and information sharing protocols may be helpful in developing better understanding of the roles of different professionals.