Safeguarding adults: Mediation and family group conferences
Family group conferences
Key messages from policy and research
- FGCs may be appropriate wherever there is a need to mobilise or remobilise an adult’s extended social network to help them find solutions to specific questions or problems.
- FGCs may be appropriate where there is a need to develop a plan to address specific concerns that cannot be resolved as effectively through established processes (Lupton 1998; Malmberg-Heimonen 2011).
- Individuals responsible for screening cases for referral to an FGC must have access to policy and guidance identifying which types of case are appropriate in the context of adult safeguarding.
- FGCs may be appropriate in relation to the following:
- health and personal care arrangements, at home, in the community or in hospital
- decisions about long-term care
- housing and living arrangements
- supporting someone with mental illness
- physical rehabilitation
- social rehabilitation, cultural integration and attempts to reduce social vulnerability (this may benefit long-term social welfare recipients or people with long-term mental health problems) (Randall Curtis et al 2005; Daybreak 2011; de Jong and Schout 2011; Fronek 2005, 2010; Honds 2007; Lautrette et al 2006; Malmberg-Heimonen 2011).
FGCs are likely to be inappropriate when:
- there is high conflict between family members leading to unwillingness to engage
- relationships with professionals have broken down
- a referral is made too early or too late
- the problems within the family have direct criminal law implications.
Two further factors that should be considered when developing a policy to identify appropriate cases for an FGC are:
- the extent to which the person could potentially take part in the FGC process, with appropriate support and accommodation
- the existence of or allegations of abuse (including domestic violence and intimidation).