Understanding common induction

Common Induction Standard 6: Principles of safeguarding in health and social care

Standard 6 is divided into the following four parts:

Overview

Abuse can happen in any context and takes many forms, some of which may not be obvious. As a care worker, you are in a position where you might see evidence of abuse or be told by someone that they have been abused. You need to clearly understand what you need to do, as well as what you must not do. You also need to be aware that some of the things you might want to do with a person you support could be seen as abusive, even if you did not mean them to be so.

If you are employed directly to support someone in their own home, you will need to consider how this standard applies to you.

In health and social care you may come across references to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) and Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) schemes.

POVA refers to guidance and action in relation to protecting vulnerable adults. This was later replaced by SOVA, with an emphasis on prevention and empowering individuals to maintain their own safety. Each local authority will have a Safeguarding Board (a group of people with the task of overseeing safeguarding in the area) and a list of people who have abused a vulnerable adult in their care.

Which CQC Essential Standards does this relate to?

  • Outcome 7: safeguarding people who use services from abuse: People should be protected from abuse and staff should respect their human rights.

Recognising signs of harm or abuse

It is important that you know how to recognise abuse or harm. Sometimes these are very obvious, but at other times they are is much more subtle and so harder to detect. Unfortunately, harm and abuse are more common that you might expect. You will probably attend some form of safeguarding training, very early in your employment. If you haven’t been told about it yet, ask.

Look at the following resources:

  • SCIE has produced videos about Safeguarding Adults which will help you understand the importance of this in your work.
  • SCIE Care Skillsbase, Skill Check 36: Safeguarding. Gives a useful set of definitions of types of abuse.
  • NHS Choices: information for carers about vulnerable adults. This describes very clearly what abuse is. You should ignore the ‘What to do and who to contact’ section, as your employer will have that information in their own policy.
  • Your own employer’s policy. Make sure that you clearly understand it.

Check your understanding

Go to SCIE's resource on Adult Safeguarding. Look at the section: Identifying people at risk of abuse. See if you can identify factors associated with abuse.

Did you know?

  • Adult abuse is one of the hidden secrets in our society. What is your personal view about this?

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Ways to reduce likelihood of abuse

The likelihood of abuse can be reduced by: working with person-centred values, promoting empowerment, managing risk, and prevention. Empowerment means letting people as far as possible, make their own decisions and be in charge of their own safety. Managing risk is a way of working that supports individuals to exercise choices and rights, recognising the balance between managing risk and enabling independence, choice and control.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • How does working in a person-centred way help us to safeguard the people we care for?
  • Why is it important to make it easy for people you support to say what they think about the service?

Did you know?

  • Good communication and clear procedures help to reduce the risk of abuse. Effective supervision should give you the opportunity to think about this.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

Responding to suspected or disclosed abuse

There will be procedures in place to tell you exactly what to do in these circumstances. You should make sure you are familiar with them as this is as part of your duty of care. You need to know exactly what to do in your position and follow the procedures in your employer’s policy.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Create an easy reference list for yourself so that you know what to do in case of suspected or disclosed abuse. Check it with your supervisor to make sure you have got it right.

Did you know?

  • If you suspect abuse, even if you are unsure, it is better to report the situation than to ignore it.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.

National and local context of protection from harm and abuse

You need to be aware of your own organisation’s policies and how they fit into the larger context. The government document No Secrets, published in 2000 and updated in 2010, is the key policy reference. Locally you will have a Safeguarding Adults Board with representatives from each of the main agencies. The council that provides social services in your area is the lead organisation. 

When you started in your job, you had to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and provide references. Your employer will also check that you are not banned by the Independent Safeguarding Agency (ISA). Both these checks are carried out to prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable adults.

Look at the following resources:

Check your understanding

  • Look through all the resources in this standard and check that you know what to do (and what not to do) if you suspect someone is being abused.

Did you know? 

  • If abuse is not challenged, it will continue.

Record what you have learned

  • Use the Learning Record Form to write down what you have learned and any questions you might have.