Sharing information to prevent abuse and neglect - Adult safeguarding: sharing information
Sharing information between organisations about known or suspected risks may help to prevent abuse taking place. The safeguarding adults board has a key role to play in sharing information and intelligence on both local and national threats and risks. The board’s annual report must provide information about any safeguarding adults reviews (SARs). This can include learning to inform future prevention strategies. Designated adult safeguarding managers ‘should also have a role in highlighting the extent to which their own organisation prevents abuse and neglect taking place’. 
Some areas have developed multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs) where key agencies are co-located to enable ‘real-time information-sharing, decision-making and communication’. 
Early evidence  suggests that multi-agency safeguarding hubs may improve:
- identification of risk leading to early intervention and better preventative action
- case management, preventing things getting lost in the system
- understanding and scrutiny between professional roles
- efficiency through better resource allocation and a reduction in duplication.
There may be benefits to other approaches that reflect local needs and resources. These include virtual links between organisations as opposed to co-location and establishing a single point of reporting. Whatever model suits the locality can be used – the emphasis is on improving the quality and speed of responses to safeguarding concerns through better information-sharing.
Case study: Rogue traders Open
The police have received a report from Age UK that a number of local older people have paid a lot of money up front for repair work on their houses but that after a couple of days the workers have not returned to finish the job and cannot be contacted. Age UK has notified Trading Standards.
The police representative and the designated adult safeguarding manager on the safeguarding adults board are contacted and asked to share this information with safeguarding partners. Adult social services decide to try and alert older people with care and support needs about this danger by:
- alerting all services for older people
- putting a warning on the council website
- making a phone call to all the older people they know to be isolated in the community and who are not receiving any services
- writing an article for the local press to warn people about this threat, explaining how to avoid rogue traders and who to contact if they are concerned.
Following this, one older person who became suspicious was able to give the police the registration number of a van possibly related to the rogue traders.
- Sharing information locally about known threats can prevent further abuse.
- Empowering people with information and advice can help people to protect themselves.
- Joint working can raise awareness of current threats.
In Birmingham, a partnership approach to tackling antisocial behaviour has been developed by the Safer Birmingham Partnership. The Safer Estates Agreement is used by all social landlords in Birmingham to enable the sharing of information.
ADASS and LGA Making effective use of data and information to improve safety and quality in adult safeguarding
Home Office Information sharing for community safety: guidance and practice advice
SCIE Report 41: Prevention in adult safeguarding examines other initiatives that may help to prevent abuse