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DHSC Adult Safeguarding blog for SCIE training in Luton

8 March 2024
By Rob Pickard, Adult Safeguarding Policy Advisor, DHSC

Central Government can sometimes be accused of living in an ivory tower, but speaking from experience, my colleagues and I certainly don’t want to fall into that trap. So, when the opportunity arose to travel down to Luton Borough Council to undertake training facilitated by SCIE, alongside a range of professionals, the adult safeguarding team in DHSC jumped at the opportunity.

Unlike other members of my team, I live in West Yorkshire, so I was up nice and early to catch a train from Wakefield down to London King’s Cross, before getting the train to Luton, which with the journey back again the same day does make for a longer than normal day. However, looking back now I am so glad that my team and I had this chance, because we had a tremendous, eye-opening training event.

It was a fascinating, interactive day working through real life cases, with DHSC staff paired with members of Luton’s safeguarding teams. This included the safeguarding service head and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards/Mental Capacity Act safeguarding managers from the local authority, Mental Health Trust Managers, and an Integrated Care Systems adult safeguarding nurse.

Colleagues from Luton’s safeguarding teams helped us work through the legal and practical issues that could impact decisions on the frontline on how to respond to a potential safeguarding case, and we role-played being a member of the multidisciplinary adult safeguarding hub (e.g. the police, community nurse, family member, etc.), as part of our safeguarding training.

This case study work shone a light on the complexities of safeguarding on the frontline in a local authority, and how the response to each case must be very nuanced, ensuring personal wishes are respected. Decisions are rarely being black or white, yet they have a direct impact on individuals who may often require a range of help. Practitioners also stressed that trust and support from their local leadership is essential to their everyday work so they can be confident in their sensible judgment and collaborative decisions.

What struck me was not only our local authority colleagues’ expertise and dedication, but also their willingness to openly share their experiences and engage with us about their concerns, the intricacies of their jobs, and what elements they would like to change if possible.

From our point of view, discussing matters with local experts, also helped us to understand how important it is that national safeguarding legislation and guidance can be translated locally and the importance that what we do, enables local experts to provide the best possible support to people who are vulnerable.

My colleagues and I wish to thank SCIE and Luton Borough Council for making this event such an informative and engaging day, whilst also challenging us on how the department can help to further improve safeguarding both nationally and locally.

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