Adult safeguarding for housing staff
24 April 2014
We train every staff member in safeguarding; it could be a housing officer, a gas fitter or local residents. If communities are aware of safeguarding issues, they’re much more likely to work togetherRenny Wodynska. Director of Supported Housing, Bournville Village Trust, speaking on SCIE’s YouTube Channel.
Housing staff have a vital role to play in safeguarding adults from abuse, neglect and harm, working alongside their colleagues in social care, health and the police. They are well placed to identify people at risk of abuse and it is important that they work in partnership to coordinate responses and know when to share information.
A new Guide, produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), improves communication and joint working between housing staff and their safeguarding partners, particularly local authority social care staff with safeguarding responsibilities. SCIE has also produced a promotional film to raise awareness of the Guide.
The Guide contains sections aimed at:
- front-line housing staff and contractors
- housing managers
- local authority social care staff.
It aims to raise awareness about safeguarding adults in the housing sector for all housing staff, not just those in sheltered or supported housing.
SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:
Serious case reviews have highlighted the need for housing organisations to play a more active role in adult safeguarding. This new Guide can help housing staff and their managers to improve safeguarding practice. Their safeguarding role is important but it doesn’t need to be too burdensome for staff; it’s also the right thing to do. Effective joint working between all agencies is essential if we are going to get this right.
Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Hanover Housing Association, is giving a warm welcome to the Guide, and says:
This is an excellent and much-needed Guide. Housing providers, and housing staff, are well-placed to play a key role in safeguarding, which is very often overlooked. As a national housing association, Hanover is committed to delivering safe and high-quality places for older people – some of whom are very vulnerable - to live. I am therefore delighted that SCIE is taking such a lead in highlighting these important issues, as well as setting out some very clear and timely recommendations for addressing them.
Key findings include:
- Housing staff are well placed to identify people at risk of abuse
- Regular and sustained joint working between housing and adult social care is essential to protect people who staff suspect may be at risk of abuse
- Serious case reviews have indicated that housing providers could or should have played a more effective role in adult safeguarding.
Key areas for improvement
The Guide encourages joint working between housing and other safeguarding partners. Organisations should work together to develop a common understanding of language and definitions regarding people with care and support needs, and safeguarding. There should be links between housing organisations, safeguarding boards and other public protection forums. Training and awareness-raising is key to ensuring that housing staff know about safeguarding; and also how to respond to concerns; along with a basic knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.