Sharing information to safeguard adults

12 February 2015

New resources from SCIE

People have a right to independence, choice and self-determination, including control over information held about themselves. That’s one of the key recommendations in a new guide supporting the Care Act 2014 and safeguarding responsibilities that councils, the NHS, service-providers and others have. Sharing the right information, at the right time, with the right people, is fundamental to good practice in safeguarding adults, but it’s been highlighted as a difficult area of practice.

The new guide, called ‘Adult safeguarding: sharing information’, has been published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). The guide will be useful for frontline workers, managers and volunteers in all sectors, working with people who have care and support needs.

SCIE says that front-line staff and volunteers should always report safeguarding concerns in line with their organisation’s policy. Policies should be clear about how confidential information should be shared between departments in the same organisation. Effectiveness should be monitored and any internal communication problems need to be resolved.

Along with an introduction and key messages, the resource has the following sections:

  • Barriers and solutions
  • Sharing information to prevent abuse and neglect
  • What if a person does not want you to share information?
  • Sharing information with carers, family or friends.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:

Sometimes, sensitive or personal information needs to be shared between councils and their adult safeguarding partners. So, for instance, GPs, the police and housing staff may share information about people at risk. Our new guide supports these types of partners to approach the balancing act that can see organisations sharing information. They must do so appropriately and lawfully, and, just as importantly, do so with speed, without losing any of the quality of the safeguarding responses.

Adi Cooper and Mike Briggs, joint safeguarding leads at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, say:

Information-sharing between agencies in adult safeguarding is critical, whether for frontline professionals and practitioners, or when learning from Safeguarding Adult Reviews. This guide will help partners to ensure that good communication supports the person at the centre of safeguarding work, to achieve their desired outcomes.

The new guide comes at the same time that two new at-a-glance briefings are published. ‘Adult safeguarding for housing staff’ says that regular and sustained joint working between housing and adult social care is essential to protect people who may be at risk of abuse. ‘Adult safeguarding: Signs and indicators of abuse’ helps professionals, who come into contact with people with care and support needs, to identify abuse and recognise possible indicators.

This guide is part of a range of products to support implementation of the adult safeguarding aspects of the Care Act 2014. It’s also part of a suite of tools commissioned by the Department of Health in partnership with the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to support those commissioning and providing care and support in implementing the Care Act 2014.

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